I hope that Troye Sivan can forgive me.
Over the past few months, I have been, unbeknownst to the 21-year-old YouTube personality turned pop star, carrying around a grudge of sorts toward him. To be more specific, I absolutely hated that the re-release of the single “Wild,” the first from his unapologetically queer Blue Neighborhood LP, became a bit too straight for my liking thanks the updated tune’s new co-star, singer Alessia Cara.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a decent remix or even ones that are quite clearly done to promote two under-performing pop artists (“Slumber Party,” anyone?), but every once in a while, there’s a tune that comes along and proves on impact that it’s more than strong enough to stand without help. “Wild,” a sweetly emotive ditty about same-sex love that that could be happily misunderstood by straight listeners, was definitely one of those, but yet, there was the Sivan-Cara collab anyway, in all of its prime, pink-washing frivolity.
But then again, I’ve always understood that our pride — meaning the pride of the LGBT community — isn’t always the strongest selling point for those in the spotlight. Don’t believe me? Well, just ask Adam Lambert or Ricky Martin or any trans* entertainer who is tired of seeing their equivalent of “blackface” winning awards… you get the point, I’m sure.
So you see, yes, I do get why the genderfluid “Wild” was pushed out, but that didn’t make my disappointment of it any less disappointing. For once in my adult life, I just wanted someone who was queer in their everyday lives to uphold that trait without shame in entertainment, as selfish as that may sound. I mean, if not for me; someone who is admittedly a little bit older and therefore, a little more secure in who I am as a gay man, then for someone who might be told every single day that their feelings for members of the same sex are either fleeting, sinful or possibly both.
Well, at least for today, that’s now happened. And it’s all thanks to, lo and behold, the aforementioned Troye Sivan. Who saw that one coming, huh?
— V Magazine (@vmagazine) January 19, 2017
Premiering a day earlier than expected in America thanks to certain time zone issues (more on that later), Sivan’s music video for another powerful Blue Neighbourhood offering, “Heaven” with songstress Betty Who, dropped on YouTube Thursday morning.
Shot entirely in black and white, and interspersed with scenes of men embracing men, women embracing women, LGBT Pride parades of yesteryear, and powerful clips of moments and movements instigated by the LGBT community, the visual stands as a strong weapon against what many are seeing to be their latest battle: the upcoming presidential regime of controversial President-elect Donald J. Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
And no, that’s not just this writer’s takeaway from it, either: Troye himself originally intended for the “Heaven” video to drop on January 20, 2017, Inauguration Day, which is technically is in Australia, Troye’s home base.
???? 'HEAVEN' VIDEO – OUT JAN 20, INAUGURATION DAY ???? pic.twitter.com/orS21TzhBv
— troye sivan (@troyesivan) January 18, 2017
“When I first started to realize that I might be gay, I had to ask myself all these questions,” he expressed regarding the recording of “Heaven,” as noted by We The Unicorns.
“These really really terrifying questions. Am I ever going to find someone? Am I ever going to be able to have a family? If there is a God, does that God hate? If there is a heaven, am I ever going to make it to heaven?”
While in “Heaven,” Troye mostly finds himself wistfully miming along as droplets of rain seemingly wash away an unseen pail while also literally being held in the arms of an savior who lovingly caresses Sivan and places his head on his bare chest.
The imagery itself is both provocative and bold, especially considering just how green Troye still is when it comes to his success outside of the world of YouTube. However, the inclusion of such a moment in the “Heaven” visual also possesses glimmers of comparison to two artists who precede the 21-year-old in prominence and outright artistry: gay icon Madonna, and another queer artist who was also unafraid of breaking the mold his first time out on his own, the late, great George Michael.
Long story short, Troye Sivan’s idea of “Heaven” was nothing short of a blessing on this day. Thank you, young Troye, and again, my sincerest apologies.
[Featured Image by Mike Windle/Getty Images]