The new EMA single, “Take One Two,” is released digitally today, and it comes with a video consisting of homemade footage from Erika Anderson’s (EMA’s) teenage years.
It’s powerful stuff, especially when you read the message that she includes with the video. Proceeds from the single will go to an anti-bullying foundation, and she talks about the bullying she and her own friends endured. Watching the video, it’s not hard to imagine what kind of response Anderson and her friends would have been greeted with in some sectors of the population, whether in their home of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, or elsewhere.
Yet, it is striking just how happy they look, despite what else we know is going on in their lives. It speaks to the power of friendship and finding people who understand and accept you.
I’m certainly glad EMA found the support she needed to get where she is at today. Her music is a great addition to the world.
Now, please read the message below that she released with the video. It is worth it.
This footage comes from a South Dakota trailer park in the mid-90s, and features a small group of freaks and misfits who seem to be having the time of their lives. Dressing up, hanging out, making up funny skits, and lots of laughing. When I look back now at our fresh young faces (yes that is me with the short dark hair and cat-eye liner), I’m amazed at how simply happy we all look. This is especially remarkable as I know what was going on outside those plywood walls: getting called names, shoved into lockers, and threatening to get our asses kicked for being queer or punk or just plain weird.
But despite all that, there is a joy, strength and self-acceptance in our faces that I find inspiring and wanted to pass on. I’m offering the proceeds of this song to an anti-bullying non-profit started by a 15-yr-old girl in Long Island who was a victim of bullying for 7 years before switching schools. It’s called The Jamie Isaacs Foundation (http://www.jamieisaacsfoundation.org/index.html) and it works to bring youth advocates into schools and pass antibullying legislation.
When I first put together this video I sent it out to the people involved to get their take on it before it was released. My friends thought it was “adorable” but I didn’t hear back from the sweet boy in the turquoise teddy. I worried that it was too much, too revealing, and he wouldn’t want that footage put out into the world. Finally, I got a message back: ” That was the most beautifully done video I have ever seen I love it I love it I love it. I could not stop bawling. I don’t think, I’ve ever felt so secure as when we were all hanging out in the trailer bedroom. Erika. Lacy. All 3 of us went thru some, pretty tough shit. But we made it through. Lets use what we learned and give it to somebody else that needs it.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. This one’s for all the weirdos out there: cherish your friends, fuck the haters and let your freak flag fly. – Erika