When it comes to their portrayal of bisexual story lines, Hollywood has been consistent in revealing (albeit, conservatively) that they must have it pretty bad for white women. The proof is in the fact that LBTQ stories surrounding people of color have been sparse, if not invisible. And when it comes to bisexual Black Latina storylines, this is especially true.
Of course, there’s no disputing the fact that Hollywood’s portrayal of even white bisexual story lines is largely problematic. Often, the portrayal of these characters is whittled down to deceptive, wanton women with suspect morals and a world full of emotional troubles. Still, their representation has beat out women of color for decades and can be seen in films like “Chasing Amy,” “Cruel Intentions,” “Monster” and, more recently, “Black Swan” “The Kids Are Alright” and “Carol.” The characters of these films and their sexualities pose a stark contrast to the depictions of Black bisexual women on screen, whose relationships are often watered down for the sake of palatability. Stephen Spielberg’s take on the 1986 adaptation of Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” highlights this well. The film, which came just one year ahead of the mainstream lesbian cult classic “Desert Hearts,” completely diluted the book’s much-celebrated lesbian narrative.
Fortunately, with the help of Tessa Thompson, the depiction of Black bisexual women is swiftly changing. In her most recent music video appearance, Panamanian-Mexican actress takes on a character whose bisexuality is worn boldly and unapologetically.
Thompson celebrates sexual fluidity in Janelle Monáe’s most recent music video.
Last week, Janelle Monáe sent the Internet into a flurry of sighs after debuting the music video for her newest track, “Make Me Feel.” The neon dream of a video arrested the attention of social media users for all things related to its celebration of sexually fluid Black women. The fact that the video plays into Thompson’s rumored romantic relationship with Monáe has also been viewed as a mega plus.
Monáe’s music video veers off the path of previous projects by other artists, which have toyed with concepts of bisexuality through queer-baiting tactics (I SEE you 2009 Katy Perry y 2015 Demi Lovato), by dodging the fetishism of the taboos that have long been attached to bisexuality. In “Make Me Feel,” Monáe and Thompson don’t just acknowledge their attractions to both women and men; they openly celebrate them.
After strutting in a bar together as a couple, the two move around it flirtatiously interacting with men and women alike. Never once in the song or video do the characters’ lyrics or actions hint that they have reservations because of who they’re attracted to.
In fact, in the video’s most blatantly bisexual moments, Monáe gleefullyy thrusts herself back and forth between a male and Thompson, taking moments to do the bump and grind with both. All of this while singing the lyrics like, “That’s just the way that I feel now, baby! Good God! I can’t help it!”
The scenes are playful, sexy and absolutely a celebration of a woman’s ability to confidently love and be attracted to two genders. Nothing about the video delights in the fact that these moments are often viewed as illicit, which is 100 percent why it works.
For her part, Thompson plays the confident and sexually fluid Black woman that queer Afro-Latinas have long needed.
CREDIT: Janelle Monáe / Youtube.com
Most of us already know that depictions of Afro-Latinas as Afro-Latinas on screen is a rarity. When it comes to their portrayal as liberated bisexual women, the scarcity is doubly true. In the moments the Afro-Latina actress gets to sidle up to men and women, Thompson’s expressions range from intrigued and pleased only.
Thompson’s character’s confidence in her sexual interests is a treat the Internet is totally here for:
Seriously, if the Internet really does ever break, guaranteed Thompson’s the one behind it.
tessa thompson and janelle monae. the lesbian couple i never knew i need – Make Me Feel(2018) pic.twitter.com/pwb1QVmHG2
— C (@CHUUZUZ) February 22, 2018
Because literally no one can get enough of her in the new music video.
I *JUST* realized Tessa Thompson stars alongside Janelle Monae in the video for Make Me Feel and WoW WOW WOW
— Alyssa (@wakaflakalyssa) February 27, 2018
The video already has 3,672,882 views on YouTube.
And if you think for a moment that this is not THE bisexual anthem of a lifetime…
i had a big ass crush on tessa thompson when she was jackie in veronica mars and here i am a big ole gay and here she is playing janelle monae's love interest in make me feel thanks world for doing this for me
— stacy ? (@chrissiewhites) February 23, 2018
The internet will happily tell you that you are soarly mistaken.
Check out the music video below!