Best feminist music videos of 2013

It’s that time of year: 2013 Best Of lists are making the rounds, and we’re not about to be left out of the party. In a year that was quite frankly super embarrassing for white pop stars, who were showing their asses and being racist extra hard in 2013, we want to give play to some of the folks who got it right.

I love love love love music videos, and though we did see some really wack selections in 2013, there were also some real feminist gems. Let’s get started, shall we? In no particular order:

Kat Dahlia – Gangsta

This song and video are everything in the whole damn world. The Miami Cuban Kat Dahlia’s video takes place in the neighborhood she grew up in while she recounts struggles familiar to many of us: the sacrifices our mamis make for our families, the stress of making rent and paying bills, how depressing the recession has been, and how she’s resisting by figuring out ways of making it through regardless. All in fucking killer outfits. Lyrics here.

FKA twigs – Papi Pacify

This video manages to accomplish something really amazing: showing the (super sexy IMO) intersection of violence and consent. We see a man’s hands around twigs’ throat, his fingers jutting into her mouth, and yet it is all clearly so consensual – you can even see her tongue reaching for his fingers at 1:47, and the aggressive footage is interspersed with more traditionally sweet/affectionate scenes. All while she’s looking straight at the camera (no shot-from-above blowjob angle here) and demanding that her love be pacified. HELL. YES. Lyrics here.

Gnucci – Goodah (Remix ft. Jasmine Solano, Zuzuka Poerosa, Lady Chann, & Nadia Nair)

This remix featuring some of the most awesome women from all over the world making music out there right now is a global feminist win. There’s so much I love about it – from the simple, colorful, and totally compelling animation, to the super feminist multi-lingual lyrics of bad ass women making the world better and taking care of business, this video and song were on repeat for me all the way through the summer. You can download the track for free here.

Janelle Monae – Q.U.E.E.N. ft. Erykah Badu

Janelle Monae continues her Afro-futuristic saga with The Electric Lady, and brings the inimitable Erykah Badu along for Q.U.E.E.N., placing herself firmly within a rebellious leftist tradition, calling out inequality, and name-dropping Harriet Tubman, all while celebrating dance in a joyous video of gorgeous resistance. Lyrics here.

J. Cole – Crooked Smile

I had to include this one from J. Cole (aka my future baby daddy). The heartbreaking video is dedicated to Aiyana Stanley-Jones, and asks us to reconsider the war on drugs, which has fueled massive amounts of police brutality and has been devastating particularly in communities of color.

Dai Burger – Soufflé

This is basically a love letter to queer femmes, and I am so here for it. In this video Dai Burger is busy having an assortment of femme parties I would really like to attend, talking about how awesome her pussy is and how she could keep coming all day (yes gurl, yesss), and looking super fly. What’s not to love? Download the track and find the lyrics here. Her mixtape In Ya Mouf comes out today.

Cakes da Killa – Goodie Goodies

Cakes indeed kills it in this track, and the video does not disappoint – the colors are gorgeous, the gender transgression hauntingly beautiful. Everything about this video seems meticulously chosen, and it’s paid off: it’s a real feast for the eyes. I love how much pleasure Cakes takes in himself here, how much he appears to appreciate every ounce of his queer amazingness. In a world that is consistently violent towards queer folks of color, this is a radical and beautiful thing. You can download his album, The Eulogy, for free here.

La Santa Cecilia – Ice El Hielo

This gorgeous song and video by the incredibly talented La Santa Cecilia follows the lives of a mixed-status immigrant family as they are living, working, and surviving in the U.S. in the face of constant fear of deportation. Using mostly undocumented actors, the video tackles the realities of family separation due to deportation. Another awesome video in this series by the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (okay, it’s kind of cheating, but give me a break) is this video by Aloe Blacc following a young woman and undocumented activist.

What were your favorite feminist music videos of 2013?




New York, NY

Verónica Bayetti Flores has spent the last years of her life living and breathing reproductive justice. She has led national policy and movement building work on the intersections of immigrants' rights, health care access, young parenthood, and LGBTQ liberation, and has worked to increase access to contraception and abortion, fought for paid sick leave, and demanded access to safe public space for queer youth of color. In 2008 Verónica obtained her Master’s degree in the Sexuality and Health program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She loves cooking, making art, listening to music, and thinking about the ways art forms traditionally seen as feminine are valued and devalued. In addition to writing for Feministing, she is currently spending most of her time doing policy work to reduce the harms of LGBTQ youth of color's interactions with the police and making sure abortion care is accessible to all regardless of their income.

Verónica is a queer immigrant writer, activist, and rabble-rouser.

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