Feministing Jamz: 10 best feminist music videos of 2014

Well, here we are again. Another music video-jammed year has gone by, so it’s time for another Best Feminist Music Videos of the year list. 

In no particular order:

Ana Tijoux & Shadia Mansour — “Somos Sur”

In this video the proudly indigenous Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux teams up with Palestinian rapper Shadia Mansour. This is a combination to make any and all internationalist, anti-occupation, and anti-colonial feminists’ hearts sing!

PTAF — “Boss Ass Bitch”

I love everything about this song and video. I love the beginning scene when they’re writing the song and banging the beat on the kitchen table. I love them walking around the beauty shop. I love them looking fly as hell on the street, and I love them (still looking fly) in their sweatpants and eating cereal with their heads wrapped. Just everyday scenes in the life of a boss ass bitch. This song was an essential piece of our femme power playlist. Yes please!

FKA Twigs — “Two Weeks”

FKA Twigs made it onto our list last year, and since then she’s totally skyrocketed. She’s lost no integrity as an artist in the meantime though – her videos continue to be stunning, her tracks layered and strange and complex. In the video for “Two Weeks” — one of the more R&B selections from her brilliant and genre-bending album LP1 — the camera lowers to reveal Twigs in a trembling, plant-like crown looking quite regal. In one continuous shot, the camera slowly pans out to reveal others — tiny creatures dancing around her, women holding vessels that pour water. At some point you realize, if looking carefully, that they are actually all Twigs — the dancers, the water-bearers, the dignitaries in white all the way in the back, the person under the water. All of them are her. If that’s not hierarchy-challenging, I don’t know what is.

A Tribe Called Red — “Sisters”

This video from Canadian indigenous electronic musicians A Tribe Called Red makes me so happy. It is all indigenous woman joy and resistance. Our current media landscape forgets that indigenous women exist. When it doesn’t, indigenous women are usually portrayed as either in the past, or as victims. To show indigenous women alive, thriving, dancing, experiencing joy in the present — that is revolutionary. Indigenous women experiencing joy in the face of a colonial project that seeks to exterminate them is the very definition of resistance. This is especially true in the context of the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women. Get into it.

Javiera Mena — “Espada”

Remember the very first Feministing Jamz?! I made y’all GIFs! And I featured this awesome video by the Chilean and openly-queer Javiera Mena. It’s super queer, super femme, and super sexy. What’s not to love?

Junglepussy — “Nah”

Remember that time Junglepussy subverted the most basic ass racism ever while casually eating asparagus? Yeah.

Seynabo Sey — “Pistols at Dawn”

This Swedish-Gambian singer’s gorgeous, androgynous voice is what pulls us in, but what truly makes this video a win is the relationship between the two women. We don’t know what it is, exactly, but it is obviously a relationship of deep lady solidarity. Add simultaneously witchy and bright-red outfits set against a stark burnt forest and I am fully sold.

Azealia Banks — “Chasing Time”

Azealia Banks is a politically complicated creature, but of despite all the directions her twitter rants may take her, one thing is clear — she’s a lover of Black womanhood. In this video, Banks plays homage to some of the great women of hip hop. Look carefully and you’ll see nods to iconic looks from Left-Eye (and No Scrubs-era TLC in general), Lil Kim, and Missy Elliott. In an era of increasing white appropriation of the hip hop, this look towards the genre’s female greats is a breath of fresh air.

Shamir — “On the Regular”

This truly spectacular selection from Shamir is colorful, witty, a little bit strange, and a lot of fun. What I love about this video is the juxtaposition of Shamir’s androgynous femininity with his don’t-fuck-with-me attitude. Shamir’s not having the notion that being a slight, feminine dude will make him an easy target (“skinny as a rod and still won’t fuck with me”). The best part comes toward the end when, while casually holding a baseball bat, he sings: “Don’t try me, I’m not a free sample. Step to me and you will be handled.” YAAASS!

Ibeyi — “Mama Says”

These Afro-Cubana twins are newer on the scene, but everything they’ve put out so far is absolutely killing it. Their video for “Mama Says,” a single off their upcoming debut album, is no exception. With their mix of soul, hip hop, and Yoruba chants, Mama Says tells the story of a woman whose man has left her, depressed and without money, from the point of view of her child. The simple, masterfully edited video is mostly just a chair and a light in an empty room with different configurations of the twins and a woman I have to assume is their mother by the sheer level of emotion displayed. It’s hard to explain just how emotional and gorgeous it is — just watch!

What were your favorites in 2014?

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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