Is Drake A Queer, Feminist Ally?

· Updated on August 6, 2018

Drake released the music video for his new song “Nice For What” Friday, and it featured a slew of recognizable faces, including some queer women who run the gamut of sexuality and gender presentation and we’re so here for it.

Directed by Karena Evans, who also directed Drake’s “God’s Plan,” the video centers women of all different shapes, ethnicities, and sexualities. The 22-year-old director was once an intern for famed pop and hip hop music video director, Director X, who has worked with everyone from Rihanna and Nicki Minaj to Fifth Harmony and Little Mix.

Evans has been praised for the video, which marks a major moment for women in rap music videoseach woman is depicted beautifully, sexy and confident, but completely devoid of the male gaze. There are no men (not even Drake) standing around ogling their bodies, touching them, or even desiring them. Evans lets her subjects, like Tiffany Haddish, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Olivia Wilde, speak for themselves. “Nice For What” is like an ode to powerful women, and it’s about damn time we see a hip-hop video portray women as such.

The “Nice For What” video opens with the voice of Big Freedia saying “I want to know in here who motha fuckin’ representin’ tonight!” and features out bisexual actors Michelle Rodriguez and Zoe Saldana, as well as a cameo from Syd, who is chilling with a female partner.

The video plays to each woman’s strengths, showing Issa Rae laying down the law as the sole woman at a conference table, a glowing Saldana tending to children, in all the glory of motherhood, and Misty Copeland dancing with close-ups on her bulging calf muscles. Not only to do we get to see women in empowering moments, but Evans makes sure the audience can track their actual, physical strength.

The video is truly unlike any other music video from a prominent act in rap music, which begs the question: Is Drake our next great ally? It’s rare to see women as subjects, freed from the male gaze, in rap videoslet alone MoC queer women. The mere inclusion of a masculine queer woman of color like Syd is so telling of the intention behind Drake’s video: Female power comes in all forms, and we can highlight that without being exploitative.

Toppling misogyny and homophobia in hip hop has been a long-time coming. Recently, Migos’ Offset came under fire for his homophobic lyric “I cannot vibe with queers.” Anti-LGBTQ messaging is still pervasive in the hip hop landscape, so who better to pioneer that fight than the most powerful rapper in the world? We already know Drake is a total mush and heralds women. We’re happy to have him as an ally.

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