Dec 21, 2014
I have a great project I've been working on and am thrilled to finally share it with you:
For my latest music video, "The Only One," I chose an intimate love story featuring a female lead as my lover to reflect the content of the song. The video was shot by Kyle Young on location at Henrietta Hudson, NYC's oldest Lesbian bar and features my frequent leading lady, Vivian Castellanos.
Wanting to release the video along with a written piece about normalizing "femme" lesbian love in the media, I teamed up with feminist writer, Anya Josephs to collaborate on the video release by writing an op-ed about our shared experience as overfetishized queer women. See below for the video premiere and scroll down for the brilliant piece by Anya Josephs!
The Only One by Corina Corina
The Only One by Anya Josephs
When Corina asked me to write this piece, I was immediately moved by the question she was asking me to explore. As a queer femme, I know too well the hunger to see myself, and people like me, represented in media. There is such a lack of queer characters in particular, no matter the genre— in books, in movies, on television, in music. It’s hard to explain how alienating it feels to never see yourself represented. As a kid, I didn’t even know there could be queer women like me.
But I’m an artist as well as an activist, and I can also empathize with the sense of responsibility Corina expressed to me. After all, as people who are making art— who are, on however a large or small scale, making up part of that media— we do have the ability to change things.
The obvious solution, then, is for us to make sure our art censors our experiences. This could be liberating for us, to let our stories be heard. It could make sure future generations of queer girls grow up seeing images like themselves. And it could be good for everyone, to see a wider range of the wonderful diversity of our world represented.
That’s why videos like Corina’s are so important. In her work, she’s showing her true self. It’s beautiful and powerful, and we should all recognize how lucky we are to be welcomed in to her experience.
And yet it’s a terribly frightening thing to do. It’s always challenging to make art that draws on our own experiences, but for queer femmes there are particular challenges.
Queer femme women are relentlessly, constantly, and persistently sexualized and objectified. Whatever we do and wherever we go, there is someone looking at us as objects for fetishization.
The reaction I always get when I come out to straight men is almost always either erasure or objectification. Either they don’t believe that someone who looks like me, who has long hair and wears lipstick and dresses, could be queer, or they’re focused on how my queerness relates to them— how hot they find it. All my femme friends, including Corina, have the same experiences.
Of course, almost all women have had to face being looked at as sexual objects by men, but it’s far more consistent when I’m out as a queer woman. There seems to be some kind of allure of the forbidden about queerness, or maybe it’s the fantasy of a threesome, or maybe it’s something else entirely, but there is unquestionably a way in which queer women’s sexuality is objectified by men as something for them to consume.
This makes it hard to speak out, to exist publicly as a queer woman. I’d almost rather not be seen at all than be seen as a sexual object.
And in cases like Corina’s video, it’s particularly hard. She’s based this beautiful video off her own experience. Opening up your past as an artist is challenging at the best of times— but to worry that this honesty will be, not just criticized, but fetishized?
That’s a dilemma I still don’t know how to solve.
When Corina brought this problem to me, it was not out of concern for herself, though. It was out of worry for the queer girls who might watch the video— or read the comments.
Which would be worse: to not have the video include girls like them, or to scroll down and see the reaction of relentless sexualization? In short: erasure or objectification?
In the end, there is no way for us to win. We are caught in a trap— either we allow ourselves to go unseen, our stories untold, and another generation of girls growing up not knowing they can exist, or we make our most vulnerable moments prey for the sexual fantasies of strangers.
The only advice I can give other femmes is that we have to do what is right for us. We should only speak up when we feel ready, when we feel safe— pushing ourselves into doing it is unfair. We cannot take on the burden of dismantling this double bind singlehandedly.
It’s up to others to step up and help. I want to challenge other queer women to stop erasing us, to not assume that we’re straight because of the length of our hair or that our experiences of queerphobia are trivial just because they look very different. I want to challenge queer men to question the ways they perpetuate sexism. I want to challenge all our straight supporters to listen to our voices instead of just looking at our bodies. I want everyone to let queer femmes define their own lives and stories, and not speak for us or over us. I want everyone to watch this video: to look at Corina’s story and let it speak for itself.
Corina’s video is about a lot of things: identity, connection, love. Things we can all understand… so please do try to listen to them in the way they’re being shared, rather than looking for a fantasy or an idea about what queer womanhood is when we tell our stories.
One more piece of advice for us as femmes: we have to lean on each other. Corina asked me to write this essay because she knew we shared this experience. I know- or hope- many people will read it, but I am really writing it for other queer women, and especially the queer femmes that find themselves in the same struggle. We have to recognize that we aren’t alone in this, that the way that others sexualize our relationships and bodies and histories doesn’t make them dirty, that when some of us speak, the rest of us should listen.
Thank you all for checking out this very special collaberative project!
Mar 6, 2014
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 @ Trash Bar, Brooklyn 8pm! NYC release party for “The Free Way,” the new solo album from Brooklyn's Corina Corina. Celebrating a successful IndieGoGo campaign and the impending international release of the record on CD and digitally, this event will feature songs from “The Free Way” performed alongside creative partner, Willie Green plus featured guests, Armand Hammer (Elucid and billy woods), Melissa Czarnik, Henry Canyons, Dan Dillinger and Abiyah and more. The evening will also feature a warm-up visual Dj set from Dj Mo Niklz along with an open bar from 8-9pm.
Doors: 8pm Admission: $10, 21+
Trash Bar: 256 Grand St, Brooklyn between Driggs and Roebling
More info: Facebook Event Page
Brooklyn based vocalist Corina Corina is proud to announce the release of her sophomore full-length album, “The Free Way,” on March 18, 2014. The record came to fruition following nine months in the studio with creative partner Willie Green, who also produced her first album “The Eargasm,” as well as two national tours in 2013. Corina Corina's unique style, combining the soulful, the sexy, the sassy, and the vulnerable has once again found its home over Green's robust cinematic instrumentals. The “Free Way” will also be supported by a two-week tour commencing after the release.
About the Music:
"My compositions have always explored topics near and dear to me: sexuality and love, being a woman and struggling independent artist, and feeling out of place in the world. This subject matter has allowed me to connect with my audience since my first release, 'The Eargasm.' During the writing process for “The Free Way,” I was on the road as a touring artist and dealing with a massive heartbreak at the same time. This was the perfect formula for writing a very raw, dynamic and honest record that healed a lot of wounds for me.”
"Through the development process, Willie and I noticed the scarcity of modern R&B music made for adult listeners that speak about topics beyond sex, money and partying. The beauty of this project is that it is one of the few contemporary records to fill that void. The songs on this album contain themes that will especially resonate with my peers, but will also touch those of all ages and backgrounds. I have equal parts regret and pride for where I am in my life, and have written songs reflecting both of those aspects."
This was the clear front runner for the album's lead single. I wrote it about the never ending cycle of being in the service industry and how it equally supports and gets in the way of the creative process for an artist. This is the reality that I've been living in for my entire adult life. Producer Willie Green and I were pretty obsessed with this song for awhile and when we recorded background vocals, I came up with a vocal line in the second hook that was so damn hot, he insisted I “drop the mic and leave immediately!” Haha! For the feature, Willie was simultaneously working on a project with Los Angeles based rapper Henry Canyons. I love his voice and knew he's relate to the subject matter so he was a natural fit for the track. His verse came out even better than expected and when he was in NYC recently we even snuck in some time to shoot a video! The video will be dropping on March 11th so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, here's a sneak peak of the #shitshow you can expect to see: