V Premiere: Love Bailey Commands The Stage with “Hornatia” Music Video
Step into the world of “Hornatia” as Bailey discusses what it means to be unabashedly herself
In the beginning of this Fall, when Emmy-nominated trans producer Zackary Drucker introduced me to Love Bailey, I, of course, went directly to Instagram for a quick snoop and discovered an archive of eyepopping queer content. According to Zackary and despite all appearances, Love’s work was produced with “paper clips, duct tape, a hope and a prayer.” Zackary then brought me to Savage Ranch, Love’s home in Temecula, California where she films much of her content. There, as the coyotes yipped and howled in the darkness outside my cowboy-themed bungalow, surrounded by the sets of Love’s videos, I thought about the untamed nature I had so quickly assigned to Love Bailey. It was only months later, on the set of her forthcoming single “Hornatia,” featuring Obiani and Wowashwow produced by Sam J. Garfield (Horns by Josh w.k.), that I realized that Love was a visionary filmmaker, perhaps one of the most professional I’d ever observed. She’s the woman in charge and, given the compelling queer and certainly industry-standard work Love is able to produce, you want her to be.
See the full discussion, below.
JONATHAN ANDRE CULLITON: I’ll start off by quoting our friend Zackary Drucker: “If Love didn’t exist, we’d have to invent her.”
LOVE BAILEY: (laughter) I’m still learning how to tame the circus.
JAC: You live in Temecula, or as you call it, Transmecula. Can you talk a little bit about what it’s like to live there as a queer person?
LB: Temecula is a very Republican town, it’s very corrupt and it’s run by a casino… People want to have a good time so ultimately the fun trumps bigotry… but ultimately, I still get accosted going to [the supermarket.] In my work, I’m empowered to create safe space… but that goes with me wherever I go. On my sets it’s a multitude of talent but it’s also a very diverse cast. It feels more “family vibes” than “we have to get the shot.”
JAC: You can tell when you’re in a queer-friendly place so immediately. I felt it.
LB: Trans and black people experience some of the worst oppression in America. It’s empowering to find kinship in that oppression and to rise above that through liberation… through music, through fashion, through art.
WOWASHWOW: There really aren’t a lot of female rappers that have collaborated with the trans community. When Love asked me to do this, the first thing I did was listen to the track. And I thought, ‘Oh wow, this is SPICY.’
OBIANI: We’re shifting out of this ignorance and oppressive state of mind. For us to come together in lightness, in our rawness of expression, it’s uplifting and inspiring to many. It’s actually essential right now.
LB: I have this theory that people who inflict violence on others don’t have an outlet for their pain. If we can help educate people and show people where to channel that rage through art, fashion, dance, and color, maybe we would have less violence in the world.
OBI: What we do as artists are activating. It’s high vibrational activations that awaken people to expand their consciousness. To let go of their judgment and negativity.
LOVE: When Obi sings “Your dick smells like Fukishima,” it’s really a call to action to say, “Look, we’re killing the planet.”
OBI: It’s the whole lead up. “If you wanna take this chocolate for a spin, cleanse that aura, or you won’t be sliding in.
WOW: The song is in your face. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and write things I normally wouldn’t write. Lines like, “Don’t be shy my alabaster, You be the slave and I’m the master.” That’s one of my favorite lines… that I’ve ever written because it’s fully a social commentary. Us women, people of color, the queer community, all of us, we are stepping into this mainstream light that is making a lot of people uncomfortable… I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like, “Bitch, you are going to hear me.” This project has brought me out of my comfort zone in all kinds of ways… being butt-naked in gold glitter?
LOVE: You looked stunning.
JAC: One thing I wanted to note in your verse, Wow, but also in your content, is pussy positivity. I’m a trans man, so I have a lot of pussy positivity myself, which is shocking to the greater population, even in conversations that seem to be about sex and gender. If I bring up being positive about my pussy with a bunch of guys, suddenly everyone just wants to talk about dicks.
WOW: Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the dick.
JAC: Me too!
WOW: For so long there was this thing about the vagina, like “don’t talk about it.” It was, let’s not uphold it, let’s not even acknowledge that kingdoms were created around it.
JAC: And Love, you have similar positivity around your shenis.
LOVE: I was not put on this Earth to make you comfortable! I was walking down Rodeo Drive today and realized I wasn’t wearing a tuck and I didn’t give a fuck about it. As trans women, we’re forced into this box of being passable. For what? For who?
JAC: I love to make [cis people] uncomfortable. It’s really sort of a pastime, now, sixteen years into my transition.
OBI: Jonathan, I had no idea you were trans!
JAC: Oh yeah. Testosterone is very real and powerful. Love, Zackary and I are all trans creators pushing to turn this corner. We don’t just want to work for the top dog. We want to own the world. We want to make all the decisions. I don’t know if you can speak to that as black creators. Are things really about to change? Or does it feel like that just because we’re always pushing?
OBI: Go on! For me being a black woman embracing my androgyny. It’s a statement. I’ve had to put up my masculine forefront, because of not feeling protected as a black woman. When I embraced it, my masculine and my feminine aligned. And it’s legacy work, to be inspired to express however we choose to be.
LOVE: One thing I’ve learned shopping work in Hollywood is that these gatekeepers only want to take risks on algorithms that have worked in the past. The younger demographics want to see themselves onscreen though. That’s why I uplift voices like Obi and Wow and why Zackary is so important. Zackary can see talent in someone and she doesn’t need an algorithm to tell her it’s a good opportunity.
OBI: And that’s through authenticity, that ability to discern. That’s learned through authentic raw expression. So much of America is built on lies, oppression and the Puritan mentality. So to be so unapologetically unique, embodied? That’s clairvoyance.
WOW: This body is extra thick and extra delicious and a lot of times people just want me to be the funny, cute, fat sidekick. I can’t be the main character, I can’t be sexy. But just because you’re above a size 12, doesn’t mean you’re not sexy. One of the reasons this video is so important to me is because there are going to be a lot of women saying, “Goddamn, she’s completely naked. And completely okay with it. Tummy and all. Glittering.” I think this video and the concept of this song and everything that Love has cultivated over the past several months, is only the beginning. I really do feel like it’s the start of something special. Something’s coming.
LOVE: Something’s coming.
WOW: Being a part of this project has helped me realize that my art is valid too. What I have to say is valid too. It may not identify with everybody, but it does with somebody, and that’s who I’m here for.
LOVE: Exactly. We want to tour the world with this song. Bringing that same joy. Black queer trans joy.