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BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS, IMAGES BY KANYA IWANA AND LULA HYERS

Is there anything better than a queer collaboration? CLAY’s music video for Project 5 provides further proof that there isn’t.

CLAY is a beautiful soul singer and does her fair share of activism. She seeks to use her voice to make music that reflects what is going on in the world. With powerful lyrics, such as, “No more hiding in the shadows of your shame,” Project 5 comes as a genre-defying ode to queer love at a time when we need it more than ever.

IMAGE BY BRIGITTE CRISP

For the new music video, she has teamed up with her partner Maisie Richardson-Sellers (who you might recognise from The Originals and Legends Of Tomorrow).

Maisie directed and edited the video, which is soaked in beautiful sunsets, shadows and shower shots. It all feels deeply personal and tender, serving as a reminder that the LGBTQI community is one worth celebrating, supporting and empowering all year round.

Make sure you check out our exclusive premiere of Project 5 and read our interview with the ridiculously talented pair below. 😍

DIVA: This song has a really powerful message: “None of us should have to die for love”. What inspired you to be so bold in the lyrics? 

CLAY: There is an epidemic of violence towards queer people across the globe, and trans womxn of color in particular are being targeted and murdered, while so many stay silent. Being a part of the community myself, I feel that while I am able to revel in the all of the beauty and joy, I must also use my voice to draw attention to the dangers of simply existing as a LGBTQAI+ person. 

Did you know from the start you wanted Maisie to direct it because the lyrics are so personal? 

CLAY: The idea came to me during pride month with all of the queer content circling the web. It’s such a shame that the only time the mass media and corporations focus on LGBTQAI+ voices is during pride season. I was desperate to make some hella queer content as a result!!! Who better to direct and edit than my endlessly talented and creative partner?

It’s such an amazing music video. Where did the footage of the LGBTQI community come from?

MAISIE: We reached out to our LGBTQAI+ friends, sent them the song and asked them to send us clips of them proudly existing on a day to day basis, or engaging with the track. I then cut these together with footage we filmed in South Africa. The whole video is shot on phones in order to have a low-fi, home video style feel to it, creating a familiar, nostalgic intimacy that everyone can relate to.

How do you find the process of working together? 

MAISIE: We noticed that we were constantly brainstorming and bouncing ideas off of each other, and decided to explore that dynamic on a project. This one was the perfect place to start! It’s been fantastic, especially because we know each other so well that there is an effortless flow and trust. We have several more collaborations in the works, so watch this space…

CLAY, who are your queer music inspirations?

CLAY: I am inspired by musicians like Prince and Bowie who were able to, in my opinion, truly transcend sexuality and gender. 

What can people do to continue supporting queer people and queer artists all year long? Not just for Pride month. 

CLAY: I think it’s important to dig into your own community first. As an ally, it’s not enough to just stan a queer/trans artist or have queer/trans friends, you have to be willing to put in the work to ensure the safety of the people within the community and help to protect them at all costs. As people under the LGBTQAI+ umbrella, we too have work to do! We need to explore and embrace the vast range of the different experiences among us. Listen more to one another, ask more questions, and try to understand the depth of our personal privileges within the context of the greater community and society at large. Only then can we uplift and empower one another!

MAISIE: Find a way to give back continuously, be that through supporting a charity or program that you connect with. I am currently working with The Triangle Project, who provide phenomenal, free, life-saving and changing legal support, health care and community activation for LGBTQAI+ people across South Africa. 

There are other non-monetary ways that are just as important, such as volunteering, or supporting/creating diverse safe spaces. Also, there are so many incredible queer artists, especially queer people of colour, who are often overlooked or dismissed by the mainstream, so make an extra effort to seek them out. I have seen some of the most moving, incredible art in some of the most unsuspecting, tiny spaces around the world because I comb the web for potentially exciting artistic events and take the chance!

Make sure you follow Maisie and Clay on Instagram to keep up with their work: @maisiersellers and @iamclayofficial 🌈

Only reading DIVA online? You’re missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It’s pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.

divadigital.co.uk // divadirect.co.uk // divasub.co.uk

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