Posted by: Catherine Lugg | January 8, 2011

The educative power of art

Like many other queer scholars and activists, I have been yelling about queer youth suicide for a long time, reeling out the absolute dismal statistics on queer identity, the staggering risks for bullying,  abuse and violence, and the possible political and policy responses. The dismal data on queer suicide has been around for at least 20 years, but obviously our efforts have not made much of a dent in the larger homophobic US culture.

This is why I’m so amazed and thankful for Marsha Ambrosius’ beautiful new music video. The male lead is a gay man and her beloved friend, who’s in love, and who gets gay-bashed. The story only gets worse from there.

The video packs a terrific emotional punch and only those individuals who are without souls will be left unaffected.  I actually bawled my eyes out the first time I watched it and I tend to be pretty blase about most music videos (I was classical musician for too many years–seen it, done it, lived it, got far too many t-shirts).

According to the website Queerty, Ambrosius made the video to educate. “I lost a friend and I’ve had friends that have attempted suicide,” says Marsha. “There are people that don’t have a voice to speak out and show what is happening and what can happen, so I just wanted people to see the honesty in it and be aware.”

Many times, art can reach people in a way that research simply cannot (see Lugg, 1999).  While art can be exploited for less than noble political purposes,  many times art can be a powerful force for the social good. Three cheers for Marsha Ambrosius and her fabulous new video. May she have a long and distinguished musical career.

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