Bonelang Explores Queer Identity Beyond The Binary In 'Michelada'
The best music videos offer more to dissect than provocative visuals. Such is the case with "Michelada," the latest video from Chicago-based hip-hop duo Bonelang's debut album Venn Diagrams. Starring interdisciplinary artist DW McCraven, who also co-directed with Bonelang's Samy.Language, the short film deconstructs gender and identity in a fashion so revealing it's almost hidden.
It may take several viewings to perceive the layers of depth as the queer-identifying McCraven portrays dual roles within a literal Venn diagram of their overlapping selves. But presenting a challenge to lazy binary thinking is exactly what the song intends. "'Michelada' stems from the many masks of DW McCraven that were created as coping mechanisms to navigate the many identities and/or realities that the world imposes upon them," Samy.Language tells NPR Music. He and musical partner Matt Bones constructed a 25-ft. Venn diagram of sand, soil, stone, cacti, sunflowers and the skull of a bull "in the name of decoding the illusion of safe space for a queer person of color in America."
McCraven calls "Michelada" a "transformative work," in reference to both the video, which was two years in the making, and the creative collaboration behind it. "Not only does it express intersectionality centered on my present existence, it creates constructive social commentary because of the relationships that were built in the process. Two years of brown queer women collaborating with cisgender men is proof that we can positively coexist when we decide to appreciate, listen, and allow space for each other."
By exploring humanity's overlapping interests, "Michelada" moves us closer to a holistic center.