The music video of the song “The Greatest” by Sia is an amazing representation of influencing the public on the critical issues of LGBTQ rights in the United States. The dance and the lyrics of the songs is a moving and an emotional tribute to the forty-nine victims of the gay nightclub shooting, Pulse, in Orlando on June 12, 2016. The song’s crucial message is that all people are great and deserve to live to the fullest meaning in terms of doing or being who they want to be.
The music video uses the concept of the unity of expression and recuperation to influence making change for the rights of LGBTQ. The music video mostly focuses on the main dancer, Maddie Zeigler, who is an American dancer, actress, and model who became famous via the TV show Dance Moms. She is being followed by the camera to show that she is the main focus and is the one trying to get everyone to believe that they are the greatest, which is what the song lyrics sites as well.
The dancing itself can tell the story however the addition of the lyrics help emphasizes the main point of how everyone is equal and have equal rights to live life to the fullest. The hegemonic ideology of this music video is the using the issues of the shooting that occurred to focus on the people of the United States not having equal rights for all, especially the LGBTQ community, and how they are easy targets to face violence due to the sexuality they have.
This music video supports this ideology of having equal rights for all as well as how sexuality should not devalue a person. Viewing the dance through the socio-cultural lens brings out the aspect of how sexuality plays a huge part and how the hatred of others being gay, bisexual, transgender, etc. causes shootings to occur.
Overall, this music video helps to focus on the idea of equal rights for all including LGBTQ members. The music video and the song, itself, are a tribute to the 49 victims that died in a shooting inside a gay nightclub. The artist, Sia, uses her platform to be a voice for the people who are part of the LGBTQ community. The dance in the video helps with persuading people to see the pain and difficulty of people in the LGBTQ community. “Fueled by the shooter’s radicalized faith, political animus, and a seeming hatred for members of the Lesbian, Gay…, the nation is left mourning lives shattered once more by gun violence—by violence against our fellow brothers and sisters” (Alexander, Weems). This quote suggests that the shooting is due to a fellow citizen of the world having hatred of the LGBTQ community because of his faith, By viewing the dance in the music video through the socio-cultural lens, the concept of race, class, gender, and sexuality come to mind. For the idea of race, this video in particular does not have any aspects of racial segregation. The race is not the focus point, the fact that equal rights for all and helps fight for LGBTQ rights is most important. For the concept of gender, all genders are prominent in the video itself, however the focus of serving the LGBTQ society. The LGBTQ community includes the Myon lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and queers. The symbol of the Rainbow flag being painted on the faces represents LGBTQ community. For the notion of sexuality, the dance is not heteronormative, therefore it is homogeneous because everyone is dancing in unison and no partnering is seen in the dance at all. The aspect of class is not prominent in this dance, because no one is associated with being in a particular class. By guess, the dance includes dancers that are middle to high class because of tthathe platform they are performing in. Throughout the music video, the focus of LGBTQ rights is significant because this is a song about a shooting in a gay nightclub. Throughout history, the United States of America is known for having rights, due to the United States creating the Constitution that includes the rights of all human beings and that no one should be treated less. In reality, the idea of equal rights never really exists completely because there are some ways that some people are seen as less than others, and their value is not equal. Even though the U.S has several different laws, no law goes against such discrimination on the foundation of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Until recently, the issue of having equal rights for the LGBTQ community has become a hugely controversial issue which is being deliberated. “The progress of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer rights entails the erosion of prejudice, and erosion is a slow process. Much press accrues to the dramatic advancement of gay marriage, but that progress reflects decades of committed activism that antedate the sea change” (Solomon). This quote states that the progress of gaining rights for the LGBTQ community is rather slow even though so many people are supporting it. Therefore, progress has been started for the rights of the members of the LGBTQ community, but it takes a long time. The dance in the music video, by itself, tells the story without the lyrics, however, the lyrics help emphasize emphasizes the meaning behind the song and why the song is written. The dance of the video helps with keeping the focus on the LGBTQ community because the dance influences the audience to act and helps gain more rights for the members of the LGBTQ community. The dance in the video is contemporary and includes a mixture of all dances such as hip-hop and ballet. The movement of the dancers is in unison which highlights the way the LGBTQ community dealt with the shooting. The dance also includes both European and African aesthetics. The European aesthetics that is perceived in the dance are upright and line-based. An example of this is seen in the middle of the music video where the lead dancer is waving, and she extends her hands to form lines and waves which may also give attention to the fact that the LGBTQ community exists. The upright position is seen throughout the video and it helps with all dancers being in unison. The African aesthetic seen in the dance is polycentrism and polyrhythm. Polycentrism is having multiple centers, and this is perceived when both the movement of the knees and hips are occurring at the same time with those being the centers. Polyrhythm is including multiple rhythms with the music and dance, and this is seen when different groups of people are doing different dance rhythms to the same beat of the song. In general, the dance in this music video has aspects of both European and African aesthetics as well as obligated to send a message and give a tribute to victims. Within the video, the socio-cultural lens of the story and dance of the music video focuses on the sexual aspects.
Sexuality is a concern because this song is a tribute to the victims in a gay nightclub. The sexuality of the people should not matter when it comes to rights because everyone should have equal rights and deserve to be who they want to be. The hegemonic ideology is supported by the music video and dance because the focus of the music video is the LGBTQ members. The concept of the unity of expression is most persistent in most music videos. The music video for the song The Greatest is also impacted heavily by this concept of unity of expression. “‘Unity of expression’ where ‘a story is told through songs and dance, not despite them’” (Mueller). This is the basic definition of unity of expression. Due to this, most music videos containing just dance and lyrics tell the story completely and sometimes also influence the action that should be taken on critical issues such as the right of LGBTQ rights. The use of unity of expression is seen in this music video because it is predictable that the plot is about LGBTQ rights and how everyone should have the equal rights, and everyone is amazing. The use of the rainbow-colored face paint also gives us a hint that the song is about something about gay rights since those colors are a symbol for the LGBTQ community. Overall, the unity of expression is frequently noticeable in music videos. The concept of recuperation is perceived in this music video. “Recuperation describes a process which we are increasingly seeing in which women are initially portrayed as autonomous and powerful, only to have that independence eroded” (Adair).
This explains the meaning of recuperation where a woman is initially given power, but the power is lost due to the way she is dressed, therefore that independence is taken away. In the music video, the main dancer can be the recuperated figure. This is because she is initially leading people to believe that they are the greatest and she uses that power to give attention to the LGBTQ community as well as believing in ourselves no matter what others think. However, the way she dresses is a little revealing therefore her power to persuade cannot be taken to the full extent. Therefore, this concept of recuperation is a little misleading because no matter what a woman does, she can never have complete power. Overall, the music video by Sia is an amazing tribute to the 49 victims of the shooting in the nightclub, Pulse. The dance in the music video influenced people to support the LGBTQ community because they are easy targets and so many of them struggle with finding themselves and being true to themselves, every day. “Dance sets politics in motion, bringing people together in rhythmic affinity where identification takes the form of histories written on the body through gesture” (Hamera). This simply states that dance is a way to reach others and influence others to gain support. The dance in this music video also follows this idea of gaining support as the song was a tribute. The concept that was understood in the music dance was the concept of the unity of expression and recuperation. Both these concepts help with the focus on supporting the LGBTQ community. The dance in the music video, viewed through a socio-cultural lens, supports the ideology of sexuality not being the reason to devalue a person or give them fewer rights. Overall the music video targets the idea of having equal rights for all, especially the LGBTQ members because they face the most hatred when violence occurs, and they are also the ones suffering, and the dance along with the lyrics help influence the audience to support the LGBTQ community.