On March 31, Trans Visibility Day, Mila Jam released an iconic video of her single “Faces.” The video itself begins with numerous members of the LGBTQ+ community echoing the statement “I belong.”
The empowering message stood as a space of solace while creating a foundation for self-love within the community. Jam has previously released a stunning visual to “Faces” in early April 2017 and later decided to launch a second video, one including Orange is the New Black Actress and LGBTQ+ activist Laverne Cox, photographer and producer Zackary Drucker, actress and performer Candis Cayne, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Tituss Burgess, actress Trace Lysette, model and actress Geena Rocero, actor, advocate, and vocalist Nathan Lee Graham, and RuPaul’s Drag Race’s very own Peppermint. The cast is then filmed lip-synching segments of the song.
The video accentuates pride through representation in an era that continues to hold immense prejudice towards the LGBTQ+ community. In the description of the video, Jam writes “Faces is about one’s self acceptance, inner beauty, and sense of belonging. Trans Rights are Human Rights. #ibelong.” The song exemplifies hope, signifying that true change and progression is on the brink of modern-day society. Additionally, any profits made from “Faces” will be donated to the onePulse Foundation, an organization aimed at remembering the victims of the Orlando Pulse shooting while providing grants for the families of the victims.
Mila Jam stands as an icon. I cannot stress enough how important this video is. The theme of self-love within a community that has been repressed for so long becomes momentous. The representation itself is what matters to the groups who have been constantly targeted and marginalized in the United States. Having a video that showcases people who have experienced the same ridicule and discrimination, but have learned to love themselves regardless, holds power. It manifests a support system for those who watch — one that allows for freedom of self and truth. Mila Jam sets the stage for a revolution.
This is certainly not the first single by Mila Jam. She has multiple covers on her YouTube channel (milajammusic) and her own singles, including “Thrive,” “Cola,” and “This is Love.” Her music videos capture the true essence of her versatile talent through intricate dance numbers, lyrical treasures, and vocal ability.
I had the pleasure of attending a lecture featuring Jam as a guest At Fordham University at Lincoln Center. She shared her own depiction of women as these “eternal warriors of humanity.” She then went on to say that though women have been constantly confined to these boxes, they always manage to break out; there is always a glimmer of hope. Jam stressed intersectionality in feminism and opened the room to discussion. The long-standing and continued exclusion of Trans Women of Color within culture is especially evident today. To start a reform movement that focuses on inclusivity and representation breaks a barrier. To even claim your own sexuality is an act of pure courage. With the Trump administration constantly authorizing and further encouraging hate, having a safe space in which people can come together and discuss their own experiences concerning social justice is necessary.
Furthermore, Mila Jam brings forth love and the affirmation of self through her own music and visuals in a political climate that bars her from doing so. She turns her songs into a platform for activism.