John Legend's New Music Video with Laverne Cox Is Powerful, Incredible, Touching

By Dustin Rowles | Videos | July 11, 2014 | Comments ()

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Music videos is usually not our thing around here, and even though Orange is the New Black’s Laverne Cox gives us a TV-related reason to post it, the real reason is because it’s a captivating, powerful, and amazing meditation on the perceptions women have of themselves, both good, bad, insecure, and proud. It’s a peek into the lives of various women from the other side of the mirror and it is revealing, heartbreaking, and touching.

The video, by the by, is part of the #OPERATIONGIRL global impact initiative, a fundraising campaign for charities focused on women and girls. You can learn more about that here.

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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned

  • LwoodPDowd

    The discussions and the video reminded me of this song. No video and I prefer the version from Live & Mo'

  • LwoodPDowd

    Beautiful song, great video, the Downs Syndrome girl broke through my usual frozen heart, BUT, Tig and Laverne both took me right back out of the video. It was like they were worried you might miss the inclusion of these profiles if they didn't use celebrities to represent them.

  • NateMan

    The little girl with the really short, dark hair looking like she was going to cry almost broke me yesterday. I just wanted to give her the biggest hug ever. I refuse to have any cynical thoughts about it; it's just a great video.

  • glittergirl1970

    I thought she may be a transgender child, a boy wanting to be a girl and happy (and scared) about the bow. But that's just my weird take on it.

  • Vivianne ValdeMar

    You're not the only one, glittergirl1970.

  • ironypants

    yeah that one got me too. still cynical though. harrumph.

  • FrayedMachine

    John Legend has been making some serious misses ever since Get Lifted (with the exception of a few tracks) but god damn if it doesn't look like he's getting himself back now. Dammit all this video made me tear up a bit.

  • John G.

    TIG!!!!!! Tig sighting. Tig, you guys

  • Joseph Finn

    With freaking great, badass hair.

  • Kala

    It's interesting how two sides of myself are currently at war with one another. In one corner is Cynicism, who has grown big and strong after being fostered for so many years. It says that John Legend and co. are getting nice guy points, and besides, didn't Christina Aguilera do this more than a decade ago?!

    But I know that's the easy way to think. Because for some reason that is still a mystery to me, I was fighting tears by the song's end. Ugh. Emotions. So many.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser


  • ZbornakSyndrome

    My cynical side thinks it's nice, but I still wonder why I need a man (one that's married to a supermodel at that) to validate the thought that all types of women are beautiful.
    When Xtina (wasn't she still in the Xtina phase then?) did it, no one really cared, but when a man does it...well, isn't he just the most impressive and enlightened individual on the planet.
    Maybe it's sincere, and the video is lovely, but those thought kept creeping around the edges of my brain like Gollum.

  • FrayedMachine

    Wait what? *Everyone* cared when Christina did it? *Everyone* loses their mind when someone comes out with a track like this and says they're the most profound people ever who totally get the every day person. I really kind of hated that song when it came out to be honest because it was *everywhere*.

    Not every single guy who does a track like this gets serious recognition though. 1D did that obscene song about how beautiful a girl is because she's too insecure to know it and everyone lose their shit (in a bad way) over it.

  • LwoodPDowd

    Sadly, a few months from now *Everyone* will forget this song and the idea behind it.

  • thebeardedlady

    I'm feeling the same thing. I think the song is great but couldn't help thinking how they still chose mostly "attractive" people and "safe" issues. What would have been more powerful would have been to have someone stand on a street corner with a mirror and ask every woman going by to look at themselves in it. The amount of women who would refuse to look at themselves or just glance or make a face instead of really looking and appreciating would be the heartbreaking majority.
    Although, if I wasn't so morning cranky I probably would have teared up. A bit.

  • ironypants

    My first reaction is that this is suuuuch pablum. between this song/video combination and "All of Me" I feel like John Legend is trying super hard to get brownie points with his (largely) female fans by writing very generic "you're sooo pretty to me no matter what" songs and passing them off as empowering when really it's still about how women need a dude to tell them that it's okay to be/look/act however they already are. And I disagree that cynicism is the easy way to think. I think letting some carefully curated editing manipulate your emotions is the easier road...cynicism maybe just feels more natural because it's smart to be skeptical of media these days.

  • Vivianne ValdeMar

    This, so much. Also, not that Colbie Callait's video is any better (in fact, Legend's is the better video, for all the reasons FrayedMachine pointed out), but I find the rush to cheer a guy for essentially telling a woman she has worth because he loves her (though I acknowledge that might just be my own personal skewed view), over the complete lack of cheer for a woman telling other women to love themselves (I'm talking about the number of exactly 0 comments on the post about her song), a trifle troubling.

  • FrayedMachine

    I totally get all of this because it definitely inhabits some of my initial misgivings for the song to, but in Legend's defense, the man's career is literally built off of love songs. Ever since Ordinary People (another INCREDIBLY moving music video) came out, he was immediately labeled as the go to guy to get your emotional feels on for relationships. Ordinary People was a hit that also inevitably defined his career and it's something he'll likely never be able to escape no matter how hard he tries.

    With all of that being said, still, I'm giving him a ton of points for this. It's always going to be a big deal on a different level for Black Artists to take the time to acknowledge certain groups that often times are left out of topic within the community (specifically MOGII individuals).

  • ironypants

    Very fair point.

  • FrayedMachine

    Th... They definitely didn't really choose safe issues. Yeah they had the typical stuff but they also touched on the topic of Breast cancer, had an actively known Trans Woman of Color, a woman with Skin discoloration, a woman with a possible broken nose, Older women, young girls, Roller Derby Chicks (which are pretty rarely shown in the media to begin with) and several other rarely publicly acknowledged women as well.

    Yes, all the women in the video were Beautiful, but the one thing that I, at least, appreciated, is that not a single one looked like the other. The women shown were diverse, and from a multitude of backgrounds that normally, on a social standard, we'd disregard on the topic of Beauty.

    And yes I'm apparently the cheerleader for this song today.

  • FrayedMachine

    Christina was not the first to do a track about loving yourself. Before her was TLC's track Unpretty, before them countless others. It's something that will likely never stop being sung about, written about, drawn about, spoken about but I don't think that anyone should be trying to shut it down either.

  • Kala

    Yes, you're correct (totally forgot about that TLC track!) on all counts. I'm not implying that people should shut up about the issue. That comment was merely bringing up the visual similarities between videos, though my ultimate point was my intellectual struggle between my cynicism and the unbidden feelings that the Legend video is bringing up, which says far more about me than any artist who would tackle issues of self-love.

  • FrayedMachine

    Nah, I totally get that (though I did intensely feel the need to point out Unpretty because that song came out at a very poignant point in my own life when I was struggling with insecurities blahblahsentimentalcommentary). It was more of just a reminder that this stuff is probably never ever gonna stop and it totally shouldn't. I get the cynicism aspect though. Before pressing play I had my own mini eye roll moment but god damn if playing it didn't change that.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Not completely related, but kinda: I still miss TLC.

  • FrayedMachine

    Every single day, man.

  • Kala

    I'm right there with you. Had to find the "Unpretty" video to fill up a tiny bit of the void.


  • Kala

    "Before pressing play I had my own mini eye roll moment but god damn if playing it didn't change that."

    Right?! I took Rowles' intro as a bit of a challenge ("Can't make me feel emotions, sucka!") but damned if I wasn't sitting there at the end with my eyeballs burning ("Must. Not. Cry.").

  • John G.

    I'm right there with you. All my cynical muscles are fighting me, but they fail. That first shot of the young girl looking in the mirror melted my heart. A lifetime of being judged on how you look, of the training women must be indoctrinated with that though the whole world will try and tell them they're ugly and to try harder, and to buy more of this and pluck that and do this regimen. And yet, there is a strength and beauty, beneath and beyond all the layers society would like to press into you, that is also in that mirror. Damn you feelings.

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