Houston rockers take on microaggressions in pointed new video
Photo by Chloe Doiron
Miriam Hakim of Houston, TX’s Giant Kitty says their latest single “This Stupid Stuff” is inspired by her “experiences as a Syrian-American Muslim woman living in Texas.” Throughout the song, her lyrics describe how oppression can slowly bludgeon you into quietly accepting injustice. But at the track’s peak she loudly proclaims her ultimate unwillingness to accept the structures around her: “Take a little bit everyday / I just can’t stand the burn / It tastes like something that I never learned to swallow.”
For the song’s video, director Jenny Waldo gives us an explicit visual representation of the systems Giant Kitty attack in the song. The band grabbed a multitude of post-it notes and recruited their friends to each write down sets of discriminatory remarks and actions that have been said or done to them. Each post-it is a direct quote. The characters are weighed down by the notes, some of which they already carry with them and some of which are applied throughout by co-workers, potential employers, friends and strangers. The yellow squares reading, “You’re Basically White,””Lesbian Hair Cut,” “Fanatic,” and countless other aggressions cover them from head to toe. The notes accumulate and become distracting, then completely overwhelming.
It’s an apt visual metaphor for the weight of the non-stop, often normalized remarks, actions, and thoughts levied against people of color, queer people, trans people, and other oppressed groups every day. The stuff that’s become too routine, that creates a crushing daily reality that’s then said not even to exist. Imagining the video’s post-it concept functioning in real life, every day of the week many of us would be totally unrecognizable behind a wall of sticky fluorescent paper.
The characters are only freed of the burden of the post-its when they receive the support of others, who help them remove the notes, or by themselves becoming empowered enough to change the text of their notes. There’s some relief, but it’s not quite so simple, and the video’s closing shot is one final note placed on Hakim’s mouth reading, “Why So Angry?”