Revelers of all colors, shapes, sizes and varieties marked LGBTQ Pride Month by sharing what being liberated means to them, and their answers are even more varied than you might expect.
“Being completely free,” “being your true self and “getting naked” are just a few of the responses offered by New York Pride revelers in the above video, shot in June at Manhattan’s Madison Square Park.
Shared exclusively with HuffPost, the clip is intended as a companion of sorts to “Liberated,” rapper and singer DeJ Loaf’s new music video. Featuring a soulful hook by Leon Bridges, the all-inclusive hip-hop anthem was released last month. It had received more than 1.1 million views as of Friday morning.
“If you feel free, then you should lift your hands,” DeJ Loaf sings on the song, which will be included on her forthcoming debut album. “So many things in this world I don’t understand/I won’t judge who you love, or your brown skin.”
Among those to appear in the video is Teddy Geiger, who co-wrote the track with Loaf. A singer-songwriter who has collaborated with the likes of Shawn Mendes and Maroon 5, Geiger recently came out as transgender and, as such, shares her thoughts on the meaning of liberation in the clip.
Watch the “Liberated” video below.
Of “Liberated,” DeJ Loaf told HuffPost: “I wrote it because I wanted people to feel free and to feel confident. So many things hold us back; from constant bad news to financial issues to insecurities to just plain having a bad day.”
Ultimately, she added, the song “is about being free and letting go of what shackles you.”
DeJ Loaf’s all-inclusive “Liberated” gesture went beyond music, too. She celebrated the June 8 release of the song by reportedly footing the bill for all same-sex couples who came to obtain a marriage license at New York City Hall that day. She also released a new documentary short, “Stories of Liberated People,” as well as an art installation at Manhattan’s Sony Square.
And earlier this month, the “Liberated” video scored an MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Video With A Message. (Other nominees in the category include Drake’s “God’s Plan,” Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” and Janelle Monáe’s “PYNK.”
“During Pride, we learned lots of clubs had the song in rotation, and my feed was full of people hashtagging the lyrics while celebrating,” DeJ Loaf said. “People literally send me videos of themselves dancing and singing along to the song.”
It’s a fitting response to a song that, ultimately, “is about being free and letting go of what shackles you,” she said.