(Image courtesy of Claudia Puig at USA Today)
I recommend watching Beyond the Lights and listening to the song “Naked” by Ella Mai. As the movie begins, Noni wins an award before even releasing an album. Her mom who is also her manager has been pressuring her ever since she was a child. Now that she is famous she feels as though she can not fail. She eventually realizes that she can not handle the pressure and tries to take her very own life. She is saved by a police officer named Kaz who then looks into her eyes and says, “I can see you”. After this scene, it is revealed that Noni is in an abusive and controlling relationship with Kid Culprit. He tries to humiliate her on stage during a performance. Kaz confronts Kid Culprit and a small fight breaks out. Noni then ditches every thing and leaves with Kaz. Kaz’s love eventually gives Noni the strength to find courage and the true talent within herself. She is no longer the girl with purple hair and tight clothes at the end. She is the person she is comfortable being all because of the love and affection Kaz has shown. Showing this in a movie is a good way to communicate this message because the audience gets to see every aspect. It teaches girls that you are worth so much more than what you think. You are worth more than what people say you are.
In Ella Mai’s “Naked” video the genre choice affects the plot. The genre of her music is R&B and Soul. The message is for people to not get so caught up with what society deems as beauty. She encourages her audience to let go of their flaws and connect with people on a larger scale, as she states, “Are you ready to fight just to see what’s lost behind my flaws? Can you love me naked?” This song does not only speak about physical appearances but it also speaks on the importance of human connection and the importance of learning to be open minded with those around us. As teens, we are pressured into fitting within certain standards that are sometimes unrealistic. So we begin to do things we typically wouldn’t do. Her video features an albino, person with a lot of piercings, and twins that also have differences. In the end, they all hold up hashtags to bring light to other social problems.