• Years & Years' Olly Alexander (YouTube)Source: YouTube
Frontman Olly Alexander released a statement about Years & Years' music video for new single "Desire", addressing diversity and sexuality in the pop music video genre.
Stephanie Marie Anderson

10 Mar 2016 - 11:36 AM  UPDATED 10 Mar 2016 - 11:36 AM

UK band Years & Years have been taking the pop world by storm with their album "Communion", and have just released their latest single, a remix of track "Desire" featuring Swedish pop star Tove Lo.

The music video features a steamy multi-racial and age diverse, queer pashfest. In an open letter posted to the band's Facebook page, openly gay frontman Olly Alexander explains his motivation behind the video.

Noting that most interactions in pop videos between men and women were "usually centred around a romance", Alexander pointed out the lack of diversity in these stories, saying "there are a lot of other sexualities and identities that are well deserving of some shiny pop video love".

Saying that he wanted the video to be "sexy", he goes on to ask why "we so often get given one version of what sexy is", when "everyone has a different definition of what they find sexy".

"For me, whoever it is, two women, two men, a group of gender-queer people, it’s all cute," he writes.


Commending the pop world for its "pretty good track record of embracing queer culture", Alexander calls it "a safe place for some of our most visible queer icons", and celebrates that "we have more out and open non-straight stars than ever before". He also questions why the video for "Desire" should feel "unusual or progressive" in 2016.

"Gay people have sex, and it’s not just gay people, it’s all kinds of people! All these non-straight people, they’re out there, having sex!" the letter exclaims.

He recalls watching the music videos of pop stars like Madonna, Destiny's Child, Britney Spears, Alanis Morissette, and Whitney Houston, where they were being sensual and singing about their relationships with men, and wanting to be able to do the same.

"They asserted or acknowledged their sexuality in varying and different ways and to me they were ways that felt powerful," he writes. "They were seductive and sensual in their videos - I wanted to be seductive and sensual in my videos (and believe me I made a lot of these kind of home videos)."

"Most often I see the following kind of attitude - we don’t mind if you’re gay, just don’t be too gay... don't shove it in our faces."

But despite being openly gay, Alexander reveals that he has felt "pressure to hide or limit [his] sexuality".

"Most often I see the following kind of attitude - we don’t mind if you’re gay, just don’t be too gay... don't shove it in our faces," he shares, before clarifying that "if 'shoving it in your face' ... refers to the way that lots of straight pop stars get to assert their sexuality then I'll be damns if I'm not gonna shove it in your face if I want to."

Acknowledging that he has an "extremely large privilege" as a white man, he takes time to note that "women in pop music are expected to be sexy," while he has "the privilege of choice".

"I chose to make this video about sex, to portray myself as a sexual character. I choose this because I do not want to hide or limit my sexuality, I want to make videos and songs and art that celebrate all different kinds of sexuality and queer identities."

Writing that he wants to be "proud to shove it in people's faces if [he] wants to", Alexander concludes the letter with the following sentiment:

"I for one don’t want to see a narrow representation of gender and identity on our screens or in our music. I want diversity. We shouldn’t have to feel scared about putting our sexualities and identities on display in all their beautiful, interlocking, multi-layered multi-coloured glory."

All we can say, is YAAASS.