Love Bailey, the outrageous Los Angeles-based stylist, activist and queer icon, releases single "Hornatia" — a sexually-uninhibited jazzy disco anthem with righteous political undertones looking at past wrongdoings Bailey has faced in the industry. As a trans artist with deep roots in the Califnoria queer community, Bailey uses her past experiences with trauma to produce politically infused artwork that aims to both shock and catalyze her community into action.
Her music video, which dropped over the weekend, uses prop easter eggs, with various cultural allusions to reclaim her past experiences and create an unconventional display of joy, wit and horniness. The film takes place in an old-fashioned burlesque house and within the first 30 seconds, flashes two patrons reading headlines: "Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss Tries to Extort the Savage Ranch" and "Marilyn Manson Pulls a Gun to Artist Love Bailey’s Head" — moments that have undoubtedly shaped Bailey’s career.
The first headline dates back to her time at beloved and queer artist colony, Savage Ranch, based in Temecula, California, where Bailey has created many of her projects. Heidi Fleiss, known to many as the Hollywood Madame, who was her mother's ex, allegedly terrorized Bailey and the residents of the ranch by trying to reclaim the property through various extortion attempts. This time period inspired her music video, "Hollywood Hooker."
The second mock newspaper, with a bleak header, refers to another alleged incident in 2011 when Marilyn Manson pulled a glock to her head, who shouted "I don’t like f****ts," as she claims to be helping an unnamed Hollywood actress who was inebriated and stumbling in Manson’s residence. This report came out just days after Manson was accused of abuse from actor Evan Rachel Wood, along with four other women.
However, "Hornatia" is not a sobbing lament nor an admission of victimhood. It is a punchy look at resilience, and how joy and pleasure are the only vehicles for moving forward (and perhaps a little bit of revenge). The track, produced by Sam J. Garfield, features two commanding singers with hypnotic vocals, Goddess Obiani and Wowashwow. This clubby burlesque war cry with classic roaring '20s markers like honky-tonk bass sax, sleazy strings, jazzy melodies and wailing trumpets — mixes the sultry swing music of the Golden Age of Burlesque with modern club beats — reminiscent of The Great Gatsby’s (2013) soundtrack by Baz Luhrmann and Anton Monsted.
Love Bailey, cat-walking the bar, sports a plunging red-sequined halter dress and, in other scenes, a classic feathered and fringed burlesque number. There are various historical burlesque references throughout, like Goddess Obiani – whose vocal appearance in the song is an angelic interruption — wearing a snake coiled around her neck as a clear nod to burlesque legend and activist Josephine Baker.
Like any burlesque number, humor is an important part of Bailey’s overall performance. Between rhyming "fellatia" with "hornatia," the incredibly campy dinner scene where someone eats her face out of a sterling silver serving dish and Goddess Obiani calling out that "your dick smells like Fukushima," the whimsical motifs empower Bailey’s story — one that is both serious and filled with light.
Bailey explains that this project is her "standing in my power and privilege, telling my story and using my past as a tool to inspire and uplift my community. It's Showtime!" Her glamorous yet grotesque sensibility and aesthetic, hilarious lyrics, and biting social commentary in the "Hornatia" project are proof that her piercing creativity and artistic vision is a force, ultimately, one that is more powerful than the injustices she’s faced.
Check out the PAPER premiere of Love Bailey's "Hornatia" music video and stream the single, below.
Photography: Jason Kentaro
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