Today, Erika M. Anderson, the woman who made my favorite album of 2011, releases her “Take One Two” single, a benefit for the anti-bullying nonprofit Jamie Isaacs Foundation. And there’s also a video, which consists entirely of repurposed, extremely lovable ’90s-vintage footage of a teenage Anderson and her friends. If you’re of a certain age and disposition, it’s the sort of thing that’s liable to make you extremely, painfully nostalgic. But Anderson wants that footage to say something else, and she’s written a bunch about what the video means to hear. Watch the video and read Anderson’s explanation below.
And here’s Anderson:
This footage comes from a South Dakota trailer park in the mid-90s, and features a small group of freaks and misfits who seem to be having the time of their lives. Dressing up, hanging out, making up funny skits, and lots of laughing. When I look back now at our fresh young faces (yes that is me with the short dark hair and cat-eye liner), I’m amazed at how simply happy we all look. This is especially remarkable as I know what was going on outside those plywood walls: getting called names, shoved into lockers, and threatening to get our asses kicked for being queer or punk or just plain weird.
But despite all that, there is a joy, strength and self-acceptance in our faces that I find inspiring and wanted to pass on. I’m offering the proceeds of this song to an anti-bullying non-profit started by a 15-yr-old girl in Long Island who was a victim of bullying for 7 years before switching schools. It’s called The Jamie Isaacs Foundation (jamieisaacsfoundation.org/index.html) and it works to bring youth advocates into schools and pass antibullying legislation.
When I first put together this video I sent it out to the people involved to get their take on it before it was released. My friends thought it was “adorable” but I didn’t hear back from the sweet boy in the turquoise teddy. I worried that it was too much, too revealing, and he wouldn’t want that footage put out into the world. Finally, I got a message back: ” That was the most beautifully done video I have ever seen I love it I love it I love it. I could not stop bawling. I don’t think, I’ve ever felt so secure as when we were all hanging out in the trailer bedroom. Erika. Lacy. All 3 of us went thru some, pretty tough shit. But we made it through. Lets use what we learned and give it to somebody else that needs it.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. This one’s for all the weirdos out there: cherish your friends, fuck the haters and let your freak flag fly.
The “Take One Two” digital single is out today and available at iTunes.