The dark side of the music industry usually stays in the shadows, but Jessie Reyez chose to bring it to light with her short film Gatekeeper. She spoke about the powerful video with the Hot Morning Crew.
Gatekeeper tells Jessie’s true-life story of an encounter with a music producer that almost lead to sexual assault, in the form of a trade– sex, in exchange for a music career. It’s a story familiar to a troubling number of women, which is one of the reasons the film has spoken to so many since its release earlier in 2017.
One of the hardest things for Jessie was talking to her parents in advance of the video being released.
“The short film was coming out, so I had to sit them down and say ‘I need you guys to be aware that the way you raised me, and your prayers, have affected me,” she explained. “And I have a different team now, a solid team now, thank god. So this is not what I’m dealing with anymore, and you don’t have to get scared from watching this.”
“I had to sit my brother down, because my brother let me use my niece for the video, too,” Jessie continued. “I explained to him, these lyrics are vulgar but it has a greater purpose.”
Jessie made the video with director and co-writer Peter Huang to tell her own story, but she has been touched by the outreach she has received since from other people. glad to see her breaking the silence on these problems.
“I feel honored, because at the end of the day it wasn’t like I purposely wrote it for that,” she said. “I didn’t realize I was gonna get so many messages, like ‘I’ve been through it, and I actually did it, and I felt awful, so thank you for actually talking about it’ or men that have reached out and said ‘I’ve been a bystander to it and I feel awful about it.’ I never expected that, so when it started happening it was strange, there’s two sides to that coin, because it was dope that people were connecting… but awful that so many people were still connecting.”
Will things ever change in the way some men treat women? Jessie is hopeful. “I try to view life optimistically,” she said. “Evolution is a real thing, so who knows?”
Watch the powerful short film below: