Upon first listen, singer-songwriter Joy Oladokun’s new track “Sunday” sounds like a particularly sad song. The lyrics point to a feeling of guilt that comes with coming out as a young person, specifically as a young religious person. “Sunday, bury me/ under the weight of who you need me to be,” Oladokun sings.
But with her new video for the track, Oladokun is celebrating nothing but pure queer joy. In the video, released on Wednesday, Oladokun shows multiple different LGBTQ couples going about their happy day-to-day lives. Along with these uplifting clips, the video both opens and closes with personal testimonials from the queer people in the video about what coming out meant for them.
Oladokun tells Billboard that she wanted to include the testimonials as a way to encourage her fan base to be vulnerable, even if that was hard to do. “Every story shown in the video reflects my story in some way, and that's kind of the strange power about what I get to do for a living,” she says. “I'm learning as an artist that the more vulnerable and specific I get, the more the people listening and wrestling along with me feel the freedom to be vulnerable and find themselves in the song too.”
It helps that the team behind the camera, including director Sami Barron and director of photography Tehillah De Castro, was entirely made up of queer people, something that Oladokun says wasn’t even intentional. “We just kind of looked up in the midst of the shoot realized it, and said 'cool.' Then we went back into the work,” she says.
But one scene of the shoot proved to be a cathartic moment for Oladokun — throughout the clip, two dancers on a beach put on a beautifully intricate performance to the song. “It felt, to me, like such a final blow to the years I've spent closeted and afraid that I would never be happy or loved properly,” she says. “That's the biggest lie we LGBTQIA people get told, that our love is less than or deficient. It's not. That scene on the beach was kind of an artistic moment to defy that logic.”
Check out Joy Oladokun’s stunning new video for “Sunday” below: