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Following the release of her empowering single “Body Count” two weeks ago, Toronto singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez has released the music video for the track.
The video draws its inspiration from the Salem Witch Trials of the late 1600s—which Reyez cites as “a bookmark in history for one of the many times women were persecuted”—examining how women throughout the ages have paid the price for gender inequality and injustice. Check out the video for “Body Count” below.
Directed by Peter Huang and filmed in Reyez’s hometown of Toronto, the new music video follows the 27-year-old as she’s dragged across a field to be burned at the stake. Reyez writhes against those passing judgement on her, defiantly singing out: “We don’t need no one trying to take our freedom / Time won’t let you stay young / So we don’t care what they say / We gonna love who we wanna love.”
“In short, you’re going to get judged anyway, so as long as you’re not hurting anyone and loving yourself, might as well do whatever you want,” Reyez said in a statement. “Whether that’s being celibate or being sexually free is your choice. Your body count is nobody’s business but your own.”
The track is an empowering, acoustic ballad and its video tackles societal predispositions about sex and relationships as Reyez’s signature candour shines over the guitar-driven instrumental. With lyrics that challenge double standards of sexual freedom, the sweet, musical vibe of “Body Count” contrasts the darker, underlying issues of the song’s context.
In a press release, Reyez said the song “asserts that women (and men) are equally allowed to embrace their sexuality rather than be modest.” The song is a catchy tune showcasing a high-level of honesty with the Canadian songstress soulfully belting about freedom, love, self-love, and independence.
But this isn’t Reyez’s first song confronting sexism and misogyny.
Last year, the singer released “Gatekeeper,” an intensely personal track with an accompanying short film detailing an encounter Reyez says she had with a well-known male producer. The heartbreakingly traumatic film details the producer forcefully trying to coerce Reyez into having sex in exchange for the advancement of her career.