New Hip-Hop Music Video Challenges Gender BinariesGender saturates our world.

Even when a gender is not explicitly referenced in work, readers, listeners, and viewers will likely perceive a default gender depending on the significations and associations provided to them.

A song about being confident for your lover? We usually assume it must be from the perspective of a woman.

An art piece that uses a lot of structural metal shapes? A man must have done it!

Even though we are a culture working towards overcoming these gendered, stereotypical preconceptions, they still permeate how we read the world.

As such, sometimes the most radical thing an artist can do is to remove gender pronouns or their aesthetic equivalent – they can leave a space open for nonbinary representation and for questioning traditional gender tropes.

This is what alternative hip-hop duo Bonelang, comprised of artists Samy Language and Matt Bones, have done with the music video for their new single, “Michelada.”. And a queer person of colour has the only starring role!

“The best music videos offer more to dissect than provocative visuals. Such is the case with “Michelada,” the latest video from Chicago-based hip-hop duo Bonelang’s debut album Venn Diagrams. Starring interdisciplinary artist DW McCraven, who also co-directed with Bonelang’s Samy Language, the short film deconstructs gender and identity in a fashion so revealing it’s almost hidden.

It may take several viewings to perceive the layers of depth as the queer-identifying McCraven portrays dual roles within a literal Venn diagram of their overlapping selves.

But presenting a challenge to lazy binary thinking is precisely what the song intends. “‘Michelada’ stems from the many masks of DW McCraven that were created as coping mechanisms to navigate the many identities and realities that the world imposes upon them,” Samy Language tells NPR Music. He and musical partner Matt Bones constructed a 25-ft. Venn diagram of sand, soil, stone, cacti, sunflowers and the skull of a bull “in the name of decoding the illusion of safe space for a queer person of colour in America.”

McCraven calls “Michelada” a “transformative work,” in reference to both the video, which was two years in the making, and the creative collaboration behind it. “Not only does it express intersectionality centered on my present existence, it creates constructive social commentary because of the relationships that were built in the process. Two years of brown queer women collaborating with cisgender men is proof that we can positively coexist when we decide to appreciate, listen, and allow space for each other.”

By exploring humanity’s overlapping interests, “Michelada” moves us closer to a holistic centre.”

“Michelada” is from Venn Diagrams, Pt. I was the first instalment in a series by the duo, The Year Of The Sunflower.

Venn Diagrams​ aim to celebrate and nurture self-awareness, encouraging one to adopt a more full-bodied disposition of compassion, empathy, and love. Mathematically speaking, Venn Diagrams illustrate relationships between overlapping groups. Personalized, Bonelang’s Venn Diagram says: “Let us focus more on what we have in common than what we do not.”