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Wafia’s “Bodies” Video Is A Protest Anthem For Her Family

Music
Photographed by Yaseea Moosa.

“Something in the air is dangerous”

Twenty-three-year-old Wafia’s new song, “Bodies,” isn’t just a very catchy pop song reminiscent of Yuna’s “Lullabies,” it’s also a protest song for her family.

The Netherlands-born, Australia-based singer wrote the track after Donald Trump announced he would enact a Muslim ban once elected, which happened to be the same day her mother’s family was denied entry to Australia after fleeing Syria. “There is always a lot of language in the media that is negative when used to portray the waves of immigrants or refugees. I wrote a song attempting to humanize them and their travels," she tells us. "With that in mind, I never wanted the 'Bodies' video to be literal or only portray my family’s experience. I wanted it to celebrate people’s differences. From there, we created a world where the social divide is a lot more visible than our current day-to-day lives.”

The bodies she sings about are all of us—refugees fleeing their war-ridden countries, Americans protesting in the streets, the masses of people marching for a better tomorrow. Wafia could’ve taken a different approach for the track—songs about politics aren’t usually set to an electro backdrop—but she wanted to make it accessible. “Out of all the arts, [music] is probably the one that’s the most easily consumed on a daily basis,” she says. “But in these particular times, we turn to music because it’s celebratory and joyful. That in itself is beautiful and unifying.”

Watch the video, below, and stay tuned for her new EP, VIII (named after the atomic number for oxygen), which will explore themes of “intangibility, necessity, and transparency," and will be out October 13. 

She considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth"

Dani Okon, NYLON's associate creative director of video, sat down with her great-aunt, May Okon, to talk about their shared experiences—despite vastly different time frames—living as queer women in New York City. Prior to retirement, May was a journalist for the New York Daily News, having first entered the male-dominated workforce when "the boys were all at war." And, of course, she absolutely killed it. Her only regret? "Retiring at 55," she tells Dani, joking, "Who the hell knew I was gonna live to 100?"

Upon retiring, she moved out to the Hamptons with her partner and bought a home. If she had to do it all over, May says "there are a lot of things I wouldn't do," but she still considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth." Get to know May in the video, above.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Marlene Colburn and Naima Green
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by: Alexandra Hsie
Camera: Gretta Wilson + Katie Sadler
Edited by: Madeline Stedman

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