Las Vegas based singer-songwriter, Shamir, has just released a new single and video off of his upcoming record Revelations. In “Straight Boys,” the million dollar question is laid out plain and simple: “Can someone tell me why / I always seem to let these straight boys ruin my life?”
The song, with its rolling guitar riffs that cradle his voice throughout a track that sounds raw and intimate, is a follow up to the first single from Revelations, “90’s Kids,” in which Shamir laments the challenges of those born in the ’90s. As is obvious from both the title and the theme question, both “Straight Boys” and its video address LGBT issues.
Ryan Carpenter directed the stark video, which features Shamir as he strums his guitar and sings against a white backdrop. He begins to disappear and a white man, imitating his mannerisms and wearing his clothes, fades into view. In the end, it is the white boy who is left on our screens and Shamir has vanished without a trace — except his voice which, now, sweetly pours from the white boy’s mouth. Carpenter’s imagery and Shamir’s music together pushes us to acknowledge the issue of whitewashing and cultural appropriation.
In a press release Shamir said the video is about “white washing and queer bating in media. It’s about how frustrating it was for me to have my whole identity picked apart at a young age just to see straight white men use it as an aesthetic choice. The video, quite unequivocally depicts the process of white washing and the repudiation of the queer and people of color who pioneered.”
Shamir released his debut album, Rachet, in 2015 via XL. It included his breakthrough single “On the Regular,” which has more recently gotten renewed exposure via an Old Navy ad. After being dropped by XL, in April he surprise-released a new album, Hope, that was recorded in one weekend. Now he has signed to San Francisco indie label Father/Daughter Records for Revelations.
Check out the video for “Straight Boy” below.