Tooji: Father Music Video


Tooji is a Norwegian-Iranian singer who was Norway's 2012 Eurovision entry who sadly finished 26th with the song Stay, which i was gutted about because his song was better the ones ahead of him. He has released various songs after competing in Eurovision: Packin' Guns, Rebels and Cocktail, they are very catchy & i've been singing most of them in the shower. 
The video Father was released 7th June 2015 with a message Human Rights Above Religion released afterwards, which seems like an awesome message to get across the world right? Tooji used this video to come out to world and be honest about who he is, as he said in the video, its nobody's business who you love.  Tooji's work has taken a more political and social turn recently with his previous single ‘Cocktail’ discussing gender roles in today’s society, and allowing his work to take on more depth both visually and sonically. The music video for ‘Father’ has caused controversy with the church of Norway... by portraying a romantic storyline between a Priest and another male (Tooji) - ending with them in a passionate embrace at the altar in a Church. with the church of Norway...
And if i'm being honest i like that a video is causing controversy and teaching the everyday issues around the world within society such as Iran, Russia and so on, for me it shows that music have very powerful messages.

In an interview with The Local, Tooji stood by his position with the video while understanding the church’s apprehension to the video, clarifying that video was about “someone who is running from himself, denying himself, and yes, if God is in everyone and everything, denying God. With this project I wanted to show that love between two people of the same sex has for too long has been tainted by religion.”


In this beautiful, controversal video Tooji stars alongside his long time friend Rune Haraldsen. Would you believe it, isn't an actor. Don't they look lovely together?
Tooji labels it his ‘coming out’ video, and I can see that metaphor perfectly when it’s analysed to a deeper level. What I see, is an artistic representation of the battle (both internal and external) that homosexuals (closeted and seeking acceptance) go through. The Priest is the gay man. He’s coming to terms with himself, trying to keep the sinful thoughts out (perhaps for the sake of religion) whilst trying gain acceptance from a crowd of mixed beliefs. The congregation is society. It is religion. It’s those who judge, the ones whom the homosexual will seek acceptance from. Tooji himself is a metaphor for temptation, and those feelings/thoughts that won’t go away. The Priest is in a battle between fighting his own tempting gay thoughts whilst preaching an act to the crowd to hide it, pretending everything’s fine. This comes to a head when he can’t hold those thoughts back anymore and gives into them,transforming into a conjoined angel.
The sexual intercourse on the altar is an extreme metaphor for stripping away the ‘act’ and being open & vulnerable to society, & to friends/family. I think it’s a beautifully shot video with some stunning imagery (particularly the last image) and portrays it’s message cleverly in that it’s both understandably controversial, but looks beyond that to a deeper level. What I hear from that, is ‘it’s okay to be gay, but I don’t want to see it’ yet again. Well, er, I hate to break it to you but gay sex is a part of being gay. Tooji is the first artist (correct me if I’m wrong) to combine sexualised homosexuality and religion in a music video and is attempting to treat erotic homosexual imagery with the same normalcy as heterosexual imagery. Sexuality & religion have always been combined in media, he’s simply adopting it into an LGBT direction. 
He’s following in the footsteps of some of the world’s most iconic artists by being creatively fearless. Good art is thought-provoking and evokes emotion, splits opinions and gives people something to talk about. It’s inspiring to see artists (particularly LGBT ones) still pushing creative boundaries in a way other artists are too scared to do.





  
Tooji quotes:
"I always thought that who I loved is my business, but knowing how many young people are struggling with the burden of society’s ignorance, I want to stand out as an example and let my voice be heard for all those voices mute, for all those who feel ashamed with their beliefs, that are told that God doesn't accept them," he said. "Let me tell you: You are a part of God and what you have is the purest gift. Any love between two grown-up, consenting adults - no matter gender, no matter race - is pure. I am gay, and I stand up for my rights, and that is why I made the video Father."

If you haven't already, go and have a listen to Tooji's music, i promise you will like it. He's awesome!

 

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