It’s post-Halloween so that means the holiday onslaught has begun. Lainey has probably already bought all her Christmas presents because she’s insane (Lainey: it’s true, I finished my Christmas shopping a couple of weeks ago). The rest of us are already rolling our eyes at the red Starbucks cups and the premature carols creeping into grocery stores. Usually, I’m a Grinch until about December 20th. Yesterday, I was not a Grinch. Yesterday, I teared up at a holiday commercial thanks to Janelle Monae.
Our site manager Emily sent us Janelle Monae’s most recent GAP ad. She said she watched it approximately 97 times. After watching the commercial plus reading Janelle’s caption on Instagram, I teared up at my desk. My coworkers are so used to this they now ignore my midday tears. Concern has been replaced with apathy. I don’t blame them but Janelle Monae posted this ad to Instagram with a story I dare you to read without catching feelings.
As a tween I used to wear my cousin’s hand me down gray GAP hoodie . When I got my first check from footlocker I bought my own . And me , my sister , and cousins used to sing the #BizMarkie version of this classic #FreddieScott original sooo much . This feels full circle. 👁 had soooo much fun arranging , recording & engineering myself at @Wondaland studios . Thank you to the iconic Fatima Robinson (choreographer) Paul Hunter (director) for being so cool ass hell to work with . Thank you to the 6 incredible choirs from around the world for making this song so special: THE GAY MEN'S CHOIR OF LA VOCAL FLASH DC6 CLIP 14 WEST LA ADULTS CHOIR WEST LA KIDS CHOIR MUSYCA CHOIR ❤️🌈🙏🏿🙌🏾🎉🎶🎤 Thanks for bringing US together for THIS moment @Gap . 🎼#MeetMeInTheGap #ad
SEE. Did your heart just grow three sizes? Tell me the little girl in the star sweater didn’t destroy you. She killed me. I’m dead. I’m writing this from the great beyond.
Janelle echoed to Refinery 29 that her involvement in this holiday campaign was a “full circle” moment. She also talked about what makes this commercial so special:
"Part of the reason I wanted to be involved in this campaign is that Gap, to me, has always represented one of our greatest strengths as a country: when a diverse group of people comes together and builds something we can all be proud of, share in, and feel seen and a part of.”
Let me be clear that I know this is a commercial. GAP is peddling the idea of a diverse, post-racial utopia that obviously does not exist, especially in Trump’s America, to sell sweaters. I get that. It’s a bit gross. But it’s also kinda beautiful. Whatever the motive, GAP is presenting a world in which people of colour are front and center. They are not extras. Whiteness is not the default. And people of colour are happy and singing and carefree. The celebration of carefree black joy is enough to bring tears to my eyes these days and I’m OK with that. If we could just figure out how to live life like we’re in a GAP ad, the world would be a much better, perfectly harmonized, well-dressed place.
As Emily wrote when she sent this ad to me, it’s pure joy. I’m not even mad that it’s not the Biz Markie version. I love that version so much. Take a moment to revel in this #TBT and enjoy Biz Markie’s take on Freddie Scott’s classic.
Agnus, Agatha, Jermaine and Jack! God, I love that song.
Final question: Is Janelle’s striped faux fur coat also from GAP because it’s bringing me all the joy and I want it?