Sometimes you have to pay attention if you want the whole picture. That’s most certainly true in the case of Serena Sun’s “Body”.
Spin it as background music while hanging with friends on a Yaletown rooftop patio or pulling together dinner with a perfectly executed Cosmopolitan, and the track comes across as a gorgeously chill exercise in TikTok-friendly electro-pop.
And yes, that’s meant as a compliment.
Watch the video for “Body” on mute and you might quite understandably conclude that Sun spends her days sitting in darkened rooms pondering the weirdness of life, and her nights swinging with friends and loved ones on DIY dance floors.
What reframes everything are the lyrics for “Body”, specifically lines like “I’m still carrying your weight on my chest/Trying to explain it but I’m out of breath.”
And “Now I don’t trust a guy in a turtleneck/And a little gold chain is a huge red flag for me”.
And, most illuminating of all, “I hope you lose all your friends/’Cause they don’t know what you did/Fuck you for trynna claim my body”.
No doubt well aware that such lines are going to get people wondering what the backstory is on “Body”, Sun has released the video with a statement:
When I sat down with my incredible Director and DOP, Tamara Black and Cathy Ye, we talked about how we could intentionally and honestly depict my experience of healing after being sexually assaulted by a friend in university. After tons of different iterations of how to best tell my story, we landed on visually capturing the different stages I went through after the assault,” Serena shares. “The music video opens with me lying on a couch in a cold, moon-lit room where “pieces of the party” are strewn on the floor. I am in a daze, and in a state of suppression while I’m trying to recall what had happened. The narrative continues with scenes of anger, and eventually leads to healing and triumph, where I’m surrounded by friends and helping others who seem to be in similar daze-like states.
After my experience with sexual assault, it took years of me going through different stages of healing before I felt like my trauma no longer had a hold on me. Writing and releasing “Body” was my version of triumph and a way of expressing to others who have experienced sexual assault that they’re not alone; they can take their power back. Through this video, I hope to raise more awareness about sexual assault, as its still a prevalent problem in our society; with more open and public discussions about sexual assault, we ask our peers to aid SA survivors in our demand for systematic changes. I hope those who are watching this video, and those listening to the song, gain a better understanding of the range of emotions that follow being sexually assaulted and are convicted and embodied to use their voices to enact positive change.”
One of the many lessons here? That would be sometimes you have to pay attention if you want the whole picture.