It’s National Coming Out Day on Friday (Oct. 11), and to celebrate, rising pop singer HERDD is unleashing his unabashedly queer “I Got You” video, premiering below. Like the LGBTQ community in a monochrome world, HERDD and his backup dancers are a splash of vibrant color as they dance across a stark white background, executing slick choreography courtesy Sebastian ‘Bash’ Hirtenstein while flaunting fabulous outfits (and ruffled collars aplenty) from queer designer Kennie Mas.
“Give me an inch and I will take a mile / Give me an inch I will make it worth your while,” HERDD promises over a pulsating bed of elastic electropop that brings to mind early Gaga with shades of Daft Punk circa the new millennium.
While the song and video are bold, celebratory statements of queer confidence, the journey HERDD took to get to this point was a hard-fought one – and part of the reason he wanted this video to drop on National Coming Out Day.
“As someone who grew up in a strictly religious environment, I realize the strength it takes to stand up as your authentic self and say, ‘This is who I am and I am willing to be me at all costs,'” he shares with Billboard. HERDD began to come to terms with his sexuality in his early teens, eventually confiding in someone in his community. “I won’t forget how he told me, quite matter-of-factly, that there was something fundamentally wrong with me and that I was going to burn in hell if I didn’t ditch my ‘perverse’ desires,” HERDD says. Faced with outright hatred and the subtler but still destructive effect of strictly defined gender expectations, he “internalized everything” and became desperate.
“By the age of 21, I was suffering from severe mental health issues, a major alcohol problem and I eventually had two suicide attempts. I am very lucky to still be here and the fact I survived was a big wake-up call,” he says. “I realized that the reason I wanted to die was because I’d allowed everyone in my experience to convince me that I shouldn’t be the real me. So then I chose to be the real me and my whole world changed. I lost a lot, but I gained everything that truly matters.”
His bravery and resilience are on display throughout his work as HERDD, the moniker he chose to signify the place where his real self meets his art: “I am HERDD, because it’s only through music that I truly feel heard by people.”
As we celebrate 2019’s National Coming Out Day in the face of a White House that’s hostile to the LGBTQ community, HERDD still sees beams of light.
“For me, 2019 has been all about standing up and being proud of who you are. From artists such as Lil Nas X who came out as gay, sports figures like Ryan Russell who proudly spoke about his bisexuality to Willow Smith who spoke about her desire for a polyfidelitous relationship with both a man and a woman, we’ve been letting the world know like never before. The list goes on and what inspires me the most is the overwhelming support LGBTQ people and their allies are receiving for letting the world know who they are.”