For queer country artist Jaime Wyatt, coming out later in life meant having to put on a tough exterior. Now, she’s ready to show the world exactly what that means.
On Thursday (Oct. 22), Wyatt unveils her new music video for “Rattlesnake Girl,” a song off of her latest album Neon Cross that deals directly with looking for acceptance as a queer person in the world. Throughout the video, Wyatt cuts between clips of her performing with archival footage of queer cowboys, drag queens, gay clubs and much more throughout the ’60s and ’70s, as the singer belts out, “They keep their secrets all covered in sequins/ People have too much to say.”
To accompany her new video, Wyatt also sat down with GLAAD’s head of talent Anthony Ramos to discuss making music as a queer country artist, and how she went about putting together “Rattlesnake Girl” and its subsequent video.
“I wrote this song about my journey coming out and discovering my true identity,” she tells Ramos. “Just like how the ‘queer’ embraces being different, feeling different, but embracing it in a way that is kind of empowering; ‘Rattlesnake Girl’ felt cool to me. At a time when I needed something that felt tough and cool to protect myself as I came out in the word, to say I’m a ‘Rattlesnake Girl’ is like, ‘Yeah, don’t mess with me.'”
In terms of locating the footage she uses throughout the video, Wyatt says that she wanted to do her due diligence for her community. “It was really cool to see a lot of historical footage of LGBTQ people advocating for our rights back in the day,” she says. “It was so cool to see how far we’ve come, and also for me to pay respect to the queer people who fought for our rights.”
Along with chatting about her video, Wyatt also spoke about the upcoming 2020 election, and how, thanks to a prior felony conviction in 2008, she is currently unable to vote in the state of Tennessee, where she recently relocated. “Let me be clear: I robbed my drug dealer in 2008,” she says. “We’re in 2020. I was voting out in LA after I served time, did probation. I’ve done so much therapy, so much program … I moved to Tennessee and they don’t want, don’t allow felons to vote.”
According to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website, “any person convicted of any felony on or after May 18, 1981 is disqualified from voting unless their voting rights have been restored or their conviction expunged.” That includes felony convictions in other states or on the federal level.
So, for the 2020 election, while Wyatt says she is currently planning on voting in California, she still wants to make sure that her fans know about what’s happening to her as a form of protest. “That is, I think, a prime example of voter suppression,” she says. “We’ve got a long ways to go in some ways. I’m happy for the progress that Tennessee has made in regards to LGBTQ rights and in the workplace. There’s been progress there, but there is a situation right now.”
Check out Wyatt’s new video for “Rattlesnake Girl” and her interview with GLAAD below: