Months after the devastating Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Sia haunted us with a riveting music video for her song, “The Greatest.” A tribute to the LGBTQ community, the video features dancer Maddie Ziegler, who appears to grieve with rainbow warpaint tears streaked across her face after #WEAREYOURCHILDREN flashes across the screen. The group of 49 dancing children, led by Ziegler, represent the 49 victims of the shooting at Pulse. Directed by Sia and and Daniel Askill, the video is a musical and visual expression of death, grief, loss, anger, and the human struggle to keep going, even in the face of great despair.
This past summer’s tragedy was not the first time our community has been hit hard, and in truth, it probably won’t be the last. In light of the recent election – or should I say, rather, in the dark wake of it – many of us feel fearful of what the future holds under a Trump presidency. Many of us are also feeling the pain of that glass ceiling we didn’t get to shatter. And that’s why “The Greatest” resonates so strongly again. With lyrics like, “I got stamina” and “Don’t give up, I won’t give up, don’t give up, no, no no” it’s hard not to draw a parallel to Hillary’s loss. This was her battle cry, too. But more than that, it is a battle cry of resilience in difficult times; a universal call to survive.
At the end of the video, Ziegler rises among a heap of fallen young bodies. She is grieving, and heartbroken, but alive. We can feel Sia – or our own inner voice – reminding us to never give up.
“I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive.”