Sexual politics and ‘hook up’ culture the focus of Durham students’ video

DURHAM, NC (WNCN) — A music video made by a group of Durham students is being seen by tens of thousands of people online.

It taught them lessons about audio and video recording… but also about the messages in music.

Now they’ve got a message of their own they want to spread.

Teenagers dancing in a club — singing sexual lyrics may be uncomfortable to watch — and that’s exactly why they made this video.

“Especially when you see a high schooler doing them, saying the lyrics, they’re really appalling,” Braden Saba said.

Durham Academy’s a cappella group “14 Hours” created a video that mashes together 18 songs… into three acts.. about what they describe as problems with sexist song lyrics and miscommunication in relationships.

But also a message that they’re all in it together.

“We’re exploring gender stereotypes and sexual politics and hook-up culture and club culture and all the issues that that entails and the effect it has on teenagers,” Michael Meyer, Director of Upper School Music, said.

The video developed from a stage production the group did earlier this year…. which all began with a song they wanted to sing.

“We looked at the lyrics and we just realized it was something we could never perform at a school function and then we realized we would never want to perform something that had that kind of message behind it,” Mackenzie Simpson said.

So they used lyrics to create their own message about a culture… that at times felt all too real during filming.

“I think in the clip we used, I had a very real panic attack when all of the guys were closing in on me and I felt so overwhelmed and uncomfortable and completely disrespected and it was overwhelming,” Mackenzie Simpson said.

“I will say it was very hard for me to act my particular scene. I was singing lyrics I would not have said in any context. That was really eye opening because I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was,” Braden said.

And now it’s opening the eyes of others… which was the goal.

“There’s a couple of people I’ve already spoken with who have been moved by it and are going to incorporate into their curriculums even at their own schools. If that’s the kind of thing that’s coming out of this, that’s exactly what we had hoped for,” Michael said.

“it feels like the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life and probably one of the most important things I ever will do is creating this kind of discussion and spreading this message,” Mackenzie said.

“We can change a culture. I really think that’s the point is it’s a gradual cultural change,” Braden said.

MTV news and other well-known websites have featured stories about the project.


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