Notably absent from Benjamin Scheuer’s music video for his tender debut single is the artist himself.
Unveiled Tuesday, March 31, to mark International Transgender Day of Visibility, “I Am Samantha” was inspired by Scheuer’s friendship with screenwriter Samantha Williams, who is trans. The video imagines a world entirely populated by trans-identifying people, who interpret the song’s lyrics as both a rallying cry and an affirmation of their respective identities. In addition to Williams, the 27-member cast includes Skyler Jay, who appeared on Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” and Monica Helm, the creator of the transgender pride flag.
Though Scheuer is cisgender and straight, he hoped the song would capture Williams’ experience before her gender confirmation and, as such, found it most effective to write directly from her perspective. Though he’s aware this choice may rankle some critics, he said he sees it as part of his artistic mission to “tell other people’s stories,” acting as a musical anthropologist of sorts.
Watch the “I Am Samantha” video below.
“Most of being a songwriter and performer is listening,” he told HuffPost. “I like telling stories about all different kinds of people that you may never have met. Maybe by hearing the song, you’ll get a bit of their humanity, and you’ll be more inclined to listen to their point of view and listen to where they’re coming from.”
By adapting Williams’ own words as lyrics, he found he was able to craft “a really specific story about a friend of mine, but also a more universal trope about acceptance, being OK with who you are and accepting other people for who they are.”
Joining the cast on set in Atlanta, Williams said, was “one of the most exciting moments of my life.”
“I’ve never seen anything that...