The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult on everybody, with drastic changes in lifestyle happening overnight, people being unable to do things “normally”, and being stuck at home for almost a year. Yet, no matter how frustrating being at home has been, it has still been our refuge, our save haven. But what about the people who have had to, or been forced to leave their homes, their so-called safe spaces? What about the people to whom home no longer remained a source of comfort but of distress?
The LGBTQ+ community has always been on the receiving end of systemic violence being carried out on them – physically, mentally as well as socially. The marginalised communities, that do not fit into the mainstream have had to endure tremendous hardships throughout the course of history. Queer individuals have had to leave their homes, a home that no longer wanted them, simply because of who they were, who they chose to be. Things haven’t changed much, but they are changing – for the better. For every story of a queer individual being shunned from their community, twice as many stories of love, acceptance and acknowledgment has come up.
The Ally Coalition is one such organization that fights against discrimination and works for the empowerment of queer individuals in North America and Europe. As their bio suggests, “music has always shed light on injustice and invigorated social movements. TAC believes allies need to fight discrimination and we use music to mobilize fans.” The Ally Coalition hosted their 7th Annual Talent Show, virtually for the first time, on 21st December 2020 to raise money for homeless LGBTQ+ youth in the US. The show featured various celebrities on the other side of the screen including Lana Del Ray, Big Red Machine, Hayley Williams and St. Vincent, among many others.
Annie Erin Clark, under her nom-de-plume St. Vincent, performed an acoustic cover of The Beatles song ‘Martha My Dear’ for the show. She used an acoustic guitar for the chords and let her voice do the rest of the magic. She used a rainbow filter in the video of her performing, to suit the occasion. It was a cover quite unlike the Beatles’ version but refreshing and special all the same.
‘Martha My Dear’ was one of the more light-hearted songs by The Beatles from their self-titled album in 1968, also known as White Album. Lyricist for the song, Paul McCartney revealed in 1997, that the song was, in fact, written about his Old English sheepdog named Martha. He said: “It’s a communication of some sort of affection but in a slightly abstract way – ‘You silly girl, look what you’ve done.’”
The fact that St. Vincent chose to perform this dong for the TAC show was significant in its own way. The lyrics resonated well with the context – telling someone that they are loved even if they’re a little bit of a mess. While the Beatles’ version was packed with instruments and had a harmonic feel to it, St. Vincent kept hers rather simple and delicate. It was a very honest and unique rendition of the song fit for a cause worth fighting for.
Here’s St. Vincent performing ‘Martha My Dear’ for you to listen to.