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May 8-14, 2011

"It Gets Better" by Todrick Hall

Being the "American Idol" fan that I am, I sometimes peruse some tweets from the folks who are on or have been on the show. Yesterday I came across a tweet from a former contestant linking to this very funny, clever video by another former contestant, Todrick Hall, called “I Wanna Be on Glee”.

Todrick was on "American Idol" during Season 9. I remember him because he had a very clever audition and was clearly a very talented performer. I most remember and enjoy his performance of "Somebody to Love", one of my favorite Queen songs.

But unfortunately his theatrical style just didn't seem to fit the "Idol" setting as well as some others so he didn't last as long on the show as his talent may have merited.

Anyway, I was really impressed with the video and glad he did it because, to be quite honest, it seems to me he really does belong on "Glee"! In fact, he belongs there so much that, if you watch the critiques after his "Idol" performance of "Somebody to Love", you’ll hear the judges compare it to "Glee".

I then looked at a few more of Todrick’s videos to see what else he's been up to. Some of them are really funny, videos where he and friends do singing flashmobs at a variety of places.

Then I came across this gem.

In September 2010, in the wake of a rash of suicides among teens bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a video. Its purpose was to let other such young people know that, despite their potential hopelessness, there are people who care about and support them and that life will get better for them as they get older and as our society becomes more enlightened and tolerant in these areas. Within months, thousands of people, ranging from other teens to celebrities of every orientation and background, had created similar videos to reinforce this message. The “It Gets Better Project” was born.

The project benefits another project, The Trevor Project, which aims to “end suicide among LGBT youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including a nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone.”

It Gets Better by Todrick Hall
It Gets Better by Todrick Hall

This song and video are Todrick Hall’s contribution to the movement. And I was very impressed with them. Obviously, they support a great cause and convey an important message. They also show off his performance skills. But what really impressed me was the songwriting and production. This is actually a good song and a moving video! And that isn’t easy to pull off because art in the service of causes like this can tend to be very cheesy, corny or trite. But to me this is a pretty good R&B song. It was stuck in my head all day today. And the video is well done and powerful.

Judging from the comments under the video on YouTube, it has moved a lot of other people too.

To me the song and video have relevance even beyond gender and sexual orientation issues. Bigotry and hatred of others, especially of those who themselves have no aggressive or violent agenda, underlie some of our world’s greatest problems and tragedies. They also offer perhaps our clearest insight into the dangerous, and sometimes lethal, effects of irresponsible unprocessed unconscious projection. Anything that can raise understanding and awareness of that phenomenon is very welcome and can potentially improve relations of all types in our world.

I can write about these topics all I want, but as a rather academic, analytical person, it is often difficult for me to address them in a way that really moves people deeply. With “It Gets Better” I think Todrick Hall did just that. So I commend him on this work and am happy to promote it. He should be proud of it.

If you’d like to support the cause and Todrick’s work, you can buy “It Gets Better” on ITunes. It Gets Better - It Gets Better - Single

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