TOP NEW INDIE: BIBI BOURELLY - DREAMERS
Barrack Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009 felt like an incredibly important moment for not only the United States, but for the world. For the first time, we elected an African-American to the most powerful, influential position in the United States and as, arguably, the leader (or at least torch-bearer) for the rest of the free world.
Although only time will tell the magnitude of Obama's inauguration and 8 years in office, just imagine how many young children-of-color saw the Obamas, in all of their regality and grace, and thought to themselves, "I want to be THE PRESIDENT when I grow up." Suddenly, a whole new dream profession was added to the usual childhood roster of fireman, princess, pony, pirate, and ninja robot assassin.
For many young people-of-color, previously their options would have been Perp A, Perp B, or perhaps a rapper or basketball player, if they're lucky, if the depictions shown on much mainstream television were to be believed.
BIBI BOURELLY - DREAMERS
In an essay for Huffington Post, "Why On-Screen Representation Matters," several of HuffPo's authors from marginalized communities comment on how important key role models in media were for their upbringing. Speaking on the importance of seeing Melanie Brown in the Spice Girls, author Zeba Brown writes, "She was unapologetically loud and unapologetically fierce in a way that (in my mere 10 years) I had never seen a black girl have the permission to be."
Author Carol Kuruvilla reveals a similar revelation after seeing Bend It Like Beckham, as an Indian woman. "Jess wasn’t just the nerdy best friend, the submissive shy girl, or the exotic temptress (all tropes that are far too common for Asian women)."
German singer/songwriter Bibi Bourelly's "Dreamers" is here to set the record straight, telling a whole new generation they can be anything they want to be. You don't have to be younger than 12 for this message to galvanize you into being your best possible self.
"Dreamers" is an almost unbelievably positive call-to-arms to never give up on your dreams.
"You can be a doctor
You can be a lawyer
You can be an actor
You could be anything."
Bourelly sings in her distinctive rasping, rapping sing-song croon. That inflection might sound familiar, although you've heard it coming from another throat. Bibi Bourelly is best known for writing "Higher" and "Bitch Better Have My Money" for Rihanna. Bourelly's songwriting sounded authentic and convincing in Rihanna's Caribbean patois, which speaks to Bourelly's universalist tendency to bring words to life from a wide swathe of viewpoints.
On "Dreamers", the inspiration comes from "a guy on the street named Derick." That's what makes "Dreamers" sound so genuinely uplifting, so legitimately real and empowering. This is no academic thinkpiece, written from a detached, condescending elitist. Nor is it corporate-washed sloganeering, like some Rock-Aid no one asked for or needed, or some cynical attempt at tokenism, like some United Colors Of Benetton ads for the 21st Century. No, this is music by, for, and about real people and real lives. It just happens to be delivered with a high pop sheen.
"Dreamers" is cause for celebration for another reason, apart from its wickedly fist-pumping call-to-action. Despite having written some of the best-selling songs in the past few years Bourelly has yet to deliver her own debut. She's been bringing others hopes and dreams to life via her ghostwritten pop bangers. Now we can finally hear her own personality, as well.
Bibi Bourelly's debut is going to bring the house down, if "Dreamers" is any indication. We Are: The Guard certainly can't wait to hear her emerge from behind the scenes.
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.