I thought Todrick Hall’s last project Straight Outta Oz was everything, but his new film FORBIDDEN has taken his creativity and talent to another stratosphere. This man is given you full out music videos, stunning visuals with full out choreography, vocals, costumes, Hollywood sets and a story line that is much needed today. It took me a little while to fully understand the overall concept but once the light bulb turned on, I was truly amazed by the message that he was delivering.
The film takes place in a fictional town named Acirema (America spelled backwards). The time period looks like it could be during the 1940’s and 1950’s. This town is the total opposite of the America that we all live in and know too well. In Acirema, African Americans are the privileged race while whites are lower class citizens. Most importantly, all citizens live in gay households. That’s right! It is the the absolute norm for same sexed couples to be with one another. As a matter of fact, heterosexuals are looked down upon, even deemed as an abomination to God. Sound familiar?
Towards the beginning of the film we see Todrick as a baby, being stripped away from his birth mother and forced to conform to this gay society. He then begins to grow up and deal with everyday struggles of life and love just like any other person would. However, when he falls in love with a woman, things get knocked upside down.
The whole story is built around a soundtrack of songs from genres like rock, pop, dance-EDM and Hip Hop. Let’s talk about the cameos and features in this film! Brandy, Tamar Braxton, Jade Novah, Cynthia Erivo, Jenifer Lewis, Tiffany Haddish, Rupaul, Shangela *takes deep breath* and that’s just to name a few. Trust me.
I really like this theme because it forces people to walk in someone else’s shoes. You never know what life is truly like for someone until you show absolute empathy towards them. Todrick is forcing racist white Americans as well as homophobic heterosexuals to reexamine the way that they treat others who are not like them. He places them in the body of the “abused” and lets them feel, hear and see the agony that they have imposed on others. Deep right?
Todrick even takes a much needed jab at the entertainment industry. One scene shows a theater full of black people watching singers perform on the stage. A white woman takes the stage and she is signing DOWN! YOU HEAR ME. I think it might’ve actually been a black woman in real life singing the part. You see her on stage killing it but the black audience is unimpressed; only giving her petty claps at the end.
Next scene you see a cute black girl take the stage singing in a “white” childlike Disney princess voice and what does the audience do? They go wild. Take a look at this in reverse and it definitely speaks to the industry of today. Amazing black singers like Jazmine Sullivan have a hard time finding support while singers like a Miley Cyrus sell out arenas.
Aside from the story line, Todrick has some beautiful ballads and some straight up bangers on this album and film. Look up “T.H.U.G. (Trade)”, “B”, “Dem Beats”, “Eleven”, “Play”, “Animals” and “Forbidden” for reference. The film has a serious message but overall it is colorful, playful and fun. Oh and of course, we get to see Todrick fiercely in drag in a couple visuals.
Todrick Hall is indeed somewhat mainstream, but I really want the industry to acknowledge his great work. He is doing things in the entertainment industry that MUST NOT BE OVERLOOKED. Also, I know that the African American LGBT community can sometimes be upset with Todrick for his personal choices. I think this film allows us to really see his views and where he stands.
Todrick has already begun his FORBIDDEN Tour and I will most definitely be in attendance!