Kizzie Frank - Arts & Entertainment Editor
Todrick Hall's shared the visual album for his piece of lyrical, satirical genius Forbidden. On the first night of the Forbidden tour and the middle of RuPaul's drag race, Todrick shared the entirety of the visual album via Twitter. With Forbidden already reaching number one on iTunes pop chart within days of release I already had my hopes high for the visual album.
The visual album is just over an hour and a half long, so you may want to sit down with popcorn for it. The opening credits creatively placed on vintage pantry food items; "Cinn-a-matography" (cinnamon) for the cinematographer for example. It takes place in the utopia called "Nacarima", which sets the whole tone of the visual album and explains the title of the album itself: Forbidden is shown backwards, just as "Nacarima" is America backwards. We notice also that the first incident in the opening of the song, "Ordinary Day", takes place on the street call "Novyart", backwards, for Trayvon. A song/visual that particularly stands out and sums up the meaning behind the album directly and indirectly. "Ordinary Day" is an upbeat song, with seemingly positive lyrics. The words however, hold double meaning. Without giving away too much, the issues in Nacarima are "swept under the rug". Heterosexuality is considered illegal and forbidden, and homosexuality is perfectly normal. Overall, the message behind the album is enhanced by the visual album, exhibiting the ugly truths in a backwards reality of America.
The visual is full of Todrick in full drag, and decked out in celebrities. One of the first we see is Brandy, singing to a baby boy, wearing all white in a sea of other women in white. This is where I had one grievance about the entire visual album: there were a few points Brandy's baby was visibly a doll. It was minor and easily forgiven. To name a few, appearances included: Tamar Braxton, Tiffany Haddish, Jenifer Lewis, Tre Melvin, Kway, and drag queen, Shangela Laquifa of RuPaul's Drag race. By the end of the piece, we see Todrick's character, Nolan Renner, writing in a journal titled "Black Picket Fence", before he is hanged for heterosexuality. As a whole, Todrick proves himself as a phenomenal performer in this soul moving visual.
My proudest accomplishments will always be following my heart. Maybe someday this world will try as hard to find our similarities as we do to make enemies of those who are different. Maybe someday we will look at those who think and love differently as a beautiful and complimentary hue of hearts. - Todrick Hall - Forbidden