LGBTQ+ Pride Month may be winding down, but there are still a few days left to make a profound impact. Just last week, Nike released a new dance video meant to complement the brand’s BETRUE Pride Month efforts. The campaign itself, according to Nike, “seeks to empower all athletes by supporting initiatives to end discrimination in sport.” In addition to a new line of rainbow-colored speakers, Nike is celebrating Pride with a powerful new clip starring Leiomy Maldonado.
If you’re not familiar, Maldonado is a transgender athlete who has been referred to as the “Wonder Woman of vogue” on more than one occasion. She most notably competed on America’s Best Dance Crew but has continued to shine as a force of nature in the dance community. The visual narrative of the video is stunning in and of itself, but the voice-over really brings the chills:
“What did you do to make a mark on this world? What mountains did you climb? Which angels gave you their wings? Which skies have you flown? When you reached the heavens, who was there to catch you when you fell? And did they tell them that you saved them too, like you save me? That they’re mending your wings and holding them up to the sun just to stand back and watch you fly. So go ahead, Ley. Fly.”
The power of this video is that it tells a story that rings true for so many members of the LGBTQ community. It’s about facing adversity and striving to make a mark. There’s a strong sentiment there, too. About holding each other up. About supporting each other and repairing all the damage caused by a hostile society. This is what Pride should be all about: banding together to rise against the opposition.
Perhaps the most striking part of the concept is that Nike isn’t treating Maldonado like a token transgender athlete. Sure, you can read her story on Nike’s site, but the brand doesn’t seem to pat itself on the back at any point in the video. It simply features her magical, strong, beautiful body exactly as it is. Her dancing and movements speak for themselves. It’s a story so specific to one person, but so all-inclusive at the same time. And that’s why it packs such a hard punch.