North Carolina band Rainbow Kitten Surprise released their first album on a major label last month, but they just released the video for that album’s third single, “Hide.” The six-and-a-half minute video is remarkable, however, for the way it pairs documentary footage of real drag queens coming out to their families with a song about Rainbow Kitten Surprise singer Sam Melo’s own coming out.
Melo first came out about two years ago. In a Facebook post from last month — linked to a teaser for the “Hide” video — he describes his process. Melo says he felt a creative block, soon realizing that it was because he was attracted to someone, namely, a man. He says:
I was so emotional because it was so taboo growing up in the Dominican Republic, a real man’s man kind of place. The few out kids I knew all got beat up for being gay. Somehow I recognized early on, that whatever I was, I was like them. … I exploded and cried. Three days of, “what is happening?!” The waves of emotion were intense for me and I was really nervous to tell the band. At our next practice, I came out to them. Their response?
“You’re a dance major who wears a pea coat, dress shoes, and smokes Djarum Blacks. We know, it’s cool.”
That moment led to “Hide,” the latest single from their album How to: Friend, Love, Freefall. For the video, Rainbow Kitten Surprise knew they had to do something special. They tapped Kyle Thrash, who had directed videos for Modern Baseball, Filter and Every Time I Die, to make their video.
The idea for the video came from Melo, who was inspired by the classic film Paris Is Burning about New York’s ball culture. The video follows four drag queens from New Orleans, none of who’d come out to their families.
There’s a real tension as the queens talk about why they hadn’t come out and their experiences growing up. Justin Scarbrough (aka Britnee Alexander) talks about how he was told he should never “enter or leave the house in drag.”
The video is one of the most moving things you’ll see, though it has some light moments too. We love the ending where Rikki Redd hugs her dad after he tells her he’ll always be her biggest fan — her dad then bursts out with, “Boy, your titty’s hard!”