– because it turns out that Gemini CAN!
After Atlanta-based Rigel Gemini premiered the video for his femme-forward song “I Can’t,” YouTube abruptly removed it based on a complaint from an online troll. Now, more than a month later, Gemini is relaunching the video to counteract the sentiment that caused the claim in the first place, namely homophobia, and transphobia.
Rigel Gemini’s recognizes that the relaunch of his video comes at a time where there are much more significant and more critical stories. However, since the underlying issue of the removal was fueled by homophobia and transphobia, it still has relevance.
“I do not want to put my story before others, so please prioritize stories of black lives. Since this is an issue targeted at LGBTQ+ people, since the video includes many queer and trans people of color, and since the video was uplifting for so many, I wanted to share while timely.”
The music video, which featured celebrities Alyssa Edwards and Gia Gunn, was getting substantial momentum and reached 110K views on YouTube and over 100K plays on Spotify. The cast of the video included an army of influencers, family, and friends jamming out to the video. A celebration of queer and trans culture and community, the video quickly went viral during the 2020 quarantine. Shot as a “Zoom”-style party, the video features individuals dancing, lip-syncing, and spreading the sassy message of “I Can’t.”
With no response from YouTube when the video was reported or after the video was taken down, Rigel was devastated that something he had poured his entire life into and that he had invested a substantial amount of savings could vanish from the internet right as it was reaching its peak. There have been reports from other YouTubers that recent complaints and removals have especially targeted LGBTQ+ content creators.
“I was shocked. The video was removed a few days before my birthday, so that was extra sad. I had spent weeks preparing the song and building the video with a cast of 15 amazing people, including some of my icons and queer and trans people of color from the community. The video was a celebration, and it was getting such a positive response from the queer and trans community for spreading joy in a time of darkness, that is the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine. It was crazy to me how much power these social media companies have over the lives of artists and creators… with the click of a button. No rules were broken, nothing was done incorrectly, so it was really unfair and unfortunate.”
“A troll who made themselves known to me did not like the video because, in my opinion, they are homophobic and transphobic. They called the video sexualized and inappropriate. The person was not connected to the video. It was a privacy complaint, but I had talent releases for absolutely everyone in the video. YouTube never even allowed me to appeal or provide my side of the story, so I had no options.”
Very much in tune with the positive message of the song, Gemini decided to say that ‘I Can’t’ with YouTube’s lengthy complaint and appeal process and took it upon himself and his team to re-release the video. “I can’t get caught up in the upset of the moment, I just need to try to bring this video back into the world.”
After being down for nearly a month, the video is now available on all streaming platforms, including YouTube, and you can catch the “I Can’t” video right here on PeachATL.com.