On Jan. 10, Selena Gomez released the music video for her new song “Rare,” a bop about wanting a partner to celebrate Selena’s own uniqueness. But as I watched Selena dance around a lush, at least partially digitally-rendered forest, my mind jumped to other things that are becoming rare, and to real life forests currently being devastated by fires and the worsening climate crisis.
In the video, Selena awakens in a magical woodland filled with highlighter-bright butterflies, glowing flowers, sparkling spiderwebs, and a flurry of other nature-inspired wonders. She looks gorgeous! The colors are amazing! Hell, she even bursts out of a big ol’ bubble at one point! It’s a solid visual accompaniment to the song (though it has nothing on her comedic “Bad Liar” video from 2017, as far as actual plot goes).
Per the video “Rare” was in part filmed in actual nature, though seemingly with CGI butterflies, plastic flowers, and synthetic webs to create Selena’s very own dreamscape. But is there a world where one day, this video will be shown as one of the last times a shiny digital portrayal of wildlife seemed fantastical? Is there a Black Mirror-esque reality where we only see the outdoors through screens, through music videos?
Right now, there are hundreds of fires raging in Australia, destroying creature habitats and contributing to a declining koala population. The Australia fires and the blazes that have continued to plague parts of California are reportedly fueled in part by climate change, which is of course causing all kinds of harm around the world.
Though Selena loves a good visual and lyric metaphor (on “Lose You to Love Me,” she even invoked the forest fire: “Set fires to my forest / And you let it burn”), she’s also tweeted in support of the people trying to stop the flames in Australia and recover from the disaster. “Absolutely devastated by the fires in Australia,” she wrote on Jan. 4. “Praying for everyone affected and all of the first responders. I’m making a donation and would love if you would consider doing the same if you can.”
Enjoy the music video for “Rare,” but if you watch and are reminded of what’s currently being decimated by the effects of the climate crisis we’re in, take a moment to see how you can help. If we don’t do anything to protect real-world ecosystems, actual forests will soon become the digital fantasy.
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