"Some people might watch this video and miss the message," Etta Bond told The FADER over email about her new visual for the single "Seen and Never Heard." You could say the same for track itself, which wraps a feminist statement—would it be easier if I was seen and never heard? Caged up like a little bird?—in the gentle lull of soulful '90s-style R&B. But "Seen and Never Heard" is a strong moment for London-based Bond, who's previously been most well known for guest appearances on tracks by the likes of U.K. MCs Wretch 32 and Plan B and collaborative EPs with producer Raf Riley. "Seen and Never Heard" is a reclaiming of her own voice, and she's reclaiming it in style: featuring Bond and a group of friends wearing nothing but boards bearing the song's powerful lyrics, the video is so bold it's initially quite a jarring watch. That is, until you start to think about all the usual ways in which nude female bodies are sexualized on film, and about how different, and quietly moving, this visual is.
"[Some people] might not notice the words," Bond continued. "They might judge us, rate us out of 10, objectify us....When you are able to deflect the bullshit people throw at you, when you are able to shrug at people's feeble attempts to define who you are—the strength and power absorbed from that is worth the bullet. This video was not just a chance for us to 'love ourselves the way we are' it was to test ourselves. This was not an egotistical display. It was us, coming together as one. If you can't see past a bunch of naked ladies, you're simply proving my point. And that's fine."
The clip, premiering above, has a subtle power to it, as there's a slight nervous energy in the women's eyes at first that slowly evaporates as each comes into their own skin on camera. In Bond's words: "If you can truly see the beauty in others, you'll truly see the beauty in yourself. I hope to give young women a video that will encourage them, and show them how to love themselves, not wish they were somebody else. I want girls to remember and understand that they are in control of their own lives, of themselves. I want girls to know that they are worthy, not inadequate. I want girls to be seen and heard."