Pentatonix, a three time Grammy winning A Cappella quintet, recently released a music video for their cover of ‘Imagine’, a track off their upcoming EP PTX, Vol. IV -Classics. The EP, set for a release date of April 7th, will feature well-known songs with the classic Pentatonix twist, and is sure to be a smash hit.
The group, as diverse as they come, chose to make a powerful statement with the new video, a statement which comes at a time of sharp social divides around the country, and the world.
The video begins with the band standing in a semi-circle, singing before tenor, Mitch Grassi, picks up a poster board and turns it over, revealing his message, which is shared by baritone Scott Hoying.
Both Grassi and Hoying have been vocal supporters of the LGBTQ+ community, spreading awareness of issues like #ProtectTransKids and The Trevor Project. The duo, who also have their own youtube channel Superfruit, are celebrated for their voices in the community, as many members of their fandom draw inspiration from their openness and courage to be openly gay in the pop industry.
As evidenced by their music video for ‘Rise’ last year, the two are unwavering in their love and support for their LGBTQ+ fans, a support system many teenagers rely on when they do not receive the same support from their family members at home. Musicians who demonstrate being gay is normal and ok help those questioning themselves realize being different is ok, and that there is not one “mold” for a perfect person.
Bass Avi Kaplan reveals his sign, celebrating his Jewish roots, before passing the ‘American’ sign to beatboxer Kevin Olusola. Kaplan, one of the founders of A Cappella Academy, a summer camp for singers, encourages his campers and fans to celebrate their individuality, rather than conform to the crowd. Kaplan continues to help usher in a new wave of socially aware, talented performers who are dedicated to improving the world around them through the power of song and love.
Beatboxer Kevin Olusola celebrates two attributes that have shaped him with his statement. Olusola has shared that he struggled with fitting his faith into the mold of the pop industry when the band first found success, as he celebrates the Sabbath every week. However, the band was nothing but accepting of his religion when he shared this with them, and works around his religious commitments when planning shows and interviews.
Religion is not always portrayed in a positive light, especially in current America, as extreme conservative groups are seen as the “model” of all religious people. However, people like Olusola and soprano Kirstin Maldonado prove this to be untrue, they celebrate the fact their religion encourages them to accept all people, regardless of their sexuality or other religion.
In a speech last year, Olusola mentioned that the diversity of the band helps them connect with fans around the world, and that is true on all levels. Pentatonix is the rare band that captivates teenagers and parents alike, as well as everyone in between. The band is able to move people with their vocal stylings, but their personalities and love for each other help them demonstrate the uplifting power of music.
Lastly, Maldonado celebrates her Latina heritage and her womanhood with her sign. Maldonado, who pens a blog, encourages her female fans to stand up to sexism and continue to fight for equality. She is a strong champion of feminism, even in a culture where many women of her position are told to “not be political” with the messages they share with their young and impressionable fans. On top of Pentatonix, she runs her own brand of clothing and accessories, proving that women in the industry can be just as successful as men.
While the band individually celebrate their uniqueness in the video, the signs shared between the members reveal that we are more similar than we often think. Between Kaplan and Scott, the message of MAN shows how on a deep level, we all share similar hearts, and CHRISTIAN between Olusola and Maldonado demonstrates that all people can join hands in togetherness. Even though we may have different political beliefs or different religions, we are all living on the same planet, and need to come together in love, instead of letting hate divide us.