Just last week, Louis Tomlinson announced that he’d be releasing his track ‘Just Like You’. Calling the song personal, he tweeted that he just wanted to share it with fans, despite it not being a promotional single - saying that it ‘conceptually summed him up’:
The song’s lyrics allude to the struggle he has with fame and what it entails for him - how the glamorous shell of the entertainment industry (”all the cash and the cars and the glory”) is nothing but smoke and mirrors. While his world might seem eons apart from that of his fans’, he is still human like them. Fans of the 1D-member will know that life hasn’t been easy on Louis - having lost his mother to leukemia just last year. Fame and money won’t protect hearts from breaking, and they certainly won’t safeguard you from experiencing pain and hardship. They don’t provide you with a guarantee to happiness. If anything, recent news has shown the entertainment industry to be permeated with its own toxic brand of oppression and inequality.
While the song won’t be receiving any promotional push, a lyric video did drop today. The visuals for the video push the understanding of the song beyond it being a mere reflection of Tomlinson’s personal hardship, and create a connection to general issues of adversity in society instead. By doing so, it seems that the core concept of the tune should be understood as something that not only affects Louis himself, but all of us: The universality of struggle for equal opportunities in life, and the need to be recognized as human beings of equal value.
Using news clippings, the video illustrates that no matter where you stand in life - oppression and social inequality will touch you in one way or another. It is an unprecedented, though not entirely unsurprising look into Tomlinson’s dedication to social justice issues.
The universal wish to be ‘the same’, to have their problems taken seriously ‘even though they look nothing like yours do’, marks the idea that social justice movements are born out of the same overarching need to be seen as equals, and to receive equal treatment and opportunity in life.
The video addresses this accordingly, showing clippings that mention the importance of diversity in the entertainment industry and the consistent lack of inclusion and maltreatment when it comes to LGBT voices, people of colour and women. Another article clipping refers to the Black Lives Matter movement, whereas another shows Colin Kaepernick’s name. Issues like gender identity and mental health receive some screen time too. Not only that, but other global issues such as environmentalism, the refugee crisis, and the consequences of Brexit make a quick appearance in the video.
What stands out particularly, is that many of the articles seem to be recent and chosen with care. Some of them reference Harvey Weinstein and the women who bravely spoke out against him.
While many of the aforementioned issues revolve around people whose name you might recognise, the issues themselves aren’t any different from our own. Racial inequality exists, and it affects every member of society. Sexism exists, and it affects every member of society. Mental health issues exist, and they can affect any member of society. Oppression and social injustice take place on any level of society - and they can take many different forms.
We are all just like each other, even if our problems don’t look alike. We are all fundamentally the same - even when we aren’t recognized as such. Women and men are equal. Black Lives Do Matter. Refugees are welcome. Gender identity can be non-binary. The LGBT community do deserve equal rights and protections - including marriage equality. Climate change is real. Mental health is as important as physical health.
It’s a poignant message on how people face adversity in all walks of life, and one that is perhaps particularly important in today’s world where empathy sometimes seems to lack as society becomes polarized.
While Louis Tomlinson might not be the most vocal when it comes to social justice issues on a day-to-day basis, he sure does make it count when he does.
Watch the lyric video below: