Madame Gandhi Releases Latest Music Video “Waiting For Me”

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Photos by Sajna Sivan

The official music video for Madame Gandhi’s “Waiting For Me”

From the album ‘Visions’ is available now.

Listen here: https://madamegandhi.lnk.to/Visions

Madame Gandhi’s “Waiting For Me”, directed by Misha Ghose and filmed in Mumbai, India, critiques constrictive and often oppressive learning environments and reimagines freedom by returning to nature, gathering peacefully and drumming with a gender non-conforming and female identifying squad.

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In Gandhi’s Own Words:

In February of 2020 I went out to Mumbai, India to shoot the video for my song “Waiting For Me” with an incredible female-led team, and a cast of queer, trans, female and gender non-conforming folks. We would have no idea of the impact of the global pandemic just weeks later. We chose to release the video during this time because we believe it reflects many of the themes of personal liberation, questioning societal norms, and global protest that have come up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope you love watching it as much as we loved making it. 

We as artists have the power to use our art to reimagine the world we wish we lived in. “Waiting For Me” showcases both the aspects of our world that I believe are oppressive, as well as what I believe the freedom we are aspiring toward looks and feels like. Working closely with director Misha Ghose, I wanted to reflect back to my audience images of jail-cell like bedrooms and learning institutions, robotic behaviors like shopping and flipping through the television, and constrictive uniforms that indoctrinate us as kids into systems of oppression. This actively strips us of the opportunity to be creative, vibrant and authentically ourselves from a young age. We consume media, medicine and products without thinking if we actually need it, and we remain dependent on so many things that often do not serve us. In this video, I then paint the picture of what my own belief of freedom looks like – returning to nature, connecting with an intersectional group of femmes, drumming in protest, dancing to the sound of our own joy, bathing in water to rebirth new systems. My hope is that this video sparks a conversation among my audience asking, “What currently oppresses me? And what does my version of freedom look and feel like?” 

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On Why We Must Own Our Own Narrative: 

So often, when I listen to the radio or hear music in a fitness class, I am aghast at the degree to which we tolerate misogyny in our culture. Lyrics, that for example, place us in a position of sexual subservience that we wouldn’t tolerate in another context. Only 2% of the world’s music is produced by womxn, and so if we don’t own and control our own narrative, someone else will do it for us, and they will get it wrong, perpetuating the very myths that hold us back to begin with. While I’m not here to critique male fantasy, I am here to provide and design the alternative. 

“Waiting for Me” opens with a radio in nature, broadcasting my message, “I’m not every day trying to turn up to the sound of my own oppression. You feel me?” In  “Waiting For Me,” the forest world represents what it could look like if women, trans folks and gender nonconforming folks took control of our own learning and self expression and peacefully gather in order to re-imagine the world. This return to nature is a starting point for the new system of values that I believe we must incorporate in order to create a sustainable relationship with our Earth. The return to water is a symbolic metaphor for washing off the past and drinking in the future. The running imagery, referencing my 2015 menstrual marathon run from London, represents an act of personal freedom and liberation, both literally and metaphorically. 

There is a lyric in the song which says, ‘I won’t take in what they feed us, run away in my Adidas,’ and that line really is about saying ‘I choose to not be brainwashed’. I choose to question what I am taught. I choose to unpack and re-examine what I think is truth. I will run away from systems of oppression, and I will run towards the light – and we all have that choice!

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Adidas is one of the most global, athletic capitalistic brands, yet Adidas, at the end of the day, is part of the culture. You have kids who aspire to have shoes like Adidas, who are living in the slums of India or are living in the hoods of America. The desire to have shoes that are part of mainstream culture is something that’s so relatable, but just because we participate in these systems doesn’t mean we can’t question them. So there is a nuanced choice in the phrase, ‘run away in my adidas’, because I did want to have lines that are relatable – we are so used to being in this capitalist world and yet there is so much desire to escape and rebuild. That tension is important. 

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Cast & Crew 

Director – Misha Ghose

Of all of the directors who I had been observing in India, I wanted someone who understood the value of using art to reimagine and many of the videos I’d seen Misha direct are very surrealist. I knew that when you are building something that we have not necessarily seen before, it takes talented leadership to show it in a way that’s believable and inspiring, and I felt she was the perfect collaborator for that job. I wanted Misha and no one else!

There was a part of me that was very sensitive to not repeat stereotypical tropes that we see in Bollywood culture. Bollywood is a lot of what is exported around the world and what people think of South Asian and Indian culture. It is very much a part of an institutionalized understanding of our Indian heritage, but personally, as an artist and as a South Asian woman and South Asian American, I don’t identify nor do I value Bollywood culture. It’s built off of problematic gender stereotypes, often reducing women and girls to our sex and sexuality. I wanted to make a video that highlights and celebrates the aspects of Indian culture that I do love – community, vibrancy, female leadership, music, nature, and celebration.

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I want to start by mentioning that the celebration that you see in Indian weddings is very similar to the drum scene in the video, minus the fact that it’s only women. Not only that, but it’s a lot of queer women – a lot of the cast identifies as queer and are activists in their own right. 

The casting process was very intentional. We reached out to folks who we thought represented many of the marginalized groups in India today; we have folks who are Muslim identifying, folks of different bodytypes, folks who identify as trans or gender nonconforming and we have folks who have experiences geogrpahcial marginalization in India who are systemically oppressed by the Indian government today. We also spent a lot of time as a cohort in the days before the shoot to really get to know each other so that when we were on camera there was a genuine, authentic connection. It wasn’t performative, it was very sincere. To this day, the cast of 10 are genuine friends of mine. We’re connected through social media, we are checking in on each other during the quarantine period, we’re making sure each other is okay.

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Producer – Aastha Singh

Aastha is a young producer who works at a company called Chalk and Cheese. She did an incredible job of bringing together the vision. She was the one who sourced one of the only all-female drumming troops in India to come and be part of the larger drum scene and made it possible for it to be performed live in the forest.

Production Designer – Lauren Pereira

 From a leadership standpoint, Lauren really aligned and understood the vision. Lauren designed the neon television and the jail world. She was the one who dressed the drum set with almost wedding season-like flowers and fabrics, and painted all of the medicine in the gray, neon and white palette.

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Director of Photography / Cinematographer – Tanmay Chowdhury

At first, I felt hesitant to use a male Director of Photography because I’m so tired of the male gaze being the main vision that we have as a society. I’m really interested in saying, ‘What happens when you give the camera to a woman? But when I met Tanmay, he used the phrase ‘toxic masculinity’ within the first 10 minutes of meeting him, and I was like, oh, sweet – you also are in alignment with unpacking problematic norms in society. He was vulnerable with me, and explained how toxic masculinity and white supremacy affects him as a man, and I thought that was really powerful. He did an incredible job.

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Makeup/Hair – Devika Jodhani 

Devika has come to be a very dear friend of mine. She designed a bright yellow traditional Indian braid for my look, but my team paired it with a blazer suit-take on a sari instead of an actual traditional sari. It felt radical. It’s important for us as artists to have a commentary on the things that we connect with. Designing something that was this mix of the Indian heritage that we love and respect but putting a global take on it so it’s authentic to my identity is what we’re trying to inspire anyone who watches this video to do. We want folks to say ‘these are the aspects that I love about my culture, and these are the aspects that I love about myself.’ Devika’s work is so naturally beautiful. It is neat and creative and elegant. It is freeing. She is amazing and kept me in a good vibe throughout the shoot!

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Stylist – Kanika Karvinkop

Kanika Karvinkop owns an online brand called NO BORDERS. She worked on my two looks in the video with contributions from our other lead stylist Indrakshi Pattanaik. Kanika is celebrating and valuing Indian culture, while making the clothing and style accessible to a global audience. She has a gorgeous shop in Mumbai, and I would visit and buy clothing from her because it was so curated and intentional. I told her that I knew that she was the person who I wanted to style my looks in the music video, and right then and there she agreed, and she did an incredible job. 

The two looks that we ended up with were a mix of designers. One is a queer man from India named James. He did the neon jumpsuit that you see with the Indian mock neck underneath. That look was referential to an industrial look, but with an Indian twist since we used local material. It’s from Benares, which is a very, very famous holy city in India. The second look was partially inspired by local Indian saris mixed with a Nigerian brand called Bloke Nigeria. They did the blazer and pants that say ‘family.’ It was radical –  I’m wearing this sort of queer Indian take on the sari, I’m draped in a traditional garb, but I’m wearing something that’s very comfortable to me.

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Kanika wrote to me, “The styling behind Kiran’s looks were crafted by NO BORDERS’ Creative Director Kanika Karvinkop. No Borders is a concept store that focuses deeply on diversity in fashion, culture, and art, that stems from the idea of celebrating great works of creatives from around the world and to share their amazing stories, their cultures and have the world look closer at what they really want to say through their unique work. Art, Music and Fashion have no language, no boundaries and can be a platform that breaks the unseen lines and borders between us. 

Kiran’s looks were inspired by a cohesive take on her individuality, her personal style and South Asian culture. Every state in India is so different and has its own culture, tradition and style and I love to use little elements from around India as an inspiration when I style. Nose diving into India’s rich textiles, We got designer James Ferreira to create a handcrafted jumpsuit made with locally sourced vintage Banarasi sari which was paired with a custom made neon jumpsuit by Jaywalking, a gender neutral brand based in India. We used the sari borders to create a belt and used the strips to create laces for the boots. For the second look we draped a vintage Banarasi sari with a pant suit from African designer Oluwajimi, Kiran’s hair was inspired by a beautiful picture from the 80s I had seen where the women are wearing this beautiful hair ornament which is worn in South India called Jadai Nagam . We recreated that hair using gold accessories on Kiran’s long neon braid with fresh roses on the side. The jewelery was all sourced by local designers, we did a mix of chains, chokers, beads and traditional pieces.

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Stylist: Kanika Karvinkop, Founder No Borders

Assistant stylist: Preet Kapadia

Credits for looks: 

Look 1: 

Neon jumpsuit: Jaywalking

Inner onesie: James Ferreira

Earrings: Bhavya Ramesh

Boots: The Source 

Look 2: 

Pant suit set : Bloke 

Jewelery: Kichu, Diaries of Nomad , Khwab studio

Glasses: Roma

StylistIndrakshi Pattanaik 

Indrakshi was brought on as our lead video stylist. She costume designed the uniforms to represent the restrictive school uniforms that you see across India, which are remnants of the British influence. When you juxtapose these with the women’s outfits in the ‘free world,’ you see how each person is able to fully express themselves. That experience was very ritualistic, because we really did allow each cast member to tell us what felt good so that when they were on camera, they were genuinely connected to their outfit. We also dressed many of the women in my merch line that I did – ‘Visions 2020 Merch,’ which is largely a collaboration with the Indian brand called NORBLACK NORWHITE. Lastly, you see the “Waiting for Me” merch, which was done with a friend named Anna Luisa Pertrisko. She also styled the entire cast of ten girls, and sourced materials and jewelry for my main look as a co-stylist.

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She wrote to me: “The main goal in styling was to empower every kind of woman to be the best possible version of herself, and also what they felt most comfortable in. We wanted to challenge the idea of “female muse” by creating new codes of femininity in a music video that do not appeal to the “male gaze”. Kiran, made sure to emphasise that every woman in their look should be the protagonist through their style. No look was superior, or treated as “second lead”, everyone was important. We mixed designer pieces, reused vintage Indian saris, did some DIY, to blend the boundaries, because the only way now is coming together strong as a community and in a sustainable way. It was important to me while sourcing that no look was restrictive; she has to feel free: Free to move, free to express, and dance, and feel their best.

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The dull grey custom made uniforms, with pops of neon transcending into the warm colors of the sun – symbolising power and freedom from the oppression of body shame, patriarchy, auto pilot lives most women live deep rooted from their childhood…”

So the brands we have used are these: 

Archana Rao

Bloke

Ikat story

James Ferreira 

Kaasha

Kanika Goyal

Kichu

NBNW x MG

NOMAD

Megha Bansal

Pink City 

Rajesh Pratap Singh 

Valliyan

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Further notes on the themes we explore in the video:

Unity is not the problem, it’s conformity.

When the group transforms and we end up in nature together, we are all unified by the colors that we’re each wearing – the pallets of sunrise and sunset colors, representing a new future and a hopeful horizon. The pops of neon that come out in each of the school girls’ uniforms symbolize each individual’s desire to self express and to want to break out of the constricted world. There is a nugget of hope that we are actively repressing as a society when we put people in uniform, when we put people in prison-like classrooms. Illuminating unity looks like a group coming together to uplift each other, whereas conformity is designed to mute critical thinking and to force participation in a system that is oppressive. 

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When I was growing up,  I lived in India for three years and I attended an all girls school called St. Anne’s School in Mumbai where we wore uniforms. The first day, I was sent home because my school shoes had two buckles instead of one, and I had never experienced anything like that before. I couldn’t believe that it was so rigid. Even in New York when I went to my all girls school, I was always trying to find ways to give my own self expression while still following the rules that were required of me.

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A Note about releasing this video during The Black Lives Matter protests and Pride:

When I first heard Patrisse Cullors speak during Lesbians Who Tech Summit 2017, she talked about how we must step into our own power. In fact, she opens her book with this quote by Assata Shakur, one of the freedom fighters in the original Civil Rights Movement:

    “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

That really inspired my own relationship to India’s decolonization movement and drove my desire to unpack white supremacy and white heteronormativity in all of its shapes and forms. What has happened in India is actually very similar, in many ways, to the system of oppression that we see right here in the United States. As a South Asian woman, I am undoubtedly an accomplice in the Black Lives Matter movement. 

This inspired me to open my own music video with the quote, “We always assume our own powerlessness, but never our own power.”  What’s so inspiring in this moment in time is that we are starting to realize our own collective power. The police are genuinely scared, and the leadership doesn’t know how to respond because they’ve never seen such a diverse group showing up for one united cause.

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We must stop aspiring to white standards and male standards of leadership and instead be intentional in supporting women and queer owned businesses. As an Asian American artist, I fully understand the ramifications of white supremacy on a global scale. I share my last name with an activist whose work in non-violence removed the British colonial influence from India entirely. Gandhi did this by organizing and by expressing the need for Indians to fully start relying on Indian production instead of British production. In a similar way, today in 2020, we all are asking ourselves, “How can we more intentionally support black owned businesses, or businesses run by folks who are typically marginalized by the mainstream?” By doing this, we are radically supporting one another and lifting each other up in this economy without contributing to the very systems that oppress us.

There’s also a lot of colorism that happens in the Indian community. Growing up, my grandfather would tell me to stay out of the sun so that I didn’t look too dark. This desire to be white plagues our society and ends up forcing young brown and black girls to not see themselves as beautiful. That alone is part of the internalized misogyny and white supremacy. We, as a society, think that white supremacy only means the KKK, or Nazi or skullhead – but white supremacy just simply means that Eurocentric standards of behavior and life are the best. It’s that mentality that we are trying to now shift away from.

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There’s a scene in the video where I’m trying to break through and spread truth to the youth as they’re monotonously flipping through the channels. I say, “I don’t want our identities to be defined according to how oppressed we are.” So often, I am asked to speak about gender liberation, the immigrant experience or about being queer. Why am I not asked about my process as an artist equally as frequently? I want to be asked to speak about my thoughts on life, relationships, sex positivity and about the multi-faceted experiences of being a human in the same way folks who are a part the majority and in the mainstream are allowed to. Folks in  marginalized communities are expected to be remembered and celebrated only for their work in their activism lane, but it’s so radical for us to exist and showcase the multi-dimensionality of our human experience.

Commentary on imagery in the video and treatment:

Twice a month, I go to the juvenile hall in downtown LA and work with an organization called Give a Beat, where I have the opportunity to teach incarcerated youth DJing and beat making. I genuinely wanted to experience what prisons in America look and feel like, because they are very intentionally closed off from the rest of society. I think if we as a society knew how folks are treated in prison, they would have long been abolished. 

This is referenced in the scene where the girls are waking up, living in a very prison like environment. You see a child, and you’re like, “Of course they don’t want to wake up! Of course, they’re bored. Of course they’re sleepy. This  is a disgrace and a waste of life.” This mentality is exactly how we have to start thinking about Black youth in America and folks who are in low income communities and neighborhoods, not only in America, but across the world. When you see a brown body experiencing that, I want you to say, “Oh, no, these are kids, let them be free. Let them be joyful.” That’s so important to me.

The symbolism of the girls entering nature is done so radically, juxtaposing the imagery of the prison industrial complex with the free world, and remembering that nature has made it so easy for us to be free. Nature wants us to exist in the fullness of our humanity and in the fullness of our own self expression. It wants us to exist in the fullness of serving each other and serving a larger community, celebrating life and freedom.

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On The Use of Imagery to Criticize Consumerism:

When COVID-19 hit, the American response was to over consume so that we felt safe. Safety should not live in how much we can consume and how much we can buy. That’s the very aspect of capitalism that rewards fake people who have money and punish those who do not. That is not a system that is in accordance with the earth and everyone who inhabits it. 

In the opening scene, you see us mindlessly doing many things that I myself have also done – mindlessly over consuming, mindlessly flipping through the television, mindlessly marching up and downstairs not knowing where we’re going and not questioning it. You see us mindlessly consuming pills, and you see us mindlessly dressing in a way that is restrictive instead of self expressive. Those visuals are meant to make us question things that we currently and robotically do in our life.

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On the TED Talk Reference in the Opening Scene:

This is the first song and music video where I sample work from my own speeches. As someone who fully identifies as an activist, it’s been a journey and a period of growth determining how to really merge my passion for social justice with my passion for music. For me, public speaking serves as a way to channel my thoughts and inspire a larger audience, while also allowing me to channel internal motivation, fueling my desire to be a part of the change and to step into my own personal power. It makes me feel like I am doing my part. And this year I am a TED 2020 Fellow so it felt good to marry this aspect of my work into my visual imagery. It is about literally owning your voice.

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Nature and Eco-feminism: 

Gratitude – may we be so humble as a humanity to have gratitude for nature and for the earth, and to value them enough to say we want to see a future, and we want to honor what the earth has given us. All in the same way, we want to honor what women have given us, what people of color have given us and what queer folks have given us!

There is a big parallel between how we treat women and how we treat the earth. Women’s resources, bodies and work are not valued, and yet seem never ending. Our innate labor is not part of capitalist society in the sense that it is not remunerated – it’s not paid for. In the same way, we have a very similar attitude towards the earth, which is that we assume that we can exploit the earth’s resources at a rate that is far more aggressive than the rate that the earth is actually producing. We are doing this in a way that creates money for some and a deficit for others, that exploits the actual labor of the folks that are enabling that resource extraction and does it in a way that’s not sustainable.

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COVID-19 has forced us to stay home, at least for those of us who have the privilege to. This has slowed down the excessive consumption of nature, and the earth is a lot healthier as emission rates are down. There’s this global breath that’s happening in conjunction to a femeinie shift where we are focused on values like care, sustainability, love and healing rather than aggressive growth, brute force fighting and disconnection. This feminie shift is what is healing the pandemic.

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On The Use of Drumming as Protest and Unity: 

It’s radical to see women drummers, even though women were some of the first drummers in the history of humanity. We are internally rhythmic. As folks who bleed, we have a menstrual cycle that is connected to the rhythm of the moon and the rhythm of the earth. When we are healthy, our cycle is rhythmic. When we are stressed, our cycle and rhythm is affected, and that’s something we don’t talk enough about. This internal rhythm is something that I find to be very feminine. 

We often stereotype drummers to be men – but we as women, trans folks and gender non conforming folks must see ourselves in the position of leadership and in positions of being loud. In the drum solo, I chant “If we’re strong they can’t ignore us, the earth is still waiting for us.” That means that we must see our own power, that we must see that we are fighting for mother earth, for our own vulnerable population, and that we do have a chance to get this right. The response by drums, seeing a group of Indian women drumming together, is something that is very rare to see in our society, yet it is so joyful and is taking control back into our own hands. It is celebrating the world that we wished we lived in.

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Then I say, “If we’re loud they can’t ignore us,” which is literally manifested in the fact that we’re drumming. “If we’re one, they can’t ignore us.” We are aware that our feminism and our liberation movement must be intersectional. 

To quote my friend Richie Reseda, who is a Black Lives Matter and anti-incarceration activist, he often says, “We cannot aim to break down one system of oppression just to build another one up.” By that he means all Black lives matter, all trans Black lives matter, that we must, no matter what our racial identity is, be inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community of folks with different abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds than our own. It must be an intersectional, unified movement with liberation for all and not just some. 

“If we’re true they can’t ignore us.”  This has to be a movement of truth, a movement that moves away from this problematic fake news culture that we tend to see and we must be brave enough to speak our truths.

Exploring the Fact That Society Over-medicates with Intention of Making Money:

It’s really problematic whose drug use we tolerate in America and whose drug use we incarcerate in America. It’s problematic that we see the opioid crisis in Middle America, which is a predominantly Caucasian crisis, as a public health issue, whereas we see the usage of crack cocaine, which is predominantly  black usage, as a punishable offense. We rarely look at symptoms, and we are so quick to prescribe medication because we know that we can profit off of the sadness and depression of our humanity.

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Low Income Neighborhoods – Why is organic clean food expensive, even though nature didn’t design it that way?

We have seen that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected low income communities and folks of color because historically, low income communities and folks of color experience worse health conditions due to the quality of the food that is accessible. Food deserts in low income communities leave kids with no choice but to eat genetically modified, processed foods. It affects kids’ brains. It affects their ability to learn, their emotions, their bodies, their athleticism and so much more. These families are disproportionately at risk in terms of their health because of the fuel they put into their bodies. So of course, this global pandemic has disproportionately affected them.

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A Global Protest Anthem:

This is a song about waking up and questioning systems as they exist. It’s about asking whom do these systems benefit and whom do these systems oppress? How are each of us complicit in these systems of oppression, and what does the bright future look like that we are driving towards?

The repetition of the line ‘Love will free us’ is significant and is directly connected to feminine styles of leadership. One can draw parallels to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it has been the female leaders of many countries who have been successful in eradicating COVID-19. The New Zealand Prime Minister, a woman, was the first prime minister to be able to declare a COVID free country. The Prime Minister of Taiwan, also a woman, took it seriously from the get go, producing masks that are now being shipped across the United States. She was able to say, not from a place of ego but from a place of care, that this is a crisis that needs to be dealt with as early as possible. It’s similar to when a mother tells you to do something that you don’t want to do, but you intuitively feel it’s for your best interest. The intention is genuine. It’s not to protect those in power or to protect greedy companies. It’s designed to protect everyone.

The line “truth is love and love will free us” is the core aspect of any radical freedom movement. It is about love for all, and that is a feminine energy. It is honoring the women who give birth to the entirety of the human race, and that is love.

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Video Credits:

“Waiting for Me” (Official Video) by Madame Gandhi

Director: Misha Ghose

Producer: Aastha Singh with Chalk & Cheese Films

Supporting Cast: Shanthi Muniswamy, Mekhola Bose, Sajna Sangeeth Sivan, Lalita Katghara, Jennifer Jayaraj, Krithika Iyer, Angel Konthoujam, Vrinda Narang, Vidula Bhave, Priyanka Paul

Director of Photography: Tanmay Chowdhury

Production Designer: Lauren Pereira

Director’s Assistant: Rhea Shukla

1st AD: Nishant Kantharia

2nd AD: Tanvi Chowdhury and Gauri Sood

1st AC: Chiranjib Mohanty

DJ Sound Operator: Ashok Sahoo 

Styling: Indrakshi Pattanaik Malik, assisted by Pratiksha Shetty; Kanika Karvinkop with No Borders Shop, assisted by Preet Kapadia

Hair and Makeup: Devika Jodhani, assisted by Sunita Nadkar; Karan Singh

Gaffer: Aakhil Shaikh 

Focus Puller: Nilesh Shinde

Ronin Operator: Amit Jaiswal of Jaiswal Cine India  

Editors: Sourya Sen, Jiten Solanki 

Colorist: Michele Ricossa 

Production Assistant: Ashwini Lad 

Production Controller: Gaurav Banerjee 

Production Manager: Parag Bachewar, Pravas Panda 

Production Runner: Rabindra Mishra and team

Line Producer: Dillip K. Sahoo of Flyking Entertainment 

Special Thanks: RD Equipments, Max Light, FS Enterprises, Pattanaik Entertainment

Location: White Board Productions

Stills Photography: Sajna Sangeeth Sivan 

BTS Video: Kode Black

Song Credits:

Written and produced by Madame Gandhi & Dave Lewis

Mixed by Neil Comber

Mastered by Piper Payne

Engineering by Sarah Ma & James Musshorn

Additional Production by Anthony Saffery

Tabla by Lalita Balakrishnan

Saxophone Soprano by Michelle Simonsen

We used the sample from a piece of music I scored with Dave Lewis for Vanessa Black’s film with GAP x Vogue. We continued to develop this song into what is now “Waiting For Me”.

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Listen to Waiting For Me Here.

“Waiting For Me” Lyrics by Madame Gandhi

“I’m not every day tryna to turn up to the sound of my own oppression, you feel me?”

“We always assume our own powerlessness but never our own power.”

“Stigma is one of the most effective forms of oppression, because it denies us the vocabulary to talk comfortably and confidently about our own bodies.”

When I wake up in the morning

Hit space bar and start recording

My mom says that she’ll adore me

The earth is still waiting for me

[Meera Gandhi, Kiran’s mom, chanting during a meditation]

Waiting for me x2

I won’t take in what they feed us

Run away in my Adidas

Brown girls of the world they need us

Truth is love and love will free us

Love will free us x2

I’ve been livin in the wild now

When you taste freedom you’re not tryna get tied down

Hear it in the words I say and the way I walk

I’m not part of their lies now

“I don’t want our identity to be defined according to how oppressed we are.”

Dim our minds with drugs and liquor

Knowing that we’ll die off quicker

All our people getting sicker

Can’t afford organic stickers

Sorrow makes their wallets thicker

We must see the bigger picture

Womxn who have come before us

Mothers, sisters, non-conformists

All the things that they’ve done for us

The earth is still waiting for us

Waiting for us x2

If we’re strong they can’t ignore us

The earth is still waiting for us!

If we’re loud they can’t ignore us

The earth is still waiting for us!

If we’re one they can’t ignore us

The earth is still waiting for us!

If we’re true they can’t ignore us

The earth is still waiting for us!

I’ve been livin in the wild now

When you taste freedom you’re not tryna get tied down

See it in the way I think and the food I eat

I’m not part of their lies now

[St. Michael’s School for Girls students learning in the classroom, New Delhi India]

Lyrics can be found here.

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Madame Gandhi is an artist and activist whose mission is to celebrate gender liberation. She has toured drumming for M.I.A, Thievery Corporation and most recently Oprah on her 2020 Vision Stadium Tour with morning dance party Daybreaker. She has been listed as a Forbes 30 Under 30 member and is a 2020 TED Fellow. Her uplifting music and talks have been critically acclaimed by The New York Times, Billboard, NPR and more.