Moorea Masa & the Mood Release a Mighty Roar with Powerful New Video for "Lion" (KEXP Premiere)

KEXP Premiere
Janice Headley
photo by Ashley Walters

On last year's single "Honey," Portland-raised singer/songwriter Moorea Masa reflected on her relationship with her mother, a Black queer woman who struggles with mental illness. “The song outlines the bitter truth of unconditionally loving someone who insists on painfully stinging back at you no matter how sweet your affections,” she told KEXP. Now, with her band The Mood, Masa continues to explore their estrangement on her new EP Heart In The Wild: Side A, the first half of a forthcoming full-length. 

Although written and recorded during the dark days of the pandemic, this new release is full of light. She sings about "loving someone no matter if they’re mentally able to truly love you back." It's a warm, intimate album, spotlighting Masa's vulnerable lyrics and rich, soulful voice.

On the track "Lion," she speaks out for "the global community of marginalized females, nonbinary and trans folx," and its accompanying video, premiering today with KEXP, was produced by an all-female cast and crew. Masa was kind enough to share a behind-the-scenes look at the clip's production. A group of lions is called a "pride," and it's a fitting title for this empowering video. 

The video 'Lion' was created by an 18-woman, mostly-BIPOC cast and crew. Directed by Day Hernandez and Cinematography by Natalia Moscoso. I told Day I wanted to have an all-woman crew and she put together the whole team. Day is such a baddass. I loved working with her and she really set the tone for the whole video. I remember at one point being unsure of how my body looked in one of the outfits, and she looked at me and said to me straight 'We don’t have time for that type of shit today' and I was like… That is exactly what I needed to hear! We were there to celebrate each other, and completely own our power. That’s what the whole day felt like, and it was so powerful. Usually film crews can be very dude-heavy and this was also just so incredibly refreshing! This whole crew was at such a high level, I just feel so fortunate to have gotten to work with them while I’m still able because they are all gonna blow up quick! 

The idea behind the video and song is that we wanted to show women in their vulnerability, beauty, and connection with each other. Women resting and relaxing like a pride of lions, and then also showing their fierceness. We are mother nature and she can be powerful and life-giving, but also: don’t fuck with her. 'You hurt her, you hurt me.' When one of us is hurt, we all feel it. We need to protect the most marginalized among us, or none of us are free, and ultimately we all suffer. Shooting with some of my dear friends was so special as well. The women in the video are all incredible artists and musicians and healers themselves. Check them out! Raquel Rodriguez, Jessica Childress, Adryon De León, Malia Wright and Yvette Aispuro. I could really gush about every single person involved.

The cast & crew of "The Lion" // photo courtesy of the artist


For me this song also talks about my past, how I have been abused, and how I will use my pain and experiences as motivation to protect and advocate for others to make sure the same things don’t happen to them. 'I was always looking for a Lion / Ready to fight for you, just set me loose.' I feel like I have a very strong nurturing momma/Italian nonna role in my community and often feel that lioness protectiveness for my friends, especially when I hear one of them has been hurt. I’m often the friend that will make you dinner, pour you some wine, and then help you make a plan to leave your abusive partner.  I feel so blessed to have so many amazing women like that in my life as well. We all look out for each other and lift one another up, and ultimately that makes us so much stronger together. 

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