Contemporary Christian superstar singer Amy Grant dropped a sweet new video for her song “Say It With a Kiss” on Valentine’s Day, and her message, a call for unity, is obvious. But what’s not as clear is if she actually intended to include same-sex couples in the video that features diverse couples engaged in kisses and hugs. While there are plenty of photos of heterosexual couples kissing on the mouth, including one of Grant from her wedding to country star Vince Gill, the photos depicting women with women and men with men are not as easy to decipher. But then, the photos in question may have been intended as a dog whistle to her LGBT fans that her conservative base wouldn't catch.
While Grant may be one of the world’s most successful singer of Christian music, she's also a crossover artist who's had big mainstream hits like her duet "The Next Time I Fall" with Peter Cetera. Considering her superior pop vocal chops and her messages of inclusivity, it's no surprise that she's amassed an impressive LGBT fan base over the years. Photos of same-sex couples included in her video would mean a great deal to those fans, but it’s tough to know without a doubt if the pretty women engaged in a silly embrace and a kiss on the cheek aren’t friends or sisters.
When contacted for confirmation on whether or not the video includes same-sex couples, Grant’s longtime manager, Jennifer Cooke, sent the following response to The Advocate via email.
“Although there are a handful of personal photos from Amy (and I even snuck in a couple of my kids), the rest of the images are stock photos and not people we actually know personally,” Cooke wrote. “That said, we chose photos that we believed would make everyone feel included.”
The song “Say It With a Kiss” begins innocuously enough, as if it’s another song about a couple at odds in their relationship. “I say black and you say white / We’re as different as day and night / Who cares who’s wrong and who is right," the song begins.
But then the video cuts to a political march, which, from the sheer amount of pink in the video clip (although there are no telltale pink pussy hats to be seen), could possibly have been culled from the recent women’s marches that brought millions of people together from around the globe to not only fight for women’s rights but to protest the hateful policies of Donald Trump and his administration. One thing’s for sure in the video snippet — there’s clearly an “I’m With Her” sign (a Hillary Clinton campaign slogan) off to one side of the video as she sings the lyrics “We don’t agree with each other / We have a chance to discover a new way to talk to each other.”
The video also includes people of color, mixed-race couples, a Muslim woman, children in need, people with disabilities, all across a wide spectrum of ages, so it makes sense that Grant intended for the several photos of couples of the same sex to speak to her queer audience.
Grant spoke with the site Pride Source in 2013, her first-ever interview with the LGBT press. At that time, her message was similar to the one in her video. When asked about why she thought her music resonated with LGBT people, she said, “Everybody is outside of some circle, but what I've always wanted to do is have a message of honesty and welcoming, and being willing to say this is the good, bad and the ugly. This is who I am. And if I'm saying that about myself, it's like, jump in, the water's fine. So I love that. I love that people connect to my music.”