LGBT TOTD: Estelle – “Stronger Than You”
A few weeks ago, you may have read my post about Cartoon Network and their diverse lineup that included queer and LGBT characters. Estelle voices one of Steven Universe‘s major characters, Garnet. Now, you may question my motives for turning a song from a children’s show into a much needed anthem. My answer is very simple: the song is about love. More specifically, its lyrics detail how Estelle’s fictional character came to be who she is and how she is stronger because of her own self-acceptance.
Garnet is an extraterrestrial being who protects the Earth from otherworldly invasions. Serving as the de facto leader of the Crystal Gems, her demeanor is most of the time calm and she is one of the more sensible characters. During a fight, she is seemingly killed, her body being destroyed and the only remnant are two gems left in the sand. Whilst captured, the titular character escapes imprisonment and finds another being, Ruby, and frees her. The latter slightly resembles Garnet, though being smaller in stature and frustrated at her imprisonment. The two hear singing but Ruby abandons him while Steven attempts to free another imprisoned gem, though he is unsuccessful. Steven continues searching for his friends and comes across Sapphire, the blue singing gem. Together they locate Ruby where they rejoice and fuse into Estelle’s character. Apologizing for never telling Steven that she is a fusion (an amalgamation of Ruby and Sapphire’s love for each other), Steven asks if he made a good impression to which Garnet happily replies both gems love him already.
Now to the point of this song, Garnet encounters a hostile gem named Jasper who is intent on destroying Earth. Jasper taunts the former, citing that fusion is weak — inferring homosexuality and fusion are closely related — though Garnet retorts that she is much more than a fusion. Combating the larger gem, Garnet manages to strike blows, singing simultaneously that hate will never break her apart.
Rebecca Sugar’s lyrics reach a deep and meaningful part in understanding the LGBT community. “I am their fury” signifies the anger we have towards others, those that label as nothing and damn us to a life of misery because of who we are. “I am their patience” is a nod to those who have worked tirelessly to procure what rights we have, to how we are accepting of what will be in the future and to have hope under stressful situations. “I am a conversation” takes it to another level where we, as a whole community, understand what needs to be done to in order to be seen as more than our orientation and identities.
Though it still remains a simple electro-funk song from a popular cartoon show, “Stronger Than You” encompasses the show’s meaning. Love. Even in the most difficult scenarios, love is what we need. Whether it be romantic, platonic or an understanding, it relieves a lot of anxiety in trying to be accepted by an intolerant world. And sometimes, having acceptance from not only yourself but others is a statement on progress.