Stand By Your Lady: “Dance Little Sister”

“Dance little sister

Don’t give up today

Hang on till tomorrow

Don’t give up your stay”

– Terence Trent D’Arby

The official video for “Dance Little Sister” affirms domestic equality between man and woman by pairing its female lead with a supportive companion (Terence Trent D’Arby) who upends the stereotype of the do-nothing male.

This man does not lounge on the sofa while guzzling beer and watching football as the woman cooks and cleans. On the contrary, Mr. D’Arby eagerly demonstrates a Mister Mom, hands-on approach as a familial caretaker. He rises in the morning to dress and feed the baby. Presumably, he also dresses the household’s school-age moppet as her outfit mirrors his own: black varsity jacket orchestrated with a black newsie cap. Yes, Mr. D’Arby could employ some fashion creativity rather than attiring his child like a Mini-Me; however, he deserves an A+ for his effort.

During recreation at the neighborhood park, Mr. D’Arby alternates between frolicking with the aforementioned Mini-Me and chilling on the park bench, looking cool behind sunglasses while keeping vigil over his young family.  Mr. D’Arby’s involvement frees up our female protagonist to engage in more cerebral pursuits, scouring the newspaper for the latest headlines and information presumably in the name of her professional endeavors. As day gives way to night, Mr. D’Arby wraps up the evening with a bedtime story and a kiss for his young child as she drifts into a peaceful slumber.

Mr. D’Arby enthusiastically performs his duties against a backdrop of James Brown-inspired funk punctuated by shuffling feet, acrobatic splits, and a pirouetting microphone stand. His all-male ensemble of musicians and background singers match his energy and zest beat by beat, cheering on Mr. D’Arby’s role as domestic manager. When he sings to his leading lady, “Share the weight and lay your cross down,” he expresses his entreaty not just lyrically but also in actions.

From the album Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby

Written by Sananda Maitreya (i.e., Terence Trent D’Arby), Sean Oliver, and Rob Miller

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