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7 Music Videos From The 2000s I Loved As A Millennial Kid And, In Retrospect, Made Me Realize I'm Pretty Darn Queer

Madonna's "Hung Up" is an important moment in gay millennial history.

1. Britney Spears and Madonna's "Me Against the Music" video from 2003 will always remain at the forefront of my queer journey. The video came out only a few months after their infamous kiss at the 2003 VMA Awards, so as a 10-year-old bi gal in the closet, naturally I was really excited to see what the video would look like.

Britney and Madonna in the "Me Against the Music" music video, singing "How would you like a friendly competition? Let's take on the song;" Britney and Madonna kissing at the 2003 VMAs
Jive / Christopher Polk / Getty Images

I remember a lot of news outlets and people in my own orbit seemed "appalled" and "grossed out" by the kiss, but I thought it was intriguing and sexy as hell! I obviously didn't have the tools or confidence at that age to be out and live my truth, but that didn't stop me from secretly obsessing over the video in anyway I could.

I wore out my copy of In the Zone on my CD player, and I blasted this song into my headphones any chance I got after school. I also subtly put this song in my mixed CD rotation, so whenever I had sleepovers with my friends in my basement, I turned it up at the maximum volume (it eventually became one of my songs with a childhood friend). Anytime my friend and I heard "Me Against the Music" in the wild, like on the radio or at another sleepover party, we dropped everything we were doing and danced like absolute maniacs.

Britney Spears singing in the wooden dance hall; Madonna looking at Britney, sitting in a chair with a cane
Jive

We had our go-to reenactment of the video that was equal parts silly and chaotic — I usually took on the role of Madonna in the white pantsuit, and my best friend was Britney. I pretended to dance with a cane in a small room full of autumn leaves, and she pretended to have a man's necktie on with a bunch of backup dancers behind her.

We jolted in every corner of whatever room we were in, pretending we were Britney and Madonna in that wooden dance hall looking for each other. It remains one of my favorite childhood memories, and an important moment and music video from my gay millennial childhood (even though my relationship with my friend was 100% platonic).

Jive

The way Britney and Madonna teased us at the end of the video with this almost kiss? Like, come ON.

Watch the music video here:

View this video on YouTube

Jive / Via youtube.com

2. I've been a Jennifer Lopez fan ever since I can remember — my sister is a few years older than I am, so I've always felt ahead of the curve when it comes to music. I was memorizing J.Lo's lyrics from "Ain't It Funny" and "Jenny from the Block" in elementary school looooong before I knew what any of it actually meant — regardless, she always grabbed my attention with whatever she released.

Epic

My love for her ran deep and unconditionally, so when she dropped her "Get Right" music video in 2005, I lost my damn mind.

In the beginning of "Get Right," one of J.Lo's many alter-egos is on the phone in the bathroom with her friend — she says, "I'm at the gay club. I'll call you when I'm done." I grew up in a town where "gay" was used as an insult, and that type of environment influenced me to suppress my queerness for a very long time. So, when I heard J.Lo say this in her "Get Right" music video, it grabbed my attention in the best way possible.

Jennifer Lopez in a bathroom on the phone, saying: "I just got here — I don't know, about two o'clock? Mhm — I'm at the gay club. I'll call you when I'm done"
Epic

What did a gay club look like?! What went down there?! What kind of music did they play?! This young bi needed to know!

At the gay club there were a bunch of big screens showing the "real" J.Lo dancing like nobody's business, cane and 2000s outfit in tow. Then we saw J.Lo's many alter-egos hanging out at the club, all with various occupations and personalities — my eyes didn't leave the screen for a single second as I soaked in every ounce of queerness.

J.Lo's "blonde nerd" and "movie star" egos flirting with each other, while "Get Right" plays in the background: "So much we've got to say, but so little time. And if tonight ain't long enough, don't leave love behind"
Epic

The whole video was (and remains) positively fabulous, but I was hooked when two of J.Lo's alter-egos (the nervous blonde with glasses and the brunette movie star) flirted with each other from a distance on the couches. I watched this and knew it was possible to live (and thrive) in a world where I could flirt with women, and it wouldn't hurt anybody — if J.Lo could do it in "Get Right," then I could do it in real life!

Watch the music video here:

View this video on YouTube

Epic / Via youtube.com

3. There isn't just one Avril Lavigne music video that made me realize, "Hey, I like boys and girls," but rather, it was a mix of her persona and attitude in her "Sk8er Boi" and "Complicated" videos. These videos made me relate to her in a way I hadn't in other artists (or people, for that matter). Growing up in the 2000s, my style was somewhere in-between traditionally feminine and "sporty," and when I watched Avril be a true punk-rocker in those videos, she also seemed to fit somewhere in that category.

Avril singing "Take off all your preppy clothes!" in her "Complicated" music video; Avril smashing a guitar on a car windshield in her "Sk8er Boi" music video
Arista

Her style and lyrics made me feel seen, less alone, and like what I felt and wore wasn't something "other."

She rocked neckties and an IDGAF attitude in her music videos, which is the kind of energy I had 96% of the time as a kid, and ultimately influenced my style and behavior. "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" were one of the first times I remember seeing a celebrity in a video and thinking, "I want that outfit. I want to look just like her!" Avril inspired me to wear my baseball hats backward, and even steal one of my dad's neckties from his closet in the fourth grade.

Bethany from "Mean Girls:" "I saw Avril Lavigne wearing backwards hats and neckties, so I bought backwards hats and neckties;" Avril Lavigne singing "He was a boy, she was a girl, can I make it anymore obvious?;" me in middle school wearing backwards hat
Paramount Pictures / Arista / Kayla Yandoli

I got a dot of yellow paint on his tie in art class and knew I'd get caught stealing it, but my young bi mind didn't care. I looked like Avril Lavigne, damn it, and I was going to own it as much as possible! I was going to go home after school and challenge "the man" (TL;DR: I actually can't remember if I got punished or not 🙃).

Avril Lavigne was everywhere during my elementary and middle school days, confirming and comforting my bisexuality. I remember going to a friend's birthday party at some venue where they'd play a popular song over a loud speaker and we got to record our own music video for it. When my friend decided that "Sk8er Boi" was the song, my closeted self was SO excited.

Arista

Someone handed us all a bunch of ties so we could look and sing like Avril, and we thrashed our heads up and down and played air-guitar like true rock stars. It was one of the few times I felt whole as a kid. There I was, standing on a platform with a bunch of my friends, discovering I was attracted to women but too afraid to admit, but was still able to express it in a way that felt comfortable to me.

Watch the "Complicated" music video here:

View this video on YouTube

Arista / Via youtube.com

And watch the "Sk8er Boi" music video here:

View this video on YouTube

Arista / Via youtube.com

4. The time has come to discuss Mýa's "My Love Is Like...Wo" music video from 2003 (I'm learning 2003 was apparently a big queer year for me). It remains one of the most important videos from my childhood, and earns a spot in my personal Top 20 list of things that I loved as a child, but in retrospect, are queer as heck. I know this is a life-changing music video among many queer girls of the 2000s, so it's only right to give it the love it deserves in this post. Let's get to it (one, two, three, four!).

Mýa singing to the camera in a suit: "What kind of girl you like? I know my looks can be deceivin'"
Interscope

From Mýa's outfit changes to her unique choreography to the context of the song, this music video immediately grabbed my 10-year-old self's attention. I remember feeling giddy as heck whenever it came on MTV after school because it meant that I got to watch Mýa 1. smoke a cigar 2. dance in multiple colorful suits and 3. sing a song about sex for four minutes straight — life couldn't possibly get better!!!

Mýa singing: "My love is like...wo. My kiss is like...wo. My touch is like...wo. My sex is like...wo"
Interscope

As a millennial, I was starting to see more and more provocative videos on my TV screen that made me feel things that were initially unfamiliar, but grew to be a common theme in my world. Seeing as I was only in elementary school, I couldn't relate to the lyrics, but that didn't stop me from singing, "My sex is like...wo!" with gusto whenever Mýa did. She made me feel like a total badass!

"My Love Is Like...Wo" was a pivotal piece of art in my queer adolescence — a beautiful woman wearing traditionally male outfits while completely owning her sexuality? A million times YES. This music video is also the North Star to my infatuation with famous women wearing suits, an obsession that has only grown as I've gotten more comfortable with my bisexuality as an adult.

Mýa dancing in a suit and buttoned up shirt, laughing
Interscope

This song is all over my 2000s mixed CDs because the video made me feel happy, sexy, and good in my young body.

Watch the music video here:

View this video on YouTube

Interscope / Via youtube.com

5. "Take Me Away" from 2003's Freaky Friday is a queer rock anthem that still makes me go absolutely nuts! When I saw Freaky Friday in theaters with my friend, I felt the need to hide my excitement when I saw Lindsay Lohan (Anna) and Christina Vidal (Maddie) rocking the hell out in the garage after school. Anna and Maddie playing off of each other's energy while scream-singing "take me awaaaayyyy" with such 2000s teen angst was one of the most badass things I had ever seen.

Maddie and Anna singing in Anna's garage: "Don't wanna grow up, I wanna get out, hey! Take me away"
Disney

This scene made me fall in love with rock 'n' roll and famous women, two things that are still huge constants in my adult life.

I remember buying the Freaky Friday soundtrack at Sam Goody a few days after seeing the movie just to listen to "Take Me Away." Growing up I shared a room with my older sister, so whenever she wasn't there, I put the soundtrack on our stereo and fantasized about what it'd be like to be a member of Pink Slip (but mostly, what it'd be like to be Maddie's girlfriend).

Anna and Maddie singing "Ultimate" at Tess' wedding
Disney / Courtesy of Everett Collection

She was so darn confident, beautiful, and electric when she rocked out to "Take Me Away" in Anna's garage and at the House of Blues, and I knew whatever she was putting out, my closeted self wanted!

Every gay millennial knows this song by heart, especially when Pink Slip played it at their House of Blues gig the night of Tess's rehearsal dinner. I was beyond nervous because oh man, would Anna (aka Tess) be able to pull off the guitar solo in front of all those people?! But alas, she did, and once my nerves settled, I was able to focus on my childhood crush: Maddie.

Maddie singing: "Round and round here we go again — same old start, the same old end" at the House of Blues
Disney

When she twirled on stage and sang, "Round and round, here we go again — same old story, the same old end," it was everything. I wanted to be in the front row at that show (or standing on the side of the stage) cheering her on — at 29 years old, this song still gives me rainbow butterflies 🥰🌈.

Watch the full scene here:

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Disney / Via youtube.com

6. For any bi gal who's attracted to middle-aged women, they know with 100% certainty that Madonna's "Hung Up" music video from 2005 was a pivotal moment in gay millennial history. Madonna dancing alone in her pink leotard at the ballet studio? The splits? The dance up against the mirror? It was a lot for my middle school brain to comprehend in the best way possible.

Madonna singing "Time goes by so slowly" in various dance shots in her "Hung Up" music video
Warner Bros.

As a middle schooler, I practiced the "hands against the mirror" choreography in my basement while the rest of my family was upstairs either watching TV or doing homework. I wanted to have this routine down-pat and in my arsenal, just in case "Hung Up" came on at a sleepover or dance party, and I could impress my friends with Madonna's iconic moves (yes, that's what I considered "impressing" my friends).

Warner Bros.

I used to watch this video on MTV and think, "I want to be just like Madonna, but I also want to be with her? Is that a thing?" (later on in my adulthood I learned that that feeling was one of the biggest and truest bi stereotypes 😇). But, I didn't dare speak it into existence because I'm a deeply anxious person, and at the time I was afraid of what my friends and family would think.

@kaylayandoli / Via Twitter: @kaylayandoli

I developed a well-known "hatred" toward Madonna for most of my life, and looking back now, I realized I did so because I was masking my queer admiration for her — I didn't feel comfortable to admit she confirmed my bisexuality. Thankfully, that all changed when I came out in 2019.

Watch the music video here:

View this video on YouTube

Warner Bros. / Via youtube.com

7. And last, but certainly not least: It's time to talk about 2000s Beyoncé. I'm not being dramatic when I say I can't remember my life without her in it — I was going into kindergarten when Destiny's Child released their debut album in 1998, and I was lucky enough to grow up in the era of "Bootylicious" and "Say My Name." I was devastated when they broke up, so when Beyoncé embarked on her solo career in 2003, I was hella excited.

Beyoncé in Destiny's Child's "Say My Name" music video singing: "Say my name, say my name — if no one is around you, say, 'Baby, I love you'"
Columbia

I was desperate for more Beyoncé songs — what would they sound like, would they be just as catchy as Destiny Child's, and most importantly, would the music videos be fun?

Dangerously in Love dropped the summer I was going into fifth grade, and naturally, my siblings and I wore the CD out. It was our go-to music for car rides long and short, and we memorized lyrics to "Crazy in Love" and "Baby Boy" like it was our full-time jobs. Then, like the true queen she is, Beyoncé dropped music videos to accompany these iconic songs, and when the "Baby Boy" video hit TRL for the first time in 2003, my bi heart was out of control.

Beyoncé dancing up against a wall in her "Baby Boy" music video, singing: "Baby boy, you stay on my mind, fulfill my fantasies. I think about you all the time, I see you in my dreams"
Columbia / Music World

Watching Beyoncé totally own her sexuality while dancing in front of the ocean, then in the sand, and then on top of that fur blanket covered in oil was everything I didn't know my queer-self needed. Sean Paul was featured on the song, so naturally he made an appearance in the video, but "Baby Boy" was one of the first instances where I watched something and kept my eyes focused solely on the woman instead of the man.

Brittany Broski, aka Kombucha Girl, reacting to Sean Paul negatively and Beyoncé positively in the "Baby Boy" music video
TikTok / brittany_broski / Columbia / Music World / Via tiktok.com

Queer girls know what I'm talking about! This feeling was becoming familiar in my world — "Baby Boy" wasn't a bisexual awakening, but more of a bisexual confirmation.

As with many of the music videos in this post, I immediately wanted to learn every ounce of choreography Beyoncé showed off. She completely owned her sexuality, voice, and body in "Baby Boy," and she inspired me to explore my own body. I distinctly remember listening to this song on my CD player in my living room, trying to nail her iconic "dancing in the sand" choreo on my hardwood floor, and popping my head up every few seconds to see if my family was watching.

Beyoncé dancing in the sand in a bikini in her "Baby Boy" music video
Columbia / Music World

I was scared to get caught because I knew I'd have to reveal something I wasn't ready to at the time. As provocative music videos were being dropped left and right on MTV in the 2000s, they verified a feeling that became a recurring theme in my childhood: "Yup, girls are cute. Yup, I feel butterflies in my stomach and elsewhere. Yup, I have absolutely no idea what to do with this feeling, but I know I like it."

Watch the music video here:

View this video on YouTube

Columbia / Music World / Via youtube.com