Happy birthday

WATCH: Freddie Mercury’s birthday marked with new, queer music video

Freddie Mercury (Photograph by Peter Röshler © Mercury Songs Ltd)

Today (5 September) would have been Freddie Mercury’s 73rd birthday. The singer and frontman of rock band Queen died in November 1991 of HIV-related illness.

Universal Music Group have today issued a newly-commissioned music video for one of his solo tracks.

“Love Me Like There’s Not Tomorrow” was featured on Mercury’s 1985 solo album, Mr. Bad Guy. Today’s animated video was made by directors Esteban Bravo and Beth David, who shot to attention in 2017 with the acclaimed queer short, In A Heartbeat, which melted hearts around the world.

Related: “Animated film about a gay boy’s crush is so cute it hurts” 

The new video (with visuals by animators Woodblock) appears to show two men falling in love, but that’s not quite the case.

As explained by Bravo and David: “We wanted to tell a story that was relevant to Freddie’s life, but not explicitly about him.

“The AIDS crisis of the 1980s is a huge part of LGBT+ history, and it’s something that we knew needed to be handled with care. It’s a fine line to walk between shedding light on a subject, and perpetuating a stigma, and we were cautious not to lean into tropes and stereotypes that might hurt the modern understanding of the AIDS virus, rather than help it.

“In researching the HIV/AIDS virus and the way it affects the body’s immune system, we were inspired to take a look at the story through a more microscopic lens. It is a love story between two white blood cells, one of which has become infected by the virus.

“This perspective gave us a more direct visual representation of our conflict, which allowed us to explore the more nuanced struggles the characters face in their relationship with each other, their perceptions of themselves, and society’s perception, bias, and neglect of them.

“The LGBT+ community fought for years for the right to proper research and healthcare, and because of that fight, millions of lives have been saved. We wanted to celebrate that victory.

“Through perseverance, strength, and love, our characters not only survive, but live long, healthy lives together.”

The video ends by showing the two figures as older men. In one, the HIV virus appears to be contained and maintained to a minimal level. This reflects how modern treatment for HIV can ensure those affected by the virus live long and healthy lives.

Related: “How did ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ become one of 2019’s straightest Best Picture Oscar nominees?” 

Universal is using the video to promote a new box set of Mercury material, out next month (entitled Never Boring). In a press statement, it also says it wanted to highlight the work of the Freddie Mercury Trust.

Set up in the wake of the singer’s death, the trust had distributed over £17million in funding to over 1,000 projects in 56 countries to help fight HIV.

Despite his death in 1991, Mercury’s songs remain as popular as ever and his fame undiminished. The movie about his life, Bohemian Rhapsody, broke box office records last year for a music biopic, and earned star Rami Malek an Oscar for his performance as Mercury.