“Cause there’s ‘sweetheart’ and ‘angel’ and ‘love’ and ‘darling’ / all those names are well in good until they’re condescending,” sings Bebe Wood on “Don’t Call me Flower,” delivering the line that captures the entire vibe of her debut single. Wrapped in a velvet sound plundered from a ‘70s cocktail lounge and bearing a (sadly) universal message that’s still pertinent today, “Don’t Call Me Flower” strikes back at toxic men who use such infantilizing terms as a way to diminish women. Sonically, it’s pure cool, a badass feminist anthem that won’t think twice to pull a switchblade on some fool the second he steps out of line.
“The song comes from a place of frustration due to the many times my thoughts and needs have been disregarded just on the basis of my being a woman,” Bebe tells HollywoodLife. “Though it’s clear the lyrical content is coming directly from one of my specific experiences, I think it’s relevant, as different versions of the same story are happening every day. I saw a banner somewhere that said, ‘Radical softness as a boundless form of resistance,’ and to me, that’s what ‘Don’t Call Me Flower’ is.”
Accompanying the song today (June 25) is a provocative video, one in the vein of Anna Biller and early-era David Lynch. Directed by Rebecca Basaure, “Don’t Call Me Flower” shows Bebe stand silent in the middle of a strikingly red room while a dancer channels the song in her motions, gestures, and expressions. For a song about how cruel men can be with words, to have two women communicate nonverbally is quite brilliant. “Lindsey Hailes, the dancer in our video, grew up in Kansas City with me,” says Bebe. “We’ve been longtime pals, so collaborating with her in terms of choreography was such a dream.”
“I was always attracted to the idea of telling this story via movement,” continues Wood. “When put in uncomfortable positions, there’s often these two sides to us- our inner monologue and whatever we’re presenting externally. Dance seemed like the most honest way to express this. Lindsey and I got some rooms at the TWA Hotel and put everything together just a day before the shoot. She is so talented, and the video certainly wouldn’t be what it is without her.”
“The entire video sort of came together at the very last minute and very organically,” adds the Love, Victor star. “Our director and DP, Rebecca Basaure, had such a clear vision of how we should utilize the space, and I’m so thankful to her for hopping on board with just a few weeks to organize. The fact we also had a female steadicam operator, Megan Masur, is something I’m very proud of.”
“I’m so thankful to the TWA Hotel for letting us use their space,” she says. “Not only does it appeal to me aesthetically, but the TWA was a Kansas City company, so it’s always intrigued me, and it always had some sort of sentimental value. Filming there, with friends, with a predominantly Kansas City crew was such a magical full-circle moment.”
Though many know Bebe as an actor – she debuted on The New Normal at just 11 years old and has appeared on shows like The Real O’Neals and Love, Victor – soon, they will know her as a captivating singer and powerful songwriter. This bossa nova-inspired first impression will not be the last one will hear of Bebe before it’s all said and done. There’s a rumored EP on the way, one that will showcase a variety of sounds and attitudes – from ‘90s alt-rock to ’50s melancholia to trumpet-fueled bubblegum pop. With such fascinating facets on the way, now’s the perfect time to get on the ground floor of this dynamic new musical force.
“Don’t Call Me Flower” is out now.