Nfld. & Labrador

B'ys, b'ys, b'ys, b'ys, just paint the crosswalk!

Jessica Bemister found inspiration while trying to fall asleep one night - now, her catchy tune and homemade video has racked up thousands of views on social media.

Springdale rainbow crosswalk controversy inspires parody song

Jessica Bemister holds a map of Newfoundland in a screenshot from her parody video, Paint the Crosswalk. (Jessica Bemister/Facebook)

The inspiration for a parody song about the Springdale rainbow crosswalk controversy came to singer-songwriter Jessica Bemister as she was trying to fall asleep. So, she jumped out of bed at 3 a.m. and got her thoughts down on paper.

A catchy tune borrowed from the RuPaul song, Sissy That Walk, and a homemade video later, she has racked up thousands of views since posting it on Facebook Friday night.

"I started thinking about how the lyrics would sound and started coming up with the verses and the part in the song that RuPaul says is, fly, fly fly fly," Bemister said of her late night brainstorming session.

"And I was like, 'What could actually go with that? And I was like 'Oh my gosh, b'ys, b'ys, b'ys, b'ys!' And I literally could not go to sleep." 

Controversy has been swirling since the town council in Springdale denied a request for a rainbow painted pride crosswalk from students at Indian River High School's Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA).

"I feel like in today's world we should just be over those issues already and love and respect one another," said Bemister, an openly gay woman who knows what it is like to grow up in a small town.

"This video was more of an outreach to our community and the kids in Springdale who are struggling with their sexualities, because I knew growing up myself it was tough at times," she said.

"You do feel very vulnerable, and you do feel very alone at times, and I associated myself with them and I knew that if I could get this video out there, that's an outreach to say our community is here for you we stand behind you."

Some students in Springdale want their council to show support for diversity. (Martin Jones/CBC)

Bemister used a pride flag in her music studio as a backdrop, and performed the song in front of a camera. She also threw in shots of the Springdale council meeting and the rainbow crosswalk in downtown St. John's.

"I knew before I posted the video it would ruffle some feathers. Obviously not everyone is going to like it, but the song came from a very lighthearted place, like after all it is a parody, it's meant to be a joke," said Bemister

"But in the midst of it all I do stand with the GSA of Springdale and I absolutely think they deserve this crosswalk."

She said she is humbled by the response to the video, including a call from drag queen Irma Gerd, who lip synced to the song at a downtown St. John's club just an hour or so after Bemister posted it online.

"She was like, 'I may not have all the words down, but I seriously want to do this, people need to hear this.'"

With files from the St. John's Morning Show