The Queer Music Video We Deserve: Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani Play Adorable Couple In “What I Need”

Kiyoko is the lesbian pop star we’ve been waiting for. 

MY HEART HAS STOPPED. Y’all this is a lesbian emergency. 9-1-1. Ring the alarm. Stop everything you are doing and watch Hayley Kiyoko’s latest music video “What I Need” from her hit 2018 album “Expectations.”

Kiyoko has been lauded as the lesbian Jesus because of her unabashed ways of loving other women. She refuses to back down and create content for the male gaze. And it shows. Her music and the videos that accompany them are flawlessly queer. They are genuine and authentic representations of lesbian experience, because Kiyoko refuses to water down her vision for the heteronormative world.

And the latest masterpiece Kiyoko has turned out was in collaboration with the one and only Kehlani.


The collaboration between Kehlani and Kiyoko for this video was unknown and only alluded to via Instagram posts on Kiyoko’s page this week. It seems the two have formed a true friendship through the creation of this music video — and we couldn’t be happier that these two incredible artists are able to be out and proud with their queerness.

Kiyoko was the director of this film and previous ones made from her album “Expectations.” By keeping the direction from her own perspective, she’s able to truly reach out and connect with queer women through her art. Myself included. Watching this video brought tears to my eyes. I felt so f*cking seen.

The music video opens on Kehlani moving out from what appears to be her mother’s home — and homophobic comments are made about “that girl.” Who just so happens to be Kiyoko. She pulls up in a beat-up little yellow car and the two women jet off together down a dirt road. As these musical powerhouses sing together, the video follows them falling in love in a bar and then being forced to hitch hike.

I’ll leave the ending a mystery so you can watch and swoon for yourselves.

The song is about queer love that is closeted on one side, as Kiyoko sings, “When we’re all alone, girl you wanna own it / When we’re with your fam, you don’t wanna show it.” And as Kiyoko belts out “What I need, what I need, what I need is for you to be sure, no naw nah” Kehlani comes running into her arms and they meet for the hottest make out ever surrounded by the desert.

Kiyoko continues to make queer hearts swell around the world. After decades of content that was ~aimed~ toward the lesbian community, but always made through the lens of the male gaze — we have been craving someone who actually gets us. Someone who understands and can speak to the nuances of queer love. Someone who can shine a light on the ways in which our love is valid and real and authentic and wild. Kiyoko does just that. With every song and video she creates, she gives queer women a beacon of hope. She gives closeted dykes a glimpse of what their future can hold.

Kiyoko is the lesbian pop star we’ve been waiting for.

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