GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING musician, Koffee, is paying tribute to victims of police killings and racial inequality with her new video.
Released yesterday, the visuals to accompany the Jamaican artist’s latest single, Pressure, feature scenes of protests against racial injustice.
Sending the message that the revolution will be televised, demonstrations featuring protestors holding placards declaring “Black Lives Matter” appear on TV sets.
While the lyrics to Pressure have an overall theme of perseverance, with the visuals Koffee is also using her platform to amplify calls for unity and justice.
“I can fully feel the weight of the decades of oppression and abuse”
Special mention is given to a number of individuals who have been killed by police in the US or are victims of fatal racially motivated attacks.
A pair of trainers appear in shot before the name Ahmaud appears on screen – a reference to 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot while jogging. A convenience store precedes the appearance of the name Trayvon (Martin), who was killed by a neighbourhood watch officer after buying skittles; a bed is pictured before the name Breonna appears. Breonna Taylor was shot while asleep in her home after officers raided her home. The name Philando (Castile) follows the visual of a car, while George (Floyd) appears against a backdrop of clouds towards the video’s end.
The video is a result of a collaboration between Koffee and Canadian director Alicia K Harris, whose most recent work PICK, broke a record when it won a Canadian Screen Award for best live action drama, making her the first black woman to win.
Although the track, written by Koffee and produced by Ryan Bailey, was recorded some time ago, it was not until the global lockdown that the idea for the creative visuals were born.
“These shots are meant to give us hope, and to remind us not to give up, because change is upon us”
Director Alicia K Harris
Koffee said: “My people, as we witness the constant injustice towards our brothers and sisters, we must stand together. I may be young, but I can fully feel the weight of the decades of oppression and abuse towards not only black Americans, but black people all over the world. We cannot let all the lives lost be in vain. We must fight for freedom and fight against injustice. We are all in this together. None of us are free until all of us are free.”
Harris said: “My intention with this video was to make the viewer see absence. I wanted to show that black people are being taken from the physical world at alarming rates and to explore this idea that we are simultaneously hyper-visible (and then targeted) but also invisible, in that there is rarely any justice for our deaths. The colour red is also used to symbolise this dichotomy, externalising both love and anger.”
Harris added: “To protest the isolation and the emptiness of the other scenes, I wanted to use the protest footage, people flooding the streets to fight for justice to show that we are not alone in this fight. Like Koffee’s powerful song, these shots are meant to give us hope, and to remind us not to give up, because change is upon us.”
Since the release of the single Pressure last month it has been named Radio 1’s record of the week and achieved over 2 million combined streams.