Elite Emcee, and Hip Hop legend, Common dropped a surreal yet beautiful short film as a companion piece to his recently released studio album Black America Again, following in the footsteps of the industry trend where artists release mini-movies or extended music videos to accompany their albums.
In this case, the Chicago emcee teamed up with director/producer Ava Duvernay, known for Selma and now her dramatic series on OWN “Queen Sugar” and the phenomenally talented cinematographer Bradford Young to explore the complexity of complexions and variances of what Blackness looks like in America.
The short introduces us to the children of our community, raw, unfiltered, and beautifully poised. It reminded me of the imagery recorded by Thomas Leveritt a couple years back when he created the short film “How The Sun Sees You” where he stood random New Yorkers in from of an ultraviolet camera and revealed to them just how their skin really looks, and how they look when they then apply sunscreen. The results of the experiment revealed the richness of Blackness in the fact that sunscreen under UV light, is in fact like applying black face.
The film also makes an interesting creative choice of highlighting a recurring Black monolith something similar to Tycho Magnetic Anomaly-1 from Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, almost as if he’s alluding to an origin that exists or originates beyond the Earth, which speaks to the idea that America as well as the world, has always been Black, and is slowly transforming again.
If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check it out below.