I miss traveling. I miss smelling different dirt. Making real human exchanges. While things may have undergone a bit of a deconstruction, music is keeping me connected. There are a few methods I give credit to bringing me back when I’m feeling distant. In those moments when I’m feeling lost in the universe, I dance. I create space where I can, and if I can’t, I pulse my limbs. Blink my eyes. Shift my hips. You are a human and moving helps us connect.
“Change” immediately stood out as one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums released in 2020. The album is Upward Spiral, the artist is Blakkamoore. I was thrilled to see a video drop that represented the beauty I had heard in the song that quickly built a home in my heart.
Choreography is thriving in 2020. From Tik Tok tutorials to endless Afrobeats video playlists, everyone is finally dancing. Blakkamoore’s new video “Change” blesses us all by projecting KYx Kajiiko and crew from Kampala, Uganda tearing it up in the yard. This ancient art of dance is the invitation we all need to clear up some space on the floor and join the movement. This is a conscious body movement. We are watching people move us to move with intention. “Change” matches song with video in an alchemy of modern magic which seeks to connect humans with their ability to shift together toward a brighter tomorrow.
“It’s a song about the plights we all face in society today with homelessness and global wars,” says Blakkamoore. “This record speaks to the hearts of those who see and feel the need for a shift in the way we do things in the world.”
The “Change” Video reflects this sentiment well. This is the message we catch when we hear Blakkamoore sing
“See the beggar deh pon the roadside / meanwhile working people them a pass by and ah step over. We all walking pon a thin line. Same time. Say they no have no time to waste. Inna this yah Rat Race.”
We all know the feeling. We want to love the world and be part of it, but on our own schedule. When we are ready and have the time. Not when it presents itself as an obstacle. Our mis-intentions are our obstacles though. Our non-cooperation holds us back. Our reluctance to stop and refocus our hustle collectively will continue to be our undoing. It stops and starts everyday when we open your eyes.
A while back, Alexis Isabel tweeted “idk who needs to hear this but you are significantly closer to being homeless than you will ever be to being a billionaire, have some class solidarity and stop glorifying your oppressors.”
We also hear that as we watch the “Change” video. There are no fancy watches or cars to lust after in this work. We are watching people. The vibrant everyday folks of this good green, brown and blue earth. This call for an awareness of real class solidarity is a global human movement. We artists worldwide doing works to jostle us up and recognize the thin line we as the majority tread upon together, always a step away from losing it all. It’s time for the shift. It is the ability of video to present this heavy calling with an inspiring optimism. Capturing a multitude of scenes, from Ethiopia where videographer Birhan Tonge’s mother lives, to legendary Tuff Gong studios in Kingston Jamaica; the “Change” video is itself traveling through the beauty of the everyday world. It’s moving throughout the in-betweens. We are seeing all different kinds of hustles happening. Scenes of the city hustle. Scenes of skatepark hustle. Scenes of studio hustle. All the while – people are moving. Projected to your screen are various stages and settings of humanity thriving while enduring suffering. Who are we really looking to? What message are we following? Where is the leg up?
But look at the dancers. Look at them. Are we watching? Are we looking to the dancers enough? Are we learning from them? They are the bliss. When you throw this video up on the screen, they are the inspiration that comes through. Remember that modern magic still thrives in humanity. It is a vehicle for human expression projection. Blakkamoore has supplied a pivotal foundation to nourish our backbone, but through the video it’s KYx Kajiiko and crew from Kampala, Uganda who are showing us the way to be liberated in concert. Big them up a million times and more again. Are we respecting the work and the time that it takes to make a motion? Such physical beauty reflected onto the lenses waking our senses. Moving with intention. Cooperating to make something greater. Spreading happiness worldwide by reminding everyone that movement happens together. Dancing in the yard is an ancient art. It will always be hip and human. It will always be a solution for peace in the moment. The campaign of the shift is to move money from Wall Street and the 1% into the pockets of the people and especially to those who promote dance, togetherness, and peace. To move energy. To change alliances. To shift our focus. How many mornings did the dancers wake to work their show? Watch the intention. “Where will the world be if them no wan’t make change?”
All praises due to Blakkamoore. If y’all are not familiar, GET THERE. Upward Spiral is an ever eclectic and diverse journey of an album. The deluxe version dropped on Nov 13. This record carries some of the most stylistic changes while maintaining some of the steadiest flow I’ve heard on a full length work in a long time. Certainly one of my favorites of 2020. It’s exactly the mix of music I’ve been looking to listen to. While I continue to be excited to watch Blakkamoore create, I will be diving into Upward Spiral for many spins. It continues to give. It was “Change” that got me hooked though and I was excited to hear more about its inspiration and creation from the artists themselves.
“Change is a special song for me because of how it came about” says Blakkamoore. “I was on a short tour in Munich Germany with M1 of the hip-hop group Dead Prez when I met 58 Beats a.k.a. Markus Klammer. I got to go back the next year with Moon to play a festival and my tour manager Mathias took us to Markus studio, while Moon was on his way to fly out. Moon came in and laid the guitar down in one take and had to dash. After he left me and Markus did the drums and bass and “Change” was born.”
Guitarist and producer of Upward Spiral Andrew Moon Bain recollects “I had to dash to catch the flight, Blakkamoore flight was a few hours later so he stayed and laid the bass and his vocals, then Glam did all the drums and the horns….I got home with this track in my inbox”
We applaud the preparation and efforts made in transient times. You can hear the travel in this tune. Peace and love through music is a worldwide effort. Output from great artists helps us all recognize how important inspiration is and that it can come from anywhere anytime, especially if your skills are sharp like this crew. The “Change” video moves like a traveler sees. Not the tourist; the traveler. We are all tourists here. When we travel, we learn to recognize each other. Thanks to this stunning video collage of movement and motion, we can travel together in concept during a time when we are physically bound to our locales. May this be a meditation for your motion.