Issues videos and songs from artists are nothing new. We see them almost daily in the flow of email through the office. Most frequent topics are "teen bullying" and "mental health". In all honesty a large number of these videos feel genuinely cynical. Artist management or their label has directed the artist in an attempt to raise their profile by making a song and accompanying video around the issue of the moment. The end result feels contrived and in-authentic and we are not sure they do much either way.
The best of this genre however can move the dial and spark a real cultural conversation and make us feel. Mostly we all want to feel joy and inspiration but sometimes we need to be angry to galvanize us.
Childish Gambino's "This is America
" and Gary Clark Jr's "This Land
" are leading the charge in the discussion on race relations. They are pissed off and so should we all be with the regressive period we seem to be in.
Michael Franti & Spearhead are today's entrant to the Issues genre. We all know this artist has the enviable position of being a summer party band. Like the Weber Grill commercials of the guy in a parka, we know summer is around the corner when he announces his annual tour. But today we are in the depths of winter and there are very good reasons to feel despair.
Mr. Franti and newcomer Victoria Canal have crafted a song and video that takes on the epidemic of Gun Violence and its legion of victims and spins a message of hope, healing and passion that will stop you, make you angry about the senselessness of it all and then feel the triumph of the human spirit.
He tipped his hand on his album promo video released in October 2018 that we all need to "laugh hard, cry when we need to, to dance wildly, to fight for what you believe in, love with your whole heart, when you fail – get back up."
Spare and beautiful, the faces of the video will stay with you.
Let's join and help move us all beyond hate and violence.
Join Michael Franti and TOMS Shoes in supporting Everytown.org