Today we bring you Blackitude, a new music video from Montreal hip-hop artist Vox Sambou, filmed in Batey San Luis in the Dominican Republic by Ariel Mota.
This latest video builds on a trajectory of socially conscious, contemporary hip-hop that has established Sambou as a key figure on the progressive front of the Rap Kreyòl movement.
Sambou’s work has long explored the vast history of anti-colonial resistance of the Haitian people, from the 1804 revolution until now. Today, as the people of Haitian continue to struggle for justice and dignity in the context of a UN-lead military occupation and massive corruption surrounding the international NGO complex that landed in Haiti in the days after the massive January, 2010 earthquake, Sambou’s work is as important as ever.
Looking beyond Haiti, the latest video by Sambou is a call for unity and solidarity across the African diaspora.
“Blackitude is inspired by Nelson Maca, poet, professor and activist in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. The song’s theme is ‘negritude’ and the larger African diaspora,” writes Sambou.
The track features Juan Garzon Brown on percussion, Diegal Leger (Rawgged MC via Nomadic Massive) on bass, Jason Sharp on Baritone saxophone, and Sanya Michel-Elie on backup vocals. It is featured on the upcoming second album by Sambou set to be released in the summer of 2012.
“It was powerful to shoot this video in Batey San Luis, where Haitian workers were slaves on sugar plantations in the Dominican Republic,” explains Sambou in an interview with Art Threat, “all the people in the video are Haitians born in Dominican Republic, they don’t even speak Haitian Creole anymore but they are still connected to Haiti and the African diaspora”
“Many Haitian workers, despite being born in Dominican Republic, do not have any status,” outlines Sambou. “Haitians face major human rights violations, they are struggling every day, living in communities often without electricity or water, without access to education.”
Sambou shot the video in a spiritual community center in Batey San Luis and employs both the rythms and colors that evoke reflection on not only the African diaspora but also the power of resistance and struggle for justice.
“As Haitians from the African Diaspora we are connected through the drum,” continues Sambou, “the drum connects us today to our the past, to our traditions, also the drum brings us together in the present and into the future, we will all leave but the drum will remain.”