"This is London. This is our culture and reflection of its appropriations." - Kojey Radical
Anger. Nostalgia. Hope. Ghanian-British poet Kojey Radical's piece "Bambu" is full of these powerful emotions, and its video is their perfect compliment.
Shot all over urban London, the spoken word artist uses the video as a stark backdrop for his poem's vivid images of life for marginalized people of different races. As the video opens with Kojey smoking several cigarettes all at once, we see him dance with a sense of urgency, and from the sound of the music, a seemingly impending sense of doom.
There are no vixens, opulent mansions or filigree in this video. Instead, viewers receive scathing social commentary over a melancholy, hypnotizing beat that forces viewers to listen to the knowledge being imparted upon them.
"Fractions of honesty divide people into factions: Those who will and those who actually will," Kojey emphatically states.
His timing could not be more more fitting. In a day and age where people of color are being murdered both in the U.S. and worldwide with little concern from government and civic officials, these words resonate for all of the wrong reasons. Kojey speaks out against the the capitalistic mindset that drives so many underprivileged people to aspire to make money instead of creating the fruitful and loving society for which they yearn.
A reference to the practice of skin bleaching may seem extreme to U.S. listeners, but this is a practice common in Africa and other parts of the world. Kojey makes it clear that Black is beautiful and people do not need to bleach their skin in order to meet Eurocentric standards of beauty and attractiveness.
"I ain't really worried about nothing," Kojey chants towards the end of this clip. No matter how bad things may be, he reminds us all to ready for what is coming. This call to action is currently in rotation on BBC Radio 1.