Notes on Common's Black America Again (Visual)
By Jaylin Paschal
Contemporary politics have both awakened and revamped the music careers of several artists, including hip hop extraordinaire Common. Although Common's music has always been "woke," his message is now more tailored and fine tuned with a specific agenda: political reform and social justice for black liberation. He's calling out specific perpetrators of injustice, rather than just the mere concept or existence of injustice. He's listing off both crimes against humanity and ways to right these wrongs. And all of this work is culminated in his most recent, most important album, Black America Again.
Common has also released a compelling visual for Black America Again, under the same title. The 21-minute short film was brilliant and poignant, no surprise, when considering that Ava DuVernay was the executive producer.
Black America Again is an emotional visual for an emotional album. In a visually arresting production, Common uses his platform to expand upon his thoughts regarding the condition of the black community.
Opening with footage from the murder of Alton Sterling, Black America Again is a heartbreaking story that develops with powerful imagery, including shots of Malcolm X. Close ups of grieving black men and women are arranged thoughtfully (and gorgeously) to weave in between these clips and footage of Common rapping alongside a percussionist.
Stevie Wonder closes the track with a painful, hopeful, soulful outro.
Watch the video below.