To put it bluntly: We're living in fucked up times. The refugee crisis, the seemingly endless mass shootings, the very existence of Trump in American politics, the reactive fear mongering, the retaliatory responses. As much as music can be, and is, a source of escapism and joy, so it is also an art form that can galvanize—it communicates in a way that can cut through color and creed, spreading a message more potently and swiftly than a painting or poem.
Bibi Bourelly has already established herself as a one-to-watch songwriter, a young and outspoken talent who wants her work to connect for more than those three minutes at the club, and today we're premiering the video for her song "Riot." It's a short, stark acoustic number, her voice defiant and huskily emotional clarion call as she sings: "Fist up till I stop breathing."
Meanwhile the black and white video intercuts news footage, protests against police brutality, Pride parades, Malala speaking, refugee rescue boats carrying their precious cargo, with Bibi singing on the floor of her living room, unadorned.
The song was written before the Orlando shootings that took place this weekend, but in the wake of this senseless tragedy her words take on a new and brutal poignancy.
Yesterday, Bibi wrote this:
Sometimes when I'm on a plane, flying from country to country, city to city, chasing this peculiar dream of mine... I look down at the world beneath me and realize what we really are in the grand scheme of things. If you pay close attention, when the plane is just taking off you can faintly see people in action, living their own lives. It's ironic and charming in a weird way because they're not even aware that someone else is admiring them with fascination from a different angle of the world, as they walk this distinctive earth of ours.
Thousands of tiny, moving heads eventually blend in with the landscape as the aircraft rises higher. The large swaying trees that appear to be so mighty from the ground, shrink into what appears to be green fragments of leaves... and by the time we reach the clouds, everything that we thought to be its own individual thing, every detail of anything that we ever considered to exist on its own, melts into the the scenery and we become one.
We are all one from the clouds
We are not our genders
We are not our religions
We are not our races
We are not our opinions
We are not our doubts, insecurities or fears...
We are not one voice, we are a roaring crowd.
We are the land and sky; We are an ambiguous mixture of every color that exists under the sun.
We are all in this together and we are responsible for each other.
Everything you do or say matters to us, whether you realize it or not.
Love infinitely. At all costs no matter what.
praying 4 Orlando
(and the rest of the entire world.)
Fighting 4 our future.
New society 4 the unity of all.