#DontLookAway: Nas & Usher's 'Chains' Video Demands Your Attention
Usher Raymond just dropped an powerfully emotive new track called “Chains,” which he completed in collaboration with Nas and Bibi Bourelly. The Tidal exclusive track was unveiled in one of the most interesting ways to date. In order to hear the song, listeners must use either Google Chrome or Firefox with their video cameras turned on.
Why, you ask? Well, it seems that the tech minds at Tidal are tagging something called “Don’t Look Away,” which forces you to stare into the eyes of unarmed victims of gun violence in the United States. From Rekia Boyd to Trayvon Martin to Ramarley Graham — the software knows when you turn away from the screen, pausing the song and commanding you to continue starring.
This pretty impactful maneuver falls in line with Usher and Nas’s modus operandi. The former has held his “Usher’s New Look” since 1999, while the latter has not only spoke truth to power in rhymes but backed it up with his hip-hop fellowship at Harvard’s Hutchins Center. Both artists address racial injustice and police brutality amidst Usher’s haunting “We still in chains / We still in chains” refrain.
Continually more and more black lives are coming under fire. Most recently, Jason Goolsby and two friends were arrested nearby a Washington, D.C. ATM for making a white woman feel “uncomfortable”. Meanwhile in Virginia, a police union head is calling for the boycott of a pumpkin patch that features the #BlackLivesMatters sign.
Usher, Nas and Bibi Bourelly create an interactive experience that pays respect to the names, ages and stories of those lose. Those images of men and women, boys and girls, such as Sean Bell and Sandra Bland fuel the vitriol that you hear in Nasir Jones’ voice when he says, “We’ve got a problem that needs to be solved.”
No words can actually do the video justice, yet “Chains” will go down this year as a powerful conviction of an artist’s willingness to draw a line in the sand and plead for awareness. It is not just people of color who need to adhere this video, it is up to those on the right side of goodness and honor to honor these notes and not look away from the horrors that our human family is facing.
Hit the link here and prepare to have your heart and soul tugged on by these three righteous artists.