Saul Williams walks barefoot through the streets of Ferguson in the video for "The Noise Came From Here," off his recent album MartyrLoserKing. He paces the place where Michael Brown was felled, and then onward down W Florissant Ave to nail salon, The Nail Trap, where he sits for a pedicure.
Walking with Williams in the video are two men who have plodded many, many miles in Ferguson: Marcellus Buckley, a poet and a good friend of Michael Brown; and Reverend Osagyefo Sekou, who was arrested while he knelt in prayer during the protests in Ferguson following Brown's death.
In Ferguson, artists like Williams have played the role of both "cultural workers and also movement leaders," Rev. Sekou explained in an email to The FADER. "The streets of Ferguson are a symphony of the sacred and profane. The sonic landscape is a mix of chants, hip hop beats, and freedom songs," he wrote. "They are in strategy sessions, holding politicians accountable, and offering programmatic and proximate solutions to our insufferable and insoluble problems. Art not only prefigures possibility—it acts as a salve to a wounded people—transforming them into wounded healers."
Buckley added that, "As a front line activist in the Mike Brown movement the role of music has been one of our biggest inspirations, but over time our actions have influenced musicians and artists to speak out against injustice and inequality everywhere."
Watch the powerful, Anisia Uzeyman-directed video for "The Noise Came From Here" above, and read a poem written by Williams to accompany the video below. "The Noise Came From Here" is off MartyrLoserKing, which is available now via FADER Label.
A statement from Williams:
The shaman claps around the ritual ground. There are many martyr loser kings. we will bring them all back thru many means....i'm a candle. chop my head a million times, i still burn bright and stand.
the conveyer belt of black life watches one shot down while yet another rises up.
u can't kill us all.
"Headquarters for the police worth a billion. They make a killing"
"Dancing on the corpses ashes"