In October last year, Usher and Nas released an interactive video via Tidal for the politically charged, confronting song Chains. The video was created to confront viewers with the realities of police brutality, aligning with the lyrics of the song. How? By using the viewer’s webcam to monitor their eye movement. Every time they looked away from the video, it paused and commanded “Don’t look away.”
The video resumed only if and when user’s eyes focused on the video again. The video showed images and descriptions of police brutality victims. You can still watch the interactive version of the video on Tidal, however the duo have now released the standard version and it’s sending chills up the spines of many viewers.
The black and white clip opens with the American flag and snippets of the pledge of allegiance “liberty and justice for all.” The video cuts between Usher being followed by police, footage of crumbling guns and handcuffs and scenes from within a church where a funeral service is taking place.
It isn’t until later we realise, along with Usher who at this point has been shot, that this is his funeral. There is no guessing why this video has been made, with Usher and Nas being two of many artists who have spoken about police brutality directed at people of color through their music. Pointedly, Kendrick Lamar‘s song Alright has been chanted at rallies, while Vic Mensa joined the protests over the murder of teenager Laquan McDonald who was shot 16 times by police officer Jason Van Dyke.