Russell Simmons: If You Think Music Videos Are Just About Women, Cars and Money, Think Again

The power of art is something I have been a witness throughout my whole life. I have seen grown men brought to tears by 16 bars in a rap record, I have seen young people changed because a pen and paper gave them a voice, I have seen women learn to love their bodies because dance taught them to love their imperfections. I know art changes people. I know art unlocks people’s hearts. I know art opens people’s eyes.

Art has the ability to say the things we cannot say, whether we are too afraid, too ignorant or too busy, art is there for us all. It has the ability to make us care about a stranger collecting trash in Brazil, a kid learning to dance in the Bronx, or a young couple’s quest to get married against their parent’s approval. Art makes us feel alive. It shakes us to our core when we are exposed to things we didn’t know. Art is crucial to living, to learning and to loving.

Today, art and technology have collided and the beauty of that collision means that art is accessible to more people than it ever has been. Recently two filmmakers Paola Mendoza and Topaz Adizes volunteered as teaching artists at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya with an organization called FilmAid. While there, they were inspired by the strength of the refugees they met, and decided to make a music video celebrating these brave people. When I saw the video I got chills. The song, “A Heavy Abacus” by The Joy Formidable, is fresh. The creativity of the video blew my mind. For those of us that are privileged to live in the U.S. we might not think about refugees very often but I can promise you, once you see this video you won’t be able to forget them.

To celebrate the power of art, I am pleased to share their video.

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