Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark, New Jersey has a powerful message
Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark, New Jersey has a powerful message to deliver in the midst of national protest in the US and a global health pandemic.
Known primarily as an educator, author and politician, the Mayor also uses spoken word and music as a form of expression. In 2019, he collaborated with renowned Grammy award winning producer Jerry "Wonda" Duplessis to produce a five track spoken word EP album entitled "What We Want".
Premiering today, is the video for the title track, "What We Want", a riveting, rhythmatic, thought provoking message that artfully addresses systemic oppression and social injustices.
'What We Want and What We Believe'
According to Mayor Ras Baraka the inspiration for "What We Want" came from slogans used during the civil rights movement in the 1960's by organizations such as the Black Panther and the Nation of Islam. "It is from the perspective of how I was feeling; What would I want if I was in a position to make demands and what would those demands be? Is it freedom, justice, equality?" he said.
"The message is more relevant now with the unrest in the black community and the protest around equality and justice, he added. "We need more than justice in the moment - we need an overhaul of our systems. This is our opportunity as a people and world citizens to address the root of the larger issues that affect all our communities and the injustices that we deal with."
The video was shot in November 2019 at the historic landmark Newark Symphony Hall and is a symbolic representation of "protest art". It was directed by international award-winning director Udi Aloni and with Newark-based filmmaker Ayana Stafford-Morris.
Listen to the full EP here
Watch the video here