Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death is a new video by artist, director, and award-winning cinematographer Arthur Jafa. Set to the searing highs and lows of Kanye West’s gospel-inspired hip-hop track, “Ultralight Beam,” Love Is The Message is a masterful convergence of found footage that traces African-American identity through a vast spectrum of contemporary imagery. From photographs of civil rights leaders watermarked with “Getty Images” to helicopter views of the LA Riots to a wave of bodies dancing to “The Dougie,” the meticulously edited 7-minute video suspends viewers in a swelling, emotional montage that is a testament to Jafa’s profound ability to mine, scrutinize, and reclaim media’s representational modes and strategies. Alongside segments of familiar Black icons and historic events are also scenes featuring lesser known figures: anonymous bodies in various states of elation and despair.
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