2020 has been one of the craziest years to ever exist. That’s no surprise. During quarantine, a lot of racial injustice erupted. As an African American woman, I knew I wanted to use my voice but I wasn’t entirely sure how.
I began to wrestle with this idea I had for a video called “Goosebumps”. It was a visual project to the song by Travis Scott. I had been sitting on it for a while and I became gripped with the idea of if the world were to end, I don’t want to have all these ideas God gave me to just be sat on. I want to be a good steward of them all.
I believe that in the same way that pastors and leaders will have to give an account to God of the sheep they shepherded, artists will have to give an account of all the creative ideas they were entrusted with.
I decided to combine the idea I had and my desire to speak on racial injustice. Instead of the random cool clips that I originally saw that would be timed to the music, I decided to replace them with meaningful and impactful ones.
Originally I wanted this project to be a collaboration but after a while I resolved that it meant so much to me and felt so urgent that I would just take it on myself. There was a lot of anxiety and fear in that because I didn’t feel like I could effectively convey the vision God gave me. I felt like in order to get where it needed to go, I needed someone else to tell my story. But I got a very needed push from my best friend (as always) to just step out and try. She also was there on the day of the shoot for moral support.
Needless to say this piece has been a long time coming. Like I said, I’ve sat with the idea for a while and I’m not sure if I ever thought it would get to the point of other people seeing it but here we are! It’s nerve wrecking and exciting.
The song is a love song… in its own way. It discusses the negative emotions you feel when you’re NOT WITH with a thing you feel positively about. I thought what if I challenged that and told a visual story about the negative emotions you feel when you’re WITH a theoretically positive thing.
Plainly put for all my literal people, it speaks to the idea of the negative emotions of fear a lot of African Americans feel when they are around or see or hear police officers who are supposed to be a positive figure for people.
The car represents oppression and the bat represents the burden of racial injustice. So throughout you’ll see things on top of oppression. You’ll see people carrying the burden of racial injustice. You’ll see diversity because I think that’s important in this message and seeing solidarity. But most importantly, you’ll see the word because everything bows at the feet of Jesus.
Finding the location was easy because I saw a parking garage in my head from the beginning. There are a few ones that I knew off the top of my head in my city and so it was just a matter of choosing. However, parking garages are tricky because every one I’ve been on, I’ve been kicked off it. We went with one by a Main Event because it seemed like one where we could film and not many people would care. We didn’t have any issues, PTL.
For casting, I knew I wanted a strong black male as the lead. I had a couple options in mind and after another one fell through, I ended up going with Tavian Teage. He’s my friend who also happens to be my intern. I knew he would kill it. He has great style and is super creative so considering this was more of visual acting like with most of my projects, I figured it would be cake for him.
For the two supporting roles, I wanted to incorporate diversity. As I mentioned above, it’s a big part of this piece because I think it’s pivotal in the conversation. Solidarity goes a long way. I landed on using Chloe Hammer and Rachel Delos Santos. They are both absolute models and naturals. I had no question in their ability to do it, I just wanted to make sure they even wanted to lol.
This was a visual project, there were no scripts. There were a couple visuals I had right off the bat when listening to it. Then once it became a piece about racial injustice I knew I wanted to incorporate photos in the beginning timed to the music. The photos were taken by: Rachel Soh, Michael J. Spear, and Nordy.
I sat with the song and listened to it over and over again until I landed with an outline of clips that I felt made sense. I tried to list them all out so that on the shoot day, I knew exactly what I had to get.
Originally I wanted a vintage car for the shoot but the week of, my friend’s car that we were going to use stopped working which was such a bummer. But we ended up using Tavian’s car. I was so nervous that we were going to dent it from sitting on it lol but it worked out perfectly.
I wanted a very specific part of the song but I didn’t want it to sound choppy or rushed. I also didn’t trust myself to cut the song. So I enlisted the help of Jacob Hudson at Pine Studios. He was so gracious to help me out. The price was very reasonable and the turnaround was quick.
I filmed the whole thing in one day. It probably only took about an hour. The weather was pretty nice and we were in a parking garage so there was shade. It was a lot of fun and everyone seemed to really enjoy the process. It was all shot with natural light which made it a very easy shoot.
One of my closest friends, Tianna Shonyo, was there to take behind the scenes photos. She killed it and most of the photos you see in this post, except for a couple, were taken by her.
- Canon 5D mk iv
- Canon 50mm 1.2
I edited the whole thing on Adobe Premiere Pro. I made the end title graphic in Photoshop. I was able to turn the project around in a week because I had the bulk of it laid out in a sequence before hand.
There you have it, Goosebumps.