AFROPUNK Cinema Noir: Desire Marea Teams Up With Imraan Christiaan For Visuals To The New Single “Be Free”.
By Thembela Ngayi
February 15, 2023
Nothing excites me more than witnessing artists from different disciplines coming together to create groundbreaking works of art. For a couple of days, I’ve been seeing teaser content from South African artist, Desire Marea about the visuals for his new single “Be Free” coming from his soon to drop project “On the Romance of Being“. I’m a sucker for concept based and beautifully executed visuals, so when I heard that Imraan Christian was directing this video, I was engulfed in goosebumps because his work always goes above and beyond anyone’s expectations.
Desire is known for his known for her unique and experimental style of music that blends elements of electronic, pop, and avant-garde genres, and on the other hand, Imraan is herald as maverick that creates visuals from an other worldly spiritual perspective. Their collaboration has pushed the boundaries of both music and visual art, creating a truly immersive and unique experience for audiences. By blending their respective mediums, they have created a world that is both familiar and otherworldly, transporting listeners and viewers to a place beyond their imagination.
On “Be Free” Desire Marea subtly judges a former lover on his inability to accept himself. The song journeys from tense percussive jazz to a gospel-esque swell of horns and synth, representative of the lovers’ stubbornness and yearning to be free.
Speaking on the track, Desire Marea comments: “One of my heroes, Marlon Riggs, said “Black men loving black men is THE revolutionary act”. ‘Be Free’ is a love story about two black men loving each other through the crisis of masculinity. It’s set in South Africa’s hypermasculine world of taxi gangs, one of the many places where gay men exist often under a layer of oppression that’s in addition to the homophobic violence of the world at large. It was important for me to tell this story because love, even under such conditions, is always a story worth telling. And freedom is always something worth fighting for. I am grateful to the team and to Imraan for the passion, care and nuance he gave to this story.”
The video’s director Imraan Christian adds: “When Desire reached out to me about creating a film together, I was overjoyed as I’ve always found his work to be at the forefront of creativity. He told me about the story he had written and it resonated with me deeply as I’ve lost a loved one recently to the struggles of addiction and love. There was something universal in Desire’s writing and my intention was then to bring a strong emotional and cinematic approach to making the film.
As captured in the video for “Be Free”, expressions of being through eroticism are prevalent throughout Desire Marea’s work. He notes the erotic as a lifeforce beyond traditional reproductive notions: “The spirit likes to touch itself, it does so through other people, the spirit experiences itself through the erotic”. Lyrically, the album reflects on notions of truth, romance, sexuality, seduction and connection to nature through a kaleidoscopic spiritual lens.
Watch the video below:
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