Friday, 15 April 2011

GUEST BLOG - Musa Okwonga and "Love, Against Homophobia".

My name's Musa Okwonga, and I'm a poet, musician and football writer (and once a keen player; I played for Stonewall FC for a couple of years, as a holding midfielder who ran forward too often.) This music video, “Love, Against Homophobia”, began life as a poem that I wrote in November 2009. I had just returned from Amsterdam, which has just about the friendliest gay scene on the planet, when I read of the rape and murder of Eudy Simelane, a South African footballer and lesbian activist. I was sickened both by the story and the fact that life could be so arbitrary – that you could be subjected to such horror merely by accident of birth. And so, listening to an appropriately angry piece of music (in this case, “Beaten Metal” by Antibalas), I put the finishing touches to the poem, with Simelane’s plight firmly in mind. A year later I read of the murder of David Kato, the gay activist who hails from my parents’ homeland of Uganda, and it was around then that we set the words to music, knowing that this was a theme that deserved wider attention. (“We” were The King’s Will, a two-man outfit where I wrote the words and Giles Hayter – a multitalented schoolfriend of mine, who is a painter, producer, composer and mathematician – made the electronica that would accompany my verse.) I recorded my vocal acapella, and Giles built a beat underneath it that was subtle, stirring and choral, before surging into something upbeat and triumphal. We advertised online for an animator who could bring life to the work, and that was when we were lucky enough to find Jae Hwang, a Korean animator working in London, who created the stunning 3-D video that you can now see on YouTube. Jae’s work on this was remarkable; he completed the video in a relatively short space of time, and contacted us halfway through the process to send us some stills of the final piece, which were so beautiful that we immediately selected one of them as the cover of our debut album. We also handcuffed ourselves to him and told him never to leave us (well, that’s not true, but he’s currently making the video for the lead single of our next album).

So there you have it: “Love, Against Homophobia”. I personally felt there were too few songs of an affirming nature when it came to gay rights, and so we set about making the best one that we could. We hope that you like it.

You can watch Musa's incredible video here.

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