OBEY Music Video Premiere by The Uhuruverse

OBEY by The Uhuruverse is the single off of The Brightest Oddest Strangest Star You Ever Did Saw Up Close And Afar From Planet Earth To Mars And Beyond. The video album is set to be released on January 1st, 2018 on all online platforms. The album primarily features the music production of Onelle Woods and Tre Seoul, long-time collaborators of The Uhuruverse. The Cinematographer of the video, Oscar Fernando Galeana, captures something very retro about this song that harkens back to other amazing music and video oeuvres like Thriller and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Indeed, The Uhuruverse becomes your irresistible host on this wild ride through an empowered and utopic atmosphere that is anything but ordinary.  

The artists

You may know The Uhuruverse as the Lead Guitarist of the LA-based punk band FUPU (FUCK U PAY US). Her work as a solo artist parallels the themes that FUPU tackles in their music: empowerment for Black people with an emphasis on Black women of all gender identities. However, her solo work strays from a more decidedly punk music genre and incorporates, rap, hip hop, and ska. Onelle Woods, producer of the OBEY track relates:

"The chant that The Uhuruverse spits over this track was decided to be used as a mnemonic device to instill the theory of freedom via knowledge of self. This particular track really drives that message home. Plus, not to toot my own horn...but the fuckin' thing bumps!"

The song's groove is made flesh via twerking, dips, and hair flips that pull you in and turn you on. Many of the actors in this video are real life members of the #SNATCHPOWER artist collective, but the video borderlines science fiction by showing you that a slice of Femme paradise is waiting just behind the sultry curtain of a strip club. Part escapism, part reality building through event curation, #SNATCHPOWER creatives sondriaWrites, Xia Gemini, Diggz Graves, and Semi demonstrate a relishing play with both dominant and submissive roles. Their provocative styling is beautifully executed by Xia Gemini herself, bringing forth a BDSM dimension to the stage that is crucial to the story telling of this video. The exotic dancers represented in the raw footage of an actual LA underground stage performance at Cheetah's Hollywood are demonstrating a similar emboldened expertise in their moves. 

The video features some clothing designs from fashion's underground sweetheart L.O. Class Art including the getup on The Uhuruverse. This latex and vinyl outfit glistens with enlightened love-light in the ominous alleys and along-side the friendly stripper poles at the Femme dance party  called Club Clit. Its really an example of what L.O. Class Art does best: adorning the smoldering performers/muses of Los Angeles. Other eye-catching outfits in the video have to be the cheer leader pieces that are emblazoned with the words "slut" and "bimbo" in very clean and official bubble writing.

 

The Lyrics

The Uhuruverse makes a striking connection between the dom/sub culture and government oppression against the masses by playing the role of dom in OBEY. At the beginning of this video, a number of characters are seemingly established as submissive characters. Later those submissives and their dom enter a strip club very different from the norm. There are mostly women or Femme identified people inside who seem to mesh better with a disobey message. From the stage, The Uhurverse raps:

 "Disobey, Disobey/There are no rules, misbehave/Fuck the government, have a hay day/Never give another spirit the power to oppress you/kill your master, don't let them arrest you/Self-preserve, don't outsource protection"

If these lyrics don't speak to you, you're already dead. The audience at Club Clit that night can certainly relate. This event , as created by Cleo Harris(aka Daddy Rose) already attracts rebels against the patriarchy, but consider the liberties taken against our American freedoms as of late. Fortunately, their response is a resilient one, a subversive one. Hey, can't keep your subs happy America? We'll just pop a bottle and move on. If our current government administration applied to be our dom, then it failed miserably. We said our safety word, but it was ignored. A good dom does not make rules that are likely to be broken. Making rules that have lots of exceptions makes the rules of a dom seem empty, which is why this is avoided at all costs. Needless to say, American government is not a good dom. Their rules are too easy to brake, and their punishments are disproportionate to the crimes with so much inconsistency and bias. Maybe BDSM lifestyle seems scary to some, but what really freaks me out is people’s complacency with the status quo--aka our real American life. Luckily, our stylish shero The Uhuruverse thought the record needed to be set straight. Have you ever seen subs behave more freely? And not to mention the obvious pleasure that is taken when a dom is done right. The best example of this in the OBEY video is when dom Uhuru takes a moment to brush someone's hair. That O face on performer Phat Mickie speaks volumes. There is no question. The Master is dead here.

 

The Visuals

Cinematographer Oscar Fernando Galeana created such suspense and buildup in the this video. Going out at night was rendered empowering and idyllic. The safe space that exists around the making of this video is just a small taste of the collaborations that lead to its creation. Oscar states:

"Uhuru worked with me as an actress on my short film Love After Meth. We had fun shooting it...and I guess she liked the look of my style. The video OBEY was shot on the spot, using just natural ambient light inspired by 90s Punk music videos and soft porn."

The graininess of the shots and in-the-moment camera moves help the viewer feel in the midst of it all. It certainly makes me think twice about how I'm spending my recreational time, when such genuine joy and inclusive artistry is happening in Los Angeles. Away from the banalities of spotlights and camera tricks, something real and surreal was thankfully documented and stylized. More music videos are on the horizon from The Uhuruverse soon!

 

Cinematography: Oscar Fernando Galeana

Video Location: Cheetah's Hollywood

Event: Daddy Rose's Club Clit

Fashion Designer: L.O. Class Art

Fashion Stylist: Xia Gemini

Hair & MUA: RaRa Von D