ALA.NI & Adrian Younge – Lament for Emmett Till (Amazon Original) [Official Video]
Today, ALA.NI released her video for the Adrian Younge-produced single â€œLament for Emmett Tillâ€ (Amazon Original). The video was directed by ALA.NI and animated by RUFFMERCY, known for his music video work for Run The Jewels, Thom Yorke, Danny Brown, Earl Sweatshirt, and many more. The achingly-beautiful song was originally released on August 28th to memorialize the 65th anniversary of Tillâ€™s death. In â€œLament for Emmett Till,” ALA.NI recites a 1955 poem of the same name by the radical activist, journalist and organizer Claudia Jones over Adrian Youngeâ€™s lush, cinematic production. NPR featured the song in â€œWe Insist: A Timeline Of Protest Music In 2020â€ and KCRW recently named it â€œTodayâ€™s Top Tune.â€ The song is available to stream and purchase on Amazon Music.
â€œThe death of Emmett Till illuminates the expendability of black lives in America,â€ says
Adrian Younge. â€œWe must continue to highlight the atrocities that plague our system, this incident serving as a catalyst that galvanized the black community against racism and social injustice.â€
â€œIt has been a real experience uniting with Adrian Younge on this Emmett Till protest project,â€ says ALA.NI. â€œWe had to record outside of our normal way of working together, which is usually at his L.A studio. But due to COVID-19, we worked remotely. Me in Paris and London, Adrian in L.A. Something neither of us like to do, but we found a way, across the high seas, connecting our musical bond. The song is important to us both to deliver. The message needs to be heard. JUSTICE.â€
ALA.NI is an official ambassador of The Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, which supports the campaign to seek justice for Till. The Foundation is currently asking the public to sign a petition demanding the FBI release the findings of their recent reinvestigation into his murder as a matter of urgency. All proceeds from the â€œLament for Emmett Tillâ€ (Amazon Original) will be donated to the foundation, you can sign/share the petition HERE.
On August 28th 1955, at the age of just 14, Emmett Louis Till was kidnapped, brutally beaten and murdered after being wrongfully accused of making sexual advances towards a white female clerk, Carolyn Bryant, at a Mississippi grocery store. His murderers were acquitted, only to then confess in a paid magazine interview months later knowing they couldnâ€™t be retried. After his mother bravely decided to have an open-casket funeral, Till posthumously became a symbol of the Civil Rights movement. With his mutilated, unrecognizable body laying bare the brutal reality of the Jim Crow era for all to see, over 100,000 people came to visit the casket and pay their respects to Till as his body lay there for five days.
Inspiring huge demonstrations and condemnations from the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks (who once remarked: â€œI thought about Emmett Till, and I couldnâ€™t go back [to the back of the bus]â€), Tillâ€™s death is widely cited as playing an instrumental part in galvanizing what would become the decades-long struggle for African-Americans to live a life free of racial discrimination and state-sanctioned violence. A struggle that is still being fought tooth and nail today. More info on Tillâ€™s story can be found on the ETLF website HERE.
Although the FBI may have reopened the case and â€˜The Emmett Till Anti-lynching Actâ€™ (which seeks to make lynching a federal crime) is currently making its way through the US judiciary system, justice for Till still remains far out of reach, not least because Republican Senator Rand Paul is controversially blocking the bill, and Carolyn Bryant herself admitted in a 2007 interview that she had lied about the events that led to Tillâ€™s murder.