Usher linked up with Nas and Bibi Bourelly back in October for an arresting debut of the song “Chains.” The Tidal exclusive asked listeners to turn on their webcams and view the faces of young black Americans recently murdered while unarmed. If you averted your eyes, the song stopped, with the screen asking that you “don’t look away.” The experience concluded with the line, "Facing the facts is the first step towards change"; a supplementary website provided information on each of the victims.
Today’s black-and-white "Chains" video, directed by Ben Louis Nicholas, is a suitably affecting follow-up.
In the visual, kids holding signs reading “Just Following Orders” and “Am I Next?” rap Nas’ verse, which features lines like “I am no prison commodity, not just a body you throw in a cell” and “Yelling at Senators, Presidents, Congressmen / We got a problem that needs some acknowledgement.”
At one point Usher is seen riding in the back of a police car, shot in the stomach. Tinged with American flag imagery and chalky dust permeating the air, it’s an unsettling video you won’t easily forget.