There’s a new trend in entertainment, repurposing the lyrics of artists like Tupac (Holler If Ya’ Hear Me on Broadway) and now, a new web series, Griot’s Lament does the same with the King of Pop’s lyrics. It is excellently done and one of the most innovative web series that I’ve seen in a long time and it comes from director, Aleks Munoz.
Here is what the Director had to say about his latest effort, “My next film “GRIOT”S LAMENT” applies Michael Jackson’s lyrics to the artists’ ongoing exploration of metamorphosis as a threshold of change, and as medium for identifying political and social injustices .”
An innocent black man was killed, and we are that injustice” sang Michael alongside his sister Janet in the song SCREAM. I use “recontexualization” of these lyrics to revisit the killings of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, and the countless number of innocent youths that have fallen prey to violence in Southwest Chicago.
“They don’t care about us” was shouted as a veiled response to the Rodney King beating , but could it have also been a foretelling or foreshadowing of the tragic humanitarian failures incurred during Hurricane Katrina? One violent scene in the film is staged to replicate the horrific Rodney King beating. The film asks the question, as Michael did repeatedly via his music: How culpable are WE… when society cannot fully function in the realm of justice?
The character “Griot” is the conduit for Michael’s often overlooked and under recognized political orientation, a perspective that is often over shadowed by the glow and power of his popular music and larger than life persona. I began writing Griot’s Lament the night that Michael left us. In my heart , it is my sincere hope that Griot’s Lament is a fitting tribute to the King of Pop, whose music is the soundtrack to much of my life.”
The film uses formerly incarcerated youth from Munoz’s FYI FILMS by Youth Inside, which empowers incarcerated youth via story telling and digital film making.
Check out Episode 1 of Griot’s Lament below.