Sekou Andrews shares love letter to hate in new work

Cities are burning. Hearts are broken. The knee of racism is once again crushing the windpipe of Black America. With a nation fighting two pandemics, comes the world premiere of Love Says from award-winning Los Angeles-based poet Sekou Andrews.

The third single and video from his Grammy-nominated album Sekou Andrews & The String Theory, “Love Says” is a powerful poem about the double-edged relationship between love and hate, and the need for the fight for freedom, justice and equality to be anchored in love.

Sekou’s piece is meant for the victims, family and community members, and allies who are struggling to discern between the voice of rage screaming into their right ear, and the voice of love whispering into their left.

Hatred and injustice have been pandemics in America long before COVID-19 showed up. Both viruses have the potential to isolate people from each other, or bring them together in new ways. Both have the potential to suffocate hope or breathe life into change. Both are real. Both are making it harder to breathe these days. Both are desperate for a vaccine.

The compelling and arresting film was directed and edited by Spot Welders’ Mischa Meyer and shot by Maz Makhani. Optimist Inc. and AKKURAT Studios partnered on production and California Music’s Kristian Nord and Malte Hagemeister teamed with The String Theory’s PC Nackt, Ben Lauer, and Sebastian Gäbel. 


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“While science scrambles for a vaccine for Coronavirus, humanity has already been incubating the vaccine for the hatred virus. A scientific name for it may not exist, but the street name for it is ‘LOVE,’” says Sekou. Watch the 4:47 short film below:


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“It all started when Sekou and The String Theory recorded a song and a video in our studios last year,” adds Toygar Bazarkaya, Creative Director of Optimist. “After hearing the powerful words of ‘Love Says,’ we knew we had to focus on exactly that – the words. Any film had to move aside and leave Sekou the stage to express them. It’s an exercise in restraint that left us with the words and the artist, literally.”

The timing and precognition of the poem and release of the film is haunting as Sekou shares this project was in the making prior to the nation’s current events. He explains, “I wish I could say I was inspired to write the piece by this latest act of racial violence that is setting our nation aflame. But, just as the knee of systemic racism has been asphyxiating black people long before the murder of George Floyd, this poem was inspired long before this moment.”

Director and editor Mischa Meyer shares, “We shot this in March and these topics were just as pressing back then as they have been for decades.  But now we’re really seeing that people have had enough with the injustice. We aspire for this piece to give people some guidance in where to look for answers and the hope that love conquers all.”

“That’s the crazy thing,” adds California Music’s Malte Hagemeister. “We recorded this song a year ago. Then we shot this video the day before the lockdown hit LA. But when George Floyd was killed and the streets were full of “I Can’t Breathe” signs, we knew we had to finish it immediately.”

On creating the film Sekou explains, “Admittedly, I had to stop and think hard when deciding whether to partner with primarily white and European production partners and musical collaborators for a piece that was so connected to my black experience.”

“The collective that created this song and video with me is the living embodiment of the poem’s message,” says Sekou. “This poem is for the fighters. The ones who are fighting for love. The ones who are running toward the fight to stop it.”

CREDITS:

WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY: Sekou Andrews & The String Theory

PRODUCTION
  • PRODUCTION: An Optimist Studios and AKKURAT Studios Production
  • DIRECTED & EDITED BY: Mischa Meyer
  • CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER: Toygar Bazarkaya
  • EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Juergen Dold, Rocco Kopecny
  • MANAGING DIRECTOR: Andreas Roth, Rocco Kopecny
  • LABEL: California Music
  • DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Maz Makhani
OPTIMIST CREW
  • PRODUCTION DIRECTOR: Zac Blakeley
  • PRODUCER: Hugo Jacome
  • ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Sam Hinkley
  • TECHNICAL DIRECTOR: Brock Fansler
  • STUDIO DIRECTOR: Cameron Brainard
  • STUDIO MANAGER: Spencer Klinge
CREW
  • 1ST AC: Daniel Ajemian
  • 2ND AC: Chris Marius Jones
  • GAFFER: Scott Moody
  • BEST BOY: William Gunn
  • ELECTRICIAN: Nick Mcfarland and Stephen Paar
  • KEY GRIP: Charles Lens
  • BEST BOY: Matthew King
  • GRIP: Will Tully
  • EXEC. ASSISTANT: “Speedy” Taylor
  • MAKE-UP: Stacy Andrews
  • DESIGN AND ART DIRECTION: Tom Holmberg and Toygar Bazarkaya
  • COLOR: Blacksmith
  • SUPERVISING COLOURIST: Mikey Pehanich
VFX SHIPPING + HANDLING
  • LEAD COMPOSITOR: Jerry Spivack
  • PRODUCER: Dustin Laforce
EDITORIAL
  • EDITORS: Spot Welders
  • PROJECTION: VT PRO
  • CEO: Vartan Tchekmedyian
  • CCO: Michael Fullman
  • PROJECTION MAPPING : Zac Layman
  • PRODUCER: Michael Lee
  • ANIMATION: Art Perez

POETRY BY: Sekou Andrews

MUSIC COMPOSED BY: PC Nackt, Ben Lauber

MUSIC PRODUCED BY: Kristian Nord, California Music

MALTE HAGEMEISTER: California Music

SEKOU ANDREWS: Sekou World Inc

SPECIAL THANKS TO: Tino Schaedler and Rose Odeh

SOURCE: Carrie Wick PR

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