The George Floyd killing sparked arguably the largest Civil Rights movement in human history and has produced an endless amount of reactions from creatives of all backgrounds, especially musicians. One of those musical artists, Paul Michael Barry, wrote a few songs within days of Floyd’s death. He sent one of them to Mo Daoud, who helped the singer/songwriter craft a powerful music video.
I was contacted by Paul Michael Barry, a friend and colleague from England. He’s an established and award-winning singer/songwriter with many major top 40 hits under his belt. He explained that, like everyone, he was so moved by the recent George Floyd episode. He wrote this within 24 hours of the incident. He just felt that it needed to get out there for the world to hear as soon as possible and so he reached out asking for help and inspiration.
The video’s concept is simple, with Paul’s aching voice the perfect accompaniment for a series of disturbing images from back when and present day. Mo had a few ideas for Paul when he heard the song; the two ultimately decided that photographs and typed out lyrics were the best way to get this message across.
He sent me the song and, by the following morning, I had pitched two concepts to him and had cut a 30-second clip of each idea for him to see. I just felt really confident about which concept would be chosen as the imagery was so undeniable.
He responded right away and said we had to go with the powerful historical still images. We updated the concept slightly by encompassing recent episodes.
Over the course of 7-8 days, Mo and his friend Saima Raja dug through hundreds of old photographs in search of the most affecting imagery. The New York-based photographer was quick to credit a host of people and organizations for helping him finish up a time-consuming ask fairly quickly.
For about a week, I researched imagery going back decades as well as recent events surrounding police brutality and racism. I had incredible help producing and researching this project from Saima Raja who coordinated this project, contacting stock agencies and individual photographers, and negotiating rights and usage.
Now, Mo is hard at work getting this piece in front of as many eyes as possible. The reaction, as you might imagine, has been very positive. Mo is hopeful that well-known artists will share his work and help keep the movement going. As he’s gone through this process, he’s learned an incredible amount about the plight of black people in America. Even as a person of color himself, that education has been vital to increasing his awareness and understanding of the issues at hand.
We formatted the piece for social media and here we are today trying to get the word out and hoping we can get this in front of as many people as possible. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
I was guided through the black historical experience, and even as a person of color, I am trying to educate myself more about these issues.
Written and Performed by Paul Michael Barry
Produced by Saima Raja
Read more about Mo on our Published Blog.
Let us help you Find Photographers, source Stock Photography,
Produce Your Shoot — or just reach out to hear more!