Style
Image courtesy of Melanin Unscripted.

Alton Mason Shares the Lagos-Shot, Coming-of-Age Short Film 'Rise In Light'

The model's new project was released as a social impact campaign to help COVID-19 relief in Nigeria in collaboration with Melanin Unscripted.

Model and artist Alton Mason shares his new coming-of-age short film "Rise In Light," in collaboration with Melanin Unscripted.

The stunning visuals were shot in Lagos as an introduction to the model's musical debut "Gimmie Gimmie," and has doubled as a social impact campaign in the face of the current pandemic. Mason and Melanin Unscripted founder Amarachi Nwosu set out with a goal of raising $10,000 for the Nigerian-based Khan Foundation to help provide relief packages for families on the ground, and were able to reach their goal in just 24-hours.

"Rise in Light is a movement created by the youth to inspire and ignite the future leaders of our world," says Mason of the campaign. "It's a call for change, evidence of freedom and the expression of love and joy."

The model visited Lagos for the first time last year when filming. "The moment I landed and drove into the city of Lagos, all of those American perceptions, based on fear, were proven false," Mason tells Vogue of his time in Nigeria. I was immediately captivated by nature, the land, the buildings, the water, and the spirit of the country, which made me free to create the song and video in this sacred place. I felt home."


Rise In Light • Starring Alton Mason youtu.be

The visual was directed by Nwosu and shot by artist and cinematographer soof Light, and incorporates various people and settings throughout Nigeria's largest city, including standout shots with a group of energetic youth at Tarkwa Bay. Nwosu says she wanted to use Lagos as more than just a backdrop for the video, but also open up an opportunity to create more community awareness.

"The main goal of the film was to show the concept of love, light and understanding," adds Nwosu. "It's a really dark and uncertain time in the world and we wanted to use our creativity to not only show a film representing reconnection to people, land, water and nature, but also make a difference in the lives of the communities we present. While many artists often come to Africa and use the aesthetics of the space, we wanted to be more considerate and use this film as a catalyst to actually help people on ground and make an impact."

Watch "Rise and Light" above and see more images from the shoot underneath.

Image courtesy of Melanin Unscripted.

Image courtesy of Melanin Unscripted.

Image courtesy of Melanin Unscripted.

Image courtesy of Melanin Unscripted.

Image courtesy of Melanin Unscripted.

Image courtesy of Melanin Unscripted.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

How Nigerian Streetwear Brand, Daltimore, is Rising To Celebrity Status

We spoke with founder and creative director David Omigie about expression through clothing and that #BBNaija pic.