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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.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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