‘Arthur Jafa’s Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death’ is a paean

Arthur Jafa’s video installation Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death is a paean. It recites the backdrop to Black lives. It takes the viewer from Black Exploitation to Black Pain and despite it all BLACK TRIUMPHS: In just eight minutes. In seconds it reduced my family and me to tears. The ‘moviette‘ is a striking vision of perfectly edited clips, which leave a mark on your soul.

‘Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death’ is being shown in a black tent on the rooftop of a London art studio at 180 The Strand. Jaffa uses a tent to represent the American Southern Baptist churches. It feels special when you go in. Then it’s ‘oops upside your head.’

Arthur Jafa has long attempted to preserve and celebrate black culture.  He is a cinematographer, film director, writer and visual artist.

His footage which includes clips of civil rights marches, rappers and dancers, police brutality, basketball players and Obama is set to the soundtrack of Kanye West’s Ultralight Beam. And ‘Oh boy’ does it work. You think you have seen it all before, but I promise, not like this.

love is the message the message is death

It’s a unique and honest portrayal of the Black experience in the 21 century in America and to a lesser extent Britain. It is everyday life and the systemic brutality Black people are subjected to daily, such as a mother being asked to walk backwards, with her hands above her head.  While police officers train guns upon her two little boys. You witness two little children looking like deer in headlights. And it tore my heart out.

You will ride the gamut of human emotion. Love. Laughter. Rage. Disgust. Indignity. Humour and for me, Triumph.

If you never see any other work of art. See this.

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