RZA Tackles The Human Cost Of War In A Powerful Pro-Refugee Music Video
Earlier this month, RZA (along with his Wu-Tang Clan cohorts) appeared at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, where Hip-Hop’s abbot made an impassioned speech about refugees. “I wanna talk about the refugees for one quick second,” the producer and MC told the crowd. “How can you ban a man from a land that is said to be a beacon of light for men from the blight of tyranny?,” he asked. He also touched on the innocent children who are victimized when bombs are being dropped on their cities, mentioning specifically Syria’s ongoing civil war. “They’re just innocent immigrants trying to enter a place that was built by immigrants, where the face of a slave became the face of a president,” he proclaimed in reference to former president Barack Obama. He then references Donald Trump, saying “let’s make America great again, but not a place filled with bigotry, racism, and hate again.”
Those words were drawn from the lyrics for a new song from RZA and Italian Electronica duo Parisi, “No Refuge.” The words are powerful, as can be heard in RZA’s SXSW appearance. However, it’s the song’s accompanying video that is truly arresting, as it creates a somber yet visually grabbing image of refugees. Men, women, and children of all ages and races appear in limbo, aimlessly wandering a foggy, deserted land. They then begin to dance, evoking emotion through the movement of their bodies, eventually embracing one another to lift one another up. The Ben Strebel-directed clip ends quietly, as the fog overwhelms the camera and envelops it in the same kind of obscurity millions of refugees feel as they desperately seek safety.
Every day, 34,000 people are forcibly displaced from their homes due to war or some form of persecution. Globally, there are several refugee crises happening at any given time, leading to more than 65 million people fleeing home countries in search of safe havens around the world. As of 2017, over half of the world’s refugees come from three countries: Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. In fact, so many Syrians have been displaced by a gruesome civil war that the resultant refugee crisis became one of the biggest talking points during the presidential campaign, as did the broader notion of Muslim immigration to the United States. According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. saw a “record number of Muslim refugees in 2016,” with the country accepting a total of 38,901 Muslim refugees, “making up almost half (46%) of the nearly 85,000 refugees who entered the country in that period.”
All streams and downloads of “No Refuge” on iTunes, Beats 1, Spotify, Apple Music, and other music sites are donated to the United Nations Refugee Agency.
In related news, RZA has stated publicly that he has given the reigns of a potential next Wu-Tang Clan album to Ghostface Killah. J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League are among confirmed producers on the yet to be titled work.
#BonusBeat: This month RZA was photographed with his son, taking Raekwon to lunch, in celebration of the just-released The Wild album.
Rae’s album features Lil Wayne and G-Eazy.