Saul Williams Hits Ferguson Streets for Stark New Music Video

By Sameer Rao Feb 22, 2016

Noted spoken word poet, actor and musician Saul Williams took to the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, to create the video for his latest project, "The Noise Came From Here."

In the surreal, lo-fi clip, a barefoot Williams traverses the city’s landmarks and memorials. The video also includes cameos from two activists: Marcellus Buckley, an acclaimed poet and friend of Michael Brown, and Reverend Osagyefo Sekou, who was arrested mid-prayer during protests in the aftermath of Brown’s death. Williams performs the rousing song throughout the city, entreating those around him to clap along.

As Rev. Sekou and Buckley told The Fader, the video reflects how intertwined art and activism have become in contemporary Ferguson. "The streets of Ferguson are a symphony of the sacred and profane. The sonic landscape is a mix of chants, hip hop beats and freedom songs," said Rev. Sekou, adding, "Art not only prefigures possibility—it acts as a salve to a wounded people—transforming them into wounded healers." Buckley elaborated, saying, "As a front line activist in the Mike Brown movement the role of music has been one of our biggest inspirations, but over time our actions have influenced musicians and artists to speak out against injustice and inequality everywhere."

Williams also offered The Fader the following poem to accompany the video: 

The shaman claps around the ritual ground. There are many martyr loser kings. we will bring them all back thru many means….i’m a candle. chop my head a million times, i still burn bright and stand.

the conveyer belt of black life watches one shot down while yet another rises up.

u can’t kill us all.

"Headquarters for the police worth a billion. They make a killing"

"Dancing on the corpses ashes"

Watch the video here.