WATCH: SOL Development Uplifts Black Activism, Resilience in ‘Helicopter’

By Sameer Rao Jun 11, 2018

Oakland-based hip hop and R&B quartet SOL Development pays homage to the resilience of Black activism, Black Lives Matter and Oakland’s legacy of resistance with the new music video for "Helicopter." The group explained the song’s themes in the description for the clip, which was posted on June 8:


"Helicopter" is about historicizing and contextualizing the Black experience, so that we begin to understand the precarious nature of Black life in America—or globally for that matter, because systemic oppression knows no geographic boundary. However, central to our survival is understanding who we are [and] how we got here. We are children of the diaspora. Long suffering is within us. Light is within us.

The video for the hard-hitting song features performances from the Global Street Dance Masquerade troupe, with one dancer’s outfit featuring photos of Emmett Till and many other Black people killed by White supremacist and police violence. Members of SOL Development, outfitted in black-and-red clothing with messages like "End Police Terrorism," perform the song’s lyrics from an Oakland rooftop: "You cannot relate to what Black people feel, ’cause you don’t understand, that don’t make it less real/too stuck in your head when your heart need to feel, this pain that we carry is real."