*Usher has released an interactive music video for his politically charged single “Chains,” which debuted exclusively on Jay Z’s music streaming service Tidal and literally forces the viewer to remain focused on the song’s lyrics dealing with racial profiling and police brutality.
By utilizing the webcam on the viewer’s computer as well as facial recognition technology, “Chains” (featuring Nas and Bibi Bourelly) will pause mid-song whenever the viewer’s eyes drift away from the video. “Don’t look away,” the video demands, only resuming when the viewers’ eyes lock back on the screen. [Click here to watch on Tidal.]
“While racial injustice keeps killing, society keeps looking away,” the video prefaces before fading onto a photo of Trayvon Martin. “Walking home from a store, Trayvon was profiled as a potential criminal by a neighbor armed with a gun, The man shot Trayvon dead. He was found not guilty.”
Usher sings in the track, “We’re still in chains / You put the shame on us,” he sings on the track that also tackles our nation’s gun problem. “Moment of silence / American school and we in church too / Shooting, shooting, shooting, we the prey.”
“Chains” examines more lives lost from racial profiling, including Rekia Boyd, Marlon Brown, Ramarley Graham and Caesar Cruz. In the latter case, “Innocent of any crime, Caesar was cornered in his car by five police officers and fatally shot 15 times. He was still strapped in his seatbelt. No one has been charged.”
“I’m the modern one yelling at senators, presidents, congressmen / Saying we have a problem in need of acknowledging,” Nas raps. “I am no prison commodity / Not just a body you throw in a cell / For any reason, just to bother me.” Nas’ verse also pays tribute to Sean Bell, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, three unarmed black men who were killed by the police.
Listen to “Chains” below:
Usher will debut “Chains” live at the all-star Tidal X: 1020 concert on October 20 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Arena. The charity gig, which will benefit the New World Foundation, also features Beyoncé, Jay Z, Prince, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Meek Mill and many more.