With all the hype for Marvel’s Black Panther, Grammy winner Kendrick Lamar released Black Panther: The Album featuring tracks and collaborations inspired by the movie. The music video for the leading song,”All the Stars” just dropped. Directed by Dave Meyers and the little homies, the Lamar and SZA collaboration video showcases the Afrofuturistic aesthetic that is consistent in Black Panther. The video holds more than just sick visuals- the creators packed in many African cultural references. Let’s break it down frame by frame.

 

The video opens with Kendrick dressed nobly, riding a boat buoyed by a sea of hands. The multitude of hands could symbolize the 60 million lives lost in the Atlantic from centuries of slave trade. 

When he finally reaches the “Motherland” in the next clip, he approaches an African woman carrying children within her.

 

The children were wearing Igbo Ozo Chief Hats. From the Igbo tribe in Nigeria, these caps traditionally indicate village chiefs and nobles. Their choice to put these hats on the kids implies that there’s power in Africa’s youth.

Next, we see Kendrick in a traditional village setting accompanied by school kids in uniforms (a downgrade from the chief hats I guess) and sharply dressed men. These men are Congolese Sapeurs or members of the Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes (the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People). Their wealthy look is a complete paradox in juxtaposition to the impoverished village they’re in.

Later, Kendrick stands on the rooftops of this village, watching bombs explode above homes. This unsettling image is reminiscent of the Republic of Congo’s government-sanctioned bombings that occurred in 2016.

Afterwards, SZA lies in a pink sea speckled with Kente cloth surrounded by dancers dressed as birds or more specifically, lesser flamingos.

These bold birds can be found swimming in Saharan lakes like Lake Bogoria in Kenya. However, their habitats are steadily deteriorating as extracts from soda ash mining contaminate their waters. Do the specks of Kente cloth symbolize soda ash pollutants? It’s definitely possible.

The last image we’re left with is of Kendrick and SZA approaching 4 goddess-like figures in a pool room filled with gorgeous Egyptian-inspired interiors.

But who are those fierce black queens? Well, we do know that the matriarchy was prominent in historic Africa; female deities were celebrated by the vast majority of empires and tribes. In Ancient Egypt, the goddesses Nut, Isis, Nephthys, Serqet, Nekhbet, and Taweret were all worshipped just to name a few so the goddesses in the video could be a combination of any of them.

There are lots of other insane visuals in the video, from Lamar walking alongside Black Panthers in a Namibian desert inspired forest to dancers in Basotho straw hats and Great-Gatsbiqsue spaces that look straight out of a Lina Iris Viktor painting. Dave Meyers and the little homies artistically unified all the corners of Africa into one epic video truly celebrating Black History.

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