South Dallas' Pearl C. Anderson middle school has been closed for more than four years. Its abandoned, vandalized state serves as a picturesque backdrop for the new music video for Dallas rapper Buffalo Black's single “American Colors."
The video, directed by Nick Melita of Cinderblock Studio, poignantly illustrates Buffalo Black’s commentary about education and civil rights in America. “Children facing consequences of politicians lying, choosing ego over love, prioritizing bullets over education,” one sobering lyric goes.
The artist’s impassioned performance hammers home the severity of the situation and its significance to him. It's even more moving when combined with calculated, slow-panning shots of the abandoned school.
“The song is about collectivism and embracing all the shades America has to offer,” Buffalo Black says. “It touches that, but with a broader sense of education being the great bond that has failed to tie us all together. Education is so crucial, and we take it for granted.”
Collectivism is traditionally defined as the opposite of individualism. But Buffalo Black describes collectivism as the recognition of a complex fabric of ideas and backgrounds and claims it's one of America’s pillars.
“Let’s take care of our neighbor, and let’s treat each other how we want to be treated,” he says. "That's collectivism."
"American Colors" the song isn't new. It debuted more than a year ago via Hip-Hop DX and was featured on Texas Standard, as well as multiple NPR-affiliated radio stations, including Dallas’ KERA-FM (90.1). Buffalo Black guessed that the track's message would continue to hold up and decided to hold off on giving it a visual treatment so that he could include it on his forthcoming album, Be Like Water, due out later this year.
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Buffalo Black says that not all of the material on the album will be so heavy.
“I feel like I have a responsibility to touch base on these types of subjects,” he says. “Hip-hop at its core is about pushing the envelope and making music for the community and enlightening even though it may not be the most profitable thing for me in the market place.”
That sense of responsibility is what enticed Melita and Cinderblock to be part of Buffalo Black’s latest project.
“As a filmmaker, my favorite types of projects are music videos, and the types of artists I want to work with are artists who have a distinct voice and/or a distinct message, and Buffalo Black has both,” Melita says. “It was a pleasure collaborating with him.”