On a glorious spring Sunday, photographer and visionary Shannon McCollum set out to accomplish a feat long over due. His project, a music video for the Dead Prez anthem dedicated to natural beauties everywhere. Beauty Within, a song from DP’s Revolutionary But Gangsta Grillz Mix Tape (produced by DJ DRAMA), is an ode to all the sisters world-wide who rarely get acknowledged for maintaining their natural beauty. Not a dis to women who chose to perm, press or weave their hair- but a moment to celebrate and honor those who conciously choose to “keep it real”. Shannon McCollum has worked with and toured with Dead Prez for many years. But in a surprise twist, the duo – M1 and Stic.Man (featured guest for The 15 Project) do not even appear in the video. It all about the sisters.
I had the pleasure and honor of being on set that day and I must admit that it was by far one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had. But what made it even greater was the outpouring of love and comraderie shared by the women who all gave their time and smiles to be a part. McCollum, also known as the hip hop Gordon Parks, directed the video which was centered around a gathering of sisters celebrating being beautiful in their own skin. His production team included Jamila Crawford of Earthcandy Arts as Artistic Director and Ari Johnson of ReelHouse Production as Director of Photography, was further proof of McCollum’s commitment to spotlight black women.
The sisters who were there still talk about the experience to this day, greeting each other with hugs and fond memories of the time they shared and to also ask “When is the video coming out?’ Well ladies, the WAIT IS OVER. That’s right! The Shannon McCollum directed “Beauty Within” video will have its WORLD PREMIERE Live at The 15 Project on Saturday June 11!!! Make sure you are there to experience what the world will know doubt declare, “BEAUTIFUL”!
Click HERE to view the teaser!
(Photos by Wayne Gaskin & Troy Gordon)