Tag Archives: black consciousness

Soldier of Love

7 Feb

Sade has a new album coming out on the 9th of February. The first single, “Soldier of Love” (also the album’s title) has been playing pretty constantly on MTV, VH1 and a number of other music stations, to the extent that I have now seen the video at least once everyday this week. Although the song itself is kinda underwhelming for me, I love, love, love the video. The director (Sophie Muller) made a particularly smart decision to have a group of male step dancers behind Sade, which carries the whole “soldier theme” and also works very well with the beat.

The reason I’m posting about it here is because this video immediately reminded me of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” although of course, the artists couldn’t be farther apart in terms of style, message, etc.  “Fight the Power” also features step dancers, and they’re dressed very similarly to the dancers in Sade’s video, with the all black gear and the combat boots. In Public Enemy’s video, the dancers are clearly used to represent black militancy, whereas in Sade’s video, they are there to carry the soldier theme of the song, although that theme is not being used politically, but metaphorically (love is a battlefield, etc).  The one thing that struck me about this comparison is how Sade and Muller used imagery that is for me, very political for purely aesthetic reasons. I know stepping is pretty mainstream, but I think this video evokes black power in a way unlike other uses of stepping have. In particular, having the dancers silhouetted enhances the effect, because they all look black (even though a couple of them aren’t). In addition, at the end, they all throw up what to me is very clearly the black power fist. Again, political imagery used in a really apolitical context. As I said before, I like this video a lot, because something about group choreography just makes me ridiculously happy. And I realize the imagery and language of political movements  is appropriated all the time for  entertainment purposes, and becomes fashionable (e.g. Spice Girls and feminism). I guess I just can’t mentally separate the black poweryness of stepping from its current use as just another style of dancing, and this video heightens that dissonance for me.

What do y’all think?

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