Jun 30, 2020
News

Arthur Jafa directed Kanye West’s latest music video.

Artist Arthur Jafa. Photo by Rita Franca/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Artist Arthur Jafa. Photo by Rita Franca/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Artist Arthur Jafa created the artwork and directed the music video for Kanye West’s latest song, “Wash Us in the Blood.” The song will appear on West’s forthcoming album, God’s Country, and was released as part of a larger roll out of upcoming projects called #WESTDAYEVER. This collaboration comes just days after 13 international art institutions concluded a 48-hour online stream of Jafa’s critically acclaimed film Love is the Message, The Message is Death (2016)—which is set to West’s song, “Ultralight Beam.”
Similarly to Love is the Message, The Message is Death, the “Wash Us in the Blood” video is a montage of both original and historical footage. The music video features footage from altercations between Black people and police officers, as well as clips from a woman singing in front of a choir and imagery from a video game. This marks West’s first release of a song since putting out his album Jesus Is King last year (an accompanying IMAX film was shot at artist James Turrell’s Roden Crater complex, to which West donated $10 million). In recent years, the artist has made controversial remarks regarding Donald Trump and slavery.
Last year, Jafa’s Love is the Message, The Message is Death topped the list of the most important artwork of the 2010s in an ARTnews survey. Last year, he won the top prize at the Venice Biennale. Jafa worked as director of photography for Julie Dash’s acclaimed 1991 film, Daughters of the Dust, which earned him the prize for Best Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival. He has also previously directed music videos for world famous musicians including Solange and Jay Z.