Greentea Peng’s new music video for her song “Revolution” fuses past and present political movements with her neo-soul stylings to preach self-transformation. Drawing from reggae and hip hop, she creates an altogether new sound that resonates deeply with her message of critical care.
The music video itself begins with reference to the ‘60s fear of camera surveillance, set in black and white, and ends with contrasting digitized graphics that make up something resembling The Matrix. The graphics suggest that our use of social media has the power to advocate for change and sensationalize hollow and performative acts. Greentea Peng and her digitized code coincide with the lyrics:
They have tricked us with false freedoms As they force feed them Into the collective
The lyrics suggest that society, and more specifically, our virtual world pretends to afford us freedoms, while actually restricting our spiritual growth. Coupled with religious overtones, in the same vein as many reggae songs, the video pleads to find revolution in togetherness, never neglecting the community. By no means minimizing the strife of black communities around the world, Greentea Peng advocates for a deeper sense of revolution by asking: whose revolution? The media’s, or ours?
The video goes even further, though. Maybe the most interesting parts of the video occur with small instances of black boy joy in music, dance, boxing, and biking. The image of a little boy biking is immediately offset with a fire –– later, sirens and police. Commentary on what it means to live a life of racialized masculinity shows care for Greentea Peng’s community.
All in all, this video and this song teach us to consider the ways the media and society manipulates the discourse around revolution. Greentea Peng asks us to consider artistry, self-love, and community care.