Charles Hamilton & Rita Ora Turn Lens on Police Brutality With 'New York Raining' Video
In the video, he turns the song's love story political, taking it back in time -- first with the civil rights movement of the early '60s, and then with the Black Panther Party. "With the recent increase in reports of police brutality," Hamilton tells Billboard, "I feel strongly about vividly depicting the struggle we as African Americans historically had to go through to reach equality, an equality that is eroding in modern times."
Hamilton faces unjust treatment from police officers throughout the video, ultimately resulting in his wrongful imprisonment (and thus separation from his partner-in-protest). As Hamilton put it, "love requires time, devotion and surrender. With time against us, our devotion to the struggle, and the ability to surrender completely gone, the love affair depicted is seen as forbidden."
The rapper sees his message as part of a long lineage of hip-hop activists, saying the video "walks on the path of Public Enemy, Talib Kweli and others by creatively depicting a simple yet poignant message: Black lives matter."
Watch "New York Raining" below. If you like what you hear, you can download Hamilton's entire discography free (courtesy of the rapper).