Bon Jovi‘s video partnership with TIDAL will come to a “meaningful finale” with the premiere of four visual pieces telling the story of optimism, rebuilding and community in Camden, New Jersey, the band says in a Billboard exclusive.
For ten years, the central mission statement of Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Foundation centered around assisting families and issues facing economic despair, with Camden among the Soul Foundation-aided initiatives around the country. Bon Jovi will communicate that theme through two new videos for the songs, “Living With the Ghost” and “Reunion” from their No. 1 album, This House is Not For Sale. In addition to the two videos, the group has included a continuous video of the two, entitled Spiritual Welfare, and the documentary, This House is Not For Sale–Camden, NJ.
Directed by Casey Stein, “Living With The Ghost” opens on a bleak, rainy day, with grim statistics revealing that residents in Camden — labeled ‘America’s Most Dangerous City” — have a “1 in 39 chance of becoming a victim to violent crime,” with unemployment nearly “double the national average” and a per capita income of $12,807. The camera focuses on a young man walking the streets of Camden, ignoring the dilapidated buildings and closed storefronts as he shuts out the world listening to music on his headphones. Jon Bon Jovi remains front and center, singing the triumphant lyrics “I traded hurting for healing/ I must admit that I was reeling/ Now I’m feeling just fine/ Traded nightmares for dreaming/ Go tell your shadows that I got out alive,” as the boy makes his way home to the warmth of his mother’s kitchen and her happy embrace.
The scene then cuts to the hopeful “Reunion” (also directed by Stein) as the streets of Camden explode in vibrant colors, revealing the news that out of the ashes of despair comes hope — as Mayor Dana Redd, the Camden Police Department and other local organizations reveal the encouraging statistics that from 2013 through 2016, the murder rate was cut nearly in half through Governor Chris Christie’s initiative to consolidate the police force to focus on communal policing. Even more encouraging: In June and July the city went 40 days without a homicide, and St. Joseph’s Carpenters Society redeveloped 800 abandoned properties into homes for Camden families.
The lyrics of the song, “Write your song, sing along, love your life/ Learn to laugh, dare to dance, touch the sky/ Take pictures each step of the way/ Make this the best of the rest of your days/ Start your own revolution and I’ll see you at the reunion,” drive that point home, leading into the documentary (Stein again) which puts puts faces to the statistics.
In the clip, Camden police chief Scott Thompson explains how the 2014 shift to community policing changed the dynamics in the neighborhoods when the force went from being “crime fighters” to “community builders.” Ultimately, through hard work and hope, the real improvements in Camden continue, and its successes can be seen as a positive example, the piece concludes.
The This House is Not For Sale tour kicks off Feb. 8 at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Tickets are available at BonJovi.com. Watch the videos, starting with the This House Is Not for Sale doc, below:
“Living With the Ghost”: