Watch D Smoke’s manifesto for Black women « Rapture »
What makes D Smoke an artist to follow is his capacity to keep people engaged in different themes.
The Inglewood MC recently came out with « Rapture », a manifesto for black women. Moving, inspirational, disturbing and beautiful « Rapture » is all of that and more, led by D Smoke’s penmanship.
This is not the first time that D Smoke puts black women at the center of his art. For the visual of « No Commas », he was surrounded by an-all black women cast, drawing inspiration from 1996 trailblazing movie Set It Off.
The video of « Rapture » starts with a TV broadcasting a reenactement of 1971 Nikki Giovanni and James Baldwin‘s classic conversation on racism, the effects of american society on the structure of black families and the damaged dynamic between black men and women. Discussing the latter, Nikki Giovanni expressed a moving point of view : « You come home and I catch hell, because I love you, I get least of you … fake it with me is that to much for the black woman to ask of the black man ? ».
In front of the television lies a young black man aspleep, in the background his wife is taking care of their kid. It feels as tough Giovanni’s words could have been told by the wife, seeing her husband unresponsive, she and the child fade away.
« Now we must deal with our garbage, baggage
Imaginе a world with no magic
It must be so apocalyptic
Ain’t no colder prеdicament
Imagine God, say she sick of it
And took all our women »
As the song starts, we find the young black man awake in whole another space. Trying to find his family, he will be expose to a raw reality, through him our eyes will face the plight of black women.
This character personifies D Smoke’s rhymes. The MC calls fellow black men to reexamine their report with black women, intoning : « Imagine a day without women / I bet your first thought was « Who ’bout to take care of the children ? »
At first in a hurry, the young men has no choice but to slow down and face what’s happening around him. He ends up looking at a group of women giving a tribute to « The forgotten ones».
Among the numerous portraits we can recognize the faces of Breonna Taylor and Sandra Bland, the faces of black women that have fallen victim to police brutality.
Police brutality is real and black women face it just like black men. Not only that, black women also are submitted to misrepresentation and the disrespect of a society that keeps on targeting them.
As the words of the chorus ring in our hears (« This time we’re gonna see, I’ll save you« ), we witness a black woman, at the center, cornered, pointed at like a scapegoat. This image expresses the unfortunate truth that black women are isolated and fundamentally exposed to racism.
« Ike with the right, try to fight women
Die, ni**a die if you strike women
I question if you even like women »
Empathizing with black women’s struggle, D Smoke shows that if the outside world puts tremendous pressure on them, they should at least get the support of their men. Unfortunately, we get reminded that at times, it gets even worse than lack of support as we lay our eyes on a black man beating up a black woman in front of onlookers who film the whole incident instead of interrupting it.
This moment illustrates Giovanni’s « You come home and I catch hell ».
This is a reality that black women also face in the public eye. Last summer, it was reported that Megan Thee Stallion had got shot by rapper Tory Lanez. You would think that a such terrible moment would generate worry and empathy, it didn’t. Instead, the news was met with doubts and a lot of jokes, especially on social media. If some people needed any proof to D Smoke’s statement veracity they should let that sink in.
In the video’s prologue, four of the actresses share their perspective and sentiment on the beauty of black women, their resilience and the weight they carry.
Exhausted, the young man understands that he just witnessed the violence, the sexism and the stereotypes that black women are threaten by daily and how they keep staying strong no matter what.
When he finally finds his wife, he proceeds to take care of her, like other men around him, by washing her feet. Symbolically, she lifts his head as if she was telling him to keep his head up – just like 2 Pac used to say it to his sisters – as long as he is there for her, she will elevate him and vice-versa.
Don’t we say that behind every great man there is a great woman.
Truth is, there’s no future and as D Smoke’s put it « No world without women ».