Production wrapped on George Stinney music video!
We recently wrapped production on a very exciting music video project for the song George Stinney written and performed by P-Dash. As co Director of Photography on this project, I got to spend a lot of time on set with P-Dash and I was very impressed with his work ethic and intellect. The video required P-Dash to perform the entire song dozens of times throughout the 2 day shoot. He gave us full energy performances every time and he was happy to do so. I told him how impressed I was by the fact that we were working him to the bone yet he never complained once. He replied by saying, “If I'm ever complaining that means I'm not learning something so that's never even a thought.” It's P-Dash's open-mindedness and eagerness to learn that make him a great artist and that made me want to get to know him better.
Since working with P-Dash on the shoot, I've been listening to his album Dying 4 A Living and chatting with him over Facebook. I asked him a few questions for the purpose of making this blog in order to provide insight into who he is as an artist as well as what drove him to make the song George Stinney.
Interview with rapper P-Dash about the inspiration behind his music.
Brandon: In the opening track of your album Cause N Effect, you absolutely kill it. It's some of the best rapping I've heard and it reminds of the good ol' days when Tupac was around. Is your rap style a throwback to that bygone era?
P-Dash: I appreciate you taking notice. Not many people are willing to listen and peep whats really going on in the game these days. The fast pace of our culture is really reflected upon by the craftsmen represented (or lack thereof) in the genre. Lots of gimmicks and microwave shit now, so it's definitely a new era these days. Hopefully a resurgence will be in order. I personally feel that it's my mission to ensure that the platform is used to inject commentary of substance with a unique and clever style in the manner in which the foundation of the genre was created. Pac was definitely one of my favorites and teachers coming up but now it's my time and responsibility to do what I can to move the game forward or at least offer something to contribute to its progress in this “recession”.
Brandon: What inspired you to make a song about George Stinney?
P-Dash: One night in 2012 an old friend of mine whom I hadn’t spoke with in quite a while but who knew where I was from called me and asked if I had ever heard of George Stinney. At the time the name did not ring a bell. I immediately asked who, what, where, and why and as soon as he said “that he was the youngest person ever executed in the United States” I told him that I knew exactly who he was referring to and was even able to tell him some of the details that he was already prepared to share with me about his story. As a kid growing up in Alcolu/Manning South Carolina I learned about George Stinney at a very young age, but I did not know his real name until that night. I watched a film by the name of “Carolina Skeletons” when I was 7 years old. It was based on George Stinney but since his name in the film was “Linus Bragg”, me being 7 at the time, I always figured that was his real name. Coming to such a realization made me want to discover if there was anything else that I didn’t know about such a historically traumatic event in my backyard especially now being an adult. I asked some of my other friends if they had heard of George Stinney.…few did but the majority had not. The few who did remember were like me and only remembered fragments of the story. For something like this to happen in my hometown (a place that is honestly not known for much of anything but this of all things) I felt responsible to tell his story to my generation and immediately began writing the song. I did some more personal research on my own and spoke with some of the elders from back home who were around during that time when everything went down to gain further insight. I was shocked to learn about how so many people didn’t even know this ever happened but not surprised being that this did take place in Alcolu, SC. After I completed the song it seemed like everywhere I turned I was hearing something about George Stinney. I truly felt like the spirit of George Stinney reemerged during this time of creation (as referenced in the song) and paid me a visit with orders to make sure that everybody knows what happened to him in Alcolu, SC. Now that’s inspiration!
Brandon: Why is it important to tell George Stinney's story even though it happened 70 years ago?
P-Dash: It’s very important to tell the story of George Stinney today even though what happened to him occurred over 70 years ago for a couple different reasons. For one, there is still hope that he could be exonerated (for whatever that is worth). Secondly, and most importantly his story serves as the epitome of historical reminders of how “unjust” the American judicial system has been towards black men in particular throughout the existence of this country. The track record of inequality and unfair treatment towards this demographic, of which I myself am a member of continues to be prevalent in our society to this day, even when the prejudices and biases towards us are obvious in many cases. One would be hard pressed to look at the news and not find a story where another young black man has met his fate before a judge or even worse before he ever got a chance to see one, ironically in the name of Justice. Even when you look at the tactics of how modern law and order is “carried out” the scenes aren’t much different from how they appeared 60 and 70 years ago when America allegedly didn’t know any better and was admittedly more racist and unequal as a society. Some statistics could prove that not much has really changed now and if it has at all, it may even be for the worse as it pertains to the current state of black men in America. For any problem to get better it has to first be addressed and the origin or history of that problem has to be acknowledged and studied. This is why the story of George Stinney is so important. Subconsciously, a precedent was set that said any rights given to protect citizens in this country noted in the constitution don’t apply to black men. 70 years is enough time for a great percentage of people who may have even been in denial years ago to admit that something was wrong here. This allows us to at least face the problem without bias and ask the questions that could inevitably bring us closer to the solutions to these and similar types of problems that are still occurring to this day.
Brandon: Thanks for your insights, P! It's always interesting to hear what's on your mind.
P-Dash: Thanks, man. I've got a good feeling about this George Stinney project. I'm just so blessed and grateful to finally link up with such a great team with you and the rest of ECG who I have great confidence can bring the visuals to life as I imagined. I'm just very relieved because I couldn't move forward in the process without the right visuals to accommodate the music and I couldn't short change myself and settle for subpar work. I'm excited to be working with y'all going forward to help bring things to life. I think George Stinney will be the best video anyone has seen in years.
Editing the George Stinney music video is now in progress!
We're editing George Stinney now and we're very excited with how everything is looking so far. Stay tuned for more updates about the video and when it will be released. Please feel free to comment below and be sure to check out P-Dash's album Dying 4 A Living.