arts

Kanye West's latest music video was directed by artist Arthur Jafa

Updated 1st July 2020
Wash Us In the Blood music video
Credit: Def Jam
Kanye West's latest music video was directed by artist Arthur Jafa
Written by Daria Harper
This article was published in partnership with Artsy, the global platform for discovering and collecting art. The original article can be seen here.
Artist Arthur Jafa created the artwork and directed the music video for Kanye West's latest song, "Wash Us in the Blood." The song will appear on West's forthcoming album, "God's Country," and was released as part of a larger roll out of upcoming projects called #WESTDAYEVER.
This collaboration comes just days after 13 international art institutions concluded a 48-hour online stream of Jafa's critically acclaimed film Love is the Message, The Message is Death (2016)—which is set to West's song, "Ultralight Beam."
Similarly to "Love is the Message, The Message is Death," the "Wash Us in the Blood" video is a montage of both original and historical footage. The music video features footage from altercations between Black people and police officers, as well as clips from a woman singing in front of a choir and imagery from a video game.
A still image from the "Wash Us In the Blood" music video
A still image from the "Wash Us In the Blood" music video Credit: Def Jam
This marks West's first release of a song since putting out his album Jesus Is King last year (an accompanying IMAX film was shot at artist James Turrell's Roden Crater complex, to which West donated $10 million). In recent years, the artist has been known to make controversial remarks on subjects such as Donald Trump and slavery.
Last year, Jafa's "Love is the Message, The Message is Death" topped the list of the most important artwork of the 2010s in an ARTnews survey. He also won the top prize at the Venice Biennale.
Artist Arthur Jafa
Artist Arthur Jafa Credit: Roman Vondrous/CTK via AP
Jafa worked as director of photography for Julie Dash's acclaimed 1991 film, "Daughters of the Dust," which earned him the prize for Best Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival. He has also previously directed music videos for world famous musicians including Solange and Jay Z.