Last year, we were blown away by the power of Leon Bridges’ soulful voice. Today, the gospel singer-songwriter shared the music video for “River,” the closing track from his debut album Coming Home. The 26-year-old is known for evoking an older sound, but this visual specifically focuses on issues affecting black people in the present—there’s even footage from the Baltimore uprising. On Instagram, Bridges explained the context of the Miles Jay-directed video as an uplighting “message of light.”
“A river has historically been used in gospel music as symbolism for change and redemption. My goal was to write a song about my personal spiritual experience. It was written during a time of real depression in my life and I recall sitting in my garage trying to write a song which reflected this struggle. I felt stuck working multiple jobs to support myself and my mother. I had little hope and couldn’t see a road out of my reality. The only thing I could cling to in the midst of all that was my faith in God and my only path towards baptism was by way of the river.
When thinking about how to best visually represent this universal battle, I reflected on the depiction of black communities in our media and particular experiences within my own life. This video showcases the unique struggle many black men and women face across this country. However, unlike the captured images which tend to represent only part of the story, I wanted to showcase that through all the injustice, there’s real hope in the world.
I want this video to be a message of light. I believe it has the power to change and heal those that are hurting.”
As the first day of Black History Month, this is exactly what we needed to get settled in. Without further ado, watch the powerful video, below.