Is love the answer to all of America’s problems? That is the question the producers of a new short documentary film want us to consider.
Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz of Bush Renz (“Kill Jay-Z,” “17”) have teamed up with Sankofa.org (founded by Harry Belafonte) and Tidal to bring us the seven-minute protest film Versus, starring actor and activist Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy) and singer-actress V. Bozeman (Empire).
The goal of the video, which features music from Goapele, RZA and Parisi, is to deliver one message: Love wins over hate.
Versus is available exclusively on Tidal and examines the struggle of love vs. hate in the ongoing battle between racism and anti-immigrant and anti-LGBT sympathizers and those who continue to fight daily for equality and freedom.
In a piece for Time magazine, Bush, Renz and Williams write:
Versus is an artistic expression of the fear and anxiety that so many of us in America are feeling. As creatives, we have a responsibility to protest injustice through our work. As Americans, no matter our occupation, we have a responsibility to use our voices to be heard—in the most constructive and effective manner possible.
The film features Williams and Bozeman as lovers caught in the middle of protests and wondering how they will get through. Bozeman assures Williams’ character that they will get through by loving and protecting each other.
The Time article continues:
Our film’s star Jesse Williams put it best: “In a world consumed by organized confusion, it’s perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed and unsure. We have to press on with focused energy, creativity, respect and love, not overlooking all that we already possess. One of the ways this piece spoke to me was as a reflection of gender dynamics in society and movements work: men struggling with expectations and resources; black women leading, nurturing and strategizing with wisdom beyond their years. These are merely moments among many. Keep being yourself—take care of you and yours, or hate wins.”
In a press release, Bozeman adds to those sentiments:
Versus inherently reflects the unshakable, historical and infinite bond between black men and black women that’s an integral part of our legacy. Versus shows us our strength during our most vulnerable moments, It inspires us and infuses us with the same optimism that Kendrick Lamar had when he sang “We Gone Be Alright,” because we truly are going to be all right!
Sankofa.org previously teamed up with Tidal on the project 17, a visual EP that featured music from Ty Dolla $ign, Raphael Saadiq, Mali Music and Elijah Blake and highlighted the urgent issues of racial and police violence.
With Versus, Tidal once again shows its commitment to supporting the passions of artists surrounding social issues.
Gina Belafonte, co-director of Sankofa.org, says in the press release:
With all of the craziness and fear and the “us vs them,” I believe, love will win every time. Our film invites the viewer to consider love over hate, and shows that by joining together to heal with acceptance, diversity and tolerance, love engulfs everything. There are real people behind fear and real people who are in solidarity to generate love. We’re grateful to partner with Tidal for a second time, allowing us to share this message on their platform unfiltered.
The filmmakers hope that their project will be a catalyst for dialogue and make people stop for just seven minutes to ask themselves: What if love is the answer?
“Let’s at least give that a try,” say Bush, Renz and Williams.