Teyana Taylor’s latest music video for her song “Still” aims to serve as a reminder that Black lives truly matter, and that police brutality in America needs to end. “Still” is found on the Harlem native’s latest project, The Album, and the music video (released on Wednesday) was directed by Taylor as her creative alter ego, Spike Tey.
Throughout the video, footage of past acts of police brutality such as the assault of Rodney King and the bodycam footage of the assault of George Floyd are on stirring display. Taylor also appears at various points in the visual dressed as civil rights activists and police brutality victims, such as Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Breonna Taylor (in an EMT uniform), Trayvon Martin (in a black hoodie), and Elijah McClain (as evidenced by a violin, which he played).
While dressed as Newton, Taylor’s prominent baby bump is on display. She announced in June that she was expecting her second child via the music video for “Wake Up Love,” which features her husband Iman Shumpert.
While Taylor attempted to send a message about the importance of Black lives, several Twitter users are not thrilled about the use of violent videos and audio for “Still,” or her method of evoking the above victims. On Twitter, one user said that the video was “careless,” while another questioned why she was “cosplaying” as victims of police brutality.
“[Police brutality victims] are not public property and it’s not fair to use their image like this,” a Twitter user wrote. “They didn’t ask for all of this macabre.”
Despite lyrics that would prompt the listener to believe the song is about love, Taylor told Apple Music that “Still” pertains to being Black in America.
“We’re constantly crying for love, we’re constantly crying for hope, we’re constantly crying for peace,” she said of the song, which she says is “one of [her] favorites.” “It just seems like nothing’s wiping our tears. We’re getting places, but it’s not enough.”
The Album was released on Juneteenth and features guest spots from musicians such as Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, Erykah Badu, Kehlani, and more.
Watch the video below, however, please proceed with caution, as some of the images of violence and police brutality may be triggering.