Premiere: Kuya James and Chong Ali celebrate culture with the video for Goodbye
Starring dancer Jacqueline Quach, the video clip celebrates the power in Asian-Australian hip-hop, and commemorates the pairing's history.
Kuya James is someone that's been quick to cement himself as a 2020 success story. The Darwin-based Asian-Australian has long been a cult figure within hip-hop production and curation, but his this year-released debut album ISA gave a celebration of his strengths - and an introduction into who he is - via ten tracks that put his production prowess into the spotlight, weaved amongst guest collaborators including Serina Pech, Emily Wurramara, Caiti Baker, Stevie Jean and Tasman Keith (the Tasman-featuring album-closer, No Country, is one of the year's most impressive singles).
It's a release that's rich with nods to his culture as a Filipino-Australian, inspired by heritage and individualism as he aims to bring these forward into the central musical spotlight, all while shining lights onto those who embody and represent their own cultures as much as he does. "I want young Asian people and those of mixed heritages to feel like they are represented in spaces they otherwise might feel like they are excluded from," he said at the time of the record's release. "I don’t want them to have to compromise any part of themselves in order to achieve their place in the game."
One of the most potent moments of this is in the form of Goodbye, which links him together with Vietnamese rapper Chong Ali for a track that connects to their heritage and reaches out to those among the Asian diaspora, interpolating a Serina Pech song - Across The Sea - and dives into its meaning through a different lens. It features Chong Ali and his familiar history front and centre, dissecting the pathways of his family as Vietnamese refugees in a way that tells their story without defining them as that; the core, takeaway message of the song being to not hold bias or define people based on their history.
Today, we premiere the single's official video clip, which through Chong Ali's guidance, further breaks into the song's meaning and influence, using Jacqueline Quach to visually emphasise the richness of the track's background. Directed by David Fisher, the video moves between Chong and Jacqueline, while Vietnamese subtitles translate the single's lyricism with a touch of poetry - tieing everything together in a celebration of culture, creativity, and the intersection of the two.
"When Chong sent me a link to the first draft of the video I pressed play and my eyes welled up when I saw the Vietnamese subtitles," says Kuya James on the video clip. "I have heard on repeat the amazing words Chong wrote, but just seeing that desire to communicate beyond an English speaking audience made me really emotional, plus it was a complete surprise as I had no idea he had planned to do that with the filmmaker."
As Chong Ali further explains, the video brings everything together for a monumental occasion that captures the heart of the single at its core. "When Kuya hit me up about creating the Goodbye video, I immediately contacted Que Films to produce the visuals. I just love the risk and creativity of their MV's. Kuya had suggested we incorporate a contemporary dancer so we put the call out and was blessed to have Jacqueline Quach feature in the video. Jacqueline floored us with her performance that day and we're over the moon with the results.
"Goodbye has such a nostalgic vibe that I felt incorporating Vietnamese subtitles would kick it up a notch in the feels department and we were very lucky to have My Nguyen help out with not only translating the lyric but also making the subtitles a poem that stands on its own,"
Watch the video below:
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