Meet the Londoner who helps musicians of color make music videos
A new program that will help musicians of color make music videos with the help of professionals in the field is a unique opportunity for racialized artists, says the woman behind the project.
The ISO project is a partnership between the Forest City Film Festival and the London Music Office, and is led by DJ and community organizer Zahra Habib, who noticed that the music video competition at the film festival was not very diverse.
“It’s not that we’re not here. Southwestern Ontario is an extremely diverse region in terms of the people and cultures that make it up, but we don’t see that represented in our media, and in festivals and artists who get funding,” Habib told CBC News.
The project will pair musicians, whether they are solo artists or bands or bands, who already have a song recorded, and who have the grain of an idea for a music video.
“The program provides them with a full team of people who are experts in this field, whether it’s videographers, video editors, stylists or screenwriters,” Habib said. “Through our partners, we have access to different filming locations in London, so it’s really a complete support system to create a music video for the beneficiaries of the scheme.”
Whenever possible, members of this team will also be people of color.
Give an opportunity
“It’s really meant to benefit and reward racialized communities in London, to give them the opportunity to get into the industry, because one of the biggest things we don’t have for musicians in whatever genre it is in this region is representation,” Habib said.
There were only a few artists of color in the Forest City Film Festival music video competition this year and last, Habib said.
“When you don’t see any diversity in these music videos in terms of genre, in terms of who submits them, it says to people ‘it’s not for people of color. This institution is not for you. ”
“What we’re saying is that the music office and the film festival have understood this and we want to do something to make a difference.”
Habib is a music producer and DJ who grew up in London. She studied in Montreal before returning to the city six months before the pandemic shut down everything. She is also involved in podcasting and hosts a radio show on CHRW, Radio Western.
“It’s important to draw attention to artists who are trying to get recognition for their work, who may not feel they belong in larger, more national, more traditional or governmental institutions to a good and strong historical reason,” Habib said. .
“The change we’re trying to make here is profound. It’s about telling the stories of the people who are here through these people themselves and empowering them to do so, because that’s the other element of representation, it’s actually honoring the people and the culture you seek to ‘represent’.”
Coming back to London from Montreal was a revelation, said Habib. The art and music scene exists, but it’s harder to find, she says.
“It’s a great place to grow up, to grow as an artist and as myself. I’m definitely optimistic about London.”
“Shininess and Wealth”
Artists are reclaiming spaces in the city and transforming parts of them to create a wider creative community, she said, and others also see London as a vibrant and viable place.
“There are a lot of people making real efforts. I think people are open, and I think the creative community and the creative scene in London is part of a bigger ecosystem. We need spaces to for artists to express themselves, to create together, to meet, to perform,” she said.
“To feel that there is a vibrancy and a richness there, there have to be other elements that have almost nothing to do with it, like an accessible transport system so that people can getting around, pedestrian streets, flexibility on the part of people and businesses and the city.
“The responsibility is not just on the arts community to prove themselves or show themselves. We need everyone to join in and I see a lot of people joining in.”