A new video is available for the a remix of Stevie Wonder’s “Black Man,” created by Brennan Williams (aka Will Coloan), producer and founder of Coloan Records. Featuring historic images of more than 100 influential Americans and global figures, as well as a spoken introduction by Motown legend Stevie Wonder himself, the video was directed, edited, and produced by Williams. The video can be viewed on YouTube.
“Stevie Wonder is one of the greatest artists of humankind,” says Williams, who uses the handle “Will Coloan” in the studio. “When I started remixing ‘Black Man,’ it prompted me to put my directorial hat on to create a video to match the powerful sentiments of his lyrics and the strength, tenacity and the accomplishments of Black men,” which originally appeared on his classic 1976 double album Songs In The Key of Life.
The “Black Man” remix – influenced by Afrobeat, dubstep, and world music with a pulsating chant of “Black Man, Black Man, Black Man” – was released on July 6, 2020, and can be heard on Spotify, SoundCloud, and YouTube. A celebration of the contributions made by international men of color and others to the fabric of America, it underscores the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the continued fight for social justice and equality, 44 years after Wonder released his original recording. Williams’ “Black Man” track leads the current wave of similar musical tributes to Black achievement, such as “Entrepreneur” by Pharrell featuring Jay-Z.
The new “Black Man” video visually spans our country’s turbulent history, from the Revolution to the Civil War, from Jim Crow to Civil Rights, and from segregation to Black Lives Matter and illustrates Wonder’s lyrics with historic footage, illustrations, and photos. Included are images of Barack Obama, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Squanto, Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, W.E.B. Du Bois, Frederick Douglas, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Muhammad Ali, John Lewis, Thurgood Marshall, Colin Kaepernick, Gordon Parks, Dick Gregory, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, Berry Gordy, Richard Pryor, Elijah Muhammad, Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe, Sidney Poitier, Spike Lee, The Exonerated Five, Emmett Till, The Tuskegee Airmen, Kobe Bryant, Nipsey Hussle, the Black Panther Party, and more than 100 others. Images of those who have lost their lives due to violence and police brutality, as well as footage of civil unrest and peaceful protests are also featured, culminating in a call to action.
“Given the recent events of civil unrest, and the murders of innocent men and women, I felt it was necessary to acknowledge and accurately represent the immense diversity of Black men using the context and framework of Stevie’s song,” continues Williams. “In addition to paying homage to the Grammy Award winner, I wanted to recognize ancestors, influencers, and history makers, past and present. Some faces you may not recognize — including my late father, who was a producer and inspired me to pursue a career in music — but these individuals are conscious, working, influential, and servicing their communities. These are people who deserve to be celebrated.”