Music Revolution 2011: Marsha Ambrosius’ “Far Away” Video Addresses Not-So-Sweet Taboos
Throughout history, many incendiary and controversial issues, topics and events are branded as universally taboo and therefore swept under the massive rug. The ideal of ignorance is bliss is an attractive one, but it’s also dangerously dismissive and, at times, reaps tragic consequences. It takes progressive, fearless minds to cast the fear aside and expose the truth to the masses in bold, provocative demonstrations. Today, such a demonstration is presented in the form of music video, courtesy of an English songstress.
British recording artist Marsha Ambrosius gained recognition in the American soul music community as half of the duo Floetry. The vulnerable, flutter-voiced chanteuse enticed fans on songs like “Say Yes,” and “It’s Getting Late.” She also made waves as a producer, crafting the hit single “Butterflies” for the late Michael Jackson. Now, as a solo artist, the once full-figured Ambrosius is elliminating subtleties as swiftly as she elliminated her waistline. “Far Away” the second single of her forthcoming solo debut, Late Nights Early Mornings – already gaining buzz for its brutally honest lyrics – is accompanied by a music video that addresses incredibly taboo subject matter: homophobia, bullying and suicide.
Almost a year since Erykah Badu dropped a thinly veiled political bombshell with her “Window Seat” video, “Far Away” exposes issues that are not new ones, but, unfortunately, are not out-of-style, either. In the tradition of her former collaborator Michael Jackson, this is more of a short film, telling a story vividly and candidly without needing the aide of words. As the video opens, Ambrosius is seen walking with a male companion, accompanied by the approving eyes of homeboys in the park and innocent high-fives from children playing nearby. Next, while enjoying a candlelit glass of wine, the two are joined by another man, first giving a hug to Ambrosius and then kissing the first man…on the lips. Later on, those two men, happily and proudly holding hands in that same park, the same child who was so willing to high-five them was held back by his disapproving mother. The on-looking homeboys eyes sting the two’s skin as they are viciously attacked. By the end, Marsha receives a call that prompts her to drop her cell phone and the last images are of the two men, once so happy, lie dead of self-inflicted prescription overdoses, joined by a suicide note. Bullying is the latest soapbox issue in America, but Ambrosius’ short film addresses it without being predictable. “Far Away” makes the statement that no longer can we continue to believe that if we don’t think about something, it’s not happening; if it’s not shown on the news every night, it’s cease to exist.
As eyeliner stained tears far from Marsha’s face, a personal note emerges stating that she lost a friend to such ignorance and urges all to “support alternative lifestyles.” What’s so refreshing about this video is not only the powerful stance it makes against prejudice, but also speaks of the integrity of Ambrosius. After shedding so much weight and looking more beautiful ever, she could’ve taken the obvious road of flauting her new assests to gain a new audience. Instead, she decided to do what a true recording artist does: internalize whatever surrounds us and interpret it onto a canvas for the world to see. Bravo.