Meet the Londoner who helps musicians of color make music videos

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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 artists of color, 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 portrayed in our media, and in festivals and artists who get funding, “Habib told CBC News.

The project will bring together musicians, whether they are solo artists or groups or groups, who already have a song recorded, and who have the grain of an idea for a clip.

“The program provides them with a full team of experts in this field, whether they are 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 full support system to get a music video created for the beneficiaries of the program.”

Where possible, members of this team will also be people of color.

Give an opportunity

“It’s really meant to take advantage 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 of any genre is whatever in this region is the representation, ”said Habib.

There were only a few artists of color in the Forest City Film Festival’s music video competition this year and last year, Habib said.

“When you don’t see any diversity in those music videos when it comes to genre, when it comes to 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 the music bureau and the film festival have picked up on that 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 everything down. She is also involved in podcasting and hosts a radio show on CHRW, Radio Western.

“It is important to draw attention to artists who are trying to gain recognition for their work, who may not feel they belong in larger, more national, more traditional or governmental institutions for a good and strong historical reason, ”said Habib. .

“The change we’re trying to make here is profound. It comes down to telling the stories of the people who are here through these people themselves, and empowering them to do it, because that’s the other. element about representation, that it honors the people and culture you seek to “represent”.

Coming back to London from Montreal was a revelation, Habib said. The arts and music scene exists, but it’s harder to find, she said.

“It’s a great place to grow, grow as an artist and as myself. I’m definitely optimistic about London.”

“Vibrance and richness”

Artists are claiming spaces in the city and transforming parts of it to create a larger creative community, she said, and others also see London as a vibrant and viable place.

“There are a lot of people who are really trying. I think people are open, and I think the creative community and the creative scene in London is part of a bigger ecosystem. We have to have spaces for that to happen. artists express themselves, create together, meet, perform, ”she declared.

“To feel that there is dynamism and richness there, there must be other elements that have almost nothing to do with it, such as an accessible transport system so that people can getting around, pedestrian streets, flexibility on the part of people and businesses and the city.

“It’s not just the responsibility of the arts community to prove or show off. We need everyone to support that and I see a lot of people supporting it.”

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