News / Film

Neneh Cherry is bathed in smartphone glow in new Akinola Davis Jr directed music video

The arrival of a new music video directed by London-based filmmaker, Akinola Davis Jr is always a welcome one.

Back in July 2018, the man occasionally known as Crackstevens, dropped a glorious one-two punch of top tier music videos, providing superb visual accompaniment to tracks by Dev Hynes (under his Blood Orange guise) and alt-R&B star-in-the-making Tirzah. Today he is back with brand new material produced for a bona fide legend: Neneh Cherry.

Taken from Broken Politics, her latest album on the esteemed Norwegian imprint Smalltown Supersound, Natural Skin Deep is a haunted sounding, Ornette Coleman-sample little number produced by the one and only Kieran Hebden, AKA Four Tet.

Akin’s video sees Neneh assailed by a vast variety of smartphone-wielding residents of Beirut, all of whom play their own individual role in illuminating the piece. “Much of my work is community-centric, be it a global or local community,” Akin says. “It’s important that we all see ourselves reflected in art. Equally, it [the video] is about whether our relationship with materialism is making us more apathetic to what’s going on around us."

The inspiration for Natural Skin Deep comes from its director seeing Neneh perform at London’s Village Underground and noticing that not only did seemingly everyone in attendance whip their phone out the second the show started, by Akin was actually asked to move because he was in the way of someone’s Samsung. “Instead of communicating through screens, maybe we all consume life through them,” Akin says.

Ironically, you can watch his exploration of the role screens play in modern life via your own screen right now.

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Akinola Davis Jr/Neneh Cherry: Natural Skin Deep (images via Akinola Davis Jr/Neneh Cherry/Smalltown Supersound)

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Akinola Davis Jr/Neneh Cherry: Natural Skin Deep (images via Akinola Davis Jr/Neneh Cherry/Smalltown Supersound)

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Akinola Davis Jr/Neneh Cherry: Natural Skin Deep (images via Akinola Davis Jr/Neneh Cherry/Smalltown Supersound)