Directed by Mustapha Khan
61 minutes, 2020
Go behind the scenes of an unforgettable recording session where an extraordinary group of musical artists come together to create a powerful new anthem to honor their ancestors and to celebrate Black lives. Featuring acclaimed New York musicians, singers, poets and a tap dance phenom, Song For Our People is a captivating look inside the creative process of collaborating artists, and an inspiring testament to the power of a committed community to create both art and social change.
The film tells the story of Mustapha Khan, a songwriter/producer, who sets out to immortalize what his late parents taught him about his obligation to his ancestors and the Black community. To do this he writes a song which imagines being asked by an ancestor who was once enslaved: “what have you done with your freedom?”
This is the poignant question at the center of the film, and on the minds of the various artists he invites to the session to make the song come alive. As each musician comes in and lays down their tracks, they tell their own stories about what was similarly passed on to them about what it means at its core to be Black. Their words are powerful, and they do their work with reverence, as if the ancestors are there with them in the studio.
As the session progresses throughout the course of the day, we start to hear the title song taking shape. Eventually the film builds to a triumphant finale where we see and hear the full anthem come together. It is an uplifting, genuinely moving experience intended to motivate us all to do more with the freedom we have. In this way Song For Our People is a film for this exact moment in America today. As the current racial justice movement brings a fresh generation to the on-going struggle to create a more evolved, more enlightened society, this inspiring film is here to help energize the fight and replenish our collective soul.