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Mick Jenkins 'Smoke Break-Dance' by Andre Muir

Rob Ulitski - 12th July 2023

The idea of chasing a high lays the foundations of Andre Muir's brilliant promo for Mick Jenkins, exploring the idea of escapism in every area of life. 

The video features a series of powerful vignettes, tied together by their portrayal of different forms of toxic black masculinity, which ultimately drives the characters to seek escapism.

The project not only showcases Andre Muir’s visionary storytelling, but also demonstrates his commitment to exploring important social issues. He aspires to spark change, encourage self-reflection, and promote a more inclusive and compassionate understanding of masculinity in all its forms.

It's a remarkable piece of work; a powerful, fresh perspective on a hugely important subject, with visuals that match the ambition of the concept.

“What inspired my idea was the literal song title," Muir explains. "A smoke break. You take them, normally at work. You're taking this break, this distraction from this other thing in your life that you think sucks - a job, school, etc. But this little break is probably worse for you than that job could ever be.

"The song made me think about the different vices or 'highs' we use to escape reality. But they can be double-edged swords as well. Sometimes the things we do to avoid and distract from our reality to gain some semblance of control ends up controlling us.

In my work, I make a deliberate effort to focus on the Black experience, and that was my intention with this video.

"I wanted to create a narrative video that showed different characters doing just that. Only I wanted to focus these distractions around what I think is the root cause of a lot of vices for men, which is black toxic masculinity. Whether it's drugs, thrill-seeking, partying, doing acts of bravado in front of the camera for followers, they're all just these negative manifestations of our expectations of how a man should conduct himself.

"I came into film more focussed on narrative, and the actual visual itself was never something I was too fixated on. With this music video I really wanted it to be an exercise in frame composition and I was really proud to see what myself and my director of photography Brandon Hoeg, were able to do with the type of budget restraints we had.

"Working with Mick is always great. He’s a great collaborator in the sense that he’s really open to ideas. He cares about the visual and meaning behind it, and that's way more important to him than just being in front of the camera. I also think we have similar sensibilities when it comes to subject matter. I pitched him what I got from the song, and we immediately clicked on themes and what was most important to portray visually.

"In my work, I make a deliberate effort to focus on the Black experience, and that was my intention with this video as well. I aimed to zero in on black toxic masculinity specifically. However, witnessing the public lynching of Jordan Neely, seeing how no one helped him but instead they’d rather record it on their phones, it made me realize that we all suffer from a larger culprit: patriarchy in general. This realization led to a last minute inclusion of an additional scene at the end of the video, highlighting this broader perspective.

"As these people egged this man on, as he sucked the life out of Jordan, I’m sure he was aware of these cameras, I’m sure he thought he was a hero, as he did what he was 'trained' to do, I’m sure he thought he was doing what a man would do in that situation." 

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Rob Ulitski - 12th July 2023


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Andre Muir
Tashi Bhutia
Jake Bloom
Production Company
Production Company
Grade A
Production Company
Executive Producer
Elizabeth Doonan
Executive Producer
Brian Carmody
Executive Producer
Patrick Milling Smith
Executive Producer
Manny Caston
1st AD
Saró Melero Bonnin


Director of Photography
Brandon Hoeg


Nicholas Emmanuele


Production designer
Izzy Garcia


Editing company
Cabin Edit


Colour grade company

Rob Ulitski - 12th July 2023

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