videoAb-Soul ft Zacari 'Do Better' by Omar Jones
Omar Jones, director of impressive videos for the likes of Pusha T, Isaiah Rashad ft Lil Uzi Vert and Doechii - and recently signed to Riff Raff Films in London - has confronted the subject of mental health head-on in his stunning video for LA hip-hop artist Ab-Soul.The rapper took a six year break from music as a result of mental health issues that led him to attempt suicide. In the video for Do Better, Jones and Ab-Soul actually recreate this suicide attempt, where he fell from a building resulting in serious injury and sight loss.It is a tough subject that Jones handles with both sensitivity and flair, with the brilliant use of visual effects within the almost fragile black and white aesthetic. Most importantly, the dignity and humanity of Ab-Soul shines through. You really do get a sense of him coming to terms with his life, disability and all, and in spire of everything, being in a better place.OMAR JONES"Moosa Tiffith from TDE initially came to me wanting the video for Do Better to be based on a real tragic event in Soul’s life. The fact that part of his story was being revealed in this video meant it had to be portrayed correctly and lensed using an autobiographical approach. Moosa’s close friendship with Soul was instrumental in making sure there was an open line of communication between me and Soul. This was a delicate story to entrust to a stranger at the time, and his involvement made Soul comfortable."I felt a deep sense of responsibility, not only to Soul, but to all who struggle with their mental health, and deal with thoughts of suicide. In the end, the song’s message is a positive one, encouraging people to face themselves and focus on their self-improvement. Soul faces loss, regret, depression but emerges stronger on the other side.The hardest part was to ask Soul to revisit the darkest moments of his past. I felt the weight of every shot..."The video shows what one sees on their way down, the moments that lead up to it, Soul’s constant conflict with the burden of the past and alternate realities surrounding the decision to jump. What does one see in those final moments? How does the world appear from such a heavy perspective? It’s hard to even begin to imagine, but my approach uses a non-chronological edit and flow to evoke the brain frantically reaching for any memory it can (while it can), while the concept of time completely shifts."Shooting it was tough. Because the video is based on true events, the hardest part for me was to ask Soul to revisit the darkest moments of his past. I felt the weight of every shot and tried to share some of that emotional load as the director. During the ledge scene, I had Soul thirteen stories up, looking down at the drop. He was secured with wires, yet it still felt like the longest shot of my life. I couldn’t wait to yell 'cut'. Throughout the shoot, he was extremely collaborative and willing to explore every option. I am humbled and grateful for Soul's trust. In his words: 'I’ve cried enough about it, so I’m choosing to laugh now.' "