Back in June, I’d hand drawn a sign ready to go along to the Black Lives Matter march planned at the local recreation ground near my house. I was stoked at the prospect of being a part of an important peaceful protest the very next day. When I woke up in the morning, I got the focal aura (aka trippy eye jazz) of a migraine (aka a mind-blinding, truck-thrashing mammoth behind the eyes). I was gutted that I’d have to spend the rest of the day horizontal, in the pitch dark to allow my brain to de-pressurise. I tried to sleep but I was tossing, turning and couldn’t seem to rest. Within the wrath of my head tension fuelled by a deep fury towards the abhorrent racial injustice still rife in today’s society rose these words.

The viscous,
tender blood that weaves,
keeps us alive
pumps through all our veins,
no one left behind.
All supplied with divine flow
regardless of external characteristics.
Care only for inner chambers, ventricles, aortas,
I oughta remind you of the mystic magic
that holds us all existent.
The sacred energy throughout
capillaries, arteries,
the heart that beats is seated inside all of us.
The organs that play symphonieees sustain our minds,
our eyes,
our sighs,
all of us.
Regardless of aesthetic,
no pathetic judgement to determine our value,
deem us unworthy of life.
The chance.
The power.
The strength.
The force of the spirit is un-believable,
incredible,
unimaginable,
unfathomable!
And it’s all right here,
inside all of us.
All.
Of.
Us.
Every single one of us
pumping,
pulsing visceral,
physical life bolts. 

We are red. 

We are red. 

We are love.

We are blood. 

I voice-noted the poem to my friend Meg on whatsapp. She loved the flow. She wanted to draw some illustrations to it. I obviously gave her my anticipatory blessing. Over the next four months, Meg embarked on the lengthy adventure of hand-drawing the illustrations frame by frame using a clever app on her tablet. I would get periodic updates which not only excited me greatly but also left me in awe of her terrific patience and awesome drawing (drawsome) skills.

Fast forward four months, she sent me the final cut and I was utterly spellbound, jaw-to-the-floor. The activity tables turned back to me and I set up my home recording studio to lay down some crisp and husky vocals. After some audio tweaking of my voice-over in Adobe Audition and sourcing a heartbeat sound effect that didn’t sound like a hilarious alien bot, I imported all our files into Premiere Pro and got cracking with the subtitles (highlighted red for obvious reasons).

Cue: completion of our first ever spoken word and stop-motion animation collaboration. Clearly the workload tables were very unfairly balanced in Meg’s direction so I have made a pact to assist with the illustrations next time. I’m very excited for the future of our arty partnership. Hope you enjoy our debut video!

If you wanna see more of Meg’s magic, check out her website here: meganroseillustration.com