Ben Olsen

After starting filming with Ben Olsen of Out of Line productions last May, the visual for Glenn Waco’s revolutionary song “Assata” has finally arrived. The song features vocals from Neka (Neka and Kahlo), and is the first single off his forthcoming project Human . And naturally, Waco chose the December 18 release date strategically; it’s the day that marks the abolition of slavery in 1865 when the 13th amendment was adopted into the constitution.

“Whips and chains, whips and chains/The American way,  slaves, whips and chains.”

The video features Naisa Willingham playing the role of Assata Shakur, the former Black Panther activist. You may have heard of her for being Tupac’s godmother, or as one of the survivors of a 1973 shootout at the New Jersey Turnpike which led to her being very questionably charged with several crimes (including murder), becoming the subject of a manhunt, and  breaking out of jail in 1979 only to escape to Cuba and receive political asylum. She’s been living in Cuba ever since, and now with the Unites States’ changing relations with the Caribbean country, the now 69-year-old Shakur’s fate has come back into question. In 2005 the FBI classified Shakur as a domestic terrorist, and in 2013 she became the first woman to take up space on the list of FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists. There is now a $2 million price tag on her forehead for her capture. Like the song, Waco’s video has a hopeful vibe in regards to Assata’s story (“You’ll never get Assata”), but it’s also a clapback to the way the US government treated the Black Panthers, and a celebration of women leaders in social justice.

The video also features a couple of local public figures: Former mayoral candidate Jesse Sponberg plays a detective who’s looking for Assata, and Don’t Shoot Portland’s Teressa Raiford stands in solidarity with the former Black Panther.

It’s also nice to see some great on-location shooting in Waco’s hometown of Portland. Backdrops reflect both his roots and his freedom-fighting inspirations: from standing outside of Holocene (where he hosts his DIY summer hip-hop concert series), to the base of “The Dream” Martin Luther King Jr. statue at the Oregon Convention Center, and a Malcolm X mural on NE 17th and Alberta.

Check out the WOHM premiere of the video below and be sure to clear your schedule for Waco’s Haiti Benefit edition of We Take Holocene next week!

We Take Holocene: Save Haiti
w/Roby, Deadphone Dummiez, US[+], RC Spitta, Leafs, Swiggle Mandela and Timmy Hendrixxx, Woody Beast
Thurs Dec 22,
7 pm
Holocene 1001 SE Morrison
Buy Tickets Here