Up-and-coming pop star KWAYE has made it apparent that when it comes to making music, aesthetics are important to him. Through the videos his past songs like “Sweetest Life” and “Little Ones,” the Zimbabwe-born artist has shown a distinct talent for crafting visual storytelling.
That trend continues in KWAYE’s most recent music video for “What Have You Done.” The song focuses on a journey toward self-discovery and external validation, with lyrics like “Secrets from the ones that came before me/ Still within the books I've never read” giving the song a sense historical desire.
The song’s subsequent video doubles down on KWAYE’s message, with each outfit and dance move bringing in different elements African cultures from around the world. In an interview with Complex, KWAYE explained that he wanted the video for “What Have You Done” to serve as a means examining his culture. “Through the movement and styling, we wanted to create a visual world where various parts the African Diaspora melded together,” he said. “Each the three looks is a reference to three different points in western black history that I never discovered in my western school books."
Even the colors the outfits he and his fellow dancers wear play significantly on the same themes — he explained that the “nude” colors worn at the video’s start, for example, represent the color clothing typically worn on plantations during slavery. “African-inspired contemporary movement is the common denominator all the different shots in the video, just as Africa is the root black histories,” he said.
Check out the dance-filled video for KWAYE’s “What Have You Done” below: