Kehlani Drops Pro-Palestinian Music Video

R&B singer Kehlani released a song and music video on Friday in support of Palestine amid the ongoing struggle in Gaza.

The “Next 2 U” music video, which featured a hard-hitting dance sequence, and the brandishing of Palestinian flags and keffiyeh-inspired clothing, opens with a quote from award-winning poet and author Hala Alyan: “Keep your moon/We have our own/Keep your army/We have our name/Keep your flag/We have fruit and in/All the right colors.”

The video then cuts to show the words of a popular pro-Palestinian chant: “Long live the intifada.” The Arabic word “intifada” commonly translates to “uprising” in English.

“We tried to make a scroll honoring the names of thousands of deceased children,” the video reads at its conclusion, encouraging viewers to look through Al Jazeera’s list of child casualties since Oct. 7, 2023. “The list was so long that our fastest scroll at 3 minutes was illegible.”

The artist posted a Toni Cade Bambara quote when promoting the video online.

“The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible,” the Bambara quote in Kehlani’s post reads.

The music video comes after the release of rapper Macklemore’s “Hind’s Hall” on May 6. His song came out as university and college campuses across the nation became the site of many pro-Palestinian protests and was named after a an academic building (Hamilton Hall) at Columbia University in New York, which has a long history of student protests.

Kehlani’s release also comes after an online “blockout” in which social media users rallied together to block celebrities and influencers who have failed to speak out on the conflict in Gaza.

Tensions between Israeli military and Palestinians in Gaza have existed for decades, but the current conflict follows Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 were kidnapped.

Since October, the Israeli military has carried out attacks that have killed more than 36,000 people, including an estimated 15,000 children, and injured at least 81,000 people, Al Jazeera reported on May 28. Critics of the violence and watchdog organizations have argued that Israel’s offensive could be described as genocide against Palestinians and warned that widespread famine is likely occurring in Gaza.