Oakland California rapper and author Tyson Amir asks us on the second verse of his latest track, ‘BLVK Mirror’ if we’ve lost our way somehow due to the unending demands of social media.
He asks if we truly only ever understand ourselves when we see our likes and shares, and wonders is maybe instead we can forge our own value outside of this, which is largely fuelled by a few massive companies who are interested not in people’s lives but only in money.
The “black mirror” is a cool analogy for our phones; not only do they become addictive – and habit forming – how hard is it to put it down for an hour, let alone a day? – but they also dissuade us from thinking on a revolutionary scale, we become sheep, drones. Tyson’s belief is that it’s through revolutionary thinking alone that we will be able to properly navigate the waters of these current times. He calls out those of his peers who he believes are more concerned with getting attention than raising and addressing the crises in the US.
Tyson shares his deep understanding of history, addressing US culture and politics with clarity and a force that well demonstrates his intellectual prowess. Although ‘BLVK Mirror’ is only two verses long, he nonetheless manages to name a litany of world events and historical figures, among them US freedom-fighters, African heads of state, teachers, poets, and visionaries. Previous release, ‘Dessalines’, meanwhile, released earlier this summer, is a tribute to the founding father and revolutionary leader of independent Haiti. It should come as no surprise therefore that Tyson is not just a successful entertainer, but as an educator as well. His books, ‘Black Boy Poems’, and the ‘Black Boy Poems Curriculum’ are designed to address subjects too often overlooked, and do it using the language of hip-hop.
The video for ‘BLVK Mirror’ is as intense as the song, with videographer Fanatik onBEATS capturing footage of the reality of the now in the wake of COVID-19, in the streets of Oakland. Editing was done by Tyson himself, highlighting his lyrics with clips and images of newsworthy events, people dispossessed and abused by the police, and revolutionaries like Malcolm X. Tyson raps from behind the wheel of his car, cruising through the near-deserted streets of his home town, providing an extremely fitting metaphor for his message.
Watch the video for ‘BLVK Mirror’ below. Find Tyson onBEATS on his official website.