The video for ‘Road To Damascus’, by Chris Waters, is harrowing – shocking even – so much so that YouTube has rated it 18+ and won’t let us share it on here. But there’s no senseless violence in the clip; in fact it’s sharing a very necessary, and important message, and sadly it’s one that a lot of young people aged under 18 already know all too well.
At about the halfway point of the video for ‘Road To Damascus’, we see a child shatter a classroom window with the back of his skateboard. He’s not just mindlessly damaging it, but rather he is escaping from his school, which has become a death trap. That imagery is quite scary, but it’s not the most frightening part of the scene – that belongs to his face, which is impassive and emotionless. Incredibly, gun violence has become an accepted part of life in the USA, and school children are no longer surprised when it happens.
Right at the time of writing, there have been more mass shootings in the US than there have been days of the year. Today is the 66th day of the year, and there have been more than 100 mass shootings in 2023. At this point of the year, there have been more mass shootings in the USA than any year since at least 2013. It’s hard to see where the hope is in that, and yet, while rapper and singer songwriter Chris Waters is outraged beyond all belief, just like the rest of us, he’s not given up.
While the leaders of the US seem either powerless, or unwilling to act on it, sending their oh so useful “thoughts and prayers”, it is still possible for minds to change, and persuade them to see that the bigger picture isn’t even that big – it’s right outside your own door.
In ‘Road To Damascus’ Waters is fiery and blunt, yet articulate. He doesn’t waste a single word in his rhymes, he spits out his bars with absolute precision, hitting every mark he aims for. The urgency in his track is reflected in the accompanying video, directed by Philip Guzman.
Uncompromising and uncomfortable, the facts are laid before us, including an infographic of school shootings across the US, along with news footage, and scenes shot inside classrooms. It’s a powerful message, and with each frame Waters asks, is this really the nation we want to be? Are we so callous to continue to allow this to happen to our children? Who will intervene and say enough is enough?