Prince Harvey, “The New Black”

Nina Mashurova

Prince Harvey’s first video, “Sometimes”, took place entirely in the NYC subway system—a desolation angel collage of destitution (Prince walking through the trains holding handwritten signs with words like “Noose” and “Rent”) and whimsy (Prince sailing a paper boat down a sludge river in between train tracks). “New Black” returns briefly to the subway but takes place mostly in abstraction—close ups of faces and fragmented bodies, a nightlife lookbook hijacking marketing language to promote an intangible. According to Prince, “The song, the video, it’s all about individuality and uniqueness. I’m the new black, you’re the new black, we are what’s in right now and that trend should last forever.” Prince and friends, including musician Xhosa and artist Seashell Coker, are filmed alternately in black and white and against bright colors, posing and dancing. Prince raps with a cloud of tulle around his neck, arms in white fishnets, at one point shown breaking out of handcuffs. Prince’s debut album PHATASSrecorded deftly at the Apple Store, has plenty to say about scarcity, but “New Black” is a space for self-affirmation and the radical possibilities of #carefree utopianism, in fashion and in life.

“The New Black” was co-directed by video artist Julie MallisPHATASS was self-released July 2015.

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