In celebration of Black History Month, yesterday Portland rapper Mic Capes premiered his music video for “Black Pearls,” a highlight off his debut LP Concrete Dreams which was released in 2016. I remember when Capes made the open call for Black women in the Portland area to come be featured in the video. As much as I wanted to be part of that experience, I was more keen to just wait and see what came of it (and not muddy up my coverage with a “conflict of interest” disclaimer). And I’m really glad I did. Presented by Honey Lab Productions and directed by Prema DiGrazia, the video is just as sweet as the song.
Just like the R&B-infused track, the video kicks off with Lauren Steele’s spoken word poem. Steele isn’t pictured in the vid, but model Teresa Patterson stands in for her, lipping her words while standing in front of a Pacific Northwest waterfall: “The hatred stems from envy…” Surrounded by witchy, neatly piled rocks, lush green, and fresh water, it’s a gorgeous scene.
As the groovy beat kicks in and Capes tackles the first verse, he and singer Aaron O’Bryan Smith are standing in the empty and sunlit Crystal Ballroom. The video unfolds to include shots of a young girl blowing bubbles and picking flowers apart on the grass, a Black mother feeding her kids breakfast, and various hair and fashion staples made famous by Black women. There’s a gorgeous photobooth-style montage throughout: Against glowy yellow and warming purple backdrops, a plethora of beautiful Black women smile and ham-it-up for the camera. The video ends in a packed house that’s hosting a vivacious dance party.
While rappers can always always do better, I gotta say: It’s lovely to see the relative diversity represented here in regards to body type, age and identity, even within this specific demographic. That’s another two points for Portland hip-hop.