Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Leon Bridges recently unveiled his latest music for his song “River”. It’s an elegant piece that strings the song together in a way you might not have before.

“River” is already a powerful song – a gospel inspired track meant to inspire hope and explore the questions of life. The video was directed by Miles Jay, and he pulls directly from contemporary society to shine a new light on what a river might mean.

The video was shot on location in Baltimore, Maryland, and focuses on the Baltimore Uprising. The video contain s an extended candlelight vigil scene made possible by the support of members of the West Wednesday Movement. The movement is a bedrock of the Baltimore protest movement.

The West Wednesday movement was founded by the family of Tyrone West, who died in the custody of Baltimore police in 2013. Further included in the video is the iconic scene, which has highlighted the Baltimore Uprising, of Allen Bullock striking the windshield of a car with a cone. After the release of the video, Bridges released a statement saying:

“A river has historically been used in gospel music as symbolism for change and redemption.  My goal was to write a song about my personal spiritual experience.  It was written during a time of real depression in my life and I recall sitting in my garage trying to write a song which reflected this struggle.  I felt stuck working multiple jobs to support myself and my mother.  I had little hope and couldn’t see a road out of my reality.  The only thing I could cling to in the midst of all that was my faith in God and my only path towards baptism was by way of the river. 

When thinking about how to best visually represent this universal battle, I reflected on the depiction of black communities in our media and particular experiences within my own life.  This video showcases the unique struggle many black men and women face across this country. However, unlike the captured images which tend to represent only part of the story, I wanted to showcase that through all the injustice, there’s real hope in the world. 

I want this video to be a message of light.  I believe it has the power to change and heal those that are hurting.”

Check out Leon Bridge’s latest “River” video below.