India.Arie Praises The Art Of Protest In Powerful New Music Video For 'What If'

"What if Martin didn't stand up? What if Rosa didn't sit down?"

Photo credit:A good soldier is always ready whether serious or sharing a good a laugh.

| January 18 2019,

4:42 pm

Grammy-winning artist India.Arie is known for producing soulful classics accompanied by an emphatic message. Her 2005 single "I Am Not My Hair" was a joyful declaration of the diversity of Black women's tresses. Her latest single, "What If," is an influential anthem praising civil rights pioneers who spoke out against injustice and paved the way for modern-day activism.

The black-and-white visuals begin with an outside shot of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s home in Atlanta, Georgia. Several images of the pastor and civil rights activist appear rapidly, from his famed "I Have a Dream" speech to images of his march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Arie's soulful voice sings, "What if Martin didn't stand up?" Questioning the positive actions of prominent Black influencers becomes the general theme of the video, as the lyrics follow with "What if Rosa didn't sit down?"

As the video continues, Arie highlights the efforts made by other Black history makers, but not before pondering, "Where would we be now?"

The chorus of "What If" functions as a call to action. The Denver native sings, "We are the ones we've been waiting for. We can change the world."

A clear theme of "What If" is the never-ending fight for minority rights, as the chilling images of Black Lives Matter activists and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick are a sobering reminder that social justice and racial equality is still at the center of the everyday struggle of Black people. 

However, the video is also an ode to Black excellence and enthusiastically showcases prominent Black figures of today who have found significant success in their crafts. In addition to tennis legend Serena Williams and Oscar winner Viola Davis, possible 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris also flashes across the screen. 

Watch the touching music video for "What If" below.


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