Climbing Poetree is a self-proclaimed artist-activist performance group that uses their music to inspire the next generation. The duo utilizes poetry and music to challenge injustices, strive for equality and inspire communities across the world. Their most recent music video, which is the fourth installment in their video release for their album INTRINSIC, was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Climbing Poetree was co-founded by Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman. The two have performed alongside celebrities like Alicia Keys, Janelle Monáe, Erykah Badu, Madonna, Angela Davis and more. Having reached this expansive and diverse crowd, they hope to use their creativity to endorse black activism. 

“Creativity is the antidote for violence and destruction,” Garcia and Penniman wrote on their site. “Art is our most human expression, our voice to communicate our stories, to challenge injustice and the misrepresentations of mainstream media, to expose harsh realities and engender even more powerful hope.”

The group’s newest music video, “We Rising Up,” was shot over a year-long span, and was derived from the collaboration of black activists, artists and community builders. The video showcases protests across the United States that have all erupted from the election of Donald Trump, while balancing a special recognition for those who strive for an end to police brutality against black people. 

“We live in a time where rampant state violence and systemic police terror can no longer be ignored thanks to a coordinated mass movement that centers the value of black life,” Garcia and Penniman told Blavity. “‘We Rising Up’ is an anthem that declares the imminent downfall of white supremacy, and insists that dignity, safety and self-determination for all African-heritage people is a prerequisite for universal justice.”

Endorsing community, the lyrics of the second verse were contrived of submissions from participants of the first National Convening for the Movement for Black Lives in Cleveland. The founder of Black Urban Growers, Karen Washington, and Jalal Subur, who is a prison abolitionist, are featured in the video.

Though mainstream media outlets tend to cycle stories which often serve to detriment the black community, Climbing Poetree hopes the release of their video will keep the value of black lives in the national conversation. 

“Even though the Black Lives Matter movement is not on every channel and newspaper headline right now, the state of violence inflicted on the black community is just as prevalent and continues in a long line of historical surveillance,” Garcia and Penniman said. “Police killings have already surpassed 2017’s numbers by this time last year, with 378 lives taken by police in the United States so far in 2018. In the face of all this, it is essential for us to create work that uplifts, centralizes and mirrors back all the beauty, determination and growth that exists in our communities, despite the ugly reality at hand.”

Watch the music video for “We Rising Up” below: