ROBOT's Meghan Daniels on Exploring Loss, Grief and Life in Diamond Thug's 'Purple Skies'
A few years ago, I arrived in Johannesburg, and along the expanding concrete highways, I was met with swarms of delicate butterflies. There's a phenomenon in South Africa called the annual butterfly migration where thousands of brown-veined, white butterflies fly across the country from places like the Karoo towards Mozambique and northern KwaZulu-Natal. This phenomenon is a beautiful tragedy in that their flight is actually an emigration and not really a migration, as they only fly one way and then die at the end of their journey.
And then last year the world was hit so unexpectedly by the Covid-19 pandemic and the immense hardships, hurt, frustration and loss that came with it. I treated on the 'Purple Skies' music video during these intersections. I wrote it with loss in mind. I wrote it for my father, I wrote it for Charlton and Toufeeq (the talent in the music video), and I wrote it for everyone and anyone who has lost someone close to them.
Charlton, Toufeeq and I have been waiting for an opportunity to create something and when this music video came along, we thought, "This is it!". Charlton and Toufeeq are brothers, not biologically, but through a life-long friendship - and so their performance is as honest and raw as it gets. I was also drawn to the seemingly contradictory nature of having two muscular, male breakdancers move to the gentle and slow paced track.
‘Purple Skies’ follows the relationship between two brothers, and is an exploration of loss and grief, as well as an ode to life, love and youth. ‘Purple Skies’ asks the question, how do we deal with the death of someone close to us when it was this person who gave us life? 'Purple Skies' breathes a brief world into existence, filled with joy, love, anger, loss, and moments of shared celebratory joy.
This music video was a passion project with a very small budget. It was therefore only possible through the crew who came together to make this through care and a mutual understanding of the project - a reminder of why we are all in the film industry and why we love doing what we do.
Starring: Charlton Taylor @bboywinterza and Toufeeq Baatjies @bboytoufeeq
Director: Meghan Daniels @meghan.daniels
Music by: Diamond Thug @diamondthugband
Management agency: Aloe Aloe @aloealoemusic
Music label: Kudukudu @kudukudurecords
Executive producers: Danilo Queiros @daniloqrs and Tourmaline Berg @tourmalineberg
Producer: Meghan Daniels @meghan.daniels
Director of photography: Nick Burton-Moore @nickburtonmoore
1st AC: Dale Burns @burnseyeview_
Camera operator: Dylan Boerstra @dylanboerstra
Loader: Tafadzwa Pasi @thestoryofxfiles
Stylist: Erin Simon @___eee_________________
Hair stylist: Marchay Linderoth @marge_linderoth
Editor: Tomas Wells @tomas_wells
Colourist: Kyle Stroebel @stroobzz
Colourist facility: Refinery @refinery_sa
VFX artist: Nicholas Ellis-Brown @smart_slumz of Iconic Digital @iconic.agency
On set assistant: Sarah Hugo-Hamman @sarah_hugo_hamman
On set photographer: Tara McAuliffe @taraamcauliffe
Supported by: Panavision @panavisionofficial
Category: Music video , Short Films and Music Videos