By Henna Kathiya
Talib Kweli is known for his lyrical prowess and now he’s lending his voice to an interactive video “The Backstory” aimed at combating human trafficking as a part of mtvU’s Against Our Will Campaign for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
“The Backstory” is a student-conceived project that was inspired by four students from James Madison University. The video is really something that will draw viewers in as they become central characters in the storyline. The interactive experience starts with selecting from a number of provocative ads and then learning the painful stories behind these posts.
The viewer soon learns how someone they know could become a victim of human trafficking. The story of the victim is told through a series of videos featuring dancers from Ailey II, with music scored by Kenna and text read by Talib. The text was inspired by a compilation of real-life accounts from survivors. “Students are always the vanguard of a movement, so when they move on something as important as human trafficking – I stand with them. This is a creative way to bring a travesty to the forefront, and to make a difference,” Talib said.
“The Backstory” not only raises awareness, but it also connects users with steps to take action against modern-day slavery which include rallying for laws that support the rights of trafficking survivors as well as discovering how their actions could inadvertently be supporting modern-day slavery.
“This project is such a brilliant way to tell a very tragic story,” Kenna said. “In my work with water and women empowerment, you are constantly reminded of the security issues for young people, the risk of being captured and enslaved. I was honored to be asked to contribute and hope to make a difference in any way I can.”