San Francisco singer, composer and organizer Meklit just released her video for "Kemekem (I Like Your Afro)," and it's really got everything: a great song, a lustful pursuit, a startup office environment, an abundance of beautiful afros, a smooth-as-butter courtship and a well-placed Post-It note.
Director Pete Lee says that when the song was explained to him -- "the lyrics were about this romance on the down-low, very taboo, and nobody else in the village could ever know the two were in love," he tells me -- he knew he had to update it to the Bay Area in the 21st Century for the video. "And inter-office romance," Lee notes, "is one of the last bastions of forbidden romances."
Enter the Oakland startup Monsoon, located amidst a former bank vault right off Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland, where "Kemekem" was shot. "We were looking for ugly old-style cubicles, but those don't seem to exist anymore in the Bay Area," Lee says. "Everywhere just has yoga balls and stuff."
As for the couple in the plot, the slow-burning choreography comes courtesy of Shawnrey Notto -- the fairer half of the pair -- and locals might recognize the gentleman caller as none other than Con Brio's Ziek McCarter. As for Meklit herself, "I truly think it's the best thing I've ever done," she says.
And what about that Post-It? Was it an accident that stayed in the final cut? Not so, says Lee. “It actually took a while to get the Post-It perfect in her hair!" he laughs. "They don't make Post-Its as sticky as they used to.”
Meklit's new album, We Are Alive, was released just last month.