With the Black Lives Matter movement resonating with millions of people due to the recent police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others rapper YG released his protest song “FTP (F** the Police)” earlier this month. He also planned to shoot the video during the protest in Hollywood on June 7 and enlisted the help of filmmaker and creative director Xavier Sotomayor. “Right when the riots happened, YG hit me up and he FaceTimed me and said hey bro, we need to shoot a video,” stated Sotomayor. Enlisting director Kariuki, founder of Denied Approval, the video was shot in documentary style and contains a mix of footage primarily captured with a single camera mixed in with a few news clips and some clips from protesters during the rally. Of the song, YG stated on his Instagram, “They hear FTP and they think I’m gonna come and burn my city. So we showed up and did it right. We proved them wrong. The real story here is me and Black Lives Matter brought out 50,000 people today to peacefully protest and unite for change. I wanted to document that so when they hear this song and think we are reckless and violent they see a peaceful protest of all different people coming together for a common cause. That is history.” Sotomayor has worked alongside some iconic artists and brands throughout his career, including Adidas, Cardi B, Garth Brooks, Duke Dumont, Pleasures, A$ap Rocky, G-Eazy, IDK, Brooklyn Circus, Drake, Nike, The Chainsmokers and many more.
B-Sides spoke with Sotomayor about the making of the video, his approach to filmmaking, how Andrei Tarkovsky influences his style and more. Check out the interview: