There is truly nothing more exciting in the fashion world than when a fresh brand and/or creative emerges with something as electric and commanding as A Peace Treaty’s Fall/Winter 2018 campaign film “Midnight Woman in Harlem.” This is our first impression of the Peace Treaty brand and we are seriously impressed with their confidence, attitude and the way they’ve pushed themselves onto our radar like a bulldozer barreling through all the fluff we see in a way that demands attention and respect.
Of course confidence and attitude can only really get you anywhere if you have the talent, work ethic and skill to back it up and the creative minds behind “Midnight Woman in Harlem” clearly establish that they have what it takes with this project. The first thing that will leap out at any viewer about this film is it’s distinct and immersive aesthetic combining 1970’s Harlem, the classic blaxploitation cinema featuring stars like Pam Grier, the stunning and powerful women represented in the art of Mickalene Thomas and 1960’s-70’s black divas like Chaka Khan, Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin. The aesthetic and mood is essentially flawless and without a single crack due to the obvious love, care, respect and attention to detail put into capturing an authentic portrayal of the culture represented in the art that it is paying homage to. The film and brand proudly state that the production of the film was 90% women and 95% people of color once again proving that the most authentic and genuine portrayals of feminism and women in film come from the minds of women and that the same goes for people of color and their respective cultures and representations.
Of particular artistic note are the scenes that totally flip the classic portrait of a studio and songwriting session that has been drilled into our brains from too many VH1 Behind the Music episodes. Instead of four white guys with instruments surrounded by seven other white men behind the booth the band here is six women of color and they seem to be doing just fine handling everything from lyrics and songwriting to production and performance all by themselves. Another visual highlight expressing the same inversion is when one of the women dons a look that when combined with a drawn-on mustache makes her look like a rather elegant drag king iteration of Prince who was legendary for his ability to do pretty much anything involving music on his own and being his own singular visionary. The original song (sharing the name of the film) written by creative director Akin Adebowale and performed by singer-songwriter MAAD (who plays the role of the band’s lead singer and creative force) is exhilarating and goes in a totally unexpected direction dropping into an aggressive percussion based banger inspired by Afro-Caribbean polyrhythms and the in-your-face repetition of dance music styles like footwork and kuduro. This shift in sound is a gutsy bait-and-switch as the song builds like its going to burst into a a diva fronted pop song but instead it playfully nosedives into a repetitive, rhythmically complex dance track that may be downright abrasive for some viewers due to the total absence of discernible melody and could have been huge misstep if it didn’t pay off in such an electrifying way.
We are definitely going to be keeping on our eyes on both A Peace Treaty and Akin Adebowale’s Blacktag (who produced the video) and we are extremely excited for whatever direction they decide to go in next because this is a phenomenal first impression and we anticipate even greater things in the future.
Peace Treaty Creative Director | Dana Arbib Creative Director | Akin Adebowale
Director | Arie Esiri
DOP | Ceric Cheung-Lau
Produced by | Blacktag Producer | Melissa Adeyemo Talent | Maad, Zohar Benjelloun, Tchesmeni Leonard, Alyse Archer-Coité, Stazi Genicoff, and Camille Hall Stylist | Chasidy Billups Hair | Nigella Miller Makeup | Alana Wright Music | Midnight Woman in Harlem written by Akin Adebowale, performed by Alanna Taylor & Maad