If there was ever any question about whether the Reggae Revival movement had a thing or two to teach us about stylish rude boy swagger, last Friday’s video release for Protoje’s rhythmic anthem “Who Knows” featuring Chronixx, obliterated it, cementing the movement as a definitive curator of new roots style. The video prompted music magazine The Fader to nod their head enviously, saying the artistes were “slaying” New York office life with vivid visuals and throwback 80s reggae rhythm. In anticipation of the video we reached out to Ayana Riviére, who contributed both style and production on set of Protoje’s new video, and got to the root of those patterned life vests and the Afro-centric visual culture she created on set in light of the revivalist movement.
KS: Chronixx and Protoje each have their own personal style, what was your vision in styling them together for the music video?
AR: They are leaders in a new movement that references an old school era. I wanted to maintain their youthful vibe and integrate the original rude boy style of early dub culture so I kept to clothing that they were comfortable with and best represented them and their vibe and integrated things like the marinos to accomplish that rude boy vibe.
KS: Did you have to style anything out of the ordinary for this video?
AR: In the beginning I had a conversation with the director about the look of the video and afro print was something we wanted to use to add a certain energy, but at the same time not use it in a typical way. The life jackets in the boat scene were perfect to showcase the afro print. After some hunting I found the beautiful, strong print you see being used in the video. I think they took the whole thing up a notch.
KS: The life jackets are definitely unique. Where did you find that amazing print!?
AR: I found it in a small fabric spot that I think is on its way out. I asked if they had afro print and she showed me a couple but I saw the one that was used at the bottom of all of them. I had a vintage shirt I got in Baltimore in the same print so I was really excited because I hadn’t seen the fabric being sold anywhere. I think the lady in the store was surprised I even wanted it. I went and found some jackets that could match and got a seamstress to put them together.
KS: Do you have a favourite style moment in the video?
AR: Aside from the life jackets, my favorite style moment was when Protoje was facing backwards on the bike with his open shirt blowing in the wind and his red, green and gold mesh merino is peeping out. He’s wearing a lot of colour but it doesn’t overwhelm in any way.
KS: This video has an amazing collection of talent. What was the funnest/most exciting part of working on this video?
AR: Yeah, a lot of talented folks came out and were involved in the making of the video. It was great seeing the kind of support Protoje and Chronixx have from their peers. It’s really something special, and is indicative of the new roots movement emerging. The most exciting part of the video was probably watching the Crazy Bikers crew doing wild stunts while we waited for the artists to show up and shoot their scene. Also, working with a legend and style icon like Big Youth was a unique and wonderful experience.