Krista Henry, Gleaner Staff Reporter
Anthony Mandler, the director of American rapper Drake’s Find Your Love video, which was shot in Jamaica in April and features singjay Mavado as the ‘villain’ of the plot, has come out in response to Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett’s comments last week, warning local acts to be careful in how they portray Jamaica.
In defence of his video, Mandler said: “I’m not trying to make a statement about Jamaica. What we created was completely dramatic, completely scripted and not restricted to Jamaica. A lot of what happened in the video could have happened in 50 other countries. We used Jamaica because of the relationship Drake has there (in Jamaica), he’s recorded there and we wanted to use Mavado in the video.”
He added: “Jamaica, like a number of places, has a two-sided struggle within the country. There is the beautiful side with the beaches and the history and then there is the social struggle like other countries and we’re not trying to make a statement about that. The point is anything can happen which is true of anywhere.”
According to Mandler, he wrote the plot for the video along with Drake, with Mavado and others just acting.
He said: “I wanted to tell an anti-love story. The song is unusual for Drake and the album so we didn’t want to do the typical story. We wanted something that had danger in it and consequences, arrogance, the flip side of forbidden love. The reaction to the video on the international market has been crazy and that’s because of a lot of the visuals, the faces, the streets; all that you don’t see on a regular.”
This isn’t the first time the director has filmed in Jamaica but he described the experience as ‘incredible’, saying he got a lot of support from locals especially in Cassava Piece. On YouTube.com in one week, the video has almost three million views.
As to why subtitles weren’t included in the parts spoken in the local dialect, Mandler commented: “We didn’t want to take away from the beauty of the language, the mystery of what they’re saying, I’d rather have people watch it five times and then get it. The message is different to different people, the subtitles would have changed the meaning.”
The video stars Drake as a foreigner who falls in love with a woman who is romantically linked with a ‘gangster’ called Puffy played by Mavado. Drake is warned in the beginning of the video by an elderly Rastaman about not fooling around with Puffy’s girl. Drake, however, declares his affection for her and as the video progresses there are shots of him attending parties and getting intimate with her.
Drake soon introduces himself to the girl and is spotted by one of Puffy’s minions who then instructs his “dogs from the gully” to kidnap Drake. Drake is then confronted by a group of men and taken to an undisclosed location. Puffy tells Drake that he is out of place for coming to Jamaica and trying to get with his girl, saying “Anyting de a Jamaica belongs to the gully gad”, in reference to Mavado’s title as the ‘Gully God’.
Puffy instructs his woman played by video model Maliah Michel to “done him”. The video ends with the lady pointing the gun at Drake’s head before three shots are heard; Drake is not actually shown being shot.
However, Bartlett in his statement last week said: “We just have to say that care has to be taken by all including our creative artistes in portraying images of our destination and people.”
He also added that the message that is conveyed about Jamaica is wrong: “Gun culture, while not unique to Jamaica, is not enhancing.”
Mandler is one of the top commercial and music video directors having worked with acts such as Rihanna, John Mayer, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, T.I. and others.
The video was premiered internationally, more than a week ago.