Marsha Ambrosius’ ‘Far Away’ video shows “how much hate people have for PEOPLE period”

With painful, poignant and striking visuals to accompany an already emotive song, the latest video from soulful British songstress Marsha Ambrosius for “Far Away” – from her forthcoming debut solo album, Late Nights & Early Mornings – sparked a plethora of comments, debates and even tears around the world since hitting the internet earlier his week, shining a light on homophobia, bullying and suicide.

Depicting Marsha and a male companion engaging warmly with the local community on a walk around the park, the powerful video later reveals said companion to be in a gay relationship – and on returning to the park with his boyfriend, he becomes the recipient of cold stares, recoiling disapproval and even a violent, physical attack, resulting in his suicide.

With the “Far Away” video set to hit TV next week, Marsha Ambrosius speaks to SoulCulture about the video currently provoking some much-needed dialogue on bullying, oppression over personal lifestyle choices, such as sexuality.

Written and recorded in 2008, “Far Away” was written after a friend of Ambrosius attempted suicide. “It was one of the hardest things to go through because as a friend you feel helpless,” she says.

“There was nothing I could do and that hurt me so much. The emotion behind the music definitely helped me to express how I felt easily. I’ve always been honest with the music and the piano spoke the words before I thought about what I was going to say.

“It’s always joy and pain when it comes to honest music but that’s the beauty in it. It’s felt when it’s heard and it serves as therapy for me to release my thoughts through song. ”

Produced by Just Blaze, “Far Away” was co-written by Sterling Simms, who Marsha credits for having written “the most amazing second verse that summed up EVERYTHING!”

‘I know I played my part in making it what it is…’is the toughest line in the song for me to sing, but I accept it and grow each and every time. ‘Can’t feel this way again, gonna think with my head ’cause my heart is what got me here..’

“When someone close to you starts to distance themselves from you and you notice destructive behavior, trying to approach them about it can be very sensitive at first,” she explains of the lyrics. “You want to allow people to be who they are and maybe they will learn for themselves, but when things go too far, it’s too late.

“Trying to address what you believe is right or wrong for them turns into an argument, into neglect, rejection. My fault and the guilt that stayed with me regarding the situation was not having courage enough earlier to say ‘YOU ARE LOSING YOURSELF!!!’ If it hurt them or not, at least it was honest, at least it was said. But when it’s said too late, it’s just too late.

Marsha’s manager, Julius Erving III, came up with the concept for the “Fly Away” video, causing the singer-songwriter to “literally burst into tear” upon hearing the idea.

“I knew it was the right thing to do. It was perfect.” She elaborates, “At the time, there was so much going on in the news regarding suicide and it was kind of brushed off. Like it came and went. Because of my personal experience and many people who have approached me telling me how much my music means to them and how it helped them through serious situations, it was right.

“In this case, with ‘Far Away’ this issue was important to me. I want to make music that matters, music that moves people. Ultimately I want everyone to fall in love, laugh, and live with my music. Marvin Gaye made music to make love to and also made you socially aware of What’s Going On in the world. That era for me is when music mattered making it timeless.

Depicting a gay relationship in a music video still proves to be controversial to many, illustrated by the ignorant backlash and criticism the video has received from some viewers.

On WorldStarHipHop [where the video initially premiered online], for example, some of the more negative public comments include: “They’re really trying to push their h*mo agenda on our children aren’t they. Being g*y is not cool” and “Stop trying to justify h*mosexuality. You peoople [sic] seem to forget that GOD DOES NOT CONDONE h*moSEXUALITY. Yuor [sic] sympathetic babble sounds good, but IT’S A SIN… PERIOD!!!! You say it’s ok. GOD says otherwise. I’m rolling with GOD!”

Far from diminishing the video’s power, comments such as the above highlight the need for a video like this exist, to address bullying and discrimination; particularly over sexual lifestyle choices, in this case.

Admitting to looking at all the comments, Marsha says, “It is overwhelming the positive response I’ve been getting from everyone, black, white, gay, straight, the message wasn’t overlooked and that was my point. Of course there are those that will have a negative response to it but that’s the world.

“My point was to show how much hate people have for PEOPLE period. And this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and clearly by the comments both positive and negative, people are showing who they are.”

With the influential power celebrities and musicians yield in society, they truly are in a position to affect mindsets and cultural behaviour around the world. Here’s to more artists embracing their potential power and making a difference.

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