UK-born, Paris-based artist ALA.NI released her video for “Le Diplomate,” featuring guest vocals from Iggy Pop. The video stars an unrecognizable ALA.NI in special-effects makeup and prosthetics as “Le Diplomate” — you can watch behind the scenes footage of the transformation HERE.
On her decision to portray “Le Diplomate” in whiteface, and her reason for the two year delay in releasing the video, ALA.NI says in a statement:
So much has changed in the world. The covid pandemic and all of its challenges, being a main global issue to currently tackle. Also, the acknowledgment and conscious movement that Black Lives should Matter. A statement that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Why must I even need to ask for this in our so-called equal and free modern society? Asking to be counted, when we still pay our taxes. Very saddening. We must fight for this change. TOGETHER.
My heart has been deeply hurting along with the rest of the black communities all over the world. On top of all of that, the entire human race has forbidden close contact with our fellow humans. No hugs, no kisses, so we really have much international healing work to do. TOGETHER.
Nearly two years after shooting this video, does it finally feel right to release it? I had to take a few huge steps back. A black woman doing white face in today’s new “conscious” climate could be contentious.
My message for this piece of a capella music and video was always a political one.
After a brief encounter with a diplomat from the Sarkozy administration 4-5 years ago, I was left with an impression and aspired to convert my experience into some art expression. Luckily, Iggy Pop was up for the ride too and shared in my vision.
The job of the diplomat is to be neutral, amicable and not to exploit his position by acting as a legal gangster. So what do we do when those trusted figures are corrupt from the very core? We the people must fight for truth, honesty and transparency. After all, governments are there to serve us, the people, the population. NOT their pockets. Sadly this deception and system of corruption is global and rife. So we must speak out. Through art, communication with true dialogue, and confronting the universal key issue that power must not be only for the wealthy, but for the good of heart, as we move into the future to make lasting change. TOGETHER.
ALA.NI originally approached Iggy Pop after he spun her songs from her 2017 debut album You & I on his BBC 6 Music show. “I decided to be brave and ask him if he’d indulge me in my art, and he said yes, so I found a poet in France who could help me turn this story I had in my head into a piece called ‘Le Diplomate,’” ALA.NI says. “After we recorded it, Iggy and I went to the beach for a nice swim and a long chat. I’d spent so much time alone working on the album that having a legend like him step in and agree to be a part of it really gave me a lot of belief in what I was doing.” ALA.NI documented her day with Iggy in a short film titled “IGGY DAY.”