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Valentine's Day 2: Kanye West's "Diamonds are from Sierra Leone'. | by followthethings.com
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Valentine's Day 2: Kanye West's "Diamonds are from Sierra Leone'.

'Diamonds are from Sierra Leone', music video, Kanye West, 2005.

 

"This song is about Roc-A-Fella records, which is [Kanye] West’s label. The chorus, 'Throw your diamonds in the sky' refers to the Roc-A-fella hand signal, which is the shape of a diamond. West makes it clear, however, that real diamonds are a different story, as many of them are mined using child labor in African nations like Sierra Leone. His aim was to show that the profits from these illicit 'blood diamonds' bankroll civil wars in these African nations" (Source: www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5428&gt).

 

"... scenes of patrician privilege that feature white patron at an upscale diamond boutique are disrupted as the largest, and presumably most expensive, of the store’s gems is held out for perusal by the skinny dark arm of an unseen African child. As one of the attending suit-clad salesman leans in to take the jewel from the child's fingers, he wears a look of caution and embarrassment, anxious about the revelation that the child's presence threatens. A range of crimes are implicated throughout: certainly, the barbarous rampages of African rebels and impotence of African state authorities but, equally, the greedy collusions of Western traders and willed innocence of Western consumers. 'Diamonds' ... repeatedly and jarringly inserts hyperexploited African workers within rituals and spaces of privileged Western consumerism. ... [Kanye] West's audience who, one assumes, knows little of Sierra Leone, is ... forced to consider its role, both active and enabling, within vile secrets of circuits of global trade and neocolonialism (Mukherjee 2012, p.122).

 

Quotes taken from this draft followthethings.com page: diamondsfromsierraleone.wordpress.com

 

Watch the original music video in our 'Valentine's Day Playlist' on YouTube www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vfbv6hNeng&list=PLYkkFa9mbg5...

 

For Valentine's Day gift advice, See Free2Work's 'Guidance for Consumers on Valentine's Day': laborrightsblog.typepad.com/international_labor_right/201...

 

...and this Open University post on the 'Ethics of St. Valentine's Day': www.open.ac.uk/platform/blogs/society-matters/the-ethics-...

 

Legoing by Ian Cook. Apologies and thanks to Kanye West.

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Taken on February 4, 2014