“Things Gotta Change” is the third music video by The Senegal-America Project.

Filmed in Senegal in January of 2020, it features many of the project’s long-time collaborators: Tony Vacca, Bideew Bou Bess, Abiodun Oyewole (of The Last Poets), Tantra Zawadi, Backa Niang, Mamadou Ndiaye and Massamba Diop (tama drummer for Baaba Maal, and the signature drum from The Black Panther soundtrack.).

A month before the world pandemic of COVID-19 hit us all, this group of musicians and poets from Senegal and America met up in West Africa. They were there to do a series of festival performances, to follow up on two-decades of collaborative creations, and to create a music video called “Things Gotta Change.” Their work to date had spawned three CD recordings, two music videos, a US Embassy travel grant, and concerts at Senegal’s National Theatre and at Baaba Maal’s “Festival le Blues du Fleuve.”

It had also resulted in the creation of The Senegal-America Project, whose mission was to address social change with their unique, collaborative fusion of World Music and Spoken Word.

THINGS GOTTA CHANGE began with a question: “How do we move forward as a 21st century Global Community?” The group shares six languages, two countries, countless ethnic, religious and cultural points of reference; they already knew that diversity and generosity were their greatest assets, so the response was to simply “be the change.”

“What began as a very cool idea for a project has become a circle of deeply committed friends. We have come to know and love each other, our families, and the people of our respective nations. And now? Now the COVID-19 pandemic, and the long-standing caldron of injustice spawned by the failure to heal the wounds of racism, now these are shared challenges. We carry our answers together as we address our exquisitely diverse and unfinished humanity. It’s in this video, and it’s in all we do. So not only do Black Lives Matter, it matters to understand that Africa is the Mother of us all.”

Tony Vacca, co-founder of The Senegal-America Project.

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