Kanye Week: Diamonds From Sierra Leone, Reinvention

As Late Registration came out, a new aesthetic arrived. Known for always reinventing himself, Kanye West delivered another classic to the series. When I think of a favorite record from the project, “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” is one of them. Not only was the song referencing the harsh realities of the controversial crystal trade, but touched on the American dream. Originally performed by Shirley Bassey, it was also the theme to the James Bond “Diamonds Are Forever” in 1971.


The visuals to this song remind me a lot of the Watch the Throne album. From the Euro-inspired architecture to the iconic fashions, and minimal color palettes, I see it was probably a precursor to the collaborative project released years later.

References of the Roc-A-Fella team, child labor in African nations, and transitioning back to the manufacturing process of the luxury item. All in all, there is a push and pull of elements in what’s expected, respected, and collected from Black culture. Kanye West was a genius with his word play on superficial realities of possessions. And still many may not see that same message. Well-respected Director Hype Williams shot in black and white (photographic appeal), while grabbing viewers attention (introduction of child miners).

This was a true history lesson for me. And that’s the beauty in art. There is power in honest creation.

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Written by Manny King John

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