Swet Shop Boys - T5

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Swet Shop Boys - "T5" (Official Music Video)

A lifetime of traveling in brown skin and with a Muslim name have taught Riz Ahmed to expect the indignity of being racially profiled. At borders and airports, immigration officers see a potential terrorist where there's an actor. For years, casting directors did much the same, typecasting him as a jihadi or a cab driver or some other racial stereotype. The Pakistani-British actor and rapper detailed, and connected, those experiences in a recent essay, published on The Guardian and excerpted from a forthcoming anthology.

This sort of sociopolitical reflection through the lens of identity exists in much of Riz's work elsewhere. It's a significant thread in the music he makes with Himanshu Suri, b.k.a. Heems, as the rap duo Swet Shop Boys. "T5," a recent single from their forthcoming Cashmere LP, is a pulsing meditation on airports as centers of socially sanctioned racism. The video for the song, premiering here today and produced by The FADER, puts Riz and Heems at the mercy of TSA and border control officers at JFK's Terminal 5. In the clip, Riz and Heems play semi-autobiographical versions of themselves, with parallel experiences ending in different fates. And the message is right on time, coinciding with intense anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy in their home countries — Brexit in the U.K., and the ever-creeping threat of a Trump presidency in the U.S. Watch above for a take that's as entertaining as it is crucial.

Swet Shop Boys "T5" from the album 'Cashmere'
Produced by Redinho
Directed by Sofian Khan

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Directed by Sofian Khan
Produced by Sofian Khan & Bob Blankemeier
Executive Producer - Joseph Patel
Associate Producer - Fabian Caballero
Director of Photography - Bob Blankemeier
Steadicam Operator - Richard Patterson
Production Designer - Jesse Mailings
Costume Designer - Laura Texter
Costume Assistant - Ashley Hogan
Makeup - Ilaria Ferraro
Special Effects - Daniel Calvo
Titles - Justin Herrmann
Edited by Sofian Khan
Key Gaffer - Tom Chaves
Key Grip - Charles Baker
First Assistant Camera - Jonah Serfass
Set Photographer - Cheryl Mowczan
Best Boy - Harris Ansari
Production Assistant - Nick Fiore
Driver - Michael Rasulo
Set Painter - Dario Nieva
Production Coordinator - Madison LaClair

TSA Agent 1 - Kyle Merker
TSA Agent 2 - Amanda Lea Mason
TSA Agent 3 - Michael Rasulo
TSA Agent 4 - Sara Silva
Dancer 1 - Jaime Pineiro
Dancer 2 - Diego Borja
Milli - Adam Davenport
Vanilli - Elijah Gravely
Interrogator - David Serero
Soldier - Asen Grigorov
Uber Driver - Harris Ansari

Background talent
Linda Aydinian
Ned Bowen
Amelia Chairamonte
Herge M. Jansen
Jane Maushay
Warren McKnight

Production Company - Capital K Pictures
Studio Location - Vigilant NYC, Flushing Queens
Special Thanks to Vincent Rasulo / Playcrafters
Nick Tarascio - Ventura Air / Republic Airport
& Michael Stack - MacArthur-Islip Airport


Next month, we’ll get to hear Cashmere, the debut full-length from Swet Shop Boys, the duo of former Das Racist member Heems and the British actor and rapper Riz Ahmed. “T5,” the album’s opening track is a playful-but-angry song about always being racially profiled while going through airport customs. And the song’s brand-new video takes on that same sensibility, showing the two rappers getting stuck in increasingly ridiculous customs situations while trying to make their flights. Sofian Khan directed the video, and you can watch it above.
-- Stereogum


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