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Premiere: Classified's 'Powerless' music video is an incredible ode to missing and murdered Indigenous women

By
CBC Music

When rapper Classified released his new single "Powerless" two weeks ago, he wrote an impassioned post on his Facebook that concluded: "We need to speak up for these kids ... don't let them feel powerless."

The track was inspired by responses Classified received when he posted about the news of a Newfoundland man who was sentenced to five years in prison for the rape of an 11-year-old girl. "I thought it was unbelievable," he said, explaining his outrage towards the case, which led to his post on social media. As a result, he began writing "Powerless" to give a voice to children and women who have experienced abuse.

When the track was halfway done, he encountered an Indigenous fan who approached the Nova Scotia rapper and asked "if I would ever do a song for Indigenous girls and how they are being mistreated and how they feel powerless," Classified recalls. "It hit me right then that this had to be included in the song, so that's where the second verse came from."

The music video for "Powerless," which CBC Music is premiering today, brings Classified's message to a visual reality. The video, directed by Andrew Hines (who was nominated for a Grammy this year for directing rapper Logic's "1-800-273-8255" music video), shows the traumas of young women being abused as well as the Indigenous community's suffering from the growing number of missing and murdered women.

"Powerless" was shot on Millbrook First Nation, a Mi'kmaq First Nations group, and the video features a cast entirely made up of Indigenous people. With the exception of the video's main protagonist, played by Lisa Gushue, all the posters in the video are of real missing women in Canada.

Watch "Powerless" below.

More to explore:

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan to Wolf Saga: meet Indigenous artists pushing the boundaries of sound

Watch Jeremy Dutcher's mesmerizing performances from Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa

Listen to every episode of Reclaimed on CBC Music