Assisting Drake’s comeback from his brief hiatus has been the visuals alongside the singles he’s dropped.
His January offering “God’s Plan” has surpassed “One Dance” as the longest number one in Billboard Chart history clocking in at eleven consecutive weeks and “Nice For What” is already at 12 million views and that dropped just three days ago.
The records are big on their own, don’t get me wrong, but it’s been the compelling videos that’s accompanied that’s been the real difference maker.
Probably the best part of them both? They we’re both directed by 22-year-old Karena Evans.
Two days ago famed and accomplished videographer Director X took to his Instagram to praise the his young protégé.
In a video that shows the behind the scenes footage of the “Nice For What” video, you see a young Karena taking charge of the set. He also shared the inspiring story of how she started out as an intern and worked her way to becoming a director.
@karenaevans started as an intern. She stayed longer worked harder than everyone else. From intern to director at my company. Last year grinding on low budget jobs giving big budget results. This year she’s directed @champagnepapi God’s Plan & the new single Nice For What. When work ethic is matched by talent. Big up the team @popp_rok for pulling this wide ranging job off. Here’s some bts footage for all y’all 🙌🏽 (feel like a Dad video taping his daughter at a recital when ever I come to set)
Off bat Karena brings something different to the table, and you can sense that by watching both of Drake’s videos.
“God’s Plan” dedicated almost the entirety of it’s budget to giving back to the Miami Dade community and “Nice For What” featured 15 of some of the dopest women in Hollywood.
In an industry that’s been plagued with misogyny and has historically been criticized for objectifying women, this is quite the page turner; and you’d have to thank a 22-year old woman of color behind the camera for that.
While Drake has received criticism for publicizing his philanthropy in “God’s Plan” and accused of pandering to the women empowerment movement, it’s really just been the fresh perspective of a young girl with creative control. Say what you want, but a different point of view has long been overdue in hip-hop, and Karena is paving the way.
I know drake is capitalizing off women’s empowerment and shit but ILL BE DAMNED if I don’t listen to that song at least 8 times a day idc
— ex-bisexual (@emo_beb) April 10, 2018
Drake and team understand a fundamental rule in marketing, win the hearts/support of women and men have no other choice but to follow.
— Everette Taylor (@Everette) April 7, 2018
Still can’t believe there’s people confused at why people like the Drake so much. Is this simple. Drake makes music women like. Men like things women like. Therefore, men and women like the Drake.
— Kazeem Famuyide (@RealLifeKaz) April 7, 2018
While people try and decode Drake’s marketing schemes, the real hero here is the 22-year-old Toronto native who has directed two of the biggest music videos in 2018.
What her emergence hopefully means is a future in hip-hop where more women can give input and have a voice.
We’ve already seen a glimpse of what it can do. “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What” felt different because they were different; and different is good.
The more women are given a chance to be gatekeepers and influencers in hip-hop, the more hip-hop will get it right when it comes to speaking on and for women.
This past March Cardi B did not bite her tongue when it came to the #MeToo movement and it’s exclusion of video vixens in hip-hop videos. It hasn’t exactly exploded like it has in Hollywood but it still a real issue.
“A lot of video vixens have spoke about this and nobody gives a f—k,” Cardi told Cosmopolitan in an interview published in March. “When I was trying to be a vixen, people were like, ‘You want to be on the cover of this magazine?’ Then they pull their dicks out. I bet if one of these women stands up and talks about it, people are going to say, ‘So what? You’re a ho. It don’t matter.'”
The more Karena Evans we have, the more these types of issues become suppressed. It’s a trend that is bound to happen, and one that Karena is spearheading.