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Yohei Sasakawa
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The Nippon Foundation Presents Star-Studded Music Video Featuring 13 International Differently-Abled Artists [2021/06/17]
The latest True Colors Festival music video has been released worldwide, bringing together a cast of 13 artists from nine countries for a new take on the R&B classic You Gotta Be by Ms. Des’ree.

The Nippon Foundation has released a music video bringing together a star-studded cast of 13 differently-abled artists from nine countries for a new take on the R&B classic You Gotta Be by Ms. Des’ree.

This is the latest in a series of performing arts events presented by the foundation’s True Colors Festival (TCF) across geographies, in celebration of diversity and inclusion as “One World, One Family.”

Performing from their respective home countries, the artists include Ms. Mandy Harvey, an American deaf singer-songwriter whose performance on “America’s Got Talent” earned Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer; Grammy nominee Mr. Raul Midón also of the United States, who devoted his life to music after being told that blindness would make it impossible; Mr. Kenta Kambara, an accomplished aerial performer and dancer from Japan who performed in the Rio 2016 Paralympics closing ceremony and hopes to participate in the next Games opening ceremony in Tokyo this summer; Mr. Signmark, the world’s best known deaf rapper from Finland and a global champion for the promotion of sign language; and Ms. Alienette Coldfire of the Philippines, who placed third in “France’s Got Talent”.

Ms. Des’ree commented: “This is a truly powerful video−so invigorating and energizing, elevating the sentiment of the song and its message. The artists’ introductions at the end add even deeper resonance to their already inspiring performances.”

The music video was directed and produced in Singapore by creative and music director Dr. Sydney Tan and video director Jasper Tan. Dr. Tan noted: “All of us, regardless of who and where we are, wake up and start our days and have the opportunity to listen and look up, to participate in choices and be fully human. We have the ability, whatever our circumstances and our geography, to experience and celebrate the ordinary yet wonderful moments that life unfolds.”

The technical process of producing this music video involved countless WhatsApp, Messenger, and Zoom calls, monitoring the time across time zones, and using Google Translate in real time to communicate across different languages−all in addition to the process of piecing together the audio and video performances across the globe.

“The real challenge, though, was to develop a relationship with each artist, such that trust and freedom would allow them to perform and be themselves, with their spirit and energy coming through in a real and palpable way,” added Dr. Tan.

In full agreement, Ms. Mandy Harvey said: “Even though we haven’t met in person…you can feel that every person put their heart into the entire process. Being a part of this team is another reinforcement to me that what’s within you is so much stronger than the barriers we face. This is a reminder to reach farther and dream bigger. My hope is that people are encouraged to try!”

According to Mr.Ichiro Kabasawa, Executive Director of The Nippon Foundation, presenter of True Colors Festival: “People everywhere have been going through such a prolonged period of uncertainty, isolation and fear. We chose this classic, You Gotta Be for everyone, everywhere at this time, to realize the potential in ourselves; to choose to be bolder, stronger, wiser, whatever each day may bring. It’s a reminder that when it comes down to it, we’re all human, living together in our one world.”

I might add that this TCF music video comes with options that make it widely accessible, including closed captions, audio description, and an accompanying video transcript.

You Gotta Be is a gentle encouragement as we deal with circumstances, to start each day listening, and looking up. I am sure you will be inspired by this video which also shows what the lives of these artists are like amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please watch You Gotta Be:

You can visit the special site of True Colors Festival here.