While Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” may go down as director Antoine Fuqua’s most memorable music video before he made the transition to films, “Freedom” from the Panther soundtrack may have been his most massive undertaking. The original video featured roughly 60 different female vocalists, but “Freedom’s” Hip Hop version was a bit more manageable, boasting a comparatively pared down lineup of Queen Latifah, Yo-Yo, TLC’s Left Eye, Patra, MC Lyte, Meshell Ndegeocello, Salt-N-Pepa and Nefertiti.
The latter also starred in Panther as the character Alma. While the track allowed femcees such as Left Eye and Salt-N-Pepa to display a militant side they didn’t showcase as often in their other lyrical endeavors, Nefertiti—who worked with one of the track’s co-producers, Diamond D on her solo project, L.I.F.E. (Living in Fear of Extinction)—essentially blended her duties.
“I made a political record, and I knew what it was I was talking about,” Nefertiti explained during a 1995 interview with WhatsThe411.com. “But now, I’m more so living it in my actions, and I’m very proud of that in a sense. I can make a transition into something that already confirms what I was talking about. My activism on wax has now moved to the big screen, and I think it was a great way to mix the elements.”
Fuqua opened and closed “Freedom” with clips Nefertiti as Alma in the Mario Van Peebles-directed movie, but he also spliced in photos and archival footage of the Black Panther Party as well as other relevant events from the time. After “Freedom” and “Gangsta’s Paradise” Fuqua took a break from directing music videos to pursue his goal of full-length films, and within three years he was behind the 1998 Chow Yun Fat and Mira Sorvino action vehicle The Replacement Killers.