The Mixtape Vol. 98

Pure, the re-invention of Purity Zinhle Mkhize

You may remember Purity Zinhle Mkhize from last year’s A/W campaign where she featured alongside her band, The Pranks.

If not, that’s understandable, as she’s recently undergone something of a reinvention, marking the change with an honest new music video in which she bares all.

Arcade Content’s Kyle Lewis directed No Secrets, the intimate first music video for Pure, the re-invention of Purity Zinhle Mkhize.

“I wanted to create a raw, honest piece that promotes a positive body image,” says the SAMA-winning music video director, who is up for a Metro FM Award this weekend for his music video for 'Jump', Anatii’s collaboration with Cassper Nyovest and Nasty C.

“No makeup. No wardrobe. Just a beautiful tapestry of human bodies, of people who share their truths and their vulnerable side, who defy the norms and break the mould. No secrets. No fear.”

In the voiceover that starts the video, Pure speaks about her new roles as a solo artist and mother, and goes on to say that…

“This video embodies everything I believe in and stand for as a woman, as an artist and as an ever-growing entity. It’s a celebration of what true beauty is.”

Read our interview with Pure after the jump…

Why the need for reinvention?

Music is such an emotional thing for me. I’ve always tried to stay true to myself through my music, that's why it has the effect that it does on me. Throughout all the outfits that I’ve had the privilege to front – Fruits & Veggies and The Pranks – my entire outlook was based on being honest to myself via my creative work. In that way it’s completely organic and ties up with the person I am to the bone. It's like my life and my music is one interconnected force.

Going solo wasn’t something I planned; it’s the way my life journey was taking me. Ten months ago a major shift happened. I stopped numbing myself with unnecessary substances – they were becoming a huge part of my social camouflage. For some reason, I had this fierce desire to slice things from a different angle, which naturally unfolded things for me musically, because my state of mind sets the mood for my art. I think it’s growth! It’s accepting it with zero resistance and learning to listen to what your heart wants. So this project is a product of that growth and maturity.

For those who didn’t know you from before, please explain this transformation and change of pace?

The first band I ever played for was a ska/reggae/gypsy punk band from Durban called Fruits & Veggies. High-energy, in-your-face and don’t-give-a-fuck punk-driven attitudes, on and off the stage.

We were all kinds of trouble but we murdered those shows because for us it was an absolute privilege to be able to share our collective madness with our audience. We hardly played shows sober and when we did it was weird, haha.

But that's where I was at and we were being true, through and through. After about eight years of sheer madness, chaos and some success, we decided to end things and move to Cape Town. Fresh start, clean page, hoping to leave behind that reputation and build a new one.

It didn’t work. We got to Cape Town and fell apart. Then myself and the guitarist (James Cross) started a new band called The Pranks. A mature version of The Veggies but still staying true to that punk element, which was our comfort (alongside Garren Munro and Mitchell Davies). Things were good but when they went bad, we couldn’t keep it together. I owe all my lessons and experiences to these people and I wouldn’t change a damn thing.

There's always been that real push and pull vibe with being in a band, having to rely on other people for progress and harmony. I think, in a way, what my creativity was longing for was independence and freedom. Now here I am!

Please discuss your vulnerability and the importance of baring all for the video?

The world we live in has conditioned us to look outwardly for satisfaction and contentment. It pulls us away from ourselves because it's what's out there that's always better than what we have already. The media is always the driving force behind these subliminal messages to the masses. Telling us all kinds of things, convincing us of imperfections, how much better we could look, and the image that we should aspire to obtain. It's almost impossible to not be affected by the way of world and its misconceptions about the human form.

The video challenges those media ideals of the “perfect body” and celebrates all forms coming together as one beautiful creation. For far too long, we've been conditioned (women especially) to have feelings of shame and discomfort towards our own bodies, which in turn affects the way we present ourselves in the physical world.

For years I’ve struggled with these feelings and when I overcame them, I realised how much of myself I had been ignoring. The concept offers the naked truth – no secrets, no clothing, no makeup – nothing to hide from myself or others in that moment of vulnerability. I wanted to be honest in the most sincere way and present this feeling of physical liberation with no layers. As is.

The body is just a temporary vessel; it’s the spirit that needs all the work and attention. That's why the world lacks so much compassion. We've long forgotten our true spiritual identity. We want what's out there and neglect what's inside. Once we reconnect with that, our bodies become secondary and equal. This video aims to translate this and offer an alternative outlook on what physical beauty truly means.

What was it like working with Kyle?

It's so crazy beautiful sometimes how things just fall into place when you least expect it. It's overwhelming when I think about the part that Kyle has played in helping me translate this piece. I met him on the set of 'War Ready', a Cassper Nyovest music video he was directing last year. Watching him create was so inspirational but I never thought in my wildest dreams that a couple of months down the line, he'd be so enthusiastic about collaborating with me. We really connected on such a sincere level and the need to translate these empowering messages was something that we both resonated with, which set off the best foundation. Working with Kyle felt so familiar and natural. He brought out a lot of honesty and sincerity in the piece, which ties up with the theme of the song in the most incredible way. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to present my solo introduction.

What would you like the video to achieve?

As artists, most of us don’t realise the tremendous amount of power we possess to further empower and shift people's minds where it's needed. The industry has overworked the same music video image: ''Bling bling, pop that bottle of champagne and make that ass clap.” Meanwhile, we're coming from a social space that is unsettled by so many unresolved and ongoing issues of beauty, sexuality, gender inequality, racism, hate crimes... the list is endless. We do a disservice to ourselves and to the greater good when we ignore that responsibility in order to fuel our own egos.

I hope that when people see this video, regardless of anything else, they're able to see it for what it truly is. That they're able to gain some positive upliftment and feel that the piece was created from an honest heart space, presenting an alternative understanding of physical beauty, in the hope of generating some positivity around these conditionings.