Grammy Award-winning artist The Weeknd has just released his latest song and the video for that song, Songchild. The video blends his musical styling and vocals with the art form known as anime which was produced by the first Black-owned anime studio, D’ART Shtajio, according to We Buy Black.
Arthell Isom and his twin brother, Darnell Isom, are the co-founders of D’ART Shtajio, a 2-D animation studio located in Tokyo, established in 2016 with animator Henry Thurlow. The three started the company to create Japanese anime infused with American culture.
Prior to starting his studio, Arthell worked with animation studio Ogura Kobo as a background animator on highly acclaimed shows like Bleach, Black Butler, and Naruto. He credits working with his mentor Hiromasa Ogura, best known as the background animator on Ninja Scroll and Ghost in the Shell, for helping shape his career after spending 12 years working alongside him in Japan.
Arthell also studied art history in Italy in addition to attending art schools in San Francisco and Osaka, Japan, which greatly influenced his art and love of Japanese anime.
“The great thing is with us being here, Black creators seek us out,” said Isom in a separate interview with SyFy Wire.“It’s a great opportunity to work with them. We’ve worked with quite a few like independent manga creators with projects like Tephlon Funk and XOGENASYS; we get the opportunity to then tell more Black stories. These are storytellers who want to see their story adapted to anime form.”
According to Complex, the Snowchild video “follows Abel Tesfaye through various periods of his career as the Weeknd. From House of Balloons to After Hours, the ‘Snowchild’ visual represents each of his distinctive looks throughout his discography.”
The music video has accumulated just about 6 million views in its first week.