On first listen, Jessie Reyez's "Far Away" is a sweet, sentimental love song about being in a long-distance relationship. But pay close attention, and you'll notice the social and political tension brewing beneath the soothing beat: "You're still a world away / And you're still waitin' for your papers / Been feeling like the government wants us to break up," she sings on the first verse, before repeating to her partner, "I feel what you feel when you're far away."
In the accompanying video, Reyez takes the song's potent message a step further by depicting the painful experience of losing a loved one to deportation. As Reyez dances alone, her partner appears looking tired and scared; in a flashback, we see him being seized in an ICE raid by gun-wielding officers. All the while, TV screens show images of President Trump and of the border wall separating the U.S. and Mexico. The vid ends with a heartbreaking scene of Reyez embracing her lover inside a metal cage, surrounded by other couples facing the same devastating consequences of Trump's anti-immigration agenda.
The "Far Away" video, which premiered on Friday (October 4), will be airing throughout the day on mtvU and MTV Live. Meanwhile, Reyez has set up a website — jessiereyez.com/faraway — with information on organizations that protect immigrants' rights, like ACLU, Al Otro Lado, and The Florence Project.
In a statement posted to the website, Reyez wrote, "Attachment to someone is both something beautiful and something painful. Imagine finally finding your home in another human being but they're stuck on the other side of this rock we're all on. You're left wanting nothing more than a hug -their hug- that simultaneously feels like a pillow and a drug. Somehow when they hurt, you hurt, when they smile, you smile.
"This is love suspended in animation, before it's tainted by reality (because eventually all hearts break again) but in this moment, neither of you are running from one another- it's only water and borders and God keeping you apart. Water and borders and God keeping you from home. This is pre heart break; when both sets of lungs are still working and when you miss them and they miss you back- and you feel each other even when you're far away."