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“Child Of God”: Chance The Rapper And Naïla Opiangah Create Multidisciplinary Magic

Written by on March 25, 2022

Chance the Rapper and Naïla Opiangah are redefining the relationship between music and cover art.

“I was in the sky next to God. I started sketching part of it in my sketchbook and that’s when I knew that it was going to be bodies juxtaposed.”

Naïla Opiangah

This week, Chance the Rapper teamed up with Gabonese painter Naïla Opiangah to present the powerful new single and art experience, “Child of God.” 

The two artists connected early this year, when Chance was introduced to Naïla’s art on a trip to Accra, Ghana. At the time, her paintings centered on themes of identity and relationships through abstracted nude bodies of Black women. According to a statement, Chance and Naïla pondered ways to empower all types of artists and create community through their work. “Child of God” is a culmination of their conversation and their ideals. As stated in a press release, it’s “a testament to Africa and Black ingenuity as a whole.”

Chance and Naïla collaborated to create a musical and a visual piece, each informed and inspired by the other. Their respective creative processes were documented in a video, which premiered Thursday night. As the video opens, Naïla works on a 6-by-11-foot canvas while Chance takes to writing with a pen and composition notebook.

Chance and Naïla working in Chance’s House of Kicks studio, via Shore Fire Media.

After listening to the song’s early stages, inspiration struck Naïla on a flight to Chicago: she would recreate Renaissance art — replacing historically white figures with Black women.

“I was in the sky next to God,” Naïla explained in a statement. “I started sketching part of it in my sketchbook and that’s when I knew that it was going to be bodies juxtaposed.”

Cover art for “Child of God,” via Shore Fire Media. Painting by Naïla Opiangah.

Both the song and painting titled “Child of God” were unveiled at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago to a private audience this week. The song, featuring Moses Sumney, is about everyone being “children of God,” and about learning life’s lessons despite unforseen setbacks, with Chance repeating, “Do your thing, child, do your thing.” The video serves as a visualization of such growth and development.

Image via Shore Fire Media.

“I want people to see it and be inspired, and I want people to see it and see themselves,” Chance said in a statement.

“I hope there are two things that happen,” Naïla continued in the same statement. “I want them to feel the work for what it is: the texture, the colors, the density, the emotions. I also want them to see the process, to see the possibilities.”

The painting will be on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art until March 29. “Child of God,” the single and video, are available for streaming online.

Written by Morgan Ciocca

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