By MESFIN FEKADU, Associated Press
NEW YORK -- R&B singer Marsha Ambrosius tackles gay bashing, suicide and homophobia in the urban community in her latest music video.
Her song, "Far Away," is one she initially wrote after a close friend attempted suicide.
"Because they're in such a bad place in their lives, there's nothing you can do to help someone if they can't help themselves," she said.
In the clip, a man seen with Ambrosius appears to be her boyfriend. They walk in a park, say hello to a group of men and to a woman and her children. Later, the video shows the man kissing another man. When the men return to the same park, now holding hands, the mother pulls her kids away. And when Ambrosius' friend is alone, he's assaulted while the American flag stands tall in the background. The clip concludes with the man lying on his couch; a suicide letter and dozens of pills are visible.
Ambrosius says the video will speak for those who don't have a voice.
"I lost a friend and I've had friends that have attempted suicide. There are people that don't have a voice to speak out and show what is happening and what can happen, so I just wanted people to see the honesty in it and be aware," she said in an interview from Philadelphia on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old singer, first introduced as one-half of the Grammy-nominated, British soul duo Floetry, says she has a strong gay following - and needs to support it.
"I go to my shows and my audience is predominantly gay ... I've been approached by many who've said my music has influenced them and we'll speak about experiences that they've had. It's just only right that I give that voice back," she said.
Ambrosius co-wrote Michael Jackson's 2002 hit song "Butterflies" and has collaborated with rappers like Nas, Busta Rhymes and the Game. The clip was directed by Ambrosius' manager, Julius Erving III, and is the second single from her solo debut, "Late Nights and Early Mornings," due out Feb. 22. Ambrosius says what she offers is honesty, when other recording artists hold back.
"I think many musicians separate themselves from what they're actually going through in real life for fear of being judged for, you know, what their political views are (and) what they feel personally about things that are going on in the real world," she said. "Music for me is personal and that's the only way I know how to approach it."