Singer-songwriter Moses Sumney has teamed up with fashion designer Thom Browne for a reworked version of the Olympic Anthem titled “Monumental.” The original anthem was composed by Spyridon Samaras, while its lyrics were written by Greek poet Kostis Palamas at the behest of the first President of the International Olympic Committee, Demetrius Vikelas during the late 19th century. A video for “Monument” directed by Sumney has also been released.
“Monument” shows Sumney standing on top of a podium donned in a pair of white sweats, accompanied by a pair of parallel black lines on left sides. During the video, which is shot in black and white, Sumney is shown posing in various forms, mimicking the original Olympic statues, while the focus is set on his own muscular body. The song itself is an eclectic mix of traditional pop with its glimmering piano chords and strings, backed by Sumney’s unique otherworldly vocals.
Sumney explained that the current political situation unfolding in the United States inspired him to make this visual project. While Greek Olympic statues typically focus on exaggerated masculine forms romanticizing White European males, Sumney takes the form to make a statment on the Black experience, particularly Black bodies which have been ignored from Eurocentric standards of beauty.
“What does it mean to pose statuesque on top of a marble podium, at a time when statues across the world—long-standing symbols of white supremacy—are literally being toppled?” Sumney explained. “What does it mean to appropriate the Greco-Roman statue, a long-standing placeholder of white male virility and beauty, and replace it with my Black body? A body that has historically been disregarded as far less beautiful and in more recent years, objectified? What does it mean to objectify myself?”
Sumney’s latest record græ, was released in two parts this year, with the first half seeing its release in February while the second half was released in March. The project was supported by the singles “Virile,” “Polly,” “Me In 20 Years,” “Cut Me” and “Bless Me.”
Photo Credit: Sharon Alagna