The story behind the new animated music video for Stormzy’s Superheroes

The Brave Ones
September 16, 2020

The first people in the public domain to see the new animated music video for Stormzy’s track Superheroes were children in classrooms up and down the UK. In a short recorded speech, which introduced the broadcast across dozens of schools, Stormzy himself explained: “I wanted to show it to you guys first. Being students at school, I think it’s important that you guys understand how powerful you are.”

Watch the three-minute video and it’s clear why the Heavy is the Head artist and his label felt this would be the most fitting way to launch the video. One of the key messages behind the song is letting young people know that they have their own superpowers. The video follows two main protagonists – Stormzy himself and a young Black boy, to whom Stormzy reveals his powers.

“I always wanted this to be about ordinary people – but the word ‘ordinary’ is completely wrong – amazing people really, the people who make up our communities, our families, the people who actually make the world go round,” says Taz Tron Delix, who directed the Superheroes video. “I wanted to home in on those qualities that make us all superheroes.”

That’s why the final video also introduces an entire cast of other secondary characters. In rapid succession, we see a woman carrying her groceries home and making dinner for her grandmother; a woman letting her hair down in front of her bedroom mirror; a kid in a classroom solving maths problems; a father braiding his daughter’s hair; and many others. We also see a few well-known cultural figures, including the rapper Dave and footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford.

The film wasn’t originally meant to be that choppy, though. “The script was originally quite linear and narrative, following a protagonist and very dense, very Disney,” says Taz, who had previously worked with Stormzy on the music video for Audacity. After a few conversations, this dense and sequential structure gave way to something more fluid. “We decided to lean back into more of a traditional music video, where we could use the song to narrate things and didn’t need to have such a linear story and show so much of the world. We could let the lyrics tell the story and trust the audience to get it. We could jump around a little bit more.”