The Tree of Wealth
A fable inspiring a new future for Black prosperity.
The wealth of ancient histories has been lost.
The collective imagination associates Black and money as different concepts, impossible to be connected. SOMA+ students co-created a music video for Criolo, one of Brazil’s most popular rappers, to his song Pretos Ganhando Dinheiro Incomoda Demais (Black People Making Money Is Disturbing) from the album Sobre Viver and a web app. It is an invitation to debate the relations between ancestry, prosperity and the future.
Uncover the past to build new possibilities for future generations.
The concept for the music video was devised by SOMA+ students, an educational project developed to expand professional knowledge of Black, Indigenous and low-income students in Brazil across the creative industry. Alongside Criolo, seven students from different regions of Brazil created the narrative using elements of prosperous Black history and discovering lost historical figures to imagine a new relationship between Black people and money.
The minimalist visual for the music video explores the ancestral elements of prosperity, including The Tree of Wealth. In this fable, a girl plants a coin which a tree grows and bears golden fruits to her community, while dealing with powerful people’s greed and their attempts to appropriate the wealth.
The coin and the tree
The coin and the tree were intentionally crafted to operate flawlessly in both 2D and 3D, and seamlessly blend with both the music video and web app.
The iconography representing The Tree of Wealth is based on Adinkra, symbols from Ghana that represent concepts and messages, and the Flower of Life, a sacred ancient geometric symbol. The position of the fruits in the icon is based on the position of Sirius, an important star for the Dogon people, an ethnic group that lives in the central plateau region of Mali, West Africa. Each of these ancestral elements help the visual direction of the allegory.
The Tree of Wealth web app is available to everyone and expands the narrative with ancestral histories, with harvested fruits connecting visitors to projects and Black-owned businesses across Brazil.
Partner brands – Brava.sp, No Front, and Livraria Africanidades – offer lectures on Black history, courses in financial education and entrepreneurship, and books by Black authors. In addition, illustrator Del Nunes created exclusive digital arts and artist Gean Guilherme produced illustrations in a virtual environment, both inspired by the music video.
Queen Candace: Royal dynasty from Kush and one of the few matrilineal societies in the world.
Akan Empire: Rich in gold, the Akan people were among the most powerful groups in Africa.
Afro-Brazilian brotherhoods: Used their profit to help newly freed slaves and organised symbolic coronations of Black kings and queens.
Gainers of Itapuã: Inventors of Balangandãs, the first jewellery design created in Brazil.
Unity is crucial to maintain the legacy created in the past.
SOMA+ students, together with Gana and Mooc agencies, Oloko Records and the artist himself have sown a new narrative of Black wealth.
SOMA+ have been honoured with the Human Rights and Diversity seal from UNESCO and has graduated over a thousand students. Recently, 87% of SOMA+ graduates achieved job interviews and 40% were hired. Also, Criolo’s record was nominated for the Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards.