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Alton Mason Rise in Light film Lagos coronavirus relief
Photography Amarachi Nwosu

Watch Alton Mason star in a hopeful coming-of-age film set in Lagos

Poignant short Rise In Light forms part of a new initiative raising funds for communities hit by COVID-19

While people around the world are dealing with a huge number of challenges in the face of the coronavirus, those living in developing countries are, pretty unsurprisingly, the hardest hit. In Lagos’ sprawling slums, families are struggling to make ends meet as the government imposed curfews, closed markets, and shut down schools, despite kids not having the ability to participate in virtual classes thanks to a lack of affordable internet. 

In response to this, rising model Alton MasonMelanin Unscripted founder and director Amarachi Nwosu, and filmmaker Soof Light have come together to debut a short, uplifting, coming-of-age film called Rise In Light, which seeks to raise awareness and funds for those most in need. 

“During this global crisis, many of us are losing loved ones, businesses, faith, and hope. We are all being affected by the seen and unseen, and it’s so easy to succumb to the darkness that we are at war with,” explains Mason. “Rise In Light is a call for change, evidence of freedom, and the expression of love and joy.”

Also serving as an introduction to the model’s first single “Gimme Gimme”, the film follows him as he makes his way through the city’s vibrant streets, before heading to the beach at dusk. There, he is seen dancing in the shimmering, shallow waves with young members of local dance troupe Dayours. 

“Dance is a core part of Alton’s life and identity, as well as something that brings joy, especially in dark times,” says Nwosu. “We also featured some of our friends in Lagos to show friendship as a bond. When I look at the film, I see a lot of things people would file under ‘Black boy joy’, but while the film is very masculine, the energy is neutral and nurturing, which is so unique in comparison to how people often frame and present Africa as a whole”

As well as shining a light on Lagos and those who call it home, Rise In Light is a call to action, forming part of a social campaign and fundraising platform which hopes to raise $10,000 for those struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money raised will be donated to the Khan Foundation in the city’s Makoko slums, which, prior to lockdown, crowdsourced and distributed food, bottles of soap, and hand sanitiser to vulnerable families, and ran informative sessions about the virus and how to avoid catching it. This time around, the funds amassed through the Rise In Light campaign will allow more people to access food and basic necessities, while also ensuring children have the resources to continue with their studies. 

Watch the film below and check out the gallery above. To donate to the Rise In Light campaign, head here.