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Powerful Aloe Blacc Music Video Takes On The Stories Of Immigrant Families Fighting To Be Reunited

The video, done in conjunction with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, says it's inspired by the 11 million true stories of undocumented immigrants.

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You may know the song Wake Me Up, by Avicii with vocals by Aloe Blacc. The first video has 125 million views. But Blacc wanted to "reclaim his song" and director Alex Rivera helped him breathe life into a version that tells a family's immigration story.

View this video on YouTube

The video was done in conjunction with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which represents 30,000 day laborers.

"Spirituals were used as part of civil rights movements," he said. "Spiritual yearning is at the core of any political struggle. It's a hunger that’s underneath politics -- a hunger for freedom, to be recognized, to be acknowledged as human."


"We made a casting call for people that really walked through the desert, people who have stood on a day laborer corner," Rivera said. "We filled the film with their life’s energy."

Agustín Chiprez Alvarez is really a day laborer. Margarita Reyes is an actress and producer who was deported with her mother as a child and Hareth Andrade Ayala is an immigrants’ rights leader in Virginia.


"There's real hurt and real violence that’s part of this immigration story. People who were held in the desert, handcuffed like animals. When they're recreating, it shows you how brave they are, how deep their hunger for change must be."

Adrian Carrasquillo is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at

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