How to Shoot a Panda

This post’s title basically wrote itself. When you get to the end, you’ll find out why.

Blake Whiteley is, hands-down, the most talented hip-hop artist I’ve ever heard. His lyrics are sharp and smart, and his beats hit like a sledgehammer.

(I wish I could get by with writing that previous paragraph in today’s slang, like “Yo bae! Da beats by B-to-the-Lake Whiteley and the Glory Gang SQUAAAAAAD are TUUUURRRRNNNNNNT! Dope tracks are givin’ me life like YAAAASSSS!” but that would be skull-shatteringly awkward for all involved)

Blake turned away from a skyrocketing secular rap career several years ago and gave his life to Christ. Ever since, he uses every second on the mic and off to tell people about the Savior who has changed and saved him from the inside out.

Over the years, Blake and his family have become dear friends, and I’ve been fortunate to photograph him numerous time in action on stage.

Last week, he asked me to help him on a pretty ambitious project: shoot a music video in one night for a remix he did to a song called PANDA by Desiigner. A secular song released earlier this year, the original lyrics are – shall we say – very explicit. Blake kept the beat but reworked the lyrics so it honors Christ. The resulting song is a masterpiece that is ON FLEEK, DOE! (sorry)

We started shooting around 9:30pm at the studio where the ridiculously gifted artist Zach Wathen calls home to his #WhereIsLove project. We didn’t wrap until well after midnight. The hours in between were filled with backflips, laughter, and an amazing performance by a rapper whose time has come.











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