COVER STORY | A pioneer of the urban music video, Lionel C. Martin laid the foundation for future black directors to follow in his footsteps. The first to bring Hip-Hop and R&B to the mainstream Martin’s alluring visuals would shatter barriers of culture and color.
Making his directorial debut with 1984’s “Roxanne’s Revenge” by Roxanne Shanté, Martin found a niche directing videos for hip-hop MC’s including Biz Markie (“Just A Friend”), Public Enemy, and the socially-timeless “Self-Destruction” by the Stop the Violence Movement.
It was in the 90s; however, where Martin pivoted to visually convey the message of Rhythm & Blues’ most iconic timepieces. Finding detours along the way to direct 2Pac’s “Dear Mama” and his full- length film debut as director of Def Jam’s How To Be A Player starring Bill Bellamy, Martin’s greatest legacy is rooted in soul. From Bell Biv DeVoe to Boyz II Men, Jodeci to TLC, to Usher, to SWV to Toni Braxton, we have Martin to thank for the imagery that aligns vividly with our favorite songs.
Today, Zumble celebrates Soul Shooter Lionel C. Martin with highlights from his visionary catalog.
TLC – Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg
Bell Biv Devoe – Poison
Another Bad Creation – Iesha
Guy – Let’s Chill
SWV – Weak
JoDeCi – Come and Talk To Me
Silk – Freak Me
H-Town – Knockin’ Da Boots
Toni Braxton – Seven Whole Days
Usher – Can U Get Wit It
Boyz II Men – I’ll Make Love To You