When Graduate Film alumnus Jon Jon Augustavo signed on to direct the music video for “Same Love,” the summer’s breakout hit by rap duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, he had no idea what a powerful impact the project would have on the nation. “As a filmmaker my mind was focused on telling a good story,” he says.
Augustavo had previously directed videos for his fellow Seattleites’ massive hits “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us,” both of which reached number one on Billboard’s singles chart. But as The New York Times reported, “Same Love” broke new ground as “the first song to explicitly embrace and promote gay marriage that has made it into the Top 40.” It went on to win MTV Video Music Awards’ 2013 Best Video With a Social Message. Today at 83 million YouTube views and climbing, the video’s rise coincided with the Supreme Court’s historic rulings striking down both the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
I do think I played a small part in changing some people’s views. If that’s so, then my job as an artist is complete.
Augustavo, who called in frequent collaborator and Graduate Film classmate Mego Lin as his cinematographer, is proud of how the song has resonated so deeply with people.
“The fight for marriage equality is the civil rights movement of our generation, and to see so many changes in the last calendar year has been earth-shattering,” he said. “A love story isn't only between man and woman—it is simply between love and love. I do think in some way I played a small part in changing some people's views. If that's so, then my job as an artist is complete.”