Shortly before his untimely death last month, Chris Cornell shot a music video for "The Promise": his musical contribution to Terry George's 2016 drama of the same name, which follows refugees from the Armenian Genocide through their love and loss. Today, that clip–which marks the Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman's final music video–has been released. Directed by Meiert Avis and Stefan Smith, the clip depicts a lone Cornell reverently performing the acoustic-based song in a dark room, interspersed with a blend of old photographs and footage of present-day refugees in Syria, Libya, and elsewhere. Per the late legend's wishes, "The Promise" arrives in honor of World Refugee Day (June 20). Proceeds from the song will benefit the Chris & Vicky Cornell Foundation, a non-profit benefitting vulnerable children worldwide.
"Although it is bittersweet because Chris filmed his performance in Brooklyn, New York, shortly before his passing, he wanted his video to be released on World Refugee Day, and he was passionate about helping people through this project," commented "The Promise" producer Eric Esrailian in a press statement. "True to Chris's charitable spirit, he made a commitment to donate all of his proceeds from 'The Promise' to support refugees and children, and to further the conversation about the refugee crisis the world continues to endure."
Speaking with Rolling Stone back in March, Cornell detailed the emotional process that led to "The Promise":
For me, with this one ["The Promise"], I was asking, 'How close to it am I and how far away from it am I?' I married into a Greek family, and my wife's grandparents were affected by the same genocide at the same time, since it was part of the same Ottoman Empire policy. So I saw the nearness to it. And one of the producers is a good friend of mine, and he's Armenian and we talked about it for a long time. It affected his generation and you can see it echoing through the generations. ... I think we all have a responsibility to recognize the warning signs that lead to this.
This movie's a great opportunity to tell a story that needs to be told, to help engage the healing of something that happened at a specific time and place, but it also remind us that it's happening now and reminds us what to look for. You can see it now in Syria, where you have one regime that is trying to deny any [killing] is happening and you have ISIS on the other side, who is targeting a different group and advertising it.