Chris Cornell’s Official Music Video for The Promise Song Released on World Refugee Day


The late Chris Cornell

A shot from The Promise video

LOS ANGELES — Multi-Grammy Award-winning, Golden Globe nominee Chris Cornell’s official music video for his song The Promise was released on June 20 by Survival Pictures.  The Promise was Cornell’s last release prior to his passing.

The song was on the soundtrack of the film of the same name, starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, which was released in April.

Per Cornell’s request, the video’s release date has special meaning. Tuesday, June 20, marks World Refugee Day, an annual commemoration by the United Nations Refugee Agency to spotlight “the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees.” Cornell pledged to donate all proceeds from the song and video to humanitarian aid charity International Rescue Committee.

“Chris Cornell was not only a dear family friend for many years, but he was also a once-in-a generation talent who is missed more than words can convey. It was such an honor to collaborate and partner on ‘The Promise’ over the years,” said Eric Esrailian, producer of the movie “The Promise” and co-manager for Survival Pictures.  “His music and lyrics will not only shine a light on the Armenian Genocide and the human rights crises of modern times, but they will also inspire people and provide hope for years to come.”

Esrailian added, “Although it is bittersweet because Chris filmed his performance in Brooklyn, NY 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. 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.”

The video was directed by Grammy Award winning director Meiert Avis and Stefan Smith. The Promise is Cornell’s last music video performance.  It also includes media donated by Academy Award nominated director Evgeny Afineesvky (HBO’s “Cries from Syria”), UNESCO Prize for Peace Recipient SOS Méditerranée, Freshwater Films (Ross Kemp’s “Libya’s Migrant Hell”), Keo Films (Exodus:  Our Journey To Europe), Nazik Armenakyan (Survivors), Human Rights Watch, Refugee Rescue, and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

At the time of the song’s release Cornell said, “The Promise to me is mainly about paying homage to those we lost in the Armenian Genocide, but it’s also about shining a light on more recent atrocities. The same methods used in the Armenian Genocide were used to carry out crimes against humanity in Bosnia, Darfur, Rwanda and right now in Syria on multiple fronts, contributing to a massive global refugee crisis. Unfortunately, the words ‘never again’ seem like just words when we recall these mass executions of the twentieth century, as well as renewed racism and prejudice around the world. Even in the US, the warning signs — isolating groups based on race and religion — are evident. We really need to tell these stories and keep telling them in as many different ways as we can. As humans, we have a tremendous capacity to trudge ahead in our lives and not look at the difficult and challenging moments… but I think it’s important. Educating ourselves on the past is the best way to understand the present and avoid future atrocities by understanding and intervening. We must educate and stand as one to combat this fear and violence, and as citizens of the world, work to protect each other’s human rights.”

In April 2017, Cornell and his family toured refugee camps in Greece and it was there that they decided The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation would focus its efforts on child refugees and the issues affecting them including education, health and human trafficking.

“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 reminds us that it’s happening now and reminds us what to look for,” Cornell told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “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.”

“The hope is that we don’t forget the past but that we also are able to shift gears and focus on the people that we can help today and actually get engaged and stimulate a sense of altruism and advocacy for those who are in danger,” Esrailian says. “A lot of the same patterns and techniques used to oppress others or to violate human rights have been replicated over and over again that if we draw attention to it, we can raise the alarm and have people intervene. Everyone can do something, even if it’s local or abroad. People don’t have to feel like they’re helpless.”