While he was alive, James Baldwin was never afraid to critique America and the way it treated people of color. It's only fitting, then, that with her song "BALDWIN" Jamila Woods keeps that legacy alive while speaking on the black struggle. The single, which is from her upcoming album Legacy! Legacy!, recently got the lyric video treatment so we can know exactly what she's trying to say.
She starts out with a bang among the track's calm opening chords. "You don't know a thing about our story, tell it wrong all the time," she sings. "Don’t know a thing about our glory, wanna steal my baby's shine." She also doesn't mince her words as she questions why certain populations aren't willing to do the work to understand the problems going on, singing, "All my friends / Wanna know why you ain't figured it out just yet / All my friends / Been readin’ the books by Morrison & West / All my friends / Wanna know why you ain't figured it out just yet / All my friends / Been readin' the books, readin' the books you ain't read." Add in the masterful horn playing provided by Nico Segal (aka the artist formerly known as Donny Trumpet) and you've got a stunner that makes you think.
"'BALDWIN' is a song inspired by the work of James Baldwin, particularly the 'Letter To My Nephew' in his book The Fire Next Time," Jamila said of the song. "He had an incredible ability to speak about whiteness in a way that was hard-hitting and nuanced, and delivered some of the most elegant reads to white America, providing me a lens to think about how I see whiteness at work in my world today."
Legacy! Legacy! is set to arrive this Friday, May 10th. Check out the lyric video for "BALDWIN" below.