At a time when many artists are using their craft to comment on the social climate, singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka recently added his name to the growing list. For his stirring single “Light,” he chose to feature images that have become all too familiar in the accompanying animated visual. The song itself, which closed out his 2019 album Kiwanuka, speaks to the impact of wins and losses, life and death and encompasses the gamut of emotions felt from each of them. Though his acoustic guitar tugs at every one of our heartstrings, the lyrics offer a bit of hope and optimism as he sings, “Shine your light over me / All of my fears are gone / It don’t bother me / If it’s not meant to be.”
The powerful and timely video, created by London-based filmmaker Jeremy Ngatho Cole, brilliantly depicts the Black Lives Matter protests taking place at every corner of the world. Kiwanuka says, “The way so much of the world has been designed has often caused me and so many other Black people psychological damage. We so often hear that we are lesser than because we are Black. We are a label, a token, a statistic, and we can be dehumanized.” Though he’s never been one to shy away from using both his art and his platform to unapologetically display his blackness, this time he says, “I wanted to declare in words that I’m so proud to be Black. We are so beautiful and have such a wonderful history of strength, overcoming, talent, innovation, creativity, invention and love.”
Watch Michael Kiwanuka’s “Light” below and, if you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out the full Kiwanuka album on your preferred digital platform.