Throughout these difficult times in our country, we all search for empowerment, for hope, and for something that will help us see the light in humanity, however dim that light may seem. We turn to political leaders, celebrities, and religious figures, in hopes that they will help us with the change that must occur. But in actuality, we must turn to each other, and ourselves, for this change.
Music is often a powerful platform for individuals to share their message, and Mawule is one of those individuals whose music creates a path for integration and dialogue to occur. His fascination with human relationships combined with his passion for building connections shines through not just his music, but also his work life as a Resident Director for college students. Mawule recently released his debut album, Chosen, and his subsequent release party was a wild success.
All nine songs on this album are noteworthy, but one that beckons particular attention is “Black Is Beautiful”, which features hip hop maestros Bianca Mikahn and MC ILL Se7en. As usual, Mawule’s lyrics urge us to reflect on the human experience, and his beats are invitingly rhythmic. “Black Is Beautiful” was one of the final tracks added to the album, and is a personal tribute to the challenges that people of color face due to the systemic racism and oppression in our country.
Listen to Mawule's "Black Is Beautiful":
The lyrical and melodic combination of Mawule, Bianca Mikahn, and ILL Se7en is brilliant, as each artist brings their unique sound to the song. Mawule and ILL Se7en sing their truths and piece their rhymes like poetic puzzles, while Bianca powerfully takes hold of the chorus, repeating:
“Let’s make this useful/Our lives are fruitful/Change what we’re used to/Black Is Beautiful”
Above all else, “Black Is Beautiful” is a call to action. It emphasizes pride and empowers people of color who experience adversity every day. It encourages individuals who do not directly face the institutional discrimination to use their privilege to take in knowledge and create positive change, even if it induces discomfort.
We must think critically about the country we live in and the hateful actions we choose to accept, through ignorance or inaction. “Black Is Beautiful” urges us to stop authorizing overt racism, covert micro-aggressions, and comfort in privilege. For those who face this systemic injustice every day, the track encourages you to stay proud of who you are. Mawule reminds us of the significance behind Black Lives Matter and challenges us to recognize the injustices currently plaguing our country.
For an inside peek into the making of “Black Is Beautiful,” check out the 'Behind The Story' video, filmed at The Spot Studios. And get the inside scoop on the creative genius behind Mawule’s music through his personal blog. Chosen is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Soundcloud.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.