Singer/songwriter Jamila Woods continues to intrigue and inspire as she promotes her latest album, LEGACY! LEGACY!. The project is a celebration of the Black experience and celebrates the contribution of revolutionary and legendary artists of the past, including Zora Neale Hurston, Frida Kahlo and Miles Davis. Back in May, she released “BALDWIN,” her ode to the works and impact of novelist/playwright/activist James Baldwin, along with the lyric video. Now she returns with a striking visual that highlights the uncanny ability of black and brown folks to find joy in even the darkest of situations, while prompting a critical look at our educational system.
The Vincent Martell-directed video follows three children as they stumble upon a seemingly abandoned school building. Inside, however, they are met with beautiful people of all hues and styles, engaged and excited about learning and sharing. We can’t help but smile as we watch them laugh, dance and feast upon a meal fit for royalty and tailor-made for our culture. It’s a vibrant and joyous environment for learning, where praise is shared freely and each individual’s unique gifts and magic are apparent in everything from their appearance to the fireworks that spark from their applause.
Unfortunately, the jubilant scene is brought to a sobering end as the visual closes with captures of the students describing the elements of an ideal school. They describe a motivating environment that is individualized to each student’s pace, one with culturally-appropriate and updated books and resources and focused attention to the mental and emotional wellness of its students.
Always intentional in incorporating consciousness into her art, Jamila explains, “To outsiders, the school appears to be abandoned — one of the 50 public schools closed under Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s watch in 2013. However, for Black people in the neighborhood this space is a gem, an oasis of Black learning and radical education for young people. We shot part of the film documentary-style, to include young people’s perspectives on what they would want their dream school to be like.” The perspective of the students in low-performing and under-resourced schools is rarely heard or even considered, and we applaud Jamila for bringing it to the forefront.
Be inspired and watch the video for Jamila Woods’ “BALDWIN” below. If you haven’t already, be sure to add the full LEGACY! LEGACY! album to your conscious collection from your favorite digital platform.