New FKA twigs / Headie One Collab ‘Don’t Judge Me’ Confronts Racial Division Head On
When following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd last spring at the hands of police, the explosion of awareness surrounding institutional racism in America felt a very long time coming. But with the most divisive presidential election in American history, followed by a new wave of COVID infections, and then an attempted coup (!!!), attentions were decisively turned elsewhere.
Yet here we are almost a year after Taylor’s death, and there aren’t many indications that much has changed regarding racial divisiveness. And across the pond in the UK, the situation isn’t that much different. So FKA twigs‘ poignant new single/video ‘Don’t Judge Me’ arrives at a time when we most need to be reminded again that there is still much work to be done.
The lyrics don’t dance around the seriousness of the matter, making a blunt assessment of the “outsiderness” and fear that people of color are still forced to endure in 21st Century Britain.
“We can walk free, but are we really walkin’ free here?
How can this be home when I feel I wanna flee here?
I can’t trust the police force and I can’t trust the media
Learned more about my people from the streets than from my teachers”
It’s a duet with British rapper Headie One (and also features Fred again… ), who appears with Ms. twigs in the accompanying Emmanuel Adjei directed video. Some of the “action” takes place in front of Kara Walker‘s monumental sculpture Fons Americanus (installed at London’s Tate Modern), which is rife with metaphorical references to Colonialism and the slave trade.
“From someone’s appearance,” Adjei observes, “we are unable to judge whether [that] person discriminates over color, sex, religion, or gender. The oppressors within the people surrounding us, most often remain invisible until their abuse against others is revealed. This is one of the reasons why, for generations, discrimination is so hard to fight. Who must the victim fight against if it can’t identify the perpetrator?”
It’s a question, of course, far too long in search of an answer.