“Oh, melanin, oh sweet melanin, ain’t nothin better than, all this melanin.”
– Vintage Nation
This is a song that I came across on my journey through the cloud of sound (SoundCloud) and it stuck out to me because of it’s title: Vintage Nation – “Cuz I’m Black” but resonated with me because of it’s great message and sound.
This song starts with a woman scatting over a boom bap beat that carriers throughout the song that is quickly accompanied with a fanfare of horns and steady base that instantly makes you snap and sway back and forth. It’s mood accentuates the voice of the singer, who does a great job in blending with the groovy sound.
The chorus repeats rhetorical questions in succession without sounding too repetitive, acting as a rallying cry for those whom feel victimized because of their color. The songs asks questions such as “why you so talented?” “why you so courageous?” while also posing questions like “why you so dangerous?” “how did you survive?” and always ending with “Why the cops pull you over then?” with each question being answered with “Cuz I’m Black.” This answer in itself expresses the artist’s thought that her skin is the source of her power and natural blessings while also suggesting that her powerful gift can also be seen as a debilitating curse.
As a nation we tend to subconsciously shame people for their backgrounds or make those of color seem inferior, which could give younger men and women of color the impression that the world is against them, though so many recent high-profile cases have been so racially fueled that it’s hard for even the most ignorant to turn a blind eye to. Following every chorus, the singer sings words of praise to her melanin, the pigmentation in the skin that determines our hair and skin color, instead of cursing that which we cannot control, and that has indirectly caused such a divide across the world. She expresses with such passion why people of color should take pride in their color and not be ashamed, through the hardship and pain that often comes with being the book judged by it’s cover might seem crippling.
(An important note I should add: many of us do not understand the definition of racism, the term ‘racist’ means believing one race is superior to all others, it doesn’t equate to the hatred of another race, this is known as bigotry.)
“Cuz I’m Black” speaks on self-empowerment, persevering, being strong, and racial pride rather than racist views in a time and place where it is often difficult to be proud of what makes us different. I also like the lines about staying in school and fighting adversity, there’s a lot of good being expressed in this song that I appreciate.