Amahla Talks New Single And Black Music Influences

The Hackney-based singer-songwriter presents her new single and discusses how Black feminism influenced Black Music and her own artistry through the years.

East-London born and bred Amahla is entering a new chapter of her artistry with the release of a new single, “Enough”, accompanied by a music video. But more than a hit, Amahla’s craft carries a powerful meaning behind its lyrics. Released exactly 84 years and one day after Billie Holiday’s iconic ‘Strange Fruit,” this song serves as a poignant reflection on the interconnectedness of Black history.

The track merges classic jazz vocals with soulful melodies and orchestration, exploring a darker, more intense sound. For an even more complex sonic experience, “Enough” is accompanied by a visually compelling music video directed by Destinie Paige, drawing inspiration from Caribbean culture and significant moments in Black history.

Today, we flip chairs with Amahla as she discusses how Black feminism influenced Black music and her own artistry throughout the years, celebrating Black History Month.

Watch the music video of “Enough”…

Not much happens in isolation, and in the last 100 years, the politics of Black women have come to light through conversation, political movements, and art. Here are some connections I see between Black feminism and Black music.

bell hooks & Solange

bell hooks is an academic best known for her work on the radical properties of love. She also wrote a children’s book called “Happy To Be Nappy”. My Mum read it to me growing up, it was her way of using bell to teach me to take pride in my natural hair. It reminds me of Solange’s song “Don’t Touch My Hair,” which emphasises a unique feminism specific to Black women. When I listen to Solange, I feel embraced in the same way I do when I hear hooks speak about love.

Alice Walker & Kendrick Lamar

“Alright” is one of my favourite Kendrick songs. It opens with “Alls my life I had to fight”, a quote from the author Alice Walker. It is pulled from her book The Color Purple, which explores the struggles and resilience of African-American women in the early 1900s. Decades later Kendrick uses it to tell his truth, speaking on a continued struggle stemming from racism and poverty. I love it when art becomes a portal to more art. Witnessing Kendrick do this on “To Pimp A Butterfly” changed what I thought popular music could be.

Zora Neale Hurston & Beyonce

You can’t watch Beyonce’s Lemonade without thinking about Zora Neale Hurston. Zora was an author and anthropologist of the early 1900s who travelled America documenting the rural southern Black experience. While the songs of Lemonade tell Beyoncé’s story, the visuals, locations and symbolism delve into the same history 100 years later. Beyoncé uses film as an ethnographic tool, similar to how Zora did in her early silent films. I studied Anthopology so to witness these parallels is incredible. I’m taking notes!

Issa Rae & Jazmine Sullivan

Both of these women are icons to me. I love the way they explore the spectrum of womanhood and sexuality. Issa Rae’s series Insecure showed a different type of Black girl experience and did so uncompromisingly. I see this diversity of Black womanhood in Jazmine’s art too. Her album Heaux Tales is a time capsule of modern relationships in the era I’m finding myself. Our experiences are important and valuable, both these women find magic in our everyday.

Miriam Makeba & Nina Simone

Miriam Makeba was a South African singer heavily involved in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and for civil rights in the USA. Ms Makeba was one of the first international musicians from South Africa to have global crossover success. While in the USA she formed a friendship with Ms Simone who also used her music to push for social change.Through their songs Ms Makeba and Ms Simone fueled the spirits of a generation foregrounding Black women. I can’t help but address them as ‘Ms’ because like my Auntie’s, they raised me. I admire their courage, steadfastness, and conviction.

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