15 Sep 2016
If you like soul music, you probably have heard Michael Kiwanuka before. I had the pleasure of seeing him live in NYC singing his debut album and I still remember his deep voice echoing throughout the venue.
For his second album, Love & Hate, Kiwanuka release a beautifully shot video called “Black Man In A White World”. The video which was directed by Hiro Murai, follows a dancer as he parades through L.A.’s sprawling neighborhoods. The streets are empty until a police car commits a hit and run, speeding off and leaving a totaled car in the middle of the intersection. At this point, he begins to float up and away.
As the son of immigrants—his parents having moved to London from Uganda—and as a black artist interested in music that’s generally sold as being by and for those who are white, he’s often found it difficult to fit in. He recalls how growing up separated from his wider family shaped a preference for tinkering with a guitar over engaging with other people.
Kiwanuka explains, “At first glance, people might think that it’s [about] racism but it’s not really that. It’s more [a question of] who my people are, working out where I fit in—sometimes you just want that, sometimes it’s easier. But I’ve never really had the luxury of doing that. So that song’s about that, being a bit angry about it but accepting it and thinking that I’ll just make my own thing. Which is a good place to be.”
I hope you enjoy it and get to learn more about this amazing singer!