“Look, black is beautiful, black is excellent
Black is pain, black is joy, black is evident”
Black, the lead single to Dave’s new album, is a stark analysis of the Black experience both in the UK and in African countries. The music video dropped on February 21st with an announcement that his debut studio album, Psychodrama, would premiere on March 8.
Born David Orobosa Omoregie to Nigerian Parents in South London, Dave draws on both his experience with racism in the UK, as well as the hardship’s faced by his friends and family in post-colonial Africa. In his review, Dazed writer Kemi Alemoru, called this song “the race history lesson the UK needs.”
“The blacker the killer, the sweeter the news
And if he’s white you give him a chance, he’s ill and confused”
In the first verse, Dave explores the disconnect experienced by members of the African diaspora. He notes how children of immigrants are forced to rely on images of their “fam on their knees” and the trauma of their families when constructing the country of their parents. He describes feeling of survivor’s guilt when seeing news coverage of child soldiers.
“Look, black is growin’ up around the barbershop
Mummy sayin’, “Stay away from trouble, you’re in yard a lot”
The second verse largely centres around the experience of growing up Black in the UK. Dave centres his Black British identity around obligations towards family and community. He also explores the complicated relationship with his neighbourhood. He explains the complex dynamic of achieving fame only to be forced to leave home because “there’s hate in it.” Feelings of alienation in Britain are highlighted through an example of attempting to help an old woman across the road, only for her to walk away in fear.
“Black is people namin’ your countries on what they trade most
Coast of Ivory, Gold Coast, and the Grain Coast”
The last verse examines modern-day struggles of navigating an Africa identity after the trauma of colonialism. Dave highlights the tricky relationships that Africans have with countries they did not choose. Reminding his audience not only that the formation of current states was dictated by European interests, but of how young the countries are. He details the complicated nature of African nationalism, “representin’ countries that never even existed while your grandmother was livin’.”
“Black is like the sweetest f**kin’ flavour, here’s a taste of it
Black is all I know, there ain’t a thing that I would change in it”
The music video is a celebration of #BlackExcellence and beauty, featuring famous Black British figures, such as rapper Stormzy and Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling.