“this is the light” – Sampa the great showcases unreleased song on systemic racism as part of a live virtual performance from zambia

Sampa The Great recently took part in “Black August 2020”, a free virtual benefit concert on the 31st of August 2020. The event, hosted by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) had the goal of promoting the release of all political prisoners and the abolition of prisons in the United States. Sampa performed four songs live from Zambia and put on the impressive showcase with an all-Zambian crew. She maintained that she was proud to be able to showcase her home on an international stage such as this.

Below is the full live performance featuring all four songs. “This is the Light” begins around the 10:30 mark, for reference.

This post is particularly unique given the song has not been officially released yet, however the nature of its debut in a highly politically charged benefit concert centered around activism presents us with an opportunity to analyze something relatively unheard.

2020 has been an unprecedented year with regards to the Covid-19 pandemic, yet it has also been one of high amounts of tension regarding issues of race around the world and particularly in the United States with mass protests in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. In a fitting addition to her portfolio of songs that often comment on inequality, “This is the Light” is a call to Zambians about not giving up in the face of adversity. It mentions that the modern era is a “renaissance” and she maintains that Zambians, – and black people alike -, can and must “always keep on fighting”. The upbeat track impressively treads the line between protest and combat music, confirming her support for the BLM movement and drawing on Zambians to support the cause as well. This alignment with the hosts of the concert have cemented Sampa’s position as a political hip hop artist and activist, while expressing her pride in her being Zambian and maintaining her connection to her home and people.

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