Peng Black Girls is a celebration of the diversity of Black womanhood as well as a general Black empowerment song. Created by ENNY, a Nigerian-British artist, the lyrics as well as the video are meant to showcase Black womanhood in a positive light; putting into the spotlight those that don’t often see themselves enough in the media. In some scenes Enny was dressed as typical for a woman in her mid 20s in the UK or even the US; rocking braids, a slip dress and Doc Martens in one scene. In others, Enny showcased her Nigerian heritage with a gele and ankara dress seated with several female members of her family. The title itself includes the British slang for attractive or appealing. It is clear through the lyrics and video how ENNY sees herself as both Nigerian and British, having been born and raised in south east London to Nigerian parents. The first verse addresses Black womanhood, including the diversity in shades and body types. The second verse speaks to Black mens’ struggle with the label of thugs and the lure of street life; it also calls for the Black community to come together.
There are two versions of this song, and I feel as though it would be remiss of this post not to discuss the minor controversy surrounding the second version. The first release of the song featured fellow Nigerian-British artist Amia Brave singing the chorus. The remix of the song instead featured British artist Jorja Smith singing the chorus. The label promoted the remixed version more because Smith was an artist with a bigger audience. The controversy is in the fact that Jorja Smith is a light skinned mixed artist while Amia Brave is darker complected. There are some within the wider Black community who criticized the promotion of the remix over the original as they felt that promoting the song with the lighter skinned artist sent the wrong message.
In an interview with CRACK magazine written by Kemi Alemoru, ENNY did address this. She stated that while she understood the optics of the situation, the reality was that two artists were excited to collaborate, one had the greater name recognition and thus that version was promoted by the label the two artists share after ENNY was signed. Additionally, Enny felt that those who only focused on the skintones of each singer neglected the overall message of the song. The article will be linked to this post.
In this case, I would have to agree with ENNY. I myself am closer in complexion to ENNY then I am Jorja Smith. However, to divide our community on color lines is to support the divisions created by outsiders that would see the Black community as a whole fail. Just as the song says, there are many ways to be Black, and all those ways have beauty and meaning.