To riff on the title of today’s selection for a moment, as many of us joked during the last year and a half, “there’s never been a better time to be an introvert.” At the same time, the often intense pandemic-related social isolation (other than hundreds of Zoom meetings and gatherings) has led to an even greater awkwardness and sometimes trepidation toward in-person social settings. The result of that is even more fatigue than might be expected for an introvert, even when in relatively small gatherings with close friends or family.
But it felt like that all shifted a bit this past weekend. As I mentioned in Sunday’s post, we were preparing for a family dinner to mark Canadian Thanksgiving as well as a recent and an upcoming family birthday. We had a delightful time, around a fabulous meal made by Sweety and, later, gifts for the birthdays. It was pretty tiring as she and I are out of practice with hosting, having held just three family dinners in the last thirteen months, and this one being the first fully indoor gathering. (Hard to believe we used to host annual dinner parties related to her work, with 30+ guests!) But it felt wonderful to be together, and a pretty cool thing happened…
It’s typical that when we sit at the table, Sweety asks me to say something to mark the occasion as a bit of an invocation or blessing. I thought I would like to make a land acknowledgement, something that — at least locally — has become a custom in public gatherings since Winnipeg’s first Indigenous mayor, Brian Bowman, took office and declared 2015 the Year of Reconciliation, before the concept took hold nationally. Anyway, earlier in the day, one of our lads was in touch to ask if he could make an acknowledgement before dinner. I said I had been thinking the same, so yes, that would be great if he wanted to. So, the torch has been handed to the next generation for bringing a significant, meaningful spoken spiritual component to open up the intimacy of family meals.
During the same evening, while I was playing music from my Song of the Day playlist over the computer speakers, the same son asked if he could play a YouTube video. He prefaced this by saying, “I know you mostly post stuff you like, so here’s a challenge…” He knows I’m not a fan of rap and wanted me to listen to a song. Trusting him and the moment, I watched the YouTube video with him and his partner once he called it up. I was struck by the drama created by the symphonic passages in the song and the quick edits of the video, the majority of which are shot in classical period spaces, juxtaposed with gritty, hazily-lit modern-day architecture. The music, choreographed movement and film edits create a bold, visually and aurally cacophonous palette in which British-Nigerian rapper, singer and actor Little Simz (the stage name of Simbiatu “Simbi” Abisola Abiola Ajikawo) expresses her message of struggle as a Black woman witnessing so much oppression and racist, systemic disadvantage.
As for the title, I’m not entirely sure of the intent, but it seems the song is a rallying cry to step out and claim one’s place in the world, and particularly women of colour, given the added layers of oppression on them as not only people of colour but also as women, in a world still dominated by old, rich, white men who control the systems of wealth and authority.
It’s a compelling video. I’m still not sure I’m a fan of rap, but I am glad to have been exposed to this music and video. It is a reminder of the comfort I live in, which is much different than what so many billions on our planet endure.
“Introvert” comes from Little Simz’s fourth studio album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, released last month.
Now you know a little about why this is My Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the official music video from Little Simz’s YouTube channel. You’ll find official lyrics among the notes beneath the video if clicking into YouTube.com to watch it.