SJA student articles

2020

BEST ARTS ARTICLE

KARANJOT K.

Brown Skin Girl

 

Beyonce’s “Brown Skin Girl” sends a powerful message to her daughter Blue- Ivy Carter and other dark-skinned beauties who have been degraded for their skin color. 

As part of Disney Plus’ visual album “Black is King,” this video features Wizkid, Saint Jhn, and Beyonce’s beautiful daughter Blue- Ivy Carter. There are also few cameos from strong black women including Kelly Rowland, Naomi Campbell, and Lupita Nyong’o. All of whom have worked with or have been friends with Beyonce throughout her career.

 “Pose like a trophy when Naomi’s walk-in/ She need an Oscar for that pretty dark skin,” Beyonce sings. “Pretty like Lupita when the cameras close in/ Drip broke the levee when my Kellys roll in.”  These celebratory lyrics praise dark-skinned black women.  In the video, all three are dressed in traditional African clothing and hair. 

When the camera panned in on Kelly Rowland, her skin glistened gorgeously. It was very empowering to know that she has always expressed that her “chocolatey skin” makes her feel very insecure, and it is always the first thing people notice about her, but in the video, she puts it on display and smiles at herself while staring at her skin, as the lyrics “Your skin glow like diamonds” play around her. There is also a scene, where Beyonce and Kelly are staring at each other and lip-syncing the lyrics to each other. The way they were smiling and holding each other made my heart melt. 

“Brown Skin Girl '' emphasizes Black beauty in a culture that often situates beauty as being as close as you can get to whiteness. It does so without relying on any fetishizing or demeaning the diaspora of Black people. At the beginning of the song, Wizkid and Beyonce both sing the lyric, “If you are ever in doubt, remember what mama told me,” as the lyrics play, Beyonce is surrounded by her mother and all her children. But in the last two verses, Beyonce specifically sings to her own daughter, Blue Ivy (who sings the intro and outro of the song). Towards the end, she stares right at her daughter while singing “Your skin is not only dark it shines and it tells your story/ If you are ever in doubt remember what mama told YOU.” I had to pause the video and sniffle a little bit.  

As a young “Brown Skin Girl,” Beyonce and this song are both inspirational to meThe song is a beautiful concept, and the video added to its creativity. The concept and videography were so well thought out, and it was overall empowering seeing so many dark-skinned women uplifting each other.  

2020

ARTS ARTICLES

Flou by Angѐle 

5/5 stars

by Akasha B

 

Angѐle’s 2019 song Flou takes the listener through a crazy, colorful, and magical journey through life and passion, and so does the video.

 

Beginning with home videos shot on an old 1990’s camera, viewers are greeted with a warm feeling reminiscent of childhood. Angѐle then takes those watching on a journey, starting on Instagram and signing in empty, open bars to selling out tickets at large festivals and concerts. 

 

The video does not fall flat of documenting her journey to the top of French music charts, encouraging feelings of pride watching a loved one grow up, and more importantly, develop a passion. Throughout this montage of home videos from Angѐle’s childhood to recent performances, Angѐle learns and falls in love with music. Her first encounters with the piano are captured on film as well as the many triumphs and failures endured during childhood. This is further emphasized through the sounds of rolling tape accompanied by laughter and cries. In watching her fall down and get back up again, the song’s message is clear: you must fail, but never give up to achieve success.

 

But the transition to adulthood is most clearly captured through parallel imagery. Many clips throughout the film show Angѐle creatings a specific movement with her body as an adult, such as “punching” the air, and the following clip shows the same movement . It is again illustrated by Angѐle waving to the camera as a child then waving to a crowd during her concerts. Later in the song, she recreates a video of her with her brother. It ties in the family aspect of her journey to becoming a musician while having a family by her side.

 

These clips allow the audience to feel as though they are growing up alongside Angѐle: learning how to ride a bike, grow, sing, and gain confidence. 

The vintage feel of this entire video creates a fantastic story of love and success after hard work than the song itself. It is beautiful to watch Angѐle take a bow as a young girl after a piano recital then once again in front of multiple sold-out shows. Through beautiful clips and a positive message, she instills a desire to never give up in whoever is listening. 

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