For Black History Month, The World Famous Tony Williams has released a potent new single, Skin I’m In, which speaks on a black parent’s most prominent fears, police brutality, and the disproportionate amount of black people in our jails. Yet ultimately, Skin I’m In is a deeply uplifting and heartening anthem, as it sheds light on the true power and beauty of blackness.
As Williams shared his new single with JARO, he described the motivation behind the song. “There’s a bit of anxiousness felt by any parent, whenever his/her teenage or young adult child leaves the house for some innocent fun,” he wrote. “Skin I’m In is a song that discusses the inherent dangers associated with merely going out on a weekend as a young black person, when statistics support the possibilities that the “fun” will end up with him/her being locked up, or much worse, not returning home at all. As Black History Month draws to an end, I felt a need to bring light to the questions: Why do the implicit biases and stereotypes that create these disproportionate occurrences for black people exist, and what can we do to change them?”
Williams sings the soulful, rhythmic chorus, which beautifully ties the song together while simultaneously raising important concerns. “Colored boy, I worry ‘bout you. Why the police so concerned about us? Can you avoid the world around you when the penitentiary don’t work without us?” In an impactful end to the first chorus, Williams says, “We can’t afford a world without us; the truth is coming to the surface now.”
Featured on Skin I’m In is the soul infused hip-hop group Cure For Paranoia, along with the poet and M.C. Mama Sol. This creates a stirring collaboration, as each verse contains a remarkable theme.
“Little black boy, you were all that light. That joy, that sight of God in the flesh, and they know exactly who you are,” says Mama Sol. “Cop cars sound alarms in pursuit of you–alarmed by your brilliance, abilities, and resilience to break barriers while carrying the heavy burden of just being you.” Wow! What an incredibly profound verse to ruminate over, and that’s only a glimpse into the song’s message.
Below, listen to Skin I’m In via Soundcloud, and join us in a discussion about art and music’s role in creating more positive, uplifting narratives surrounding blackness.