Coming together for a massive collaboration, FKA twigs, Headie One and Fred again.. three of the UK’s most influential and groundbreaking artists, have transformed what originally started as purely an interlude on Headie and Fred‘s GANG mixtape, into an expanded masterpiece. With an accompanying music video, directed by the acclaimed Emmanuel Adjei which really comes across as an artistic short film, “Don’t Judge Me” serves as commentary on the black experience in Britain’s modern day world.
The music video, supported by global fashion platform FARFETCH who styled the stars in all Black designers, was premiered on its release date January 26th by the hugely influential London radio show No Signal. Producer Emmanuel Adjei and star FKA twigs both made guest appearances for a one-hour takeover on the station. When talking about the music video Adjei shared some special insights:
“THE INVISIBLE OPPRESSOR…
From someone’s appearance, we are unable to judge whether a person discriminates over color, sex, religion, or gender. The oppressors within the people surrounding us, most often remain invisible until their abuse against others is revealed. This is one of the reasons why, for generations, discrimination is so hard to fight. Who must the victim fight against if it can’t identify the perpetrator?
In this audio-visual document we get to witness artists FKA Twigs and Headie One, amongst other Black British influentials, fighting against invisible forces of judgement and oppression. Having the enormous Victorian-inspired fountain ‘Fons Americanus’ by visual artist Kara Walker – depicting the historical, sorrowful story of slavery and colonization – as our setting, and particularly as the spirit of the film, this important monument creates another layer of depth and meaning to an invisible yet shared history.”
Emmanuel Adjei, on London radio station No Signal
FKA twigs and Headie One deliver outstanding performances on both the track and supporting video, where twigs flawlessly executes breathtaking contemporary choreography that sends shivers down your spine. The rest of the cast includes an extensive list of powerful black creatives and activists, whose personal experiences might all differ, but they share the struggle against this “invisible oppressor” of which Emmanuel describes. The list of supporting cameos who bring to life this project touching on the difficulty to overcome cultural, systemic and structural biases includes: poet and Black Lives Matter activist Solomon O.b, writer Reni Eddo-Lodge, model and activist Kukua Williams, musician and poet Benjamin Zephaniah, dancer and singer Lisa Elde, mental health advocate Nicole Crentsil, fitness expert and trainer Efua Baker, footballer Mahlon Romeo, activist and model Munroe Bergdorf, model Danto Earth and broadcaster Clara Amfo.
I am once again completely blown away by the pure, raw artistry FKA twigs brings to the table. Rightfully so she has been recognized time and time again for her brilliant contributions to the music world as a leading innovative artist, performer, producer and director of her generation. Countless notable outlets like NPR, TIME and Vice all named her debut album MAGDALENE one of the best albums of 2019, from which the “cellophane” music video received even more love, a GRAMMY Award for best of the year. Needless to say, she doesn’t skip a beat and “Don’t Judge Me” is a top-tier addition to her innovative and moving repertoire.
Alhough I probably should have already hip on Headie One, I feel so inspired by discovering him through this project. Widely recognized as “The King of Drill,” Headie One has majorly assisted in bringing rise to the underground grassroots subgenre, cementing himself as one of Britain’s leading rappers and most formidable talents. His “Music X Road” became the first of his Drill projects to reach the Top 5 on the UK Albums Chart, and his collaboration with Fred again on the experimental 2020 project ‘GANG‘ propelled Headie into new spaces being able to work with other innovative artists as FKA twigs, Sampha, Brian Eno and Jamie xx.
The music video for “Don’t Judge Me” has already hit over 27,000 views on YouTube in its three days of being live, and the track is currently chilling at the top of my Nü Qü playlist. This collaboration was everything I needed to refuel me in the inspiration department. Mad props and congratulations to FKA twigs, Headie One, Fred again.. and Emmanuel Adjei!