Amythyst Kiah has released a stylish video for her new single “Black Myself,” which is also the East Tennessee singer-songwriter’s debut solo recording for Rounder Records.
Directed by Kwaku Otchere and featuring choreography by Aysha Upchurch, the black-and-white clip makes a powerful statement about being black in America through a combination of personal storytelling and expressive dance.
Kiah appears in several scenes, but the clip also features a loose narrative about identity and shame, following a dancer’s inner battle and mirroring the song’s lyrics about the country’s long history of oppression. “You look me in my eyes but you don’t see me,” Kiah sings. At the end of the video, there is a reclamation of that identity, as dancer Des Polk witnesses Kiah performing and hears her final, defiant flip of the chorus. Fittingly, the video’s final image is a single raised fist.
The original version of “Black Myself” appeared on the collaborative 2019 project Our Native Daughters, which featured Kiah alongside Rhiannon Giddens, Allison Russell, and Leyla McCalla. The original was a potent enough folk-rock tune, but for her solo rendition Kiah dialed up the amplifiers and turned it into a pulverizing number that weds blues and scuzzy alt-rock to a funky backbeat.