The clip blends archival footage with slow, meditative shots of black men and women in the throes of grief or intense contemplation. Over the footage, Common unleashes a brutal verse that touches on Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter, slavery, Jim Crowe, mass incarceration, ghettoization, the water crisis in Flint and even the pay gap Viola Davis pointed out between Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.
In the outtro, Stevie Wonder sings: “One way of solving a lot of problems that we’ve got is letting a person feel like somebody, and a man can’t get himself together until he knows who he is and be proud of what, and who he is, and where he came from.”
“Black America Again” was produced by Karriem Riggins and Robert Glasper and also features Esperanza Spalding on bass, ad-libs by Chuck D and MC Lyte, scratching by J Rock and strings by Patrick Warren. The powerful song is the title-track from Common’s forthcoming album. While a release date for the follow-up to 2014’s Nobody’s Smiling has yet to be announced, Common told Complex that the LP will feature John Legend, Anderson .Paak, The Internet, and Jay Electronica.