You asked me what family is
And I think of family as community
I think of the spaces where you don't have to shrink yourself
Where you don't have to pretend or to perform
You can fully show up and be vulnerable
And in silence, completely empty and
That's completely enough
You show up, as you are, without judgment, without ridicule
Without fear or violence, or policing, or containment
And you can be there and you're filled all the way up
So we get to choose our families
We are not limited by biology
We get to make ourselves
And we get to make our families
Devonte Hynes, also known as Blood Orange, recently came out with his fourth album, Negro Swan. Homie came through with this thoughtful depiction of all the feels, anxieties, expectations and on-going depression within the Black Queer community but while going through this journey, you’re learning to see the light in life. Personally, this album came right on time. The world has been feeling heavy and confusing lately. Finding an album to confide in like Negro Swan is a gift. It’s a reminder that we are so fucking majestic and true, and we should never apologize for that. WE SHALL CONTINUE TO ALWAYS DO TOO MUCH.
Blood Orange creates these daydreaming sounds that drift you into another consciousness. Negro Swan is filled with funk, jazz and dance pop notes wrapped in an R&B blanket. It just shows you, that we can’t be limited. Their features go hard too, including: Diddy, Tei Shi, Janet Mock, A$AP ROCKY, Project Pat, Ian Isiah, George Anne Muldrow and Steve Lacy. The originality is uncanny. This exploration and realization of letting go and being yourself can be difficult but so fucking worth it in the end. Some favorite tracks:
What I love about this song, is the instrumentals, it feels light, fun, there’s guitar and this pop dance feel to it. But when you listen to the lyrics, they seem to be the opposite. “No one wants to be the Negro Swan; can we break sometimes?” Hynes says, this song is supposed to be a celebration of Black skin, so maybe it is fitting. They want to see us bend and crack, but we don’t let them. We are consistently resilient even when we mentally feel like were breaking.
This track is super electronic with some jazz notes, layers of different voices that blend so well together. You just get swept away into the echoes of his voice. The video is chill too, with Blood Orange performing very low-key apartment sesh. These words repeating very smooth and calmly throughout the track almost like a meditation, “Your skins a flag that shines for us all, The Brown that shines and lights your darkest thought.”
This track opens up with Janet Mock again, this time explaining their love for seeing people or things in surroundings society says there not suppose to be in. The song starts out with this serene feeling and goes straight into deep vibes. The video depicts Black men flexin’, dancing with chains and necklaces with crosses, durags and hats. Black men feeling themselves, being carefree, being alive. “Seek what you need to get by, awake with one eye closed.” Fast forward to Blood Orange doing vogue and ballet. Unapologetic for being his authentic self as a Black Man.
Negro Swan is available on all platforms.