“Black is beautiful baby, black is bold
Black is black, true, but black is gold”

By chance, I fell upon this uplifting song by Wale just recently. To be completely honest I figured out what it was going to be about by the simple title “Black is Gold”, especially since black people have been making similar uplifting and inspiring self-love statements due to racism. Wale delivered a couple of good lines I personally favour throughout the song.

“Black is beautiful baby, black is bold
Black is black, true, but black is gold”

The hook starts basic using the sample of another musician’s tune, D’Angelo’s 1995 ‘Lady’, and short female vocals in the background along with a beat echoing in and out. After repeating this part of the hook again he goes on to encourage black women and little girls to hold on to their roots and not succumb to American standards of beauty. He raps in the first verse for us to love our hair and our skin and everything beautiful about us. He continues on with words showing us that we’re worth it, and deserve to be spoiled with things like love and all things expensive.

“Look, black is beautiful, shawty, that you should know
Don’t let American standards damage your African soul
Natural hair, oh with a weave under
I buy you Givenchy rags in rapid need for ya
I’ll rap a feature and buy you pieces from people that you love
Celine Dion pay for that Céline that you got on”

After repeating the hook the second verse starts to refer to iconic black women who have made a mark in the entertainment industry not just with their talents but their constant public statements to young black girls to love themselves, and showing their own never-crumbling confidence despite backlash.

“Uh, look, hey Miss Lupita
Hope you know you inspired the future women for us
Don’t know your vibe really, just know that your mother Kenyan
Just know that that melanin mesmerizin’ in every picture
God true, hey miss ducky, hey
I think your hair is amazin’ but brain is even greater”

Wale raps that black women are mesmerizing in every way they can be but that their intelligence trumps everything that gets thrown their way. He doesn’t forget to be brutally honest and point out that attempts to blackface never succeeded in emulating who we are as people. My favourite part was the play on Shonda Rhimes’ name, and mentioning Viola Davis’s use of her celebrity platform to inform society on the lack of diversity in Hollywood for women of colour.

“Knowing hella actors black facin’ trynna play us
God true, hey Viola darlin’
I see you shinin’ with Shonda, thought I should rhyme about you
‘Cause you body the monologues and you care ’bout us”
Get away with murder every time you red carpet”

He further mentions other iconic women like Issa Rae who successfully started her own show about being a black girl. He starts to end the song by talking with heartfelt appreciation towards black women to never give up, keep going.

“Let’s celebrate the awesomeness that is our sisters
My affinity is infinity and I wish you everythin’ that gives you better energy
So be prouder, be flier”

He ends it with a reference to Michelle Obama’s speech at the DNC in 2016 during the rollercoaster of an election, ‘When they go low, we go high’. A statement aimed at the opposing supporters and reminding us all to be the bigger and better person.

“And like my auntie Michelle told me, we gotta do our job to reach high, holla, Folarin”

It was a much needed and straightforward song to remind us we are still loved no matter what hardships we face. Black is beautiful and it is mesmerizingly gold.

Ines Makuza
Ines is majoring in mass communication. She's a great singer, loves dancing, reading, writing and spending time with her friends.