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Spotlight on Amythyst Kiah from Our Native Daughters

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Published on Feb 20, 2019

This song was inspired by a line from north Mississippi hill country musician Sid Hemphill’s “John Henry:” I don’t like no red-black woman Black myself, black myself. This sentiment is linked to the history of intraracial discrimination, the idea that being a lighter shade of black is more desirable because it means that you look closer to being white than black. And from that I thought about how this negative connotation of blackness was integral to slavery, segregation, and then the “white flight” to suburban neighborhoods after desegregation. I thought of my experience as a black girl in a white suburban neighborhood in the 1990s, and how, once puberty hit, the doors of my neighbors would soon be suddenly closed to me. And thus the refrain and title of this song are intended to be an anthem for those who have been alienated and othered because of the color of their skin.
— Amythyst Kiah

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