Last year, Headie One dropped the wholly unexpected GANG mixtape with producer Fred Again, an experimental exploration that took far outside of the drill realms he was known for up until that point. Even more surprising than the cuts with Jamie xx and Sampha, was “Judge Me” with FKA twigs—a ghostly interlude that was unlike anything else the Tottenham rapper had done before, but with a run time under two minutes, many were left wanting more.
Well, those prayers have been answered as twigs returns with “Don’t Judge Me”, an expansion on last year’s interlude that once again sees her team up with Headie One and Fred Again. The new version explores the track’s themes in greater detail and then takes it to the next level with some stunning visuals from director Emmanuel Adjei (co-directer: Beyoncé’s “Black Is King”) who uses artist Kara Walker’s Fons Americanus as a narrative device to explore Black history across Africa, America and Europe and the scars left by slavery and colonialism.
In an interview with the Grammy Museum’s Programs At Home series, twigs said that she’d completed a full album while at home during the pandemic. While it’s currently unclear if “Don’t Judge Me” will be appearing on the album, which is said to feature contributions from Spanish producer El Guincho (who worked on Björk’s Biophilia and Rosalía’s breakthrough EL MAL QUERER among others), we can at least be certain of a lot more music from her in 2021.
Alongside the video, director Adjei wrote the following:
THE INVISIBLE OPPRESSOR
From someone’s appearance, we are unable to judge whether a person discriminates over color, sex, religion, or gender. The oppressors within the people surrounding us, most often remain invisible until their abuse against others is revealed. This is one of the reasons why, for generations, discrimination is so hard to fight. Who must the victim fight against if it can’t identify the perpetrator?
In this audio-visual document we get to witness artists FKA twigs and Headie One, amongst other Black British influentials, fighting against invisible forces of judgement and oppression. Having the enormous Victorian-inspired fountain Fons Americanus by visual artist Kara Walker—depicting the historical, sorrowful story of slavery and colonization—as our setting, and particularly as the spirit of the film, this important monument creates another layer of depth and meaning to an invisible yet shared history.