Feminist Songs…: Day 6, Play my own damned tune

Elise Springer  is a feminist philosopher at Wesleyan University. She nominated an excellent tune by artist Laura Mvula, who uses melody, carefully crafted lyrics, and driving percussion to create music that draws on a wide variety of genres and cultures she encountered growing up in Birmingham, England. In 2005, Mvula sang with the group Black Voices before striking out on her own. She graduated from the Birmingham Conservatoire of music at the University of Birmingham. Mvula worked as a teacher, writing songs on her laptop in her spare time and eventually sending off demos to record labels. This song comes from her debut album, Sing To The Moon, released in 2013. Dr. Springer gives a brief introduction to this excellent song.

Alison Reiheld, Director of the SIUE Women’s Studies Program

This is an awesome anthem of resistance on the part of women — especially black women — facing contempt for not living as someone else’s fantasy object. Listen to her whole album, repeatedly, if you want a ‘mind blown’ experience. Consummate musician too.

And, you have to listen. It’s not just the lyrics. It’s the energy, the way she sings it:

‘Cos my skin ain’t light, and my body ain’t tight, and that’s alright…

Tell me WHO made YOU the center of the universe?

I recommend anything on the album, really.

LYRICS

I will never be what you want and that’s alright
‘Cause my skin ain’t light and my body ain’t tight
And that’s alright
But if I might, I must stand and fight

I will never be what you want and that’s alright
I play my own damn tune, I shine like the moon
And very soon, I’ll soon fly over you
And what you gonna do when I fly over you

Tell me who made you the center of the universe
Who made you the center of the universe
Who made you the center of the universe
Who made you the center of the universe

And every morning when I wake up I pray for you
And then I pray for me that soon you’ll see
How love can be, our love will set you free
And what it’s gonna be, I see the beauty in your eyes

Tell me who made you the center of the universe
Who made you the center of the universe
Who made you the center of the universe
Who made you the center of the universe

I will never be what you want and that’s alright
‘Cause my skin ain’t light and my body ain’t tight
I will never be what you want and that’s alright
‘Cause my skin ain’t light and that’s alright

Tell me who made you the center of the universe
Who made you the center of the universe
Who made you the center of the universe
Who made you the center of the universe

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