UK Based Artist Aaliyah Esprit Spits Words That Will Give You Goosebumps in Her Short Self-Narrated Film 'Words Unlocked'
Back in January, we helped Aaliyah Esprit release her single 'Energy', and just like we predicted, she's back with more gold for our pretty ears. One thing that stood out when we first got in contact with Aaliyah's team was her poetry. The few poems we posted last time, which you can also find below, spoke so strong and powerfully. Her play on words & the emotions that she delivers is electric.
The importance of lyricism in the industry is becoming less mainstream, but I find amongst women artists, the message they deliver is still one of the strongest assets they have. Could that be another reason that they don't get recognized? Possibly...
“The poetry in the film talks about self love which is something that I had to learn over time and if you have it and your comfortable in the skin you’re in, you can be free to express yourself in anyway you want. I found the beauty in my identity, in my race, in who I am and discovered that i’m not just one thing, I don’t just make one type of music, there’s so many different sides to me and this short film is me displaying that.”
“I wanted to show a different side to my artistry and I felt this was the perfect
way to do it. The last few tracks i’ve put out have been slow vocals over
trapsoul beats and none have included my poetry which is such an important
part of who I am. I decided to do this poetry short film as not only would it put
my poetry in the forefront but halfway through, the tone switches and you get
a preview of my new track that comes out next month. You can tell from the
second that the beat drops that my sound has taken a fresh new direction.”
- Aaliyah Esprit
From what I see, there are three individual poems, but the way that they tie together is what portrays her story best. In my interpretation, the short film starts with the desire to seek a true connection that is grounded on a mental rather than a physical level. The desire for something real, in a world so fake. She then dives in deep and delves into her mind, discussing the way she feels as a Black woman in society and in the creative industry. Lastly, she connects the fact that she is a product of her environment that she is learning to grow out of. She is learning to love herself, and everything society deemed as wrong, like the colour of her skin. True love does comes from within.
She touches upon a few themes that I'd like to highlight.
What is love today?
"I want you to delve into my mind before the physical
fuck with my mental
before getting into
soul is the thing I want to explore
some girls live for the image but I want to learn more."
In today's day in age, we can't seem to have a deep, intellectual conversation with one another. It's always physical first. I feel as though many people are able to relate to this. This last line about girls living for the image is accompanied with video of her putting on make up in front of a mirror. In society, women are socially influenced to uphold this ideal standard of beauty. She calls out the Eurocentric beauty standards that Black women are faced with every day and shines a light on the individual issues they face in the creative industry, as she says: "Hard to follow your dreams in a world that reminds you, you're not good enough".
BLACK women, black lives and success
"Writing lyrics before I eat for the day
I guess that's the way it goes cause I'm
tryna turn my hobby into a business
Craft my art and sell my product
like a dealer in his whip does "
"And I'm not aiming for the money
or the fame or the wealth
or for the dream.
Hard to follow your dreams
in a world that reminds you
you're not good enough
Skin not light enough
Lips too big and shit
Are our features only beautiful
when other race feature them?"
Easy to succumb to the Eurocentric vision of what beauty is
I wear weaves and wigs
I guess that makes me a counterfeit.
She continues to discuss the issue of culture appropriation and the mass amount of culture vultures we see in mainstream media. Many white women have used the argument that because Black women wear wigs and weaves to conform to Eurocentric standards, that they are in fact committing culture appropriation; "I guess that makes me a counterfeit".
Of course, those people have no understanding about the history of racism and culture appropriation.
Your roots Shape you
"What do you know about me?
An ugly little Black kid that aint shit
aint ever gonna be shit
that's what they told her
Grew up with a chip on her shoulder
never met her daddy
so she was her own soldier
All her life to abuse
they exposed her and tried to control her
And thats why she never let another man love her
"I guess I am a product of my environment
but trust me, I do love me.
I didn't always, but I learnt how.
Learned to love the blend of brown
that I was blessed with"
"What do you know about me?" I ask myself who this question is directed to. Is it the person she wants a real connection with in the first poem? I think that this connects to the first poem because she mentions that the absence of her father is the cause for her distrust of others, which is similar to my personal experiences. Her poem conveys the difficulties of escaping the desire for male companionship, and relying on oneself for personal growth. Upon my own self-reflection, I have realized that subconsciously seeking for a real connection with men is the result of my absent father. It could be the same for her.
The energy invested in finding a connection with others could be used to find a connection within yourself, to learn to love yourself.