Video Premiere | shirlette ammons, “Hello” Feat. Amelia Meath

shirlette ammons is a Black, queer southern truth-teller, an Emmy and Peabody award-winning TV producer, poet, and musician. She is also an identical twin who hails from a tiny, wonderfully-named pocket of eastern North Carolina earth called Beautancus. Given this set of identifiers, the thought of being someone else’s “spectacle” is not some theoretical consideration for ammons; she has been “othered” her entire life.

Her new album Spectacles, coproduced with Phil Cook, is a captivating and electric 11-track examination of the duality between being objectified by the proverbial, patriarchal, white gaze and cultivating attention when rocking stages. The record is a poignant expression of her own multitudes (here as songwriter, MC, bassist, producer, and poet) rendered by a modern wellspring of Black Southern brilliance and her wider creative community featuring contributions from musicians, filmmakers and writers including genre-and-gender-defying performance artist Mykki Blanco, MacArthur-winning poet Fred Moten, Nigerian writer and chef Tunde Wey, Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso, and radical feminist writer Alexis Pauline Gumbs, “the Beyoncé of yoga” Jessamyn Stanley, as well as her twin sister Shorlette Ammons and niece, Anansi Stephens.

The collaborative nature of this affair is no surprise as ammons has always been a highly collaborative musician, whether making a record with the likes of soul-rock band The Dynamite Brothers or pairing The Indigo Girls, Hiss Golden Messenger and Meshell Ndegocello on the same LP, 2016’s Language Barrier

Today, ammons shares the video for “Hello.”

“I wrote ‘Hello’ as a pandemic anthem,” she says. “Lyrics like, ‘sometimes it’s hard to move from there to here’ were meant to speak to us being confined. When I began writing this song five years ago, we were not witnessing a blatant genocide. So, the sentiment carries a different meaning for me now.”

Spectacles sees release April 26.

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Photo by Tim Walter.