© 2023 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jorja Smith Turns The 'Blue Lights' Off In New Video Against Police Brutality

"I wanna turn those blue lights into strobe lights," Jorja Smith sings over the lullaby intro of "Blue Lights," accompanied in the song's video by synthesized piano and the sound of a running shower. Under the water, a man stands still, head down, resigned. The viewer never sees the man's face come into focus; only his silhouette, twisting and contorting his arms, back, and joints into dance. A private moment for public consumption, like the black body in public spaces. In another shot, a man holds his infant child towards the light.

The video for "Blue Lights" gives to the public faces of black and brown men living in Walsall, Smith's West Midlands hometown in England. "Blue Lights" was initially released on the U.K. singer's SoundCloud in 2016, and is a single off her upcoming debut album, Lost & Found. The men play dominos, and the children play on stoops. A group of them lower the hoods on their sweatshirts in unison before facing the viewer head-on.

Contrary to how the world, and especially law enforcement, often see black and brown men, the 20-year-old's video portrays them in a tender light. "If you've done nothing wrong / Blue lights should just pass you by," Smith sings with the innocence of a child and the shaky confidence of a worried mother. But the sirens pierce even Smith's safe vignette.

Lost & Found is out June 8 onFAMM.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.