Music

FKA Twigs’s “Don’t Judge Me” Video Pays Tribute to Black History

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Yesterday, FKA Twigs dropped the music video for her new song, “Don’t Judge Me,” intimately exploring the dealings of loneliness in love and racial discrimination.

Featuring British rapper Headie One and producer Fred Again, the song begs for compassion from a lover and system that refuses to take heed. The verses alternate between Twigs’s signature falsetto pleas to an absent lover (“Don’t judge me, be there for me / Don’t judge me, just hold me in your arms”) to Headie One’s grainy ruminations on systemic racism and police brutality in the United Kingdom (“I can’t trust the police force and I can’t trust the media / Learned more about my people from the streets than from my teachers”).

“So proud to release don’t judge me into the world,” wrote Twigs, who co-directed the music video with Emmanuel Adjei, on Instagram. “This project is very personal and special to me.”

The music video further intensifies the message of “Don’t Judge Me,” as dancers crawl and convulse in front of Fons Americanus, a sculpture by Kara Walker that imitates the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace. Instead of relaying royal accolades, however, the epic four-tiered fountain zeroes in on the African diaspora as a result of the transatlantic slave trade and agents who enabled it.

Twigs thanked Walker on Instagram. “It was an honour to shoot with kara walkers fountain exploring the interconnection of black history between africa, america and europe,” she wrote. “Thank you to everyone for making don’t judge me come to life.”

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The music video’s release comes shortly after Twigs opened up to Louis Theroux for his Grounded podcast about her decision to go public with her experience of domestic abuse.

“During COVID, a lot of victims are basically in a confined space with their abusers and not being able to get out,” she said, “and I felt like I wanted to come forward and talk about it, because it is something in society that’s a really big problem, and it’s really common, but for some reason, we don’t talk about it and we just ignore it.”

In December, Twigs filed a lawsuit against former boyfriend Shia LaBeouf, citing the “relentless abuse” inflicted upon her throughout their nearly year-long relationship.

“I’d like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency,” she told The New York Times. In the filing, per the Times, she detailed a 2019 road trip incident with LaBeouf in California, during which he assaulted her in public. “I just thought to myself, no one is ever going to believe me,” she told the paper. “I’m unconventional. And I’m a person of color who is a female.”

In a statement to the Times, LaBeouf addressed the allegations. “I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel,” he said. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt. There is nothing else I can really say.”

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