Pauline Jean Releases Moving “Ain’t I A Woman (Singing Truth)”
Black Women Speak Truth To Power
Jazz world artist Pauline Jean releases her latest single/music video, “Ain’t I A Woman,” today, August 6.
The date marks the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, the landmark federal legislation signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965, and later amended by Congress to enhance voting protections for racial minorities in the U.S. Together with the ratification of the 19th Amendment, whose 100th anniversary occurs on August 18, Pauline’s video commemorates and reminds the world of the ongoing struggle for women’s rights.
The song is an ode to abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth, aka Isabella “Belle” Baumfree, calling attention to the role of African-American women in achieving the right to vote, a role often obscured by history.
The title of the song — “Ain’t I A Woman” — mirrors the words of Sojourner Truth, describing the racial discrimination responsible for making Black women essentially nonexistent for hundreds of years.
Pauline Jean explains, “During the nineteenth century, the nation was preoccupied with keeping women in the home. It was a very different story for Black women who were enslaved, denied their womanhood and unprotected from white men and the law. Ever since then, Black women have had to navigate a different existence. Surrounded by every negative stereotype, they were considered unfeminine and often hyper-sexualized to justify rape and other forms of brutality.”
The purpose of the song is to inspire voter registration, the significance of women in leadership positions, gender equality, and heighten awareness of violence against women. Sojourner Truth’s legacy should be acknowledged and celebrated for advancing the rights of Black women in America.
“Ain’t I A Woman (Singing Truth)” opens on a gorgeous, elegant piano, followed by Pauline’s exquisite voice, reflecting poignant tendrils traveling on passionate textures. As the piano swells, Pauline’s tones take on lavish timbres of emotional commitment, rising and soaring with weighty sonic pressure.
“Ain’t I a woman? / Look at me / Look at my arms / I have worked so hard / But you just can’t see / Ain’t I a woman?”
The video, directed and choreographed by Janet Huey, blends ballet movements with modern dance as two dancers float and flow as if untouched by gravity. Later, an ensemble of women dancers enters, swaying on the surfaces of the beautiful piano notes.
Brilliantly wrought, the audio-visual impact of “Ain’t I A Woman (Singing Truth)” is unforgettable and overwhelming.
The video closes with these words: “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!” — Sojourner Truth