Black
by Dave

Album: Psychodrama (2019)
Charted: 40

Songfacts®:

  • "Black" finds Dave discussing issues surrounding race, identity and social inequality.

    The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice
    A kid dies, the blacker the killer, the sweeter the news
    And if he's white you give him a chance, he's ill and confused
    If he's black he's probably armed, you see him and shoot


    Dave is referencing Wallace Thurman's 1929 novel The Blacker the Berry, which explores colorism and racial discrimination within the black community. The rapper twists Thurman's positive affirmation of blackness as he talks about how the media unfairly portrays the black community. Kendrick Lamar also borrowed the phrase for his 2015 cut "The Blacker the Berry."
  • The song was produced by frequent collaborator Fraser T. Smith, who also helped helmed Dave's 2017 Ivor Novello-winning political anthem "Question Time."
  • The song's music video was filmed in London, Manchester and Lagos, Nigeria. The Nathan James Tettey and Edem Wornoo-directed clip is described as "a profound exploration of black identity, excellence and the diaspora."

    Among the famous faces you might spot making cameos are Dave's fellow rapper Stormzy, Radio 1 DJ Tiffany Calver, England footballer Raheem Sterling and British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith.
  • Dave did a lot of research for the lyrics, including talking with a Ghanaian friend who'd been tracing his family tree. He based it on his own experience of being a black man of Nigerian heritage growing up in south London.

    "It's a good representation of what I associate with and everything that I think, but I don't think that it's universal for the whole black experience, because there's too many different races and dynamics within the race of black," he told The Guardian. "For a black person who's Senegalese, growing up in France, or a New York Jamaican, that's a completely different relationship with being black and how you might be accepted in that culture or that world. Everyone's experience is different. Especially black women and black men."
  • Dave performed the song at the 2020 BRIT Awards delivering the tune from a piano. He added new lyrics in which he accused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of racism and paid tribute to London Bridge terror attack victim Jack Merritt.

    Psychodrama won the Album of the Year at the BRIT Awards ceremony.
  • Fraser T. Smith accompanied Dave during his BRITS performance. It was the producer's first-ever piano performance in public, so naturally he was terrified. Smith told NME he "had to really condition myself and focus in on just playing as well as I could while being there for Dave so I could be the rock for him, rather than a quivering mess."

    Fraser added that when Dave talked about Jack Merritt et al. during his last verse, "I felt this surge of energy come from the crowd. It was really hard to keep my concentration because the power of Dave's words just resonated through everybody."
  • Dave and Fraser T Smith won the 2020 Ivor Novello prize for best contemporary song for "Black." The pair won the same award in 2018 for "Question Time."

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