If All I Was Was Black is collection of entirely new songs written by Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy expressly for Mavis Staples, responding to the contemporary racial and political climate.
"Some people are saying they want to make the world great again, but we never lost our greatness. We just strayed into division," Mavis Staples said.
Tweedy added, "I've always thought of art as a political statement in and of itself - that it was enough to be on the side of creation and not destruction. But there is something that feels complicit at this moment in time about not facing what is happening in this country head on."
Tweedy and Staples first joined forces on 2010's You Are Not Alone, which won a Best Americana album Grammy. They reunited three years later for One True Vine. After 2016's M. Ward-helmed Livin' On A High Note, Staples reconvened with Tweedy for this set of originals.
Mavis Staples released a video for the track in February 2018 to mark Black History Month. The clip's director Zac Manuel said:
"In 2017 I watched as all the Confederate monuments came down in New Orleans, but the conversation never arose as to what would replace them This video imagines a reality where we venerate people who are truly deserving of being immortalized in public spaces. A reality in which black people can be proud to see themselves on pedestals in the air, cast in iron and stone.
The intent of this video is to highlight black excellence, and to provoke and encourage a larger public appreciation of the labor - physical and emotional - the people of color often are expected to bear."