In the midst of an ongoing racial justice movement, Ciara has unveiled an empowering and compelling Black pride protest anthem, "Rooted," featuring vocals from Ester Dean, who co-wrote the track.
In the Annie Bercy-directed music video, Ciara pays homage to her ancestry, Atlanta hometown and historical heroes such as Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King. Icons and images of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and John Lewis are honored, as well. "Young girl stay rooted," Ciara sings over heavy percussion as the video opens, featuring choreography scenes from a stellar all-Black cast, "Brown skin poppin' I'm rooted."
Ciara then dances throughout its four minutes with her pregnant belly exposed, swaying and singing, proving her strength has no limits. "Mother of a child and God I invest in 'em," Ciara continues, acknowledging her pregnancy and maternal love. "Nutritionin', brown milkin' em (Brown milkin' 'em)."
Clips of Black hairstyles and natural hair are featured in montages — an art subject that director Bercy has honored in other photography projects. The video also features footage from Black Lives Matter protests as Ciara powerfully tells listeners that their life does matter. Like other visuals from Ciara, "Rooted" centers on Black bodies moving and dancing, as she explains in its lyrics that "all of" her songs are "rooted in the melanin."
Ciara gave birth to her son, Win, in late July. She explained in a recent Instagram caption that she shot the "Rooted" visual "two days before delivery," making it a true testament to her power as a mother and artist.
"I am blessed to be able to carry seeds of new life into this world," Ciara explains in a press release. "The foundation of love for my family and the pride for my culture has made me feel rooted in my life, and nothing can knock me down. I am also reminded through my trials and triumphs, everything I need to survive and thrive is rooted in me. Gender nor color of your skin can limit how far you will go in life."
The video ends with a message to viewers from Ciara as her artist statement: "To All My Young Rosa's and Luther's, Keep Marching. Don't Stop Fighting For What You Believe In. To All My Black Queens and Kings, Continue To Plant And Spread Seeds Of Love, Hope And Pride In Your Tribe. Everything You Need To Survive And Thrive Is Rooted In You. Stay Rooted."
She also indicates that a portion of the proceeds from the track will support Grantmakers for Girls of Color, a philanthropic organization dedicated to "cultivating investments in support of girls of color in the U.S."
"That's evidence, of Black excellence," as Ciara sings in "Rooted," and after watching the visual, we couldn't agree more.
Stream Ciara's "Rooted" (feat. Ester Dean), below.
Photo courtesy Brandon Hicks