Singer, rapper, and dancer #TeyanaTaylor explains why she released her new album, “The Album,” on #Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is the day we celebrate our freedom as Black people. It is the day we commemorate our enslaved Black ancestors being freed in 1865 in Galveston, Texas, after the American Civil War. “The Album” explores Blackness, celebrates and promotes a call-to-action for Black people and allies of the Black community. “The Album” also touches on Black womanhood and Taylor’s pregnancy.
Taylor says she already wanted to highlight the plight of Black women, but her pregnancy intensified that passion. “It’s all the way falling apart for me, because I’m feeling for our people. And to also be a strong Black woman, and be so enraged, [it’s hard], because I’m also pregnant. I gotta find that balance to being mommy and being that Black woman like, ‘OK, cool. Y’all don’t hear us, but y’all gone see us. Y’all gone feel us. We might have to kick down the door, but you gonna know what it is.’ So imagine having that mentality, and you’re sitting there six months pregnant? That part just makes me cry.”
Taylor says she often leaned on meditation to center herself during this social climate. ”I started to get into meditation very, very heavy since all of this been happening to really just reset myself and pray for my people,” said Taylor. “Like, I love the fact that I’m using my platform to spread awareness, taking a stand and donating, but I wanna be out there too. [But, again though], I’m carrying, and I also have a daughter who I have to have those tough conversations with and to prepare her. This isn’t a naive conversation, this is preparation, because we are Black.”
The singer went on to say that just seeing her Black family, #ImanShumpert and Junie, at peace together brings her to tears. “There’s times where I would be up, and I would just watch my husband and my daughter sleep, and I’d just cry because what I’m looking at is not only my family but past the wealth and fame, I’m looking at a Black child and a Black man first. I could have lost them yesterday, I could lose them today, I could lose them tomorrow and the same thing for me. So that’s where my mindset is for me. It’s a lot for me to take all that in to see what people are going through on social media and outside and be a pregnant Black woman.”
While Taylor says she isn’t here for people looting, she says it doesn’t “break her heart to see some businesses getting [looted]. That sh-t doesn’t matter because you know what, a lot of those stuff you can get back. We can’t get George [Floyd] back. We can’t get Ahmaud [Arbery] back. We can’t get Breonna [Taylor] back. We can’t get Sandra [Bland] back. The list goes on, on and on about people who we can’t get back.” She continued: “So I don’t care about no glass windows. I’m sorry, because we’ve been trying to be nice. We’ve been trying to be peaceful, and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere. The record “Still” on my album, that’s what it’s about. We’ve been crying for love for a very, very long time. Now, if we gotta kicking down some doors for y’all to finally start moving, we gotta keep that same energy.”
Taylor also brought in her daughter to be on a track, which she says also brought her to tears. “It took me maybe a couple of days to record “Still” alone. I just kept the crying in [the studio]. I cried on the record, but I said, ‘This is me. This is my truth.’ Hearing Junie’s voice on “Come Back to Me,” I cried that session. Like honestly, there’s little pieces in each studio room that was difficult for so many reasons and not necessarily bad things, but it just emotionally really spoke to my heart.”
In conclusion, Taylor said there is still much more work that needs to be done for the liberation of Black people. “With releasing the album on Juneteenth, it’s important because if you noticed the lead singles that I led with were “Made It” and “We Got Love.” So I’ve always been here. I’ve always been about us being celebrated and celebrating my culture and my people. For everything to happen, from my album getting delayed and it falls perfectly on Juneteenth, yes, it’s a celebration.”
“We still got work to do, though. It’s still a lot of work to be done, but I just wanted it to be a thing where Juneteenth is amazing, but even after Juneteenth, we have to keep going. We have to keep celebrating one another and not letting that die down. We have to all keep taking a stand, because it shouldn’t be just a thing where we’re celebrated for one day, or a month, and then that’s that.”
The album is available is now and features artists like Rick Ross, Iman Shumpert, Junie, Erykah Badu, Quavo, Kehlani, Missy Elliott, Future, DaVido, Big Sean, Lauryn Hill, and King Combs.