There’s something really nice about getting an unmitigated, uplifting, bold reminder to feel good, and that’s exactly what Laura Mvula’s new video does. A salve against the bullshit (whatever you wanna define “bullshit” as), “Phenomenal Woman” was shot in the Bo-Kaap section of Cape Town, and features Mvula being just that, singing about being free in your womanhood and standing tall.
In a post-Lemonade media narrative that’s focused more on drama than Beyoncé’s message of uplifting and supporting black women, this is a nice, clear juxtaposition that retains the same essential spirit. “YOU! ARE! A PHENOMENAL! WOMAN!” on a heartening funk groove that Mvula wrote after being inspired by Maya Angelou’s own “Phenomenal Woman.” In that poem, Angelou wrote:
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Mvula responded in kind. “I wrote this anthem to raise up our women,” she said in a press release. “We are the givers of life, we are the children bearers, the nurturers, the heroines, we are extraordinary in our ordinariness, we fly, we fight we are ‘Phenomenal Woman’.”
Mvula’s second album, The Dreaming Room, is out June 17.