Maxwell Says New Video Is An 'Absolute Celebration Of Black Beauty'

Horatio Hamlet

The singer spoke to ESSENCE about the video, his appreciation for Black women, and how his mother and upbringing influenced him.
Sydney Scott Oct, 17, 2018

R&B singer Maxwell is out with a new music video for his latest single, “Shame.”

The video, which was executive produced by creative director, Sissi Johnson, and stars a variety of actors and models who are draped in a sheer black cloth covering up their features, is “an absolute celebration of Black beauty,” the singer told ESSENCE.

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“Black women and black beauty are not really celebrated. Of course, everyone wants what Blackness has to offer without being Black,” he continued. “They want the lips. They want the booty. They want the Black girl magic, the melanin. They want the whole thing, but not necessarily all of the culture.”

The singer says his love and appreciation for Black women comes from his upbringing and his own understanding of race, telling ESSENCE that growing up with Haitian mother informed his own ideas about the Black experience.

“I grew up watching her experience, watching her joy in who she was and the frustration too,” the singer said. “I’m very aware and clear on the preferential treatment some women get because of how they look. Not even just races, but within race — being lighter or darker.”

He added that the video for “Shame” was “sort of a conscience, knee-jerk reaction to what I grew up watching.”

During the video, the actors and models eventually rip off the sheer cloth, or watch it float away, while Maxwell croons “have no shame.”

“Some of those things I didn’t understand or the aggression that was pointed towards me. I’m sure many people can understand that you don’t really understand it all until you’ve grown up and you experience what it’s like to be an adult in a world like this. That’s why this visual was very important to me,” he said.

“Shame” is the newest release from Maxwell’s upcoming Night, the final album in the singer’s blackSUMMERS’night trilogy. Watch the video above.