“What’s free to you?” That’s the question posed to Nina Simone in a recording positioned at the beginning of Benjamin Starr’s reprise of Solange’s “Cranes in the Sky,” premiered last week by IllVibeTheTribe.
Simone responds, “It’s just a feeling; it’s like, how do you tell someone how it feels to be in love … you cannot do it to save your life … but you know it when it happens, that’s what I really meant by free. I’ve had a couple of times on stage when I really felt free; and that’s something else… I tell you what freedom is — no fear. I mean really, no fear!”
After that breathtaking intro, Starr makes his entrance, and it’s obvious that he’s an artist who feels things deeply. He voices his thoughts with a razor-sharp clarity, and delivers an impassioned missive to black women in his reprise. The result is powerful, and you really need to listen to it.
He had this to say, as told to IllVibeTheTribe, about the track.
“As a Black Man, expressing my appreciation, in words, for Women of Color, especially Black Women, as they live the experiences that shape their thoughts, sustain their souls and inform their decisions, is something that never seems to quite measure up on paper. However, I just don’t see myself ceasing my efforts, in that regard. There was a moment when I realized that it was long overdue, for me to be introspective, and honestly assess how my own actions, views and relationships, stifle, or support, the Women I claim to care for, so deeply. I’m thankful for that moment. As a musician, I express my appreciation for Solange Knowles, her songwriting and the beautiful catalog she has been able to amass, thus far. Her latest album, A Seat At The Table, is an incredible body of work, on many levels; one that has helped to inspire, heal, and bring joy to so many Women, in so many ways. It even inspired me to, respectfully, reprise an incredible record of hers, “Cranes in the Sky”. This reprise, was fueled by the powerful spirit that our sisters have always embodied, while being directed towards the women who continually reject anything less than freedom. This, a personal expression of support, was done simply with Love; always, and in all ways.”
Listen to Starr’s reprise of “Cranes in the Sky” here.
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City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.