“IT WAS an honor to have been asked to write a song for this culturally vital documentary,” says singer-songwriting legend Ben Harper of “Black Beauty”, the song he’s dropped the video for today.
“After watching Black Boys and discussing it in-depth with [director] Sonia Lowman, I went immediately to work on composing ‘Black Beauty.’
“I’m old-school and still love getting players in a room together, so a production of this scale during a pandemic was challenging, with quarantine.
“I was fortunate that the incredible musicians in my circle have taken it upon themselves to become circumstantial recording engineers, and thanks to modern recording technology and some FaceTime sessions, I was able to work by sending tracks back and forth over the internet.”
It’s a helluva of a song, 116 seconds of straight-ahead, classic gospel soul rush, taken from a documentary that illuminates and celebrates the full humanity of black men and boys in America.
Black Boys seeks to reveal the emotional landscape of racism on the big screen, and just how it feels to walk through the world seen as something to be feared.
The film is available to stream for free on NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, Stateside; more info on the film can be found via Variety, here.
“Black Beauty” is Ben’s first release since last October’s Winter For Lovers, out now on ANTI-: 15 original compositions, named geographically, that seamlessly flow together, imagined as a symphony for guitar.
You can watch just Ben and his Monteleone lap steel guitar perform Winter Is For Lovers in its entirety at The Folk Music Center, the famous music shop that his grandparents opened in the late 1950s in Claremont, California, here.