Beloved jazz world artist Pauline Jean releases her newest single “Ain’t I A Woman (Singing Truth)” on the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, a law signed to end racial discrimination in voting. Paired ahead of another milestone, marking the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, Pauline Jean’s new video reminds the world of the continued fight for women’s rights. Her ode to activist Sojourner Truth highlights the dominant narrative about the women’s suffrage movement framed through the experiences of white women. What history leaves out is the fact that many African American women played a part in attaining the right to vote even though many of them would not experience the right themselves until decades later.
In her captivating new music video, Pauline Jean sings Sojourner Truths words “Ain’t I A Woman?”, referring to the racial prejudices that have contributed to Black women’s invisibility for centuries. Elegantly, the video features ballet and modern dance to pair with the grace of soft keys and Pauline’s heartfelt vocals. Singing “Ain’t I a woman? Look at me. Look at my soul, I have lived and learned. You can’t silence me.” The male and female dancer offers an undoubtable synergy, almost appearing as one. The male dancer is representative of the Black man uplifting the Black woman, and in doing so, they rise together. Images of white men flash across the screen as a reminder of oppression stemmed from hateful religious convictions. Eventually joined by a diverse group of women, Pauline emphasizes the struggles of all women to collectively helping one another to continue the fight for equal rights.
“During the nineteenth century, the nation was preoccupied with keeping women in the home. It was a very different story for Black women who were enslaved, denied their womanhood and unprotected from white men and the law. Ever since then, Black women have had to navigate a different existence. Surrounded by every negative stereotype, they were considered unfeminine and often hyper-sexualized to justify rape and other forms of brutality.” – Pauline Jean
When Sojourner Truth pointed out the discrimination that she experienced during the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in 1851, her bold assertion served as a timely reminder of the ongoing fight for equality. Sojourner Truth’s journey was not an easy one, but she paved the way for so many women who are still struggling to be heard.
This year’s election, may arguably be the most important election during our lifetime.
Pauline intends her song to generate awareness of voter registration, women in leadership, gender equality and violence against women. She prays that Sojourner Truth becomes a household name and that her legacy is celebrated annually to value and build upon her immense contributions toward the advancement of Black women’s rights in America.
“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.” – Sojourner Truth