Yola's "Stand For Myself" Is a Missy Elliott-Inspired Motorcycle Ride to Black Female Empowerment

The "Walk Through Fire" vocalist is no longer "shrinking themselves to fit into a 'pointless' narrative of another’s making,” she says

In preparation for her July 30 album Stand For Myself, Yola continues to release eye-catching videos for the album's tracks. The title track is a soulful, rootsy, and wholly countrified rocker penned by the artist herself, alongside Dan Auerbach, Hannah V, and Natalie Hemby, plus featuring The McCrary Sisters on background vocals. The mixture of these influences is then blended with some of the artist's own favorites for its video treatment.

Regarding the clip, the critically-acclaimed performer notes via a press release, "My school years were during the 90s and 00s, and Missy Elliott’s videos were always aesthetically superior to me. I feel that the video is set in the antechamber to freedom. The feeling of escaping something truly oppressive and heading towards an unknown with a sense of hope and choice you haven’t felt in a long time. We all have the capacity to go through this process in our own minds, I kinda look like a superhero at times, but I’m not. I’m just a person trying to be free."

With lyrics including "It was hard enough to go and live on / I was so tired of trying to belong" delivered over driving piano chords, the video's narrative, that the song's protagonist, imagined as a character named "token," is as Yola says, "shrinking themselves to fit into a 'pointless' narrative of another’s making,” resonates.

As for Yola's forthcoming record, she herself says, "There was a little hiatus where I got brainwashed out of my own majesty, but a b***h is back." As well, a press release continues, "Stand For Myself traces a musical thread to Yola’s most eclectic musical inspirations," and cites her mother’s '70s record collection, '90s neo-soul, R&B, and Britpop.

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