To be unmoved is to have oneself firmly planted, roots running deep, undeterred by opposition. It takes determination and tenacity. To remain unchanged when forces are trying to push an agenda of conformation is an act of extensive strength. And it is the universal story of navigating the world as a Black woman. At the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, Barbadian-born, LA-based singer Ayoni shares the timely "Unmoved (A Black Woman Truth)", a message that stands in solidarity with Black women everywhere who continually face discrimination.
“Unmoved” details Ayoni’s experiences growing up and encountering racism. She details her first exposure to the world’s harsh disparities when, at the age of 4, she was denied the right to hang out with other kids because of her skin colour. With the unsettling reality of racism forever imprinted onto her heart as a child, she faced a battle, both from the world and from the discomfort that arose from within: “That was the start of a lifetime of resistance. First resisting my Blackness and then resisting the world," she explains to EARMILK over email. "Whether the blacktop or the boardrooms, I continue to navigate a world that refuses to see me."
The tender hymn gradually builds into a powerful tempest that reveals the heart-wrenching pain of rejection. With nothing more than unfiltered guitar progressions and the echoing acapella of her vocals in the background, the raw grit in Ayoni’s words reflects that same agony. Her robust vocals mirror a deep kind of weariness that emerges only from the soul, and her writing holds immense weight without the need for complex instrumentation.
“Unmoved” ends with one request from Ayoni: for allies to examine within and ask themselves if they are willing to see things from the perspective of her, the Black woman. She asks, "Please make me feel you care, my ally…But are you prepared to lose your sleep? To bare your teeth to break like me?"
A song representative of the all-too-common discrimination Black women face in the world, "Unmoved" captures the strength of remaining unchanged, even when faced with adversity. “This song is my every uttered whisper and prayer. It is every heartbreak, micro-aggression, breakdown in the bathroom, and every swallowed fit of rage. But most importantly it is every single moment I remembered the walking poems that are my Black sisters, the breathing reasons to continue fighting to forge a path forward. So here I remain unmovable and unmoved.”
Listen to “Unmoved” above. All proceeds from "Unmoved" are being donated to Black and Pink, a US prison abolitionist organisation supporting LGBTQ and HIV-positive prisoners.