Lula Hyers


abdu ali’s “chastity” is an odyssey of self-love

February 8, 2019
78 Picks

By the time the horns come in, it is too late. You are trapped. Electronic soul, acid jazz, and punk collide into each other repeatedly on this odyssey of self-affirmation. On “Chastity” — the newest single from Abdu Ali — the artist sings, “Am I really this pretty? Do you love me? Do you hate me? You hate me, and I know why. I am God.” The bold reckoning happening on the album about Ali’s own divinity, beauty, and the dangers of being a divine, beautiful Black person in a hateful world is fiery and aggressive. The resolve is smoother, but still challenging just like being yourself.

Abdu muses about the inspiration behind the track,“Society cages souls that dare to be free and stand as themselves. Chastity verbalizes the experience of living as a marginalized being and how these people tend to struggle with the desire of wanting to “fit in”. But at the end of the song, this person gives into the urge of wanting to live as their fullest selves, despite the hardships that come with that. In the midst of this libertory moment, you can hear them poetically scream through it.” Inspired by the music of Sun Ra, Blackstar, and Bjork, the track feels like a true artistic revelation for Abdu Ali that has me eager for more.


The music video for “Chastity” is an elevated — almost fine art — visual translation of the track that finds Abdu Ali moving through various scenes that feel both visually stunning and architechual. The attention paid to design and architecture paired with the experimental and evolutionary nature of the track makes a juxtaposition that is fascinating, but appropriate for the visual illustration of spiritual grown, acceptance, and eventually, celebration. Abdu Ali feeds the ears and eyes, and the soul. That is art.