AFROPUNK Cinema Noir: Surrealist Blues Poet, aja monet Debuts New Single & Short Film, “The Devil You Know”.
By Thembela Ngayi
March 7, 2023
Surrealist blues poet and cultural worker aja monet has released a new powerful single and mesmerizing short film “The Devil You Know” via the drink sum wtr label, a new imprint of Secretly Canadian. Akin to her 2022 debut single “Give My Regards To Brooklyn” the song was created in collaboration with storied jazz trumpetist Christian Scott, drummer Marcus Gilmore, Samora Pinderhughes, and a cadre of other esteemed musicians, manifesting as an urgent rallying cry to demolish the insidious systems from which our futures seem to be wrought. Reminiscent of legendary jazz poets like Gil Scott Heron and Jayne Cortez, aja monet “wrote ‘the devil you know’ in support of a people’s movement to protect the planet and honor basic rights of all, especially the most vulnerable,” states monet. “the song is a sonic ode to our striving for a better society. It leans on the radical tradition of jazz, blues, and poetry clubs around the world to gather and speak truth to power, to exercise our hearts, visions, and dreams together so that we may be made anew.” The single anticipates a forthcoming full length from monet – more info is anticipated on that soon.
Watch “The Devil You Know” short film:
Though monet has had dalliances with music and worked with musicians throughout her career, her collaboration with Christian Scott marks a new apex of her work in the medium. Meanwhile the accolades for her poetry include the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam poetry award title in 2007, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award for Poetry in 2019, and an NAACP Literary Award nomination for Poetry in 2018. “It was an honor to work with such world class musicians to support such an important poem,” she states. “The mood and tone of the song is raw, vulnerable, and courageous—full of possibility, including the many voices of the people as a chorus in conversation with the truth. It’s a poem to make you shout, make you weep, make you want something more. ‘The devil you know’ is still the devil.”
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