The song, which originally appeared on Mos Def’s debut album ‘Black On Both Sides’, is a rallying cry that calls for all Black people to be freed in the wake of racial injustice.
American R&B duo Lion Babe, made up of singer Jillian Hervey and producer Lucas Goodman, have revamped the track in order to offer hope and inspiration at a time when inequality has been put back in the spotlight following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others.
“We’ve spent 2020 writing new music and creating in response to the heightened pain and injustice black lives have been experiencing,” the duo said in a statement. “Music has been our refuge. We have turned to the artists that have provided wisdom, encouragement and energy to help us get through it.
They continued: “The song inspired us to bring it new life, the message however remains the same. FREEDOM for BLACK PEOPLE. We all are finding our own ways to participate in the revolution and for us it is with music.”
The song’s artwork was designed by “visionary” Delphine Diallo. You can listen to Lion Babe’s take on ‘Umi Says’ below.
Proceeds from the first two million streams of the song on Spotify will be donated to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund.
“After researching, we were moved by the clarity and strategy their President, Sherriyln Ifill who spoke about the history of injustice built into our system, but more importantly, her knowledge on the steps needed to change our laws and hold people accountable,” Lion Babe said.
“We hope this song lifts your spirit, and know that by listening and sharing this record, you are helping to support the protection of black lives.”
The star picked up the awards for Best R&B and Video Of The Year at the socially-distanced ceremony, with both trophies recognising the video for ‘Blinding Lights’.
When collecting the Best R&B award at the event, The Weeknd said: “It’s really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment so I’m just gonna say justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor. Thank you.”