Swedish/Barbadian R&B soulstress Naomi Pilgrim has released her brand new single, a reworking of The Specials’ 1983 single, ‘Racist Friend’, out through Cosmos Music. An all female, international hip-hop cast, comprising the rappers Sa-Roc (US) and Yugen Blakrok (South Africa), reinforce her stirring take on the song.
Leading with steel drums and a dark, dubby bassline crafted with the sleek production hand of Swedish producer Embee, Naomi Pilgrim introduces the equality anthem with the hard-hitting, timeless line, “If you have a racist friend, now is the time for your friendship to end.” She gives way to the fiery flows of both Sa-Roc and Yugen Blakrok, who deliver the hard-hitting, and very timely, message to racists and bigots across the world.
Describing what the song means to her, Naomi says, “Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt the need to act, but instead you looked the other way? As long as we’re hiding within our comfort zone, keeping our mouth shut, we’re not going to have an equal society and that’s the message of this song. Silence enables the growing hate and that’s why racism, sexism and discrimination needs to be addressed at all times. Speak up! You’re needed. We must fight for equality every single day. Let’s stick together.”
Naomi Pilgrim was born in Sweden to a Barbadian father and Swedish mother, and has spent her life between the two countries, becoming heavily influenced by their diverse native sounds. Her songs marry exquisite Swedish pop and Caribbean reggae, alongside smooth R&B and hip hop, a sound which has garnered massive critical acclaim and established herself as one of Sweden’s most impressive crossover artists.
Signing to leading Scandinavian label Cosmos Music in 2014, she has released two EPs (her 2014 self-titled debut and 2016’s Sink Like A Stone), the latter of which also explored topics of equality, with the title track taking inspiration from African-American Eric Garner’s death in New York in 2014. Naomi says, “Eric Garner died because of the colour of his skin. And despite the fact that structural racism permeates society to a point where it leads to this kind of modern-day lynching, many of us choose to ignore it.”
Having grown up in seemingly disparate landscapes, both suffering from their own kind of discrimination and prejudice, it’s Naomi Pilgrim’s upbringing that witnesses her return with this inspired and powerful rework.
‘Racist Friend’ arrives at a time when its message is more important than ever!