Virginia based Soul artist, Akeylah Simone, was presented with an opportunity to create a song for a local contest. The COVID pandemic, coupled with civil rights activism across the country, turned her project into an open letter to the Country, and the result is beautiful, emotional and deeper than Akeylah ever planned.
“Thinking back on my experience as a Black woman in America, a series of questions spilled out,” recalls Akeylah. “The big question basically is, if my skin color were not a factor, if people did not have the option to judge me by my skin color, would my experience in America be the same?”
Coming full circle, Akeylah is now asking her fans to submit their interpretations of “Black is Beautiful” in an effort to encourage other artists to find inspiration. Submissions can be in any form: artwork, photos, music and more. Akeylah will feature her favorites on her site and social outlets to raise awareness for Black History Month and to support black artists.
Music has always been a major part of Akeylah’s life, starting with her first talent competition in elementary school. Raised by two musicians, Akeylah developed a passion for singing and music exploration early on. She always knew she would be a performer and that she was destined for a life on stage. Also a major influence on Akeylah is her father, Bobby BlackHat, a Virginia Blues Legend.
“Our home has always been filled with music and watching Akeylah’s journey from little girl singing in her bedroom to beautiful young woman in the recording studio has been phenomenal,” says says Bobby BlackHat (aka proud daddy and Virginia’s Blues Ambassador). “I’m excited that Akeylah is opening a new chapter in our family’s musical legacy.”
At a time of self reflection and healing, “Black Is Beautiful” reminds us that what makes us different is what makes us great. Embracing and understanding these differences is how we grow and how we can be better, personally, as well as a country. Akeylah adds, “I know my Black is Beautiful, but what if the rest of the world did too?”