Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Xenia Rubinos’ newest song turns the tragedy of death—whether from police violence or illness—into something propulsive and uplifting.
“You’re a million Black stars in that fearless black night,” sings Rubinos on “Black Stars’ ” hook. The funky, genre-blending, bilingual song comes off of her album, “Black Terry Cat,” which drops via Anti- Records on June 3.
Rubinos, who identifies as Afro-Latina, explained the impetus of the song in an e-mail to Colorlines:
…[A]round that time I [wrote the song, I], along with many other Americans, was an angry and confused spectator of the Michael Brown case which felt like a giant tear in some very real wounds in our country. I was thinking of all those who’ve lost loved ones to violence and circumstances that seem and maybe are out of our control. Thinking of the words BLACK, STARS, GHETTO, QUIERO (which sounds a lot like ghetto and can mean both want and love). This song is raw and emotional, I tried to create space inside it so people can just come in and find their own meanings or just be.
She also took inspiration from the experience of caring for her sick father. ”There’s a great deal of wanting, of wishing in this song,” she wrote. ”We’re telling each other what we want to hear, promising each other we’ll live forever,” she said.
Check out “Black Stars” below.