In “Woke” Miss Leading calls out the hypocrisy of the establishment in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement, with some people and companies superficially displaying concern for the cause after years of having race issues ignored or explained away as not existent. Corporations placed People of Colour front and centre of marketing and publicity campaigns; claims that black and brown voices were important; that change was on the horizon. Swept under the surface however were decades of discriminatory claims and action that had previously been ignored.
The lyrics in “Woke” are a response to this virtue signalling that happened in the throes of the Black Lives Matter movement:
“So you woke now, been asleep for years,
you see em choke now, deluge of white tears
like it just broke.
Same system always there, fire was stoked.
Long before you cared.”
“Woke” is unnerving: voyeurs of a psychological shedding, we witness a deep cleansing of years of prejudice and racism. We watch the transformation of a woman with long, satiny dark hair in a sheer black dress, standing alone in a stark white world, as she confronts a life of gaslighting objectivity, employing blunt rusty scissors as the instrument to cut away the hypocrisy.
Miss Leading says, “The symbol of haircutting is that of ‘a thousand tiny cuts’ – that accumulation of constant prejudice and its collective impact, the pieces of hair on the floor a visual representation of the pieces of yourself that you lose when accommodating everyday discrimination.”
“Woke” appears on Miss Leading’s 2021 album, Minor Thing. French online mag Sun Burns Out reviewed it as a “masterful ode to difference, which evokes racial and sexual violence and the recent awaking of consciousness in this regard.” Miss Leading adds, “Woke wasn’t my main single on the album as it is quite a serious song. But it is the one I feel most passionately about so I wanted to highlight it with a video.”
Director of Photography and Camera Operator: Karl Jensen
Editor: Marc Freeman Colourist: Andy Thorneycroft
Location: Flash Dog Studios
Lighting and behind scenes photographer: David Hamilton
Music production, songwriting and singing: Miss Leading
Album recorded and mixed: Marc Freeman
Vocals recorded by Bryan Jones
Album Mastered: Benny Tones at Organik Muzik Workz 2021