Days after Shakira delivered a crash course on Afro-Colombian song and dance at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, the Toronto-based Barranquilla native brings it all back home in her resplendent new video for “Eso Que Tu Haces.” The song is the second single from her upcoming album Miss , out April 17th on ANTI.
In the striking new video, which she co-directed with Paz Ramirez, Pimienta is joined by Colombian dance Grupo KUMBE in the town of San Basilio de Palenque: the first “free town,” or refuge for those who fled slavery, in the colonial Americas. Donning a wide array of colorful garments, Pimienta and Grupo KUMBE breeze through the streets of Palenque in a procession of dances, both modern and ancestral.
Above the hushed cumbia shuffle, Pimienta’s soaring vocal melodies resound like sunlight breaking through the clouds. Yet her words draw a line in the sand: “Eso que tu haces/No es amor,” she sings, her voice cresting with the horns. “That thing you do/Is not love.”
At first listen, the singer-songwriter boldly approaches a loved one who has inadvertently caused her harm. (“Look me in the face when you speak to me,” she sings in Spanish, “Do not ignore me, you hurt me.”) But at the song’s heart lies the universal need to assert one’s humanity, whether from a lover, a relative, or a community; or from an entire country, and its entertainment industry at large.
Pimienta, whose electro-pop sounds are in constant conversation with her African and Indigenous Wayuu heritage, fights tirelessly against the erasure of black and indigenous peoples, across what we now call the Americas. She’s collaborated on several songs with First Nations group A Tribe Called Red, and cites inspiration from Inuk singer Tanya Tagaq as well as Tamil rapper-producer M.I.A.
Pimienta titled her new album Miss Colombia after watching the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, where host Steve Harvey clumsily awarded the crown to Miss Colombia instead of Miss Philippines. The beauty pageant called to mind much of the anti-black racism she encountered throughout her life in both Colombia and Canada; the album provided her the space to wrestle with the discomfort. “I miss Colombia,” Pimienta said in a 2016 interview in The Fader. “Sometimes I feel like I’m not Colombian anymore. But I know that I’m definitely not Canadian, either.”
Miss Colombia follows her 2016 album, La Papessa, which was awarded Canada’s Polaris Prize in 2017. Co-produced with Prince Nifty, the new album will feature Bomba Estéreo frontwoman Li Saumet, as well as the Afro-Colombian son palenquero ensemble Sexteto Tabala.