Bloc Party’s Kele Questions British Stereotypes in New Song “Melanin”: Stream

The 2042 outtake was initially held up due to sample clearing issues

Kele Melanin Bloc Party Kele Okereke solo new music, photo by Asia Werbel
Kele, photo by Asia Werbel

    Bloc Party founder Kele Okereke has shared a new single called “Melanin”. It was originally supposed to be released on his solo album 2042 last year, but he removed it from the tracklist when he couldn’t get the sample cleared in time.

    Under his first-name-only moniker Kele, he dives into the idea of race and education in Britain — or, more specifically, how those subjects are barely taught at all. “I believe that if we truly want to dismantle the racial division in this country, then it starts with the education system,” said Kele in a statement. As such, “Melanin” seeks to right this wrong, namely by calling for a more accurate syllabus that tells the truth about the country’s colonial past.

    “I’m glad that we get to share the track now, at a time that it seems more pertinent than ever,” said Okereke in a press release. “As a British-born black man I have found living in this country these last few years wounding. Making 2042 was my way of trying to understand some of the racial divisions that have come back sharply into focus this past week with the death of George Floyd.”


    Over a boom-clap beat, “Melanin” pushes Okereke’s message to the front by using a vaguely ominous melody as a backboard. Musically, it feels dizzying and clarifying at once. “How you gonna know if you’re not told the truth about where you’re from?” he sings. “Don’t you wanna know your eight in gold? Why your skin glows in sunlight?” Stream it below.

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