The Reverend Shawn Amos & The Brotherhood’s “Weight of the World” Honors the Triumphs of Black Women in America

The newly released song “Weight of the World,” by The Reverend Shawn Amos and The Brotherhood, celebrates the many ways, both seen and unseen, that Black women have shaped America.

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In light of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and approaching Black History Month, the song profoundly acknowledges the hardships that Black women have faced throughout history and continue to face today. The song also acknowledges the victories that they have won to create a more equitable United States. 

The lyrics center the story of a Black woman named Ida B. Wells, who “shook the weight of the world” as a powerful leader and activist.

In an interview with American Songwriter, Amos explains, “The song began thinking about Breonna Taylor and sort of Black women who have been gunned down. And then that say her name, that was the first line I had. And so at first, it was like, ‘Well, is this a song about sort of all of these women?’”

Continuing to think about influential women, Amos realized that Ida B. Wells, a Civil Rights activist, and journalist, served as the primary inspiration for the lyrics. “And so from that point, I’m like, ‘Okay, well this is a story about Ida B. Wells,'” he said.

Say her name so you hear
What it is to face your fear
Say her name so you know
What it means to keep your soul
Shake the weight of the world 

In “Weight of the World,” Amos and The Brotherhood pair an upbeat, danceable tune with lyrics that pack a powerful punch. The music is bright and joyful, starkly contrasting the deeply emotional story told in the words. Amos even sings cheerful woo-hoo-hoos throughout the track, calling the listener to celebrate. 

Amos noted that making the music as light as the lyrics are heavy inspires people to continue the work of combating racism and uplifting the voices of Black women without making it feel like a lecture. 

“I can donate money to things I care about, and I do. I can volunteer some of my time, and I do. And certainly, my children are the most significant way in which I can make a difference, by having them, leading them toward a life of value and purpose,” Amos says. “But my music, it’s the biggest audience I’ve got. So if I can put stuff out in front of them of things that matter, and not make it feel like history class, hence the dichotomy of the music and the lyrics, then I think that’s a good thing.”

The rock ‘n’ roll sound of the song is also intentional, giving it a uniquely American feel. After consistently being the only Black group playing at music festivals, Amos aimed to create an Americana song that highlighted the Black perspective and experience. “If we’re Black musicians playing this anthemic, kind of straight-ahead rock and roll thing, then hell yeah I’m going to make some Black-centric lyrics for that,” he said. “I’m not going to sing about apple pies and baseball.

“It’s time some American brothers held up our Black female warriors,” Amos concludes.

“Weight of the World” is a testament to not just the strength and bravery of Ida B. Wells, but the strength and bravery of all of the Black American women before and after her who have carried the “weight of the world.”

Listen to “Weight of the World,” below.

Photo by Ryan Pettibone / Kid Logic Media

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