Nearly four years after her breakout song became synonymous with women’s rights, MILCK is tackling another topical issue through music.
Last week, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter unveiled the music video for her latest track, “Somebody’s Beloved,” a collaboration with British artist Bipolar Sunshine. The emotional clip, directed by Malik Martin and viewable above, follows a Black woman as she spends the day with her young daughter.
Together, the pair enjoy breakfast and create placards for a demonstration against racial inequality. By the video’s conclusion, however, it’s revealed that the woman’s act of protest is rooted in personal trauma.
MILCK, whose real name is Connie Lim, told HuffPost she hopes “Somebody’s Beloved” can “soften the vitriol that is coursing through the veins of our society” at a politically divisive moment for the U.S. and the world at large. She said she was inspired to write the song after reading an interview with Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer.
Taylor, a Kentucky medical worker who was shot dead by police in March during a botched raid on her home, has come to be seen as an emblematic figure in the Black Lives Matter movement. After delving into Palmer’s words about her daughter, MILCK said, “the verses started pouring out of me.”
“I knew the subject matter I was writing about was bigger than me, and as an Asian American woman who grew up with privilege, I may have some major blind spots,” she explained. “However, I want to show up and learn. If I do it imperfectly, I can learn, because I think it’s better than not showing up at all.”
“Somebody’s Beloved” is being released in partnership with Tom Shadyac’s Tennessee-based nonprofit, One Family Memphis. For MILCK, however, artistry and advocacy work have always been intertwined. In 2015, she wrote and recorded “Quiet,” reflecting her experience with sexual abuse as a teen. The track broke into the cultural stratosphere two years later when she performed it live with 26 female a cappella singers at the inaugural Women’s March in Washington, D.C., one day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
FIlmmaker Alma Har’el captured the “Quiet” performance for posterity, later uploading the video footage to Twitter. The clip was then shared by Emma Watson and Debra Messing, among other stars. Since then, it’s also been covered by performers around the world.
In 2018, MILCK included the song on “This Is Not the End,” her debut EP for Atlantic Records. Her latest EP, “Into Gold,” featured five “healing anthems for the human spirit,” including “If I Ruled the World,” the lyric video for which was featured on HuffPost in February.
Though MILCK hoped to promote “Into Gold” by hitting the road and performing live, the reality of 2020 forced her to make other plans. Forced to self-isolate amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she opted instead to return to the recording studio.
“Letting go of the need to create has actually helped me create,” she said.
And just as “Quiet” inadvertently marked the start of the Trump era, MILCK is hopeful that “Somebody’s Beloved” will be a harbinger of new leadership. Still, she’s reminded that “there is a lot more work to be done” regardless of the results of the 2020 election.
“This is a marathon,” she said. “Fortunately [and] unfortunately, we will have to defend our democracy for the rest of each of our lives.”