In our Pride Song-Of-The-Day today, the gorgeous and fierce, internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter, poet and activist Allison Russell shares the brutally whimsical tale of her first tastes of love, shared with her beloved, “Persephone.”
Renowned for her uncanny ability to weave the most stark and serious subject matter together with a style that is brilliantly bright, beautiful, and soothing, in “Persephone,” Russell tells the story of her experiences as a survivor of physiclal and sexual abuse at the hands of her adoptive father, and her escapes under the cover of the night to the bedroom and love of her sweet Persephone.
He had left her bloodied again.
He may have killed her if she’d let him. But his drunkenness left him slow and clumsy.
As a young, Black woman, she knew the cops wouldn’t stop to help her even if she tried.
But she had the bedroom of sweet Persephone...
The song is as painfully brutal as it is gorgeous, as Russell narrates the harrowing details of escaping her abuse, her spirit as a survivor, and the sweet haven that the bedroom and body of her beloved Persephone offers her in the midst of her terror.
As a proud, queer, Black woman, the Canadian native Russell is one of the hardest working, and most fierce activists within the music community, using her art and her voice as a platform to propel her social advocacy. Before releasing her 3x Grammy nominated solo debut, Outside Child, in 2021, she had already been making waves for years in the music community, beginning first as a part of the group Po’ Girl from 2000-2010, then as one half of the award winning duo Birds of Chicago with her husband, JT Nero, as well as a member of the renowned Our Native Daughters, alongside Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla, and Amythyst Kiah. In addition, in 2022, Russell was one of several artists to perform with the historic Black Opry, helping raise awareness for Black musicians in country music.
While you hear Allison’s tunes on the regular here on Ascent, we’re thrilled to be able to highlight her in this moment, giving credit and honor where it’s due, with “Persephone” as a part of our Pride Song-of-the-Day series.
Russell is truly an inspiration for millions of Black and queer persons, and gives her life and energies entirely to inspire hope and change in the world through the power of song. She is a true Queen, and means a great deal to us here.
Make sure if you have not already to check out her full discography on your favorite streaming platforms, and pick up Outside Child and any other records of hers you can find at your local, independent record store!
Thank you, dear Allison, for everything you are, and for the hope and joy you radiate into the world. You shine brightly Queen! And our lives have been impacted deeply by your beautiful spirit.
Jonathan Bristow - Ascent Creator & Director.
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