This year was jam-packed with music releases, and one of the pitfalls of having such a vast stream of music is that lots of great music will, unfortunately, either be discovered too late to make end-of-year lists or, worse yet, won’t be discovered at all.
But, of course, it’s never too late to spotlight great music. Among the great albums that I regrettably found late was Diaspora, the debut from 26-year-old Baltimore soul singer Joy Postell.
The song “HYD” (which stands for “Hold You Down”) was Diaspora‘s first single and one of Postell’s first songs, released back in 2014. It’s a beautiful, ethereal love song that serves as an ode to loyal, ride-or-die partners and a tribute to ’90s R&B love songs. “So even if the sky starts falling,” she sings on the chorus, “even if the Earth stops spinning round, just know I’ma be there. I’ma hold you down.”
But even beyond the lovely 90s tribute, Postell’s debut album is a celebration of Blackness and the sounds of the Black diaspora, as well as a meditation on Black history/present.
“I want Black people to listen to this and feel proud to be Black,” Postell stated in an interview with Baltimore Magazine.
The album was created over the course of the past few years — years which have seen an increase in collective awareness concerning matters relating to Black livelihood in America. Anyone who has either suffered or sympathized during this period of time has probably dealt a range of emotions; on Diaspora, Postell attempts to translate these various emotions into song form — from anger on “Consciousness,” to love on “HYD.” “This record was a way for me to channel all of these emotions into a productive and progressive fashion,” she told The Fader in an interview.
Supplemented by Joy Postell’s gorgeous, soulful melodies and the prominent Baltimore influence, Diaspora is a profound statement and an underrated gem of 2018.
Enjoy Diaspora below, as well as the visuals from the album.