“What did it mean for an 18-year-old Jamaican kid to hear Raw Like Sushi? Like the coolest, funkiest human on the planet was saying don’t worry, I got you. Raw Like Sushi was one of those records that you never knew you needed until you heard it. Because in the late 80’s divisions were sprouting up everywhere, even on the dancefloor. Club was closing out street, street was cutting away from the clubs, R&B hated hip-hop, hip-hop was starting to hate gays and women. And rock and roll just rolled away. But Raw Like Sushi meant the baddest, funkiest global party was happening right now and even a lonely, nerdy, queer, outcast kid was invited. In fact, inclusivity was the most radical thing about it. Even babies were welcome. Neneh was pointing a direction for hip-hop and club culture to go, and so many years later homegirl’s still leading the charge.” – Marlon James
‘Buffalo Stance’ was a career defining track from Neneh Cherry’s debut album Raw Like Sushi that grabbed everyone’s attention, making a global impact on music, fashion, and culture and still continues to do so. As Booker Prize-winning author Marlon James says, Neneh created a movement of inclusivity and became a figurehead in the queer community with this track that so fiercely shined light on the struggles of inner-city life, especially for the marginalised.
‘Buffalo Stance’ means to “stand proud,” and today we see what the modern day version of that looks like in the accompanying video for Robyn’s re-imagining of the track, produced by Dev Hynes and featuring Mapei. Directed by Manchester-born India Sleem, who now resides in Brooklyn, the video stars model and actress Indya Moore, best known for their role in the hit TV series Pose, whose story is incredibly inspiring from leaving home at 14 – escaping a transphobic family, foster care, homelessness, and ultimately becoming an iconic and especially important figure amongst the LGBTQ+ community. Indya is joined by other young queer and BIPOC creatives in the video, who may not previously had the opportunity to show off their “buffalo stance” – their skills, their beauty, their power, their queerness.
Neneh teased the video on Trans Day Of Visibility, a day dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions to society.
Robyn further cements the impact of Neneh and ‘Buffalo Stance’ saying: “The imprint Neneh Cherry’s voice made on my ten-year-old brain has stayed with me ever since I heard ‘Buffalo Stance’ for the first time. How she repeated ‘no money man… can win my love’ and the riff at the end of the song stuck with me and has informed many songs I’ve written since then. The husky low tones and the high-frequency power in her voice, revealing truths about what it is like to be a girl without excuses, were intensely inspiring. It was 1989 and me and my friend spent most of our summer holiday playing cards and listening to Raw Like Sushi. Even though I didn’t understand all the words, I knew Neneh was on my side.
So as one of my first true heroes, when Neneh asked me if I wanted to work with Dev Hynes and cover ‘Buffalo Stance’ for this album, you can imagine how extremely honoured I felt. My ten-year-old mind would have been completely blown, and that’s still how I feel about Neneh and this powerful song, it’s timeless and still relevant. And I’m excited and pleased I got to interpret such a classic in collaboration with Dev Hynes and Mapei, who I both admire so much as well.”
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