Jada Imani’s ‘Rosa Parks’ is History with a Jazzy R&B Finish

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A young R&B singer in a red beret poses at a bus stop.
Jada Imani on the set of her 'Rosa Parks' music video. (Dorean Raye)

The video for Jada Imanis “Rosa Parks” features black-and-white footage of civil rights-era marches spliced with modern-day shots of Imani sitting at a bus stop in West Oakland. At times shes joyously dancing. In another instance Imani stares deadpan into the camera, a look that conveys more emotion than words.

“It’s very confrontational,” Jada Imani tells me, noting the intended target of the glare are the folks who uphold the construct of white supremacy. Imani, who is originally from East St. Louis and raised in Oakland, says, “Black folks have been leading cultural and systemic revolutions for so long, and we’re still here and there’s still something to say. We’re not done.”

The video, directed by Zoe Mountain and shot by Dorean Raye, combines the piercing gaze with Imanis dancing jubilation, as well as archival footage of Black women smiling and putting their feet in the pool on the Washington Mall. Its a complementary aesthetic for a track that has a classy, swing-jazz vibe with a modern, glossy R&B finish.

The song, which originally started off as a freestyle, features the guitar of Misa James and was produced by Will Randolph V. Its featured on Imanis latest EP JUBILEE II.


The entire project is both celebration and a call to action. This song in particular honors Rosa Parks by name, but Jada Imani says its an homage to numerous freedom fighters who came before us, including Claudette Colvin.

“I think it’s really implant that we know about her because she sacrificed the same way Rosa Parks did, and a lot of people just don’t know her name,” says Imani, who made it a point to highlight Colvin’s story in a recent Instagram post

On September 15, ten days after Colvins birthday and ten days before her own, Imani will bring her solemn stare, her joyful dancing and her catchy tunes into KQEDs headquarters for a performance alongside Salami Rose Joe Louis and Imanis SMARTBOMB comrade Spote Breeze. More info here.