Tuesday night, Rapsody made her debut on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon with an impassioned performance of her Eve single “Afeni” featuring piano and vocals provided by the recently-minted Grammy Award winner PJ Morton. Dedicated to the strength, caring, and perseverance of Black women, “Afeni” is titled for the mother of Tupac Shakur and features a vocal sample from his 1993 single “Keep Ya Head Up” in which he ponders the mistreatment of Black women by Black men.
Rapsody knows a thing or two about that. Her recent album, Eve, is a dedication to prominent and inspiration Black women throughout history, both real and fictional, who have had an influence on her art. In December, she told Uproxx: “It’s important for me while I have the microphone, while I have people’s ears and while I have a platform, to tell that story.” Her single “Afeni” is just one part of that, while other influential women she name-checks on the album include “Oprah,” the fiery soul singer “Nina” Simone, and the Olympic fencing bronze medalist, “Ibtihaj” Muhammad, who was the first Muslim woman to wear a hijab while representing the United States at the Olympics. Rapsody will also begin her A Black Woman Created This Tour next month.
Watch Rapsody and PJ Morton’s performance of “Afeni” above.