Candice Hoyes, Val Jeanty and Mimi Jones are Nite Bjuti. They are an Afro-Caribbean Brooklyn-based trio having chosen their name from Haitian folklore called “Night Beauty” about a girl who sings for justice in the afterlife. Their debut in 2018 at Jazz at Lincoln Center to celebrate International Women’s Day was followed by performances at the NYC Winter Jazzfest, Nublu Jazz Fest, WBGO and The Schomberg. Today they share their first single “Mood (Liberation Walk).” The avant-garde musing flips the “Miss Mary Mack” nursery rhyme into a slightly eerie modern fusion. Hoyes questions false feelings of freedom as Jeanty’s drumsticks click like a bondage chain. The visuals are a montage of them taking the walk, jump-roping and performing as they are seen through a psychedelic filter. Some scholars have pegged the rhyme as originating from a game created by slave children. Hoyes explained the imagery of them jump-roping in a statement:
“What good is freedom if you don’t really feel free? Black girlhood maturation brings a range of evocative contradictory experiences. In ‘Mood (Liberation Walk)’ we express the sudden sensation of a girl jumping/jumped into puberty, roped into a new emotional reality, physicality and societal positionality. As explored in the music video, she jumps through the portals of her own design right until the foreboding street lights flicker. Jumping is tied to shared childhood experiences, embodies connectivity and the chasmic leaps of growth in the Black womanly experience.”
Watch Nite Bjuti’s Afrofuturist breakdown of contemporary questions of Black freedom in “Mood (Liberation Walk).” The trio are currently working on their full-length album after becoming recipients of the 2020 NYC Women’s Fund In Jazz.