*“It’s a Ghana term,” said Mint Condition lead vocalist Stokley Williams about the title to his sophomore solo album “Sankofa” (Perspective Records) featuring Snoop Dogg, H.E. R., Wale, The Bonfyre and his father African Studies Professor Mahmoud El-Kati. “There’s even a symbol for it, a bird looking back while moving forward.”
The “Sankofa” project is distributed on the newly re-activated imprint of music living legends Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Flyte Time/Janet Jackson), home of Mint Condition and Sounds of Blackness. The Stokley project features songwriting assistance from Carvin Haggins (Jill Scott), S.Dot (Mary J Blige), and Shakespeare! (Justin Bieber).
“Africanism is throughout the CD,” Stokley informed me. “A lot of times we are afraid of it (African heritage). White supremacy is not a color it’s a system that’s done a number on us. It’s not a color it’s a state of mind. We need to reclaim ourselves. Reclaim who we are…went to Ghana to shoot the video for ‘Woman’.”’
“Woman” is one of the singles from the multi-Grammy Award nominated artist’s solo project and it features Ghana artist KiDi. Stokley offers 18 songs on “Sankofa.”
“The title track…the energy it gives. It begins the record…past, present, future…he’s (his father) on ‘Sankofa: The Present,’” he said about his father being featured on the album. He continued on about the project saying, “I had 90% done…when Covid hit. Everybody was in a state of reflection. There’s a song called ‘Recipe’…Rock-N-Roll like song that speaks to two to three things at a time (Africanism, White Supremacy conditioning and an unfair establishment). There’s ‘Lost’ about lost souls and spirits. We are all lost and need to find our way home. To know where you are going you have to know where you come from. Certain things are classic I felt…like the song ‘Vibrant’ (sound is) from the 90s. ‘Cascade’ it’s from the 70s. The song Snoop is featured on ‘Verbalized’ has that kind of vibe – that fun vibe. In the video we are on roller-skates.”
Stokley said the album was originally for another label but the deal “fell through.” Then in 2018 Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis re-activated their Perspective Records label via Caroline Distribution, and they signed him as a solo act. You see the group Mint Condition was originally signed to Perspective Records. This is the first project released by Perspective since Peabo Bryson’s “Stand for Love” was released in 2018, the year they re-activated. Stokley is so well rounded. Not only is he offering outstanding vocals on the “Sankofa” album but he also plays the keyboard, drums, lead guitar, bass, percussion and steel pans.
When I asked about the impressive line-up of artists on his solo project Stokley said, “Some of them are through Jam and Lewis and some our connections. I wanted different textures and people who don’t get the opportunity. I’ve come full circle. I was signed with Mint Condition (to Perspective Records) and now as a solo artist.”
Snoop Dogg is featured on his “Verbalize” and “Vibrant” songs; H.E.R. on “Rush;” KiDi on “Woman,” Wale on “Café;” The Bonfyre on “Cascade,” and his father Professor Mahmoud El-Kati on the title track “Sankofa: The Present.” www.PerspectiveRecords.com
SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, MS, MBA, MPhil has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 22nd year. Next events are coming to Los Angeles Saturday, November 6, 2021 via Zoom Video Conferencing and Baltimore Saturday April 16, 2022 at via Zoom Conferencing presented by Security Square Mall and The Baltimore Times. The ULMII event is a free entertainment conference offering a Business Management Panel Q&A Session, a Talent Showcase and Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $16,000 valued in prizes/product/services. Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email [email protected]