At the 2021 MTV VMAs on September 12, world renowned American musician, Beyonce’s “Brown Skin Girl” was adjudged the best cinematography project of the year after beating out stiff competition from Billie Eilish: “Therefore I Am”; Foo Fighters: “Shame Shame”; Justin Bieber ft. Chance The Rapper: “Holy”; Lady Gaga: “911”; and Lorde: “Solar Power”
The song has guest contributions from Guyanese rapper Saint Jhn, and Nigerian singer Wizkid, featuring Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy Carter from the 2019 soundtrack album The Lion King: The Gift.
“Brown Skin Girl” was released to widespread critical acclaim and received numerous awards, including the Soul Train Music Award for The Ashford & Simpsons Songwriter’s Award and the BET HER Award.
The music video for “Brown Skin Girl” was featured in Beyoncé’s 2020 film Black Is King and was released separately on August 24, 2020. Directed by Beyoncé and Jenn Nkiru, the video acts a celebration and affirmation of the beauty of dark-skinned women. The video, featuring Beyoncé, Blue Ivy and Wizkid won Best Music Video at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.
The song contains “spare, syncopated African rhythms”, while its lyrics deal with colorism faced by darker-complexioned women: “Brown skin girl / ya skin just like pearls / Your back against the world”. Billboard magazine called the lyrics “compelling”, noting how the song shout-outs pioneering brown girls such as Naomi Campbell, Lupita Nyong’o, and Beyoncé’s former Destiny’s Child bandmate Kelly Rowland.
Elsewhere, Beyoncé, Shatta Wale, Major Lazer: “Already” lost the “Best Art Direction” to Saweetie ft. Doja Cat: “Best Friend”, denying the Ghanaian self-acclaimed dancehall king his first MTV VMAS glory.