Music News

Deniece Williams says it's an "honor" her 1984 R&B hit "Black Butterfly" is still a beacon of empowerment

Courtesy of Deniece Williams

Over three decades later, Deniece Williams says she feels “honored” her empowering 1984 hit “Black Butterfly” still resonates with so many in today’s climate amid Black Lives Matter protests.

“I am so honored that song has had the life that it has had and that that song has such significant meaning to people then and even now,” she tells ABC Audio.

The song became an instant voice of Black power, perseverance, and “letting you know that the movement will not be in vain.” Williams recalled asking the song’s producer George Duke to remove the original artist on the song “because I need to live with it.

“I need to make it my own,” she continues. “I wish that it had been a song I had written because the message is so, so powerful. And we see that that message still resonates even today.”

Amid recent Black Lives Matter protests, “Black Butterfly” was selected as one of the Top 10 Black Empowerment Songs of All Time by The New York Post.

Deniece said the song speaks to the emotional yet historical moment when Barack Obama became the first Black president in 2008 — a moment her parents “never, ever thought” they would see. 

She said that moment also speaks to the song’s message of change and triumph for Black Americans.

Reciting the song’s lyrics, she tells ABC Audio, “‘Tell your sons and daughters’ we have to continue to tell them what the struggle has been and what it brings and how we overcome.”

Deniece says she is proud “to know that something that I sang, something that I believed then touched so many people and still resonates that message of what we need to do as Black Americans today.” 

By Rachel George
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