Where does a person's true strength lie: in themselves or their community? The story of eclectic collective &More is the story of that tension.
The band's new music video for "My Own Light" illustrates strength in family and close-knit friendship on a sun-kissed block in West Philadelphia. It's the first in a planned series of videos from the forthcoming Ethel Bobcat LP, and in its opening sequence, we see actress Jacqui Thompson — mother to both &More's singer-songwriter Donn T and The Roots drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson — as the album's title character, sitting regally in a rocking chair.
As the camera pulls inward on her gaze, narrator J. Ivy describes a pillar of the community: "For her, these streets were sacred grounds." Then, as a Sade-style quiet-storm groove begins, Donn T shifts the focus to the importance of individuality, and how reliance on others can smother one's ambition and identity. "As long as I'm with you, I'll never write my own story," she sings in a simmering alto.
At the same time, &More would not have happened without partnership. A one-off collaboration in the studio last year made Donn T and rapper Chill Moody, two self-assured artists committed to their own personal brands, realize their potential as a team. When Chill makes his entrance on "My Own Light," it starts with scorn, a series of jaded post-breakup bars — but ultimately, he arrives at a place of regret: "As long as I was with you, I probably wrote thousands of songs, and they was hits, too."
As much as we should be true to ourselves, &More suggests we also need one another for support, inspiration and power — and we need a unifying force, an Ethel Bobcat, to bring everybody together.