Helado Negro’s New Single is a Hushed Love Song to His Brown Skin

Lead Photo: Photo by Ben Sellon. Courtesy of Helado Negro
Photo by Ben Sellon. Courtesy of Helado Negro
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We can usually count on Roberto Carlos Lange, best known as Helado Negro, to amp up Latinx pride. He’s not disappointing us today with the release of his newest song, “It’s My Brown Skin.” The single feels like the quieter companion to his 2015 anthem “Young Latin & Proud.” While that song was a synthy celebration of culture, “It’s My Brown Skin” is a more intimate self-reflection — a vulnerable love song to skin and identity deftly delivered with Helado Negro’s trademark ease.

“The song is about self-love, thinking about my own brown skin. It’s about the resilience of our skin, how it can stretch, grow, heal, and scar. Maybe the most obvious of analogies being the healing and scarring, but it’s this one thing we have and we can’t change,” he told us.

“It’s My Brown Skin” is off Helado Negro’s upcoming album, Private Energy, out October 7 via Asthmatic Kitty. From what we’ve heard so far, this project finds the Brooklyn-based electronic artist and producer during a period of deep introspection. In July, he premiered the album’s lead single, “Runaround,” an Isaac Asimov-inspired tune about internal conflict, written in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death. He followed that track up with the ethereal “Transmission Listen,” a meditation on connections and the Buddhist concept of esoteric message transmission.

For “It’s My Brown Skin,” Helado Negro turns his lens inward for a personal and sentimental look at his own body and self, and the result is full of affection and tenderness. “I love you /And I can’t miss anything but you/You’re stuck on me/And all this time I’m inside you,” he sings softly.

“It feels good to be brown, and I want all the other people who live in the United States who might fear that their brown skin brings them trouble to use this as a meditation or a mantra,” he said.

Helado Negro kicks off a major tour of more than 25 U.S. cities this fall — his biggest national tour yet. See dates below.

October 9, 2016 – III Points Festival – Miami, FL
October 11, 2016 – The Vera Project – Seattle, WA
October 12, 2016 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR
October 13, 2016 – Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA
October 15, 2016 – Soda Bar – San Diego, CA
October 20, 2016 – Hideout – Chicago, IL
October 21, 2016 – The Frequency – Madison, WI
October 22, 2016 – Des Moines Social Club – Des Moines, IA
October 23, 2016 – The Record Bar – Kansas City, MO
October 24, 2016 – Urban Artifact – Cincinnati, OH
October 25, 2016 – The Hi-Fi – Indianapolis, IN
October 26, 2016 – Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts – Louisville, KY
October 27, 2016 – 21c Museum Hotel – Lexington, KY
October 28, 2016 – Majestic Cafe – Detroit, MI
October 29, 2016 – The Drake – Toronto, ON
October 30, 2016 – L’Escogriffe – Montreal, QC
October 31, 2016 – Light Club Lamp Shop – Burlington, VT
November 1, 2016 – Wonder Bar – Allston, MA (With Buscabulla)
November 2, 2016 – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY (With Buscabulla)
November 3, 2016 – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA (With Buscabulla)
November 4, 2016 – Ottobar – Baltimore, MD (With Buscabulla)
November 5, 2016 – Duke Coffeehouse – Durham, NC
November 6, 2016 – Masquerade (Purgatory Stage) – Atlanta, GA
November 7, 2016 – Strange Matter – Richmond, VA