Part love story, part history lesson, Fantastic Negrito’s extraordinary new album, White Jesus Black Problems, is an exhilarating ode to the power of family and the enduring resilience of our shared humanity. Inspired by the illegal, interracial romance of his seventh generation grandparents—a white indentured servant and an enslaved Black man—in 1750s Virginia, the collection is bold and thought provoking, grappling with racism, capitalism, and the very meaning of freedom itself, all without ever losing sight of the desire and determination at the heart of the tale. While each track could stand easily on its own, stepping back to absorb the album and its companion film in their full context yields a far more transcendent experience, one that challenges our notions of who we are, where we come from, and where we’re headed.
Born Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, Negrito grew up in an orthodox Muslim household in Oakland, CA. After a car cash nearly robbed him of his ability to play guitar, he began an unlikely redemption arc in 2015, when he won the first NPR Tiny Desk Contest. In the years to come, Negrito would go on to take home three consecutive GRAMMYs for Best Contemporary Blues Album, tour with everyone from Sturgill Simpson to Chris Cornell, collaborate with the likes of Sting and E-40, launch his own Storefront Records label, perform at nearly every major festival on the map, and found the Revolution Plantation, an urban farm aimed at youth education and empowerment.