Phillip-Michael Scales Confronts the Discomfort of Being the Only Black Person in the Room

Phillip-Michael Scales often finds himself to be the only Black person in the room. The discomfort that comes along with that — and the ways it is often minimized — is the subject of his new, blues-tinged single.

Scales — the Dive Bar Soul artist and nephew of blues legend B.B. King — released “Tell Me How I Sound Again” today. The single is an outlet to express the frustration brought about by his version of the American experience, and how society reacts to and validates — or invalidates — one’s emotions, based on race.

“It’s a truly frustrating experience and, most times, a risk to even express that frustration,” Scales said. “I know I’m putting myself out there in this song, but I can’t sugarcoat my feelings to make other people comfortable.”

We applaud Scales for taking a stand, and we encourage everyone reading this to have open and constructive dialogue, as we work to fix what is broken in our society. Let “Tell Me How I Sound Again” be the start of new conversations when you listen below.

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