The video, directed by Mike Ho and Alex Moors, is entirely in black-and-white and follows three protagonists as they deal with abusive relationships.
The images highlight the harsh lyrics in a very real and raw manner.
“And yes, I’m good on the surface, but I’m a mess, I’m a mess underneath/ See, winter took most of my heart, and spring took most of my heart/ And spring punched right in the stomach, summer came looking for blood and by autumn, I was left with nothing,” are just a few of the graphic lyrics in Blige’s song.
The issue of domestic violence is all too prevalent in the Black community. In 2005 Black women only made up 8 percent of the U.S.population, but accounted for 22 percent of the intimate partner homicide victims and 29 percent of all female victims of intimate partner homicide, according to a study done by the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community.
Blige, who has released twelve studio albums prior to “The London Sessions,” which “Whole Damn Year” is a part of, has always tried to be an uplifting voice for women.
“My music is definitely therapy for them,” she told The Guardian, “and I also feel like I’m getting therapy through me, when I listen back to it. Sometimes I just need it to live. When someone comes up to me and says, ‘Mary, you helped save my marriage’, or, ‘Mary, you helped me get out of this abusive relationship’, I’m in it, really in their lives. And I’m so passionate about my feelings, but also about showing people the way through theirs.”
Blige says that even though her current marriage to record producer Kendu Isaacs is healthy, she still finds some of the scars from her old relationships affecting her.
“I still can’t give [Isaacs] all of me,”she told The Guardian. “I need something to walk away with, just in case he decides to walk out the door. I pray that one day I get to say, you know, ‘Here it all is,’ but—this is real talk—sometimes I really don’t want it.”
“The London Sessions” was released on Tuesday.
Watch the video for “Whole Damn Year” here: