Despite the song’s clear narrative of police profiling and urban desperation, Jorja Smith‘s Olivia Rose-directed, black-and-white video for “Blue Lights” foregoes drama for stark portraits of daily life that are just as effective at contrasting the stereotype of Black criminality with the reality that undermines that image every day. The titular blue lights of police cruisers are nowhere to be found; the only visual allusion to the song’s content are a pair of handcuffs that appear on one of the video’s subjects in a quiet scene midway through.
Some listeners may be surprised to see the UK singer still promoting a two-year-old song ahead of the release of her highly anticipated debut album, but given it’s still her most recognizable, signature hit, now is as good a time as any to finally give it the visual treatment. While it’s been floating around on the internet since 2016, it was the song that first introduced Smith to the attentions of Drake and sparked her ascent to stardom; if first impressions are the most important, it’s a perfect way to both appeal to her established fanbase while introducing her to potential new fans who might just be finding out about her thanks to the so-called “Drake effect.”
Smith’s debut album, Lost & Found, is slated for a June 8 release from FAMM.