“Good Trouble”: Ruby Amanfu & Leigh Nash Dive into Their Hopeful, Heartfelt Duet for Black History Month

Leigh Nash & Ruby Amanfu © Allister Ann
Leigh Nash & Ruby Amanfu © Allister Ann

This Black History Month, Atwood Magazine has invited artists to participate in a series of essays, interviews, reviews, poetry, playlists, and more features in recognition of, and out of respect for the symbolism and significance of this month.

Today, Grammy-nominated Ruby Amanfu and Sixpence None The Richer frontwoman Leigh Nash dive into the depths of their new duet, “Good Trouble” as a part of Atwood Magazine’s Black History Month series. A heartfelt country song examining social justice and racial tensions from a hopeful, love-conquers-all healing perspective, “Good Trouble” takes its inspiration from a speech by the late Congressman John Lewis about good and necessary trouble. Unity is imperative, but it will come at a cost: “Good Trouble” reckons with this knowledge, alongside our country’s urgent need for reform and positive change.
My skin is alabaster
And I understand what that means
There’s history in my color
And a burden in me and this free
And the burden is the wall between you and me
But there’s a love that’s still turning over tables
And a love making blinded eyes see
There’s a healing that’s waiting in the water
That’s still making saints out of rebels
My God is still making good trouble
I’ve grown tired of being so careful
About speaking my truth with soft words
Out on the streets I’m fearful
Even though inside I know my worth
But I’ll never give up even when it hurts
Because love is still turning over tables
And love still makes the blinded eyes see
And there’s a healing that’s waiting in the water
That’s still making saints out of rebels
My God is still making good trouble
•• ••

“Good Trouble”

by Leigh Nash & Ruby Amanfu

Ruby Amanfu: “When Leigh Nash reached out to ask me to join her and Matt Maher in co-writing “Good Trouble” with them, it felt like a hand reaching out to hold mine. Allyship is so important to me and I believe that it is necessary now more than ever. Writing the second verse of “Good Trouble” came as a natural response to what Leigh was singing in the first verse.”

“I wanted to share my perspective, innermost feelings and the struggles I face walking around every day in a body with brown skin. I am reminded of the poem by German Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemöller, ‘First they came…’ Now is the time to identify privilege. It’s the time for being shaken awake. It’s time to speak up boldly as now-saints such as Representative John Lewis, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and many, many others have paved the way for us to do so. This time of unrest in our country is affecting our generation and many others in a way that we can no longer deny.”

Leigh Nash: “Good Trouble and John Lewis’ words about it would not leave my mind. It was on a loop in my head. Once I realized it wasn’t going anywhere, I called Matt Maher to help me organize my thoughts and hopefully finish the song. We did! In one morning. So thankful for my friend Matt, who is not only a great artist, but has a heart the size of Texas. “

“Driving home with what Matt and I had written, I couldn’t get Ruby out of my mind. I got her number and nervously called her. I say nervously, because it’s an intimidating thing to ask- “can you put your words, heart, experience into a verse we left bare for you.” She was honest and said she didn’t know but that she would listen. 45 minutes later she sent back her beautiful vocal and words. I was floored and I cried the rest of the day! Happy and thankful tears!”

— —

Even though we are all broken
There is a dream still worth holding
Let’s walk towards the fire
And push past the fear
And call hate a liar
Loud and clear
There’s a love that’s still turning over tables
And the love making blinded eyes see
There’s a healing that’s waiting in the waters
That’s still making saints out of rebels
My God is still making good trouble
“Good Trouble” – Leigh Nash, Ruby Amanfu

— — — —

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:: Alonzo ::

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