FKA Twigs had a relatively quiet 2016. Following a breakout 2015 that saw the avant pop star nominated for everything from a BET Award to the Mercury Prize to an NME Award to a Grammy, the past 12 months have mostly involved preparing for the release of whatever form her next record takes, with the occasional reveal of new material at festival performances around the world. But just because she hasn’t been putting out material aimed at getting her next batch of award nominations this year doesn’t mean she hasn’t been busy.
A new documentary, Baltimore Dance Project, shows off just one of the things she’s been up to in 2016: After tweeting an announcement on July 18 that she’d be running a free dance workshop in Baltimore the next afternoon, 400 people turned out to show off their moves. The doc premieres today exclusively via file-hosting service WeTransfer, as part of its “This Works” platform. The platform, which spotlights the work of creative people who use the service, has run alongside WeTransfer’s main business of hosting and allowing people to share large files since March. It’s included collaborations with partners like McSweeney’s and highlighted the work of dozens of artists, but FKA Twigs is probably the biggest name to team with WeTransfer to date. And the short documentary shows off a community that Twigs tapped into that definitely deserves its due.
In the video, we see Twigs directly address the circumstances of making art in Baltimore–the city where Freddie Gray died, and a city rife with tensions around race and violence. The video was shot just days before charges against three of the officers involved in Gray’s death were dropped, and all of that is discussed head-on. She talks to the people gathered to dance about how they’re there to make art flourish in difficult times, and watching the bodies move in stark black and white carries an additional grace in that context.