Rhiannon Giddens has demanded an end to toxic behavior on her new single “Don’t Call Me Names.”
On the song, which was premiered on Kelly McCartney’s Apple Music country show Southern Craft Radio, Giddens names and shames a lengthy list of inappropriate behaviors over muted strings and brooding percussion.
“Don’t call me names / Don’t yell at me / Don’t think you can treat me any way you see / Don’t sermonize / Don’t patronize / If you wanna talk about me, look me in the eye,” she sings on the chorus.
“The framework in the song is a love affair, but it can happen in any kind of connection,” Giddens said in a statement. “The real story was accepting my inner strength and refusing to continue being gas-lit and held back; and refusing to keep sacrificing my mental health for the sake of anything or anyone. I don’t often write personal songs, but this one has stayed with me—it poured out then and has just sat there waiting for the right time.”
Prior to “Don’t Call Me Names,” Giddens released a cover of Nick Drake’s “Black Eyed Dog” with Ben Harper. Last year, she released There is No Other, a joint album with Italian jazz muso Francesco Turrisi, and released a record as part of the Songs of Our Native Daughters—the quartet of Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla and Allison Russell.
Listen to “Don’t Call Me Names” here: