Black Rainbows is a musical project inspired by the objects and artworks collected by Theaster Gates at the Stoney Island Arts Bank in Chicago. Situated at the Great Grand Crossing neighborhoods of Chicago's South Side, Stoney Island Arts Bank is a cathedral to Black Art, a curated collection of Black archives comprising books, sculpture, records, furniture and problematic objects from America's past. As well as being a site for archive, the Arts bank is also a place for convening. Bailey Rae attended The Black Artists Retreat there in 2017 and performed in the space.
Wide ranging in it's themes, Black Rainbows' subjects are drawn from encounters with objects in the Arts Bank. Taking us from the rock hewn churches of Ethiopia, to the journeys of Black Pioneers Westward, from Miss New York Transit Queen 1957, to how the sunset appears from Harriet Jacobs' loophole. Black Rainbows explores Black femininity, Spell Work, Inner Space/Outer Space, time collapse and ancestors, the erasure Black childhood and music as a vessel for transcendence. The project will be released in various iterations - live performances, books, visuals, lectures, exhibitions, and more. Sonically, the album is a multi-genre mix of the progressive R&B, neo soul sound that will be familiar to fans but it also contains rock, jazz and electronic elements. The album was produced by S.J. Brown and Corinne Bailey Rae.