Black Pumas’ “Colors” Lyrics Meaning

Ultimately, perhaps the simplest way to describe the surface meaning of Black Pumas’ “Colors” is as it being a celebration of the world’s diversity. 

Eric Burton had penned it one particular evening while the singer/songwriter was admiring the New Mexico sunset. That would apparently be why the verses are based on a nature-centered theme. 

And as far as the storyline goes, it isn’t anything complicated. Instead it features the vocalist chillin’, enjoying the sky and the trees and the birds and what have you. 

And overall being caught up in the “colors” around him gives the singer a joyful disposition. His joy is so intense that even those whom he encounters in town are able to perceive. 


More macrocosmically, the titular colors are once again meant to allude to life’s diversity in general. 

As such. for instance, they can be applied to the different hues of human skin, i.e. the various races, and the singer celebrating them rather. 

Or at least that is how the song, in terms of its popular usage (as noted later in the article), has apparently been interpreted by the world at large. 

Indeed according to Black Pumas’ own explanation of the tune, contained therein “is a message of togetherness”. And the artist is verily enjoying time spent with his “sister and… brothers”. 

So getting a bit artsy ourselves, we can postulate that it is a combination of all of the world’s natural colors which has the singer so excited on this occasion. So at the end of the day, it can be said that this track is appreciating organic aesthetics more than anything else.

Lyrics of "Colors"

Music Video

Black Pumas employed Kristian Mercado to direct the music video to this track.  Apparently prior to his involvement, a video for “Colors” already existed. 

However, in light of the group being nominated for a Grammy, they decided to cut a new one. And it was Mercado, being moved by the song, who sought out the Pumas in order to work on the clip. They filmed the video in NYC, more specifically the Bronx.

Release Date of “Colors”

This is the third single from Black Pumas’ first album, itself entitled “Black Pumas”.  And “Colors” was specifically released on the date of 16 April 2019, having been done so by ATO Records, a company based in NYC.

Concurrent with this track’s release the Black Pumas consists of two musicians, the same two artists who originated the act, singer Eric Burton and producer Adrian Quesada. And the duo trace their joint professional origins back to Texas.

“Colors” is the second track they ever dropped as a unit. 


Success of “Colors”

This song ended up topping Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs listing. But arguably more importantly it earned the pair a couple of 2021 Grammy nominations, specifically for Best American Roots Performance and the highly-coveted Record of the Year

Eric Burton went on to explain that he and his bandmate didn’t “ever expect to be nominated for something as big as this”. He then likened their emotional response to “somewhat like winning the lottery”.

But perhaps even more-notably as far as the history books are concerned, Black Pumas performed this song during Celebrating America. This was an event held on 20 January 2021 to actually celebrate the inauguration of US President Joe Biden as well as Vice President Kamala Harris. 

And Eric Burton used to the opportunity to give a direct shoutout to the two prominent politicians.

Indeed the Black Pumas were heavily involved in celebrating Joe Biden’s rise to power.  For instance, prior to Celebrating America they also participated in a similar event, America United. And during that occasion, which was held on 16 January 2021, they had again rendered “Colors”.

And in between America United and Celebrating America they stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to play the song on 19 January.

Writing Credits for “Colors”

Eric Burton wrote “Colors”. In fact prior to blowing up, he was actually busking in California to make living. And he used to perform this same song on the street in the name of generating income.

According to Burton, “Colors” has a spiritual undertone also. He had penned the song while he was heavily engaged in church activities. And to him, this track is representative of a person on the spiritual quest of “trying to find their truth”.

Brief History of Black Pumas

Eric Burton was connected to Adrian Quesada circa 2017 via a mutual friend who knew that the latter was looking for a vocalist to collaborate with. And this led to Quesada and Burton going on to form Black Pumas in 2018. 

And as noted above the first two-three years of their existence have been exceptionally-successful, with the Pumas receiving critical acclaim from virtually all fronts. 

For instance, the abovementioned Black Pumas album also received a Grammy nomination. And the Black Pumas themselves were nominated for the 2019 Best New Artist Grammy Award (which ultimately went to Billie Eilish).

Unlike Burton, Adrian Quesada is someone who had already been heavily involved in the music industry even prior to the formation of Black Pumas. He has even worked with the late Prince (1958-2016) prior. Furthermore, he earned a Grammy in 2011 serving as a guitarist for a Latin orchestra known as Group Fantasma. 

And just to note, said Grammy was in the category of Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album for the group’s 2010 project, “El Existential”.

Live Rendition of “Colors”

In June of 2020, Black Pumas came out with an alternate live rendition of this song in commemoration of Juneteenth.

Grammy Recognition of “Colors”

The 2021 Grammy Awards saw a total of 8 songs being nominated for the “Record of the Year” prize. “Colors” was one of these 8 lucky songs. The others are as follows:

The “Black Pumas” Album

American psychedelic soul band released “Black Pumas”, their debut album on 21st June, 2019 through the label ATO Records. A deluxe version of the album was released, which was nominated for the “Album of the Year” category of the 63rd Grammy Awards.

The album spans a total duration of thirty-nine minutes, forty-one seconds with tracks belonging to the genre Psychedelic soul. The deluxe version however spans collectively fifty-three minutes, twenty-eight seconds. Ten tracks were listed on “Black Pumas”, while eleven tracks were listed on the deluxe version. Jon Kaplan and Adrian Quesada contributed in producing the album for the band.

Three singles were listed from the album:

  • “Black Moon Rising”
  • “Fire”
  • “Colors”

13 Responses

  1. Emma says:

    Initially I thought it was exactly as described — diversity. But then I thought deeper and felt like it was about dying and going to heaven/the afterlife. I like both meanings.

    • Anonymous says:

      I immediately thought of the afterlife! But when I saw no one else mentioning that, then I thought maybe I was overthinking it. Thank you for feeling that too, my cerebral sister!

    • Deborah says:

      Me too! In a beautiful way!

    • Wiradjuri Koori says:

      I feel like it’s the creation story. And the time before the moon. My Australian Koori (Aboriginal) culture talks about the time before the moon. Koori man is God’s first creation, the oldest continual living civilization. So he woke up to the first morning, when the moon first arrived. Just like we rehearsed, him & Creator. Grey clouds white walls blue sky, I like to think the white walls are the dome, God’s firmament. We gonna fly….now take me to the other side, and the reunion of our ancestors and all our brothers and sisters world wide, as black man is Creators first humans.
      This song was given to me 3 days ago by a Koori fella I just met, it’s a true gift and I haven’t stopped playing it

  2. Dorothy Lee says:

    Felt it deeply to the point of tears. Nature, brotherhood of mankind, passing through to the other side, whatever it is the music and singing are divine.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I thought he was talking about POC!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wake up every morning to this song
    I hope to go to the other side, heaven
    So I can be with my mommy again

  5. Anonymous says:

    I definitely felt more of the skinfolk vibe. Especially as a glorious reconnection in the afterlife of all those lost.

  6. SJ says:

    My son loved this song. We played it at his funeral.

    • Olean says:

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your son. I have only recently discovered this song & keep playing it over & over because there is so much love energy we all need. You may want to watch the version of this son on YouTube called Playing for Change. My first time listening to this version brought such
      tears of Love. Your son is basking in love and is with you wherever you go!

  7. Claudia, from Hamburg says:

    This song blew me away the first time I heard it (late 2022, early 2023)! I am deeply touched every time I hear it. The song and the music give me a direct, extremely strong feeling of hope and bliss.

    Alongside all these positive associations, however, I also had the feeling that this could also be a kind of transition from something very painful or great despair to relief and hopeful, joyful expectation.

    When I get up off this ground, shaking leaves back down to the Brown Brown Brown…

    Be it the transition from sadness to joy of life, from drug addiction or depression to a self-determined, free and hopeful life, or even the transition from life to the afterlife.

    I had not found a text interpretation that reflected these thoughts until I discovered your comments here. Thank you very much for that. It seems I am not the only one in the world who feels more depth in the song than just the joy of colourful diversity. I was very happy to read all your thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *