This 1970s African American hit for Sonny Charles and The Checkmates was given new life here in Aotearoa. Played on repeat during the early 90s at backyard parties and dance halls, the Moana & The Moahunters track empowered new generations of young women, reminding them of their inherent place and power. Only minor lyrical changes were necessary, such as “You’re my Miss America” becoming “You’re my Miss Phenomenal”. But the message still holds true — mana wāhine. 'Black Pearl' featured on album Tahi, released in 1991 by Southside Records It spent 14 weeks in the charts, peaking at number two.
...we packed the music video full of wāhine Māori of all ages, shapes and sizes. Eight months pregnant with my son Kimiora Hikurangi, I was all shapes and sizes myself. The video was a deliberate celebration that, against all odds, Māori women are still here. When you don't hear your language on the radio or see yourselves on television, it's easy to get the impression you don't count.– Moana Maniapoto on shooting the video for Black Pearl, Canvas (The NZ Herald), 15 September 2018
Black Pearl Productions