Nicole Arbour, a Canadian YouTube star, issued a statement on Twitter in response to the backlash over her “feminist” version of Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” that boasts her white privilege just as much as her original video.
Before apologizing she calls the negative response a “misinterpretation,” suggesting that those who were upset by her song were wrong.
But most people who were upset had no trouble interpreting the video.
Arbour disabled the comments section on the video.
She also said those who were upset were “wrongly portraying this as white vs black.”
It seems to be Arbour is the one who misinterpreted Childish Gambino’s original video, as the theme is in fact the state of Black America.
Further, Arbour encouraged more people to appropriate Black music and said that everyone should remake their own version of the song. Not only does she suggest this as an idea she calls it “the best thing that can happen.”
“I firmly believe the best thing that can happen in America and North America right now is for everyone to create their own version of this video and show what life is like from their side. Through this honesty, I believe we can discover a new level of empathy and understanding for each other that will ultimately and finally lead us to healing and unity that is desperately needed in society.”
Music and the media can be powerful platforms to bring awareness to inequality and other issues plaguing society. What Arbour fails to understand is that Childish Gambino’s creation, from the lyrics to the dancing and all of the video’s elements, was not a coincidence. It was designed specifically to speak to Black themes, including police brutality and Jim Crow.
One of Childish Gambino’s creative directors confirmed that the original video makes references to Jim Crow as well as an ode to Nigerian music legend Fela Kuti.
The goal of the video was not to be copied and butchered by someone who likely missed the video’s intricacies.
“Our goal is to normalize Blackness,” Ibra Ake, the creative director, told Tanzina Vega, host of WNYC’s “The Takeaway,” in an interview last week. “This is how we would like to dance, but we have to be aware of the danger and the politics of how we’re perceived and the implications of the history of how we were treated.
“There’s all this math you’re constantly doing expressing yourself. We’re trying to not have to explain ourselves to others and just exist, and not censor what our existence looks like as people.”
The Twitterverse, which slammed Arbour’s video in the first place, did not take kindly to her whitesplanation.
The best thing that can happen is NOT for everyone to create their own version of #ThisIsAmerica. You don’t get to co-opt @donaldglover‘s art just because it’s popular right now. Come up with your own idea if you’re feeling this strongly about speaking out.
Bethany Watson (@RadioBethany) May 15, 2018
When do you plan on releasing your Women’s edit of Roots, 12 Years a Slave, Black Panther and Colin Kaepernick
Rohit Thawani (@vohit4rohit) May 15, 2018
Piggybacking off of something created to express the truth of the black experience in this country, is like All Lives Matter”-ing our art. You could have made your own point in an important issue WITHOUT hijacking a different conversation from a POC
India Fields (@IndiaNDA) May 15, 2018
The words I’m sorry” are not said ONCE so I think that really makes it obvious how she feels about it…
Rose NSFR 54 till Got7342 (@jackxingsrose) May 15, 2018
Oh look, she’s whitesplaining things to us now. Please, tell us how we should react to your “art”. Disabling comments was the first step, now finish the job and delete the video. Slave masters also couldn’t acknowledge what they did as wrong. Don’t repeat. #NicoleArbour
Phil PA (@GetYourPhil) May 15, 2018