A friend of mine, of both Black and White heritage, brought the above video to my attention. The video features rapper A$AP Rocky and artist Lana Del Rey portraying president JFK and Jackie-O respectively, while also playing a bit on Marilyn Monroe’s famous singing of Happy Birthday to JFK. The song’s superficial lyrics seem minimally tangential to the more controversial plot of the video “Tell me I’m your national anthem / Red, white, blue’s in the skies / Summer’s in the air / and heaven’s in your eyes,” but nonetheless the video is interesting commentary not only on an America with a Black president, but an America that’s becoming browner, and unavoidably will have more interracial relationships.
My friend was annoyed (I think), because the video panders to the fetishizing of the “black thug” stereotype, while also being another catalyst for whites to celebrate a “color-blind” America, which doesn’t exist. I agree wholeheartedly, however I depart from my friend in that I feel that the video has enough satirical depth to be given at least some attention.
I still feel that America tends to run from its necessary conversation about the racial progress we have made in the country. Yes, we are not post-racial, but now that 1 in 10 marriages are interracial, and more than half the births in the U.S are from minorities, people are going to start seeing a different America. The video is perhaps quite trite, but it does play on a shift on the changing ethos of what America is. Conversations sparked from video such as this one, and perhaps more substantive media forms, will have to be had. My mother too, offered that old adage, “if she can’t use your comb don’t bring her home.” But in a changing America, we will need different “combs,” more adaptable “combs,” that will fit different races, religions, and genders.
Of course, I don’t want to give the video too much credit. It’s not a well-researched documentary, and might do more harm than good. And its portrayal of women is another issue entirely. But I thought it was interesting segment of a greater conversation we will need to have about a more racial America, and a more interracial America. I’ll leave the final assessment to you.
Do you find it offensive?