A comedian’s take on Donald Glover’s acclaimed “This Is America” music video has drawn derision from fans who have blasted the clip as problematic.
Glover’s clip, which debuted following his appearance on “Saturday Night Live last week,” was a bold commentary on injustices and violence against Black people in America. A week later, on Saturday, May 12, comic Nicole Arbour dropped her version of the clip, which tackles women’s experiences with sexism.
“This is America, don’t catch you climbing up, don’t catch you climbing up, ’cause they’ll catch you slipping up,” Arbour raps on the chorus. “This is America, got rape in my area.”
Moments after Arbour tweeted the women’s edit of the song had dropped, she was met with outrage.
“Garbage,” tweeted filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry.
“The mayonnaise edit,” someone else said.
“Nicole, you’ve already ruined me with this video, but the lives of others can be spared,” someone else said. “Please delete.”
Baby… no. This don’t work. pic.twitter.com/IGnoyk2Gdg
— Desirée #moonz (@musicsexlove) May 13, 2018
— Dorian Princess Shuri’s Secretary (@Chique719) May 13, 2018
All that production and planning time and no one pointed out how problematic this idea was? pic.twitter.com/0hZnlcZ35t
— BlackFilmsonNetflix (@blknetflix) May 13, 2018
The backlash was so brutal that Arbour was forced to respond by tweeting Sunday, “Empathy is the only real common ground. No change without empathy. When someone can [identify] their struggles and triumphs with yours, you have [an] understanding. Understanding breeds change.”
But even that post was met with criticism.
such empathy. many understanding. pic.twitter.com/xWBGhu8Gby
— regular brion (@whoisbrionrock) May 13, 2018
Ok but you selected the term edit as in you are editing out the race issues in favor of the feminist issues. This didn’t feel like an extension of a conversation it felt like reframing to suit a new agenda.
— Balaskan (@aliciaroy605) May 13, 2018
“Oh, I mean this. It’s misdirected energy,” she said in response to a screenshot about her May 8 tweet saying she was “sick of people mad about slavery.” “I can’t fix the past, but issues now, we all have a chance at so let’s refocus. I wanna see more movies with Black women CEOs and normalizing excellence for the next generation to see, less Black ppl in prison, and police retraining.”
But folks weren’t done with her that easily.
“But what you are failing to see is the system put in place still exists,” someone replied. “White ppl still benefit from it. Also, ppl waving Confederate flag and screaming about removing statues are not moving on from the past. Search out ppl to find out they deal with racism every single day. Engage.”
“I know it’s easy to go disrespectful on hard topics but u don’t know what I see,” Arbour responded. “I know it is, and I know our approach as a whole society hasn’t worked. It’s common ground time. Start with what we can agree on, unifying experiences, then rebuild. We gotta care about each other.”
In answering the claim she was removing race issues and touting feminist ones, Arbour tweeted, “That’s your interpretation. If you ever want to know what I mean by something just ask. Edit just fit when we were typing. His video hit me hard. Real hard. Best art I’ve seen in years. Finally felt it, and was hoping u can feel me now too.”
All love to everyone. ❤️
— Nicole Arbour (@NicoleArbour) May 13, 2018