The cooptation of Childish Gambino's "This Is America" has begun, and it's a problem
It’s been a little over a week since Childish Gambino shared his music video for “This Is America”. The honest (yet danceable) track, with its murky production and social critiques, is interesting enough on its own — but the music video, and its symbolic representations of racial injustice and gun violence, is what has really riled people up. It’s managed to rack up over 100 million views on YouTube since its release.
Since then, countless thinkpieces and Twitter threads have been written to analyze the various meanings that lie within the video. The general conclusion is that the music video is discussing Black issues — from gun violence, to distractions from said violence, to mass desensitization due to social media. It shows that white people are undeniably part of the problem, but Donald Glover makes it so that they are not a primary focus in the video. Black men, women, and children are at the center of this work.
So why is there now a fake-funny, white version of “This Is America” on the internet?
Nicole Arbour is a cheerleader-turned-comedian who has a history of creating insensitive content — you might remember her horrifically fatphobic “Dear Fat People” video. On Saturday, May 12th, she offered up her version of “This Is America” that no one asked for, and dubbed it “Women’s Edition.” If you watch it, you’ll see why people are not into her message.
Basically, Arbour took something that was specific to Blackness and made it about herself — all under the guise of feminism.
She couldn’t let a viral Black creation be great. Arbour not only asked for a slice of the pie, but walked up to the table and ate from the pie tin with a fork. Not only is her version pointless and poorly done — it also communicates how far some white people are willing to go to make a dollar.
Nicole Arbour isn’t as silly as this mess may indicate: her internet moves are calculated. In a 2015 chat with Cosmopolitan, she described the viral anti-fat video she’d made as an opportunity to market herself and addressed the monetary gain controversy brought her.
I think it’s safe to assume that Nicole Arbour doesn’t care about Black people or feminists. This cooptation is just a ploy to extend her viral fame and reach the next level of fortune. Behold the power of white selfishness. This is America.