Childish Gambino, Nicole Arbour & ‘This Is America’

As you’re reading this post, there’ll be an assumption made that you’re probably up to date with music news. However, if you haven’t seen Childish Gambino’s latest release ‘This Is America’, then watch it right now. Seeing the music video is far more important than reading this. Also, the post will make no sense unless it’s fresh in your memory, so press play, now!

Welcome everybody – This Is America.

Now, this post isn’t going to be deconstructing the numerous hidden meanings of the video. Or telling you how important and ground-breaking something like this is. No, we’re going to be doing something far less complex. We’re going to be talking about Nicole Arbour.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Nicole Arbour, you have my sincerest apologies for bringing her into your consciousness. Her most widespread outing as a YouTuber was due to her video called ‘Dear Fat People’, which we’ll be having a look at later. Although she’s also known for allegedly being abusive in her relationship with another YouTuber. Arbour also happens to be about as funny as testicular tortion and still refers to herself as a comedian – but that’s more a pet peeve than a general consensus.

Anyway, her most recent video is entitled ’This Is America – Women’s Edit’.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

‘Women’s Edit’ does address some real problems that effect Western women in contemporary society: shame surrounding breastfeeding in public, unrealistic beauty expectations & the abysmally disproportionate pay of NFL cheerleaders.

However, the issue doesn’t lie in the problems addressed, but in the execution. Now, the aim of this post is not to get political, after all, Cynically Sound is about the music industry. But music is often intrinsically linked to protest, and it would be impossible to remain apolitical whilst commenting on Gambino’s latest release.

The issues lie within the parallel narrative of the #AllLivesMatter movement. Arbour’s video becomes another hijacking of something that’s drawing attention to the subjugation of black people in America. Then she spins it onto another group. To illustrate this point, when was the last news report outlining how an unarmed white woman was shot and killed for acting suspiciously?


Subsequent Backlash & Arbour’s Response

In wake of the backlash she faced for the video, Arbour issued a statement which included this sentence:

“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”.

As we know, nothing is sacred on the internet. So of course, there’s already hundreds of memes that divert attention away from the issues Gambino is trying to draw attention to. Which ironically, is one of the main messages behind the video: constant distraction away from real issues through shiny media programming & absorbing entertainment shows with no real substance.

But Arbour’s suggestion for even more versions of the video, will just create more static noise. You know that bit in Bruce Almighty where all of the prayers start flooding in to Bruce’s head, everybody speaks at once until it’s completely inaudible? That’s a perfect illustration of this issue.

Nicole Arbour – An ambassador for unity and empathy?

Arbour’s seeming dedication to the cause of equality, love & unity is odd – if previous videos are anything to go by. Put it this way, compassion isn’t her ‘go-to’ emotion.

As previously mentioned, her ‘Dear Fat People’ video gained notoriety for being malicious & spiteful (which has now been deleted from her channel). Of course, obesity is a problem. People who are obese, need help and guidance so they can lose weight and become healthier. The way to do that, is not to spend 6 minutes spewing vitriol toward a camera.

In this video she explicitly claims to be a minority. Then explains she has it as tough as ‘brown people’ due to being “an independent blonde girl who can speak in coherent sentences, and has no need for a sugar daddy”. Even if this was an attempt at satire or sarcasm, it doesn’t come across.

She then ends the video by stating “I will always love you [fat people], I’m not doing this to be an asshole, think of me as one of your closest friends”. Oh yeah because if you’re overweight, you’d want one of your loved ones to create a video for millions of people ridiculing your debilitating health problems. Gee thanks Nicole, you’re the best!

Real Agents of Change

If it wasn’t clear already, Nicole Arbour is not destined to be an agent of change. She lacks empathy, as well as the critical thinking to identity how complex an issue like race or obesity are. A person like that is immediately restricted in their capacity to implement change.

Thankfully, there are musicians who are very good at identifying a problem and making a song about it. So if you want some music videos that address numerous controversial issues, then have a gander at these instead of Ms. Arbour.

Lupe Fiasco – Words I Never Said

Lowkey – Terrorist?

Jay Z – The Story of OJ

P!nk – Stupid Girls