Comedienne Courts Controversy with ‘This is America’ Parody

Comedienne Courts Controversy with 'This is America' Parody

“‘This Is America’ Has Been Colonized”

May 14th, 2018 – Canadian YouTube comedian Nicole Arbour has found herself in hot water after releasing the parody clip “This Is America: Women’s Edit,” a video she claims was inspired by the “best art” she’s seen in years. Just a week ago, Arbour, and millions of other people, watched the music video for Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” go viral within hours of its release.

Donald Glover, who uses the name Childish Gambino as his musical alter ego, received plenty of praise for his use of symbolism in the video to tackle issues of racism, police/gun violence, and the fleeting cultural response to problems facing marginalized people in our country. Critics, writers, and everyday music listeners poured over the four-minute video trying to find every hidden, and not-so-subtle, piece of imagery.

There are, of course, different interpretations about exactly what message Gambino was trying to convey in every scene. Some jokes have also popped up on Twitter highlighting how much people have read into the music video.

Throughout the video, though, it’s obvious that intention was sewn into the details. From Gambino’s pants, dance moves, and facial expressions to how carefully the guns were handled, there was a rhyme and a reason. Arbour’s video, on the other hand, did have some rhyming but according to a lot of people not much reason.

The Root covered the remix with an article titled “Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ Has Been Colonized,” where Yesha Callahan noted that one commentator called out how Arbour missed the mark on subtlety.

“‘This is America’ was special because of its subtlety, and how much thought was put into each part. This video removes all of that to just be a loud declarative statement about something that has little to do with the original, yet somehow they decided the same backdrop that represents a prison, and tried to replicate the South African cultural dance moves that were used for a video about women’s rights.”

Comedienne Courts Controversy with 'This is America' Parody
Nicole Arbour Sparks Outrage Over 'This Is America: Women's Edit' Video

Arbour attempts to address women’s issues such as equal pay, date rape, objectification while mimicking Gambino’s set, music and dancing. She opens the song with the lyrics “We just wanna be pretty, pretty that’s the goal, we just wanna smile, get a mammy home,” and adds in “Look how I’m spitting truth out, I’m so trendy, I wear Fendi, I’m so sexy, Imma get it, watch me move, these my titties, that’s my tool” somewhere in the middle.

People on Twitter were quick to point out the lack of understanding and empathy on Arbour’s part while also pointing out that giving her attention is exactly what she wanted.

Gambino’s “This Is America” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the music video has currently been viewed over 114 million times on YouTube. Arbour’s version has over 750,000, but her Twitter reply ratio had grown so high that she released a lengthy statement Monday night clarifying her intent.

What did you think of Nicole Arbour’s version of “This Is America? Funny or Offensive? Vote and comment now…

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