A controversial white YouTube star accused of co-opting black art after remaking Childish Gambino’s This Is America video with a feminist slant is ‘sick of people who are mad at slavery’.
Canadian comedian Nicole Arbour said instead of being angry at the past, people need to ‘refocus on the now’ including tackling issues such as ‘economic slavery’.
Arbor argued that people who are fixated on the past are ‘misdirecting’ their energy, before adding: ‘We didn’t do it’.
Nicole Arbour, the white YouTube comedian accused of co-opting black experience after remaking Childish Gambino’s This Is America video, posted this tweet saying she is ‘so sick of people mad at slavery’
While Arbour’s initial message was deleted, she stepped in to defend it after it resurfaced following the release of her ‘women’s edit’ of This Is America
The original tweet, which was posted a week before Arbour’s ‘women’s edit’ of This Is America was released, said: ‘I’m so sick of people mad at slavery.
‘It’s the past, we weren’t there. We didn’t do it. But what we CAN do is fix economic slavery. Focus on the now.’
Amid the furor surrounding her music video Arbour deleted the tweet, but after Twitter user ‘Regular Brion’ picked it up she stepped back in to defend it.
On Sunday, the day after her video dropped, she wrote: ‘Oh I mean this. It’s misdirected energy.
‘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.’
Arbour’s four-minute video is shot and filmed in a similar manner to the original, except with her lyrics replacing Donald Glover’s.
The music video beings with a black woman sitting on a chair, preparing to breastfeed a baby doll.
‘We just want to be pretty / Pretty that’s the goal / We just wanna smile / get a mammy home’ the song begins.
YouTuber Nicole Arbour, 32, has sparked fury for her remake Childish Gambino’s This Is America through a feminist lens that she published on Saturday
In the video Arbour raps about what she thinks it means to be a woman in America, addressing public breastfeeding, drug rape culture, and beauty expectations
She addressed the gender wage gap, Arbour pictured right, handing over a minimum wage check to NFL cheerleaders
The scene mirrored Childish Gambino’s slaughter of gospel singers in his This is America
She copied Gambino’s backdrops and performed similar dance numbers as she rapped
The video was shot to mimic the imagery of Gambino’s music video, pictured above
After the sound of a gunshot the breastfeeding woman is taken away by two men.
‘This is America / don’t get you climbing up. This is America / got rape in my area / you got a drink / the roofies got into ya’ the song continues as a woman is pictured being roofied and falling into the arms of a man behind her.
Arbour raps as dancers and people holding posters saying ‘Right to Vote’ pass behind her.
To mimic Gambino’s video where a choir is pictured singing, a cheer-leading squad appears behind the YouTuber where they perform a pom pom routine.
Instead of shooting them, Arbour brings out a giant check that addressed to the NFL Cheerleaders for the amount of $8.50 with the message ‘less than minimum wage’ scrawled in the signature line.
‘This is America / smile for the camera / c’mon girl where’s your teeth / the pill will take care of ya,’ Arbour raps.
‘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,’ she adds.
In the original music video Childish takes a moment of silence to light a blunt. Arbour puts on lip gloss instead.
She also replicates the end running scene, where she is chased by men and women.
To mimic Gambino’s powerful pose with an extended arm, Arbour put on some lip gloss
In her rap she addressed how women are objectified for their bodies, but many fired back saying this music video was not the best space to speak on feminist issues
In the song many of her verses seemed irrelevant to her message such as: ‘Look how I’m spitting truth out / I’m so trendy / I wear Fendi … these my titties / that’s my tool’
The rapper is yet to comment on her rendition of his single which is number one in the US
She even mimicked his final running scene where she is chased by men and woman alike
The chilling scene in Gambino’s music video stunned viewers who thought it paid homage to Jordan Peele’s film Get Out
She closes out the video with the quote ‘If I were a guy, would wouldn’t be asking yourself, ‘I wonder who wrote that?”
The video did not sit well with many viewers.
Arbour has also disabled the comments on her video.
One commenter critiqued the video saying it discredits the message Gambino worked so hard to achieve.
‘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,’ one user said.
Another added that it was a mistake for her to rewrite Gambino’s black message.
‘Nicole Arbour’s ‘This is America’ parody is proof white people think black pain & oppression is funny. They’re constantly joking about things they dont experience because they lack empathy. They laugh at our pain & deny our oppression, while stealin our culture for money. #Evil’ one person said.
‘The Women’s Edit for This is American is dumb and I can’t take it seriously for a number of reasons…You can’t open up a commentary, then disable people’s ability to comment on it without seeming hypocritical. That’s what earned it my thumbs down,’ another added.
‘I’m sorry, but absolutely not. Get out of here with this mess. We seriously can’t have anything or take anything seriously. Stop aligning Black plight with white feminism. Stop cheapening black art and creativity. Just stop,’ one Twitter user wrote.
‘I accidentally watched the This Is America (Women’s Edit) video and now I’m going to go to bed and hope that I wake up tomorrow and it was all a bad bad dream,’ another said.
‘Who gave them the green light?’ another added.
One Twitter user posted this image to show Arbour invaded a black space with the video
Twitter users were quick to fire back against her parody saying it was stealing black culture
One angry user wrote: ‘Stop aligning Black plight with white feminism…Just stop’
One person wished the video was just a bad dream after seeing Arbour’s feminist rendition
She has since responded to the backlash with the above statement shared on Twitter
Despite the backlash Arbour has responded to criticsm by saying the purpose of the video was to express ‘my and many women’s life experiences and truths’.
‘It was created with every intention of bringing a light to women’s experiences such as the shaming of mothers breast feeding, common place date rape drugging, the labels put on us of ‘prude or hoe,’ pressures to create a family, workplace harassment, the glass ceiling, drug dependency, effects of social media on modern relationships and self, and included a nod to the cheerleaders who have come forward demanding at least min wage from the multi million dollar corporations they work for,’ she said.
‘It was a tongue in cheek way to give additional glory to what I believe is the most impactful piece of art in recent years,’ she added.
However she admitted to understanding why her piece turned out to be so controversial.
‘In retrospect, due to the sensitive nature of the original, I understand why some people are wrongly portraying this as white vs black. However, this was not the intent or theme at all,’ she said in a statement posted on the video and on social media.
This isn’t the first time the Youtuber has sparked controversy.
On May 4 she angered Twitter users by writing: ‘I’m so sick of people mad at slavery. It’s the past, we weren’t there. We didn’t do it. But what we CAN do is fix our economic slavery. Focus on the now’.
In 2015 she also made headlines when her ex-boyfriend fellow YouTube star Matthew Santoro claimed she abused him.