In 2017 at the Emmy Awards, Issa Rae was asked who she was rooting for and she said, "I'm rooting for everybody Black." This line has lived in infamy since she spoke it and people everywhere have been speaking it.
One of the most pro-Black rappers of our time, Wale has included the line in his new single, Sue Me featuring Kelly Price from his most recent album, Wow, That's Crazy which was released in October 2019. The chorus says, "Sue me, I'm rootin' for everybody that's black," a powerful statement that we can now hear even more thanks to the songs success. To add, Wale released a video for the song directed by Kerby-Jean Raymond, Pyer Moss' founder and designer exactly a week ago from today.
The video, which is actually being promoted as a short film is just over 8 minutes and length and is pure Black magic. It depicts the a bias -reversed society. The video shows a world where white people aren't integrated fully and are targeted throughout all areas of their life, while Black people are shown as the token race, appearing as the face of government, police, oatmeal, and as Jesus. The mayor of the city is even named "Mayor Blackberg" in the short film as a play on Michael Bloomberg, New York City's actual mayor.
Kerby Jean-Raymond gives us a few real world examples in the film on how life is unfair, but just switches the images from white superiority to Black. There's a newspaper in the film that says, "Mayor Blackberg Declares Victory in White Community," the following excerpts show two real articles from Citylab, which depict modern gentrification in the real, white-dominated world. Also featured is a mocked-up paper showing the Central Park Five as white teenagers, instead of the Black ones who were falsely accused.
There is a scene in the film when the main character who is a white man is abused in a Morebucks coffee shop (a play on the very white Starbucks), as Black customers watch the abuse take place. Wale is shown "filming" the incident from his iPhone, but is actually showing the scene's inspiration which was a dramatic reenactment of the real-life incident where two Black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks for being there without making a purchase.
In one of the last scenes of the film, the main character goes to visit his white dad in jail to tell him about updates the justice system has made for "people like us" and he can get out. His dad replies, "we are not all the same and there is no hope for people that look like us." This pulls on the heart strings because in reality so many Black people go through this.
The video ends with a clip from Aaron Deshawn Campbell, an inmate at the Elkton Federal Prison in Ohio explaining the terrible living conditions the inmates have to deal with and they are"left to die." At the prison there have been 52 inmates and 48 employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. Campbell says, “I got less than a year left, I don’t want to die in this b*tch.” Following the video's release on April 22nd at 2:02 pm, a federal judge ordered that Elkton identify their medically vulnerable prisoners and transfer them out of the facility by the following day. This was a result of a petition from the American Civil Liberties Union.
We were left speechless from the short film and if you haven't seen this powerful film, check it out here. Once you do, watch it again and share with your friends and family. Great job Wale and Kerby! Excellent imagery and storytelling in this one!