People hate Hamilton's Nicole Arbour's version of Childish Gambino's This is America hit

Controversial YouTuber Nicole Arbour has landed herself in a mess of vitriol once again — this time for a “women’s edit” of Childish Gambino’s full-on cultural phenomenon, This Is America.

Backlash swells for Nicole Arbour's 'whitewashing' of immensely popular video

YouTuber Nicole Arbour is catching intense heat the world over for her "women's edit" of Childish Gambino's "This is America." (Nicole Arbour/YouTube)

Controversial YouTuber Nicole Arbour has landed herself in a mess of vitriol once again — this time for a "women's edit" of Childish Gambino's full-on cultural phenomenon, This Is America.

Donald Glover released the original track under the Gambino moniker alongside its accompanying ultra-provocative video on May 5, and it has since racked up almost 136 million views on YouTube.

The video launched thousands of think pieces, as critics and audiences debate its intricacies and commentary on the experience of black people in the U.S., alongside a backdrop of intense violence.

WARNING: Video contains graphic material

Arbour — who is originally from Hamilton — released her own take on Glover's video a few days ago. She swaps out social commentary on African-American issues for women's issues.

The response has not been kind.

Critics have accused her of cultural appropriation — as a white woman from Canada essentially gentrifying a song and video that is so intrinsically linked to what it's like for black people to live in America.

Arbour since released her own statement about the issue, saying the purpose of her video was to "honour the spirit" of a video that "moved" her.

"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 dependence, 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 wrote.

She goes on to say that given the "sensitive nature" of the original, she understands why "some people are wrongly portraying this as white vs black."

Some of Arbour's responses to comments have been screen grabbed and widely shared, including one in which she says, "black women tears everywhere" and another where she says she is "sick of people mad at slavery."

Arbour says her "cheeky responses to hateful comments have been taken out of context."

Some are still defending Arbour's video:

This is far from the first time that Arbour's videos have landed her at the centre of controversy.

Back in 2015, she posted a video called Dear Fat People on Facebook and YouTube, in which she says fat people should be shamed until they lose weight. It was met with similar outrage.

adam.carter@cbc.ca

About the Author

Adam Carter

Reporter, CBC Hamilton

Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Hamilton home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music in dank bars. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.

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