People hate Hamilton's Nicole Arbour's version of Childish Gambino's This is America hit
Backlash swells for Nicole Arbour's 'whitewashing' of immensely popular video
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.
Yep. This is America alright. Black person creates then it’s appropriated.—@andiosho
Me calling the police on Nicole Arbour for abusing my eyes and ears with that underseasoned Kirkland brand ass “This is America” travesty she made. White woman have so much in this world, yet somehow shame isn’t one of them. Y’all have to chill. Get y’all girl. <a href="https://t.co/4F6IaqLAsp">pic.twitter.com/4F6IaqLAsp</a>—@DewaynePerkins
It's amazing to me how obtuse <a href="https://twitter.com/NicoleArbour?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NicoleArbour</a> is about criticism for her appropriation of the This Is America video. Girl. It's not necessarily that you made a lady version. It's that you took something about the black experience and made it about you.—@megacts
Me reacting to Nicole Arbour’s remake of “This Is America” <a href="https://t.co/SYZgBsPrsW">pic.twitter.com/SYZgBsPrsW</a>—@justyourcupofjo
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.
A message about the misinterpretation of my <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThisIsAmerica?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThisIsAmerica</a> Women’s Edit... <a href="https://t.co/tRH0McxzD1">pic.twitter.com/tRH0McxzD1</a>—@NicoleArbour
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:
I don’t understand the backlash for your “This Is America” video. People can’t handle the truth?? The changes happening need people like you to keep pushing it further and further. I say <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/girlpower?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#girlpower</a> !!!—@Aysawol5
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.