Kerby Jean-Raymond directed the exploratory visual.
Wale has unveiled his new music video “Sue Me” featuring the rapper alongside rising actor Lucas Hedge.
Kerby Jean-Raymond, founder of Pyer Moss directed the exploratory video that reimagines New York City if racism were flipped entirely on its head. White Americans experience emotional moments of discrimination and conflict throughout the clip. Billboard ads and subway ads provide a bit of a twisted experience as they point to this alternate world.
One moment that stands out includes two white men being forced out of a Starbucks for simply sitting and chatting. This is a clear reenactment of the arrest of two black men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson in Philadelphia at a Starbucks who experienced a moment of bigotry and racism. Similar to the video, there wasn’t a moment where they could express why they were waiting in the coffee shop.
Another emotionally riveting scene in the clip includes Hedge meeting with his father who is incarcerated. During his visits, it’s clear that the two of them relish in having the ability to play chess. But during this visit behind bars, Hedge feels it’s important to share that he’s aware of something new that allows minor drug offenders to potentially be released early. Yet his father isn’t responsive to as he shares plainly, “There is no hope for people who look like us.”
To top off the video, it ends with an inmate at an undisclosed prison or jail sharing what his experiences have been as COVID-19 has hit where he’s serving time. This is spot on as cases of the deadly virus have exploded nationwide. Here in New York, Rikers currently is facing dire conditions as countless inmates feel unsafe. According to Slate, as of Monday morning, 356 people incarcerated in NYC jails and 783 staff members tested positive for COVID-19.
If anything, we’re wondering if this short film will allow White Americans to look racism squarely in the face. Jean-Raymond provided an accurate portrayal of the grief, remorse and outlook on life that many African Americans face on a daily basis.
When speaking on the video with Complex, Wale shared he wanted to show what it was like walking through a day in the life of an average African American man. He also added he’d like for the video to make people think a little.
Watch Wale’s “Sue Me” music video featuring Kelly Price below.
Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind @robyn_mowatt.