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Joyner Lucas’ viral ‘I’m Not Racist’ video brings attention to cultural division

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

By Jordan Trice, Studio M staff // 

American rapper and singer-songwriter Joyner Lucas has captivated millions around the world with his latest music video, “I’m Not Racist.” Released Nov. 28, the clip already has 18 million YouTube views and over 34 million on Facebook.

The video contains a Caucasian male wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and an African-American male who share each other’s perceptions and thoughts touching on many sensitive and controversial issues.

Lucas has a history of relaying personal experiences and controversial opinions in past songs and music videos, such as his popular piece “Ross Capicchioni,” in which he discusses betrayal in a series of true events that happened in Detroit, Michigan. The raw, uncut and pure expression and passion that Lucas displays in his works spark genuine interest in his audience that leaves them wanting more. People are reacting strongly to the video, and MTSU students are no exception.

“I think that both sides explain how both groups as a general whole view one another. … I feel that their arguments, however, are both correct and wrong at the same time,” said Brian Morales, a freshman majoring in Political Science at MTSU. “As a minority, I understand the struggle of the African-American population and the stereotypes held against them, but I also see plenty of people in this country that work their whole lives to gain a proper life.”

Morales, who is Hispanic, shared his comments and experiences. “Minorities today do everything they can to do just that, it’s [prosperity] something everyone wants, but society instead chooses to focus on the negatives.”

Lucas expresses a lot of emotion and actual representations of how two sides of the same coin view each other. “I’m not racist, but there’s two sides to every story. and I wish that I knew yours,” is a line that recurs throughout the video. The vivid and expletive-laced presentation only solidifies the seriousness of the issue at hand throughout the duration of the video.

“I think both viewpoints conveyed the exact reason we as two different races have issues coming together as a people, the perceptions develop from our grandparents, parents, media, etc.,” said Darnell Butler, a senior majoring in Business Administration at MTSU. “To us [African-Americans], the white man is out to get us and cops are out to kill us. They’re racist. They hate us, they don’t want us here, however that perception, stigma, stereotype is no more than that. …  Every black man is not a thug, and every white man is not hateful/racist.”

As the video gained views and popularity almost instantaneously upon its release, it has also taken social media by storm.

“You must watch the whole thing. Every second. Everyone.” “I’m Not Racist by Joyner Lucas is the realist video I’ve ever seen. Don’t sleep on his work.”, “I almost cried. Joyner Lucas the GOAT.” Several tweets, shares and comments have been plastered across Twitter and other social media platforms in response to Lucas’ controversial video, as it continues to either encourage others to sit down and think about perspectives, or possibly further increase tensions in America.

“Can’t erase the scars with a bandage, but I’m hoping maybe we can come to an understanding,” Lucas notes in the video.

Joyner Lucas may not be as mainstream as Kanye West, Eminem, Mos Def or any other rapper that confronts everyday problems in America; however, he speaks nothing less than what he truly feels on such topics through visualization and song. A trending hot topic across America, it’s a safe bet to say that this will not be the last piece by Lucas that gets attention.

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