We all remember Pharrell Williams’ famous gaffe about the “New Black” person during his interview with Oprah back in 2014, right? “The New Black doesn’t blame other races for our issues,” the Neptunes producer told her as collective jaws dropped across the country. Society is geared against us no matter who we may blame or how we may dress, and Bronx MC/activist Kemba (fka YC The Cynic) staunchly fights against that logic in his video for “New Black Theory.”
The video, which he co-directed with Sense Hernandez, takes a Groundhog Day-like approach toward perceptions of Black people on the street. The protagonist blankly stares at a TV screen featuring footage of Fox News columnist Geraldo Rivera labelling dark-skinned people in hoodies as wannabe gangsters; he then walks out of his house, once in a corduroy jacket, once in a blazer, and once in a hoodie, and is stopped and frisked by undercover 5-0 all three times. It’s more abundantly clear than ever that we’re trapped in a box of someone else’s creation, and the proof of bloodshed is all-consuming.
Check out the visuals below and keep an eye out for Kemba’s full-length album Negus dropping on July 22.