A white YouTuber has invited backlash by making controversial comments regarding slavery, after the release of her new video. Her ‘women’s edit’ of Childish Gambino’s This is America, has come under fire for trying to co-opt the original video’s message of what it means to be a person of color in America.
A week before the release of her controversial video, Arbour posted a tweet regarding slavery which caused some serious backlash. She said, “I’m so sick of people mad at slavery. It’s the past, we weren’t there. We didn’t do it. But what we CAN do is fix economic slavery. Focus of the now.”
People were quick to point out the racism in her statement, following which she deleted her tweet. A Twitter user posted a screenshot of the tweet, commenting, “such empathy. much understanding“. In response to this, Arbour jumped in to defend herself saying, “Oh I mean this. It’s misdirected energy.”
Although, Nicole Arbour is now calling her video a ‘parody’, people are doubtful over the point of the YouTuber’s originally termed ‘women’s edit’ of ‘This is America’. The 32-year-old claimed that she was trying to bring light to women’s experiences such as breast feeding in public, date rape and workplace harassment, however the message has fallen on deaf ears. Fans are livid over the co-option of Childish Gambino’s epic video which carries a message of the experiences of black people in America, gun violence and other serious problems.
People are trying to make Arbour understand the error of her ways, but by issuing a clarification rather than an apology, the white YouTuber has made it clear that in her opinion she was not in the wrong.
One Twitter user spoke about how the original This is America song and video is the ‘all lives matter of songs’ (a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement).
It was funny when Blurred Lines was redone by women, that was true parody, as it was critical and contrary to the original piece.
This is co-opting someone else’s struggle
This is the “all lives matter” of songs
— Rogue B (@downriver_b) May 13, 2018
Others have formed memes about the video, trying to show Arbour that co-opting a black man’s message with a white feminist re-take is not ok.
— Nikki: Agent of N.E.E.R.A. 🇨🇺🇬🇭🇳🇬🇫🇷🇨🇮 (@PlanchatCubana) May 13, 2018
Others were furious over the fact that Arbour is co-opting African-American culture. Users also pointed out that although the messages that Arbour tries to get across in her song are important, the way she used to do it was not.
There is general consensus over the fact that coopting someone else’s work of art, specially one so powerful, was a bad move on Arbour’s part. Her ‘lazy approach’ to highlighting important issues was not appreciated by people out there.
Naw when you take something we create to bring focus to those innocent people shot and make a parody that means you need to refocus and stop fuck gentrifying our culture.
— Aaron Picasso (@BigLilAaron) May 16, 2018
Girl! This was not the appropriate platform for a message of feminism. Be original and make your own message. Equality of the sexes is very important but so was @donaldglover ‘s poignant message…so don’t play off of him.
— No_Time_4_BS (@JacklynnsBoo) May 16, 2018
Bringing attention to a legitimate issue that continues to affect women is commendable, however, your approach was creatively lazy. Take the time to create original content that doesn’t rely on someone else’s work to make an impact.
— Indy (@India_Moye) May 16, 2018
Since the negative backlash, Arbour has turned off comments on her YouTube video. In her clarification message, she urged everyone to make their own versions of the ‘This is America’ song and video, a piece of art she says she was greatly inspired by.