is it right that drake’s 20 minute film epic basically just glamorises guns and violence?
He also encourages his girlfriend to sell her body for sex, and doesn’t really seem to care when she is murdered. Please Forgive Me is a gangster epic, but rather than repeating genre tropes, should we expect more from our musical heroes in 2016?
Drake has been teasing Please Forgive Me, his Lemonade-style short-film-slash-multiple-music-video epic for a few months, and it just dropped exclusively on Apple Music. But where Lemonade delivered a powerful political and feminist message about black womanhood, racism in America, friendship, family, love and independence, unfortunately Drake's film basically involves glamorising guns, gangs and violence. He encourages his girlfriend (Belgian actor Fanny Neguesha) to sell her body for money -- money which he ends up in possession of -- and then seems pretty pleased with himself and the violence he has wreaked, totally unconcerned with her eventual, nigh-on inevitable murder.
Nuts and bolts wise, the film was directed by frequent Rihanna collaborator Anthony Mandler and shot in Johannesburg, with Popcaan appearing as a member of Drake's crew. It includes full, gun-free music videos for hits Controlla and One Dance, the latter of which is an awesome open air party that features the British singer Kyla Reid -- it does get broken up by a gangster shooting a machine gun, though perhaps that will be cut from the single edit. Other tracks featured include Hype, Views, 9, the Summer's Over Interlude, and original music by 40 (Noah Shebib).
It's a gangster epic, but where Rihanna's Bitch Better Have My Money flipped the genre on it's head, by positioning the rich white man as the 'bitch' in the song, and playing out a strange kind of sisterhood between both the women who had been done wrong by him, Drake's film pretty much fits the script exactly, with women being disposable, and the most violent man winning out. There's no reason to hold Drake, as a black man, to any higher account than anyone else with regard to glamorising guns, but coming from any artist in the current climate of gun violence and senseless loss of black lives this video would feel out of step with the times. We'll just wait for the Controlla and One Dance edits to hit Youtube.
Text Charlotte Gush