rihanna gets political in new video for ‘american oxygen’

The song’s visuals reference everything from the civil rights movement to 9/11 and Ferguson.

by i-D Staff and Alice Newell-Hanson
16 April 2015, 7:25pm

Ri has finally given the people (who are not willing to pay $19.99 a month for TIDAL) what they want. The video for her song, American Oxygen is now available on Youtube, after a week-long embargo placed by Jay-Z's subscribers-only streaming service. It features Ri dancing Madonna-style in front of a giant American flag, and a montage of scenes from American history, including footage from the recent riots in Ferguson and the Civil Rights Movement and touching on 9/11, the moon landings and Occupy Wall Street in between.

Ri has said that the tracks from her upcoming album, R8, are intended to be "soulful" and "heartfelt." And American Oxygen is her own angsty but hopeful critique of the American Dream. The song's co-writer Sam Harris told Billboard he was inspired by Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA: "He really gets it. He gets that there's pride to living here in this country. This country is great [...] but there are a lot of problems that we don't acknowledge and it's important to shed light on both those things."

In the video, Ri too gives serious Springsteen vibes, rocking classic Boss getup: white T-shirt, jeans, bandana (hers woven through her belt loops). 

new video
American Oxygen