It seems Drake is attempting to brand himself as socially conscious in his latest music videos.
Back in February, he released a clip for “God’s Plan” in which he is portrayed as a sort of Robin Hood character, giving huge wads of cash to people living in impoverished neighborhoods. Its message was somewhat dubious – the overwhelming self-promotion, declaring himself to be a gift from God, and Drake’s distracting display of wealth detracted from the real issues surrounding poverty. Though created in good conscience to spotlight and support impoverished communities, it juxtaposed the real struggles of its subjects with Drake’s perceived might and glory and rubbed many the wrong way.
But his latest video, for single “Nice For What,” gives us renewed faith in Drake as he takes a step back, and stands (for once) in the shadows of some of Hollywood’s most powerful women. It’s about time the hip-hop community made stronger statements in alignment with the feminist movement, given the genre’s history as one that birthed the term “video hoes,” and Drake leads the vanguard here. Featuring Issa Rae from HBO’s Insecure, Letitia Wright from Black Panther, Tracee Ellis Ross from the comedy series Black-ish, and other women dominating in Hollywood, “Nice For What” is a truly refreshing visual representation of the strength in today’s modern women.
The woman behind the lens is just as impressive as those in front of the camera. Bringing her cinematic style to the creation of Drake’s latest release, 22-year-old Karena Evans is quickly becoming a super star director. Her own female gaze captures the true willpower in these women who have fought so hard to be at the top. The song itself pays homage to the women who made a name for themselves in male-dominated industries decades before women’s marches and #metoo movements, all while celebrating another female bad-ass by sampling Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor.”
“Step up, step back” is a common phrased used in communities of activists. It is meant to signify the need for those in power to step back, to make space for those who don’t normally get the spotlight. “Nice For What” is a long-awaited moment where Drake actually heeds that mantra, using his platform to raise up other artists.
Ahead of her upcoming album Dirty Computer, set to be released on April 27, Janelle Monáe she teams up with Grimes and Tessa Thompson, who was also seen in Monae’s “Make Me Feel” clip. The video for “Pynk” utilizes feminist imagery – from pussy pants to “Grabs Back” underwear – to help Monae make a strong artistic statement.
Brooklyn performance artist and poet Nova Zef turns to her eclectic dance community to create this visually inspiring story. The video is a beautiful, movement-based piece, where bodies set in motion the poetics of Nova Zef’s latest single “Removed.”
Follow Hop Along frontwoman Frances Quinlan’s morning routine in the video for “How Simple;” this fun and emotionally light video will make you feel like jumping out of the right side of the bed.