Vic Mensa shared a lyric video today for his song “We Could Be Free” featuring Ty Dolla Sign. The political visual juxtaposes footage from Palestine with images from the protests in Charlottesville, Ferguson, and Standing Rock. “I wanted to make a video to show solidarity with people struggling against oppression all over the world,” Mensa stated. “I took scenes from the military occupation of a village I visited in Palestine and juxtaposed them with racial violence in America to show how similar our struggles are and imagine a world without division.”
The Chicago rapper has never been one to shy away from political messages, even before the 2016 presidential election. His song “16 Shots” and its video speak on the epidemic of police brutality and violence against unarmed black men, specifically referring to the murder of Laquan McDonald by Chicago police in 2015. Mensa also went to Standing Rock in November 2016 to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL, because of its violation of Native American land rights. Footage of Standing Rock appears at the end of the “We Could Be Free” video.
This video and its violent images of Palestine come at an especially turbulent time for the region, since President Trump declared last week that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel. The announcement is controversial for a number of reasons, and set back decades of peace talks over the disputed territory. The visual puts images of occupation in Palestine next to footage of the tragedy in Charlottesville, when a car drove into a crowd of peaceful protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer back in August.
After the song ends, Mensa closes the video with footage of Janna Jihad, an 11-year-old journalist from Palestine, singing about her hope for Palestine’s freedom.