Feministing Jamz Video of the Week: American Oxygen by Rihanna

Rihanna just released her new video for her latest single, American Oxygen, and OMG y’all: it’s about state violence.

The video shows footage of modern protests from Occupy to Ferguson, historical protest footage, as well as footage of ways different communities of color are struggling in the United States. She shows us the ways communities of color are struggling in this country — immigrant communities, black communities, etc. — along with the ways we are resisting. And I have to say, I find that very exciting in the video of a mainstream pop artist. Interspersed with footage of the flag, the stock market, the Financial District in New York City, she’s making clear connections between systems that create wealth and the subjugation of people of color. This is America, Rih seems to be telling us, in case you thought different.

And listen: Rih is rich, obviously. She has many songs about how much she loves that part of her life. We could get into a discussion about what that means in the context of Rihanna being a black immigrant to this country, but I won’t. Suffice it to say: I don’t know what sacrifices Rihanna would be willing to make for justice, or whether she or her team feel like these are visuals that will sell well. In the end, I don’t think that’s what most matters. The connections being made are clear, the conversations that will start among the people that see this video are conversations that need to be had.

#TeamRih forever.


New York, NY

Verónica Bayetti Flores has spent the last years of her life living and breathing reproductive justice. She has led national policy and movement building work on the intersections of immigrants' rights, health care access, young parenthood, and LGBTQ liberation, and has worked to increase access to contraception and abortion, fought for paid sick leave, and demanded access to safe public space for queer youth of color. In 2008 Verónica obtained her Master’s degree in the Sexuality and Health program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She loves cooking, making art, listening to music, and thinking about the ways art forms traditionally seen as feminine are valued and devalued. In addition to writing for Feministing, she is currently spending most of her time doing policy work to reduce the harms of LGBTQ youth of color's interactions with the police and making sure abortion care is accessible to all regardless of their income.

Verónica is a queer immigrant writer, activist, and rabble-rouser.

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