A statistic about the rampant gun violence in America launches Chris Brown’s new video for the single, “Don’t Think They Know,” featuring Aaliyah, who really had no say in the matter given she’s been dead for more than a decade, but I digress. Shortly thereafter that stat, a quote from Breezy himself appears.
It reads: “Unity is what we are afraid of so fear is insanity, let’s love each other.”
“What in the absolute fuck does that mean,” you ask? “The hell if I know,” I say in an elevated voice. It only gets more confusing as the actual live footage shot starts rolling.
When I close my eyes and listen to this song, I would think it was about a couple fed up with other people having something to say about their relationship. As in you think you know how it is between us, but “U.O.E.N.O it.” A continuation of that trite point both he and Rihanna push to the public despite them live-tweeting and Instragramming their relationship, if you will.
Now, when I listen to the song as it rolls in the video, I haven’t a clue as to what’s going on anymore. We get a Boyz In The Hood esque opener and then I see Chris with a bunch of Black men in various gang colors, serving the kind of fake ass thug realness we haven’t seen since 2Pac’s prime. Like, is one of the dudes in the relationship he’s crooning in falsetto about? So it’s a love song dedicated to the trade in his life?
No really, I’m not following.
And if we’re talking about unity and gun violence and needing to bring people together, is this really the most appropriate song to use to send that message? I mean, unless it’s ending in a goon in blue and a thug in red filming a sex tape towards the end to spread thug loving and peace, none of this connects to me.
As if this video weren’t all over the place enough, Chris is dancing in the dark with an image in the background. I suppose it’s a reminder that it’s kind of a big deal to have new Aaliyah vocals featured on a track. But then we see Chris sitting on a stoop with all of the Black youth residing in Southern California.
Oh, and Chris Brown is in a Black hoodie with zombie-inspired contacts.
So it’s stop the gang violence day at the park, but after that Chris had to run to dance rehearsal only it seems like everyone left because he was way too late. Not wanting to completely blow the time booked, Chris does a little pop block and then heads out to see the kids.
Do I have it now?