The Grammy’s have come and gone to wherever irrelevant things go when they die, but LA-collective The Internet – drummer Christopher Allan Smith, keyboardist Jameel Bruner, guitarist Steve Lacy, producer Matt Martians, bassist Patrick Paige II, frontwoman Syd the Kyd – have just dropped a new video from their Grammy nominated album Ego Death. Nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album, they lost to the Weekend’s Beauty Behind the Madness.
Their new clip “Special Affair/Curse” is, as the name suggests, two different clips for two different tracks, tied together. It’s the first one, though, that warrants attention. It’s a straightforward music video party setting in many ways. The band lip synchs and pantomimes to a prerecorded track while pretty girls and cool dudes dance and drink around them at a house party. What makes the clip stand out, though, is the way it nestles inside California dreamin’ ethos: the mood is chill, the groove is chiller. But the clip rewrites classic Beach Boys and Mamas and Papas mythos and visual iconography. These are young black and brown bodies existing in community, with an out young black lesbian (singing explicitly to her girl) as the central figure, as the organizing principle around which everything else orbits. This isn’t the first time The Internet has used such a scenario, but it continues to be a softly revolutionary thing.
The clip drops as Donald Trump continues his once unthinkable march toward the White House – with his feeding frenzy campaign stops resulting in black bodies assaulted, reporters assaulted, Islam and Mexicans insulted. The racism on full display has shocked, shocked white media “experts” and large swaths of “progressive” white folks who have clearly lived at a huge disconnect from the America the rest of us live in. And yet, in the midst of the insanity and grim prospects for the future, this clip exists. That’s not a small thing.