War & Leisure, the fourth studio album from singer Miguel, which dropped on Dec. 1, is some of the artist’s most overtly political and woke music.
On the last track, “Now,” he throws shade at President Donald Trump: “CEO of the free world now, build your walls up high and wide / Make it rain to keep them out / That won’t change what we are inside.” He ups the ante in the music video by exposing the harsh reality of immigration detention centers.
Filmed in Adelanto, California, which hosts the largest such detention center in the state, the video follows Miguel as he visits the controversial site, talks to former prisoners and performs at a nearby concert presented by Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement.
Back in October, the singer of Mexican and African descent participated in a protest with other immigrants’ rights advocates in front of the Adelanto detention center. Miguel revealed to Billboard on Nov. 2 that his conversations with immigrants affected by Trump’s policies appear in the finished video. “This whole system is built on isolation,” one woman says in a clip, “so we have to do our best to shine a light on it and build a community and build power together.”
“They call them ‘detention centers,’ but they’re really jails,” Miguel told Billboard. “You start to see the real reason behind innocent people’s lives being ruined — it’s just money. The corporations are getting money from cheap labor, essentially.”
The debut of “Now” reflects the 32-year-old’s recent efforts to connect with his Mexican roots. The artist traveled to Michoacán in Western Mexico in June for a series titled Earthworks, presented by Live Nation and ViceLand, where he learned about his family’s home country and culture. “Before [my Latin heritage] wasn’t really a big part of my life — that trip to Mexico really changed it for me,” he said. “It made me want to make music that gave me a reason to go back.”