Arbor dubbed her version, the “Women’s Edit” and was promptly slammed for co-opting a work which examined the black experience in America, with many calling her video “a white women’s edit.”
“This is not a women’s edit,” wrote one social media user. “This is a WHITE womans edit. If you cannot see the difference, you’re a s— feminist and a hack.”
“You truly didn’t understand ‘This Is America’ if your thought process was let me make a WHITE women’s edit version,” another Twitter user wrote to Arbour. “Please delete and apologize for this atrocity.”
Arbour, who disabled the video’s comments, has since issued “not an apology” but rather an explanation for the “purpose of [her] rendition.”
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“I thought it best to respond to the misinterpretation of my video here to clarify openly,” she wrote. “The purpose of my rendition was to honor the spirit of the video which absolutely moved me, by adding my and many women’s life experiences and truths to the brave and brutal truths expressed in the original.”
Continued Arbour: “It was created with every intention of bringing a light to women’s experiences such as the shaming of mothers breast feeding, common place date rape drugging, the labels put on us of ‘prude or hoe,’ pressures to create a family, workplace harassment, the glass ceiling, drug dependency, effects of social media on modern relationships and self, and included a nod to the cheerleaders who have come forward demanding at least min wage from the multi million dollar corporations they work for.”
Arbour went on to say that the video “was a thought in cheek to give additional glory to what I believe is the most impactful piece of art in recent years.”
She added: “In retrospect, due to the sensitive nature of the original, I understand why some people are wrongly portraying this as white vs black. However, this was not the intent or theme at all. We had a very diverse cast and creative team working on project from start to finish, who signed on to honor the original while adding more truth from another perspective.”
“(Not an apology, but a clarification) #GOTEAM 👊🏻❤🤘🏻” Arbour captioned her explanation on Instagram Monday.
The video has been hailed as one of greatest social commentaries in music’s recent history commenting on race relations, the black experience in America, police brutality, the monetization of the church and gun violence to name just a few.
At the beginning of the original video, Glover shoots a man in the back of the head — the gun is then handled with care as the body is dragged away.
“This is America. Don’t catch you slippin’ up,” he sings. “Don’t catch you slippin’ up. Look what I’m whippin’ up.”
Meanwhile, Arbour’s rendition starts off with a woman sitting in a chair breastfeeding as the YouTube star pulls out her cell phone and takes a picture of the woman. Later in the video, another woman is seen taking what appears to be pills as Arbour sings, “This is America. Smile for the camera. Come on girl, where’s your teeth? That pill will take care of ya.”
This isn’t the first time Arbour has faced backlash for one of her YouTube videos.
In September 2015, Arbour posted a “Dear Fat People” video on social media and YouTube in which she says that “fat-shaming is not a thing,” claiming obese people should be shamed into losing weight and compares people who are overweight to slow-moving zombies and Frankenstein’s monster.
“That video was made to offend people, just the way I do with all my other videos,” Arbour said during an appearance on The View not too long after the video was shared. “It’s just satire, it’s just being silly. I’m just having a bit of fun, and that’s what we did.”
She continued: “That topic was actually voted in by fans, some of whom are fat. They’re like, ‘You can’t make fun of some people and not make fun of me too.’”