wale and kerby jean-raymond tackle race, class, and covid-19 in “sue me” short film

April 22, 2020
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What if white people were treated the way black people are in our society? The powerful new short film for “Sue Me,” Wale’s single about race, class, and personal insecurity featuring Kelly Price, explores this hypothetical to bring into sharper focus the inequities of America—which have become more and more pronounced in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis.

Directed by Pyer Moss’s Kerby Jean -Raymond and co-written Jean-Raymond and Cameron Robert, the video stars Lucas Hedges of Netflix’s Ozark as a young person-not-of-color in this imaginary bizarro world.

Hedges’s character goes through a day in the life in which his race and class define his experience: waking up in a single-parent home in the projects, being bombarded subliminally anti-white messages in advertising and news media, facing discrimination and police violence in a coffee shop and finally a visit to his incarcerated father who explains to him that no matter what “they” say the deck is stacked against them and their kind.

The seven-minute short film then goes from fantasy to reality as it ends with a real-life video of a black inmate talking about how the Coronavirus crisis is a death sentence for prisoners like himself. The cellphone video draws attention to the fact that the CARES Act — ostensibly meant to reduce the numbers of inmates in federal prison to stop the spread of COVID-19 –isn’t getting inmates like himself home detention because at the end of the day business is business when it comes to carceral capitalism.