The show went completely virtual for the very first time due to concerns within the coronavirus, which has closed down important film, TV and music productions and pressured award displays to reassess the way and when they’ll air. Amid a night of impressive pre-taped performances, DaBaby and Roddy Ricch debuted a rendition of”Rockstar” that sparked both praise and backlash from audiences.
The music video opens with DaBaby laying flat on the floor with what seems to be a white police officer kneeling on his throat. The image was an obvious reference to Floyd, who died in police custody May 25 in Minneapolis. A video of the episode sparked nationwide protests against police brutality, specifically inside the black community, after it revealed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes as Floyd yells”I cannot breathe” and”do not kill me” prior to losing consciousness. He was later declared dead.
The rest of DaBaby’s video shows the artist acting atop a burning police car surrounded by masked protesters wearing shirts which read”Black Lives Matter,””I’m George Floyd” and much more. Parts of the video show police in riot gear clashing with protesters as DaBaby and Ricch work amidst the chaos.
The powerful images culminate with a young girl walking to the camera while holding up a indication that reads”More Love.” As she walks, music from a viral 2016 speech made by then-9-year-old Zianna Oliphant at a Charlotte City Council meeting about police brutality starts to playwith.
“We’re Black men and women, and we should not have to feel like that,” Oliphant’s states in the video. “We should not need to protest sincey’all are treating us wrong. We do so because we will need to. It is a shame our fathers and mothers are killed and we can not even see them .”
Many were quick to praise the performance for its strong, albeit contentious imagery.
However, others made sure to be aware that DaBaby previously captured backlash because of his response to criticism that he stayed silent in the aftermath of Floyd’s departure, while other artists were creating bold public statements against police brutality and systemic racism.
“I always sit back and let the hype blow over before I give my comprehension so my view don’t get confused with all of the ppl who only speak for likes & comments, or to save face, or because their PR department, tag, or management told em they should make a statement…” DaBaby tweeted at the moment.
“I cant think dababy said allow me reenact george floyd’s departure after tweeting he did not have anything to say about the entire matter and that he had been waiting until the”hype” died down,” a fourth person surrendered .