At midnight Friday, the new group 93PUNX, an alternative rock/rap outfit fronted by Chicago artist Vic Mensa, will release the music video for their debut single “Camp America.”
And boy, is it provocative.
The video depicts white children in orange jumpsuits gleefully rejoicing as they’re being tortured and held in cages, with Mensa rapping, “We’ll be living it up, not giving a fuck / Splitting you up, then we put you in cuffs / Then we shipping you off / Yeah, you could get lost at Camp America.”
It ends with a message in white type against a black background: “There are over 13,000 immigrant children in U.S. custody today. What if it was your kid?”
“The song’s lyrics were inspired by ICE director Matthew Albence comparing the immigration detention centers to summer camps,” Mensa tells The Daily Beast. “I thought that was a crazy fucking idea and wanted to create a world with this song that imagined that twisted alternate reality, where it was fun for kids to be held as prisoners, drinking out of toilets, away from their parents, and somehow enjoy it like one might at a summer camp.”
You can watch the video here prior to its midnight premiere, exclusively at The Daily Beast:
According to Mensa, the moment he wrote the song he envisioned the way the video would play out. “My intention for using white kids as opposed to minority children is to point out the blatantly obvious fact that this would never happen to white kids in this country or maybe anywhere on this earth,” he explains. “Although the nature of the actions the kids were involved in were graphic or shocking, it was all taken from actual occurrences reported at ‘detention’ centers.”
The musician goes on to reassure viewers that, “All of the children’s parents were present and the children were really smart and understood the political statement being made—they wanted to be a part of it. Nothing about this is about shaming white children; it’s about showing that this simply would never happen to white children.”
“The science has shown that early childhood trauma (like being ripped from your mother’s arms) has devastating effects on the development of a child,” he adds. “That’s why I made the song.”
Readers can chat with Vic Mensa about the video for 93PUNX’s “Camp America” right here beginning at 11:30 p.m. EST.