This video for Kid Cudi’s song Day n’ Nite was pointed out to me by a recent blog post from my favorite cousin Cat in San Diego. I know we’re family because we both have mad love for Kid Cudi. I had no idea a video had actually been produced for Day n’ Nite (I was under the impression that Heaven at Night was going to be his first video).
As Latinos and Chicanos we have enough drama defining ourselves under those names without further complicating things with terms like “Post” added to the mix. It’s yet to be seen if the idea of Post-Race Art will make it out of its infancy or simply come and go as a fashion trend but the dialogue over its validity has kept me transfixed for the last couple of years.
What makes the images of Raza in Day n’ Nite Post-Latino is that they present images of Latinos that aren’t dependent on any performance of race. This is an almost impossible dynamic to pull off in the mainstream media, Latinos that are semiotically apparent (their appearance, signs in Spanish, the aesthetics of the murals and store interiors) but without the usual tropes, stereotypes, and actions. Compare the images of Brown people in the Day n’ Nite video to recent videos by Beck and Gwen Stefani. Nobody is beating you over the head saying “These are Latinos!” There’s nary a mariachi band, Quinceañera, or cholo in Day n’ Nite. It’s the difference between “Being” and “Portraying”; the difference between an interesting setting and cultural tourism.
Kid Cudi is from Cleveland and the Director, So Me, is based in France so I’m more than a little curious as to where the inspiration for the video’s setting came from. Were the depictions of race by design or unintentional? Is Day n’ Nite a sign of things to come or the result of a unique vision? We shall see in the future.
I think this is the third blog in the last couple of months where I’ve mentioned Kid Cudi. I truly believe he is the next big thing and a creative visionary in mainstream music. As I’ve said before Kid Cudi’s free mixtape Plain Pat + Emile presents: “a KID named CUDI” was my favorite album of 2008 and you can download it at http://www.zshare.net/download/1549107772aa93ea/
What does everyone think? I’m calling out all my usual conversation partners on post-race art and identity: Rocky, Mariela, Cindylu, and Richard. Is this the real deal or am I just overly excited to see images of Latinos that simply aren’t embarrassing minstrel shows?