Mykki Blanco's new video addresses anti-refugee racism by queering 'Romeo & Juliet'

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Mykki Blanco queers the narrative of Romeo & Juliet in her new music video for "High School Never Ends," replacing "fair Verona" with the German countryside and the play's "ancient grudge" with racism and homophobia.

In a statement to Pitchfork, the American rapper said that she was inspired to create a video touching on othering, marginalization, and violence after witnessing, firsthand, the rise of far-right nationalist sentiment amid the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe.


"I have been living in Europe off and on since 2012 when my career began because audiences seem to accept and acknowledge my creative work there on a larger scale," the statement to Pitchfork reads. "I've seen Europe change, I have seen the surface of acceptance and the novelty of my brown skin become a frown in the public square…a cashier telling me to 'Go Back to My Own Country'… This story is about outsiders, forbidden love…when the Far Left & the Far Right are willing to go to any extreme to prevail in their truth."

The gorgeously depressing "High School Never Ends" video, directed by Matt Lambert and produced by Iconoclast in collaboration with The FADER and !K7, is easily the most cinematic effort we've seen from Blanco yet. I have some mixed feelings about the "queer people must die" trope at play in the clip's narrative, but it's comforting to know that an actual queer person—and not, like, Hozier—is the one telling that story here.

"High School Never Ends," featuring and produced by Woodkid, is the lead single off of Blanco's debut full-length album. During an interview about the conversation surrounding #GayMediaSoWhite back in March, the musician told me that the album was titled Mykki and that it would be released in September—although, obviously, all that could have changed since then. I reached out to Blanco for comment on this story, and I'll update if I hear back.

Bad at filling out bios seeks same.

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