Rihanna’s latest hit single “American Oxygen” and its music video have not only been praised by American’s for its catchy tune, but also its embedded messages on Immigration and the connection to the American Dream. For starters, one of the most interesting details about “American Oxygen” is that Rihanna herself is an Immigrant. The singer was born on the island country of Barbados, and only came stateside in late 2003, after being discovered by the American songwriter and record producer Evan Rogers. So the song lyrics contain a number of messages relating to that immigrant story: is very much an immigrant’s story:
“Oh say can you see, this American dream?…..Young girl hustlin’…..On the other side of the ocean……You can be anything at all…..In America, America……I say, can’t see………..Just close your eyes and breathe.”
The Video is laced with American themed backdrops, the singer strikes poses against a striped and star-spangled backdrop, intercut with archived footage of president Obama’s inauguration, a football game, Occupy Wall Street protests, the smoking Twin Towers, Martin Luther King Jr.’s open casket, and screaming Beatlemaniacs. The accompanying imagery contains heavy themes on Immigration and the long hard journey many immigrants are faced with today to realize the American Dream . A number of men, presumably migrant farmers, sit atop the roof a moving train as it cuts through dusty scrubland. Cuban refugees cling to a pair of inflatable rafts, bobbing in a choppy sea. A trio of Mexican men skirt the bank of the Rio Grande. A border guard aggressively pulls another out of the water. Dark masses of people disembark from ships docked at Ellis Island. And then there is Rihanna wearing a parachute. Blasted with gusts of wind, she inhales this “American oxygen.” The same air fills the parachute behind her, and as it billows out, she finds herself unable to move forward. She falls to the ground fighting the drag. This highlights that the life of the American immigrant is full of contradictions. To embark for the United States, illegally or with visa in hand, as a field worker or a pop-star, is often a journey fueled by hope. But new arrivals often face intense social and political resistance.
We at North County Immigration are celebrating the Immigrant spirit as a part of the 4th of July celebration and throughout the month of July. Contact our office to learn how we can help you become apart of the American dream. Happy 4th of July!
Watch Rhianna’s American Oxygen on Youtube: Rhianna’s “American Oxygen“
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