Lil Wayne makes a poignant point in the new video for his track “God Bless Amerika” (from his latest LP I Am Not A Human Being II). The clip finds the rapper returning to his hometown in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans – an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina that remains blighted nearly eight years later.
In the clip, Wayne is seen rapping in and around abandoned and destroyed homes (including one with walls that bear graffiti that alludes to Kanye West’s criticism after Katrina: “They don’t care”) as well as in front of an American flag that drops to reveal hundreds of Hollygrove residents. The footage is cut with more shots of Weezy’s neighborhood as well as police in riot gear, and although they charge, the video never shows an outright fight. (In keeping with the “Amerikan” dream, the video also includes some product placement for Wayne’s Trukfit clothing line and Birdman’s latest business venture, GTV Vodka.)
Wayne sparked a controversy while filming the “God Bless Amerika” clip when footage emerged showing him stepping on an American flag. In a Facebook message, however, Wayne described the shot in which the Hollygrove residents were revealed, and said that the flag wouldn’t be shown on the ground in the final cut. He added that it was never his intention “to desecrate the flag of the United States of America.”
“In most people eyes including my own who were raised in that environment, the Hood is the only America they know and the only America I knew growing up,” Wayne said at the time. “I was fortunate from my God giving talents to escape the Hood and see the other beautiful places this country has to offer but most people who are born in that environment don’t get that chance.”