Gentrification is a tale as old as America itself (with the pilgrims and settlers being the OG gentrifiers, after all). Still, wherever it strikes, one of the first and most devastating casualties is what it does to an area’s arts scene. The blight is currently hitting the Washington, D.C. area hard, especially in the wake of a pandemic that has seen many places permanently shuttered. Golden Browne is addressing the situation with their latest song “Erasure” and its music video.
“You love to take up all the credit / But it was me that helped and don’t you forget it,” group vocalist Jenna Camille sings on the track. “Erasure, but I won’t take it no more.” The simple statement sums up the plight of gentrification, especially when it comes to Black neighborhoods. They seize upon the sentiment in the video directed by the group’s own Hayling Price. The concept is a simple one, with them showing boarded-up venues while also placing local artists (including familiar faces like singer Cecily) in front of local landmarks and then showing them simply fading away from the picture. Intercut with this are scenes of the band creating the track in the studio. It effectively illustrates the erasure that the song speaks on and makes a powerful statement about the importance of art and artists in a community.
“The attempted erasure of Black people, Black art, and Black spaces in DC has been underway for years and escalated as the pandemic hit,” The group said in a statement. “This video is a love letter to our creative community, which has remained vibrant despite the forces that would have us disappear. We demand to be seen and we will not be erased.”
With powerful statements like this and smooth grooves like “My Mama Said” and “Get Down” to boot, we can’t wait to see what else Golden Browne will be bringing when their self-titled debut drops next month. Check out “Erasure” when you press play.