Yesterday I saw Drake’s video for “God’s Plan,” the song he dropped a few weeks back that is currently sitting atop Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for the fourth straight week. When I checked it out yesterday, it was sitting at roughly 25 million views on YouTube, and as of today, it’s nearing 30 million. I think it’s safe to say that Drake “got one.” The song is dope on its own, but the video levels shit all the way up.
The premise is this: The video has a budget of almost a million dollars, so Drake decides to do something meaningful with that budget and gives all of it away to folks in and around Miami. He’s giving out money to folks on the street, at grocery stores, in college. He’s out here buying cars (and hopefully insurance and gas money—them joints weren’t Passats), sending people on shopping sprees and handing literal stacks of cash to folks.
There are a few ways to look at this video. You can choose to look at it as Drake shamelessly tugging at the heartstrings of anybody watching by using his video to paint himself as a sort of hood superman. Much of the video where he’s not giving away money looks to be shot in various hoods of Miami. For those folks he’s handing money to, maybe he’s just temporarily providing a salve when what they might need is actual help (housing, education, etc.) to get and stay out of whatever their situation is.
Temporary help is just that; it’s not changing lives for real. That’s a more cynical view of the video—that Drake is basically pimping fans he’s likely never going to see again for page views and clicks. Shit, he (presumably) didn’t even give away his own money (though somebody still had to pay for that video, which is not shot on anybody’s iPhone).
On the other hand—this is where I stand—Drake is doing a good deed. A lot of them, actually. And you never know who needs a good deed in their life. Or who is $20 away from being on the street. Or for whom a simple $100 can change everything, or at the very least their week. Money, for the VAST majority of Americans, is a constant struggle. Help is help, however it comes, whenever it comes. I love to see good things happen to people. I love it.
When Oprah gives away shit, I love it and I feel happy for the recipients. When Extreme Makeover: Home Edition aired, I cried with those folks who got new homes and new leases on life because sometimes, just sometimes, you need some good fortune. Or Undercover Boss, where employees who show up every day and anonymously do their job to the best of their ability are finally seen by the very people signing their checks. When one of those employees gets rewarded, it makes me emotional. I really like to see good things happen to people, especially folks who don’t know it’s coming.
I remember being surprised when Prince died by how much he did for people. There were stories all over the place, especially in Minneapolis, of folks who had been beneficiaries of Prince’s big heart. Shit, you’d think Prince literally helped out every single person he came into contact with. When Prince died, people happily came out of the woodwork to talk about how generous and thoughtful he was and how he’d do whatever he could to help. And he did it all anonymously. That’s how I like to live my own life. I help people out when I can and it’s because I realize that when you have, it’s a duty to help out those in need to the best of your ability.
That’s how I feel about Drake’s video. I honestly don’t care about whose money he gave away or how he got it. I’m just glad he was helping folks who clearly needed it. When he handed those stacks to that young man and his (I assume) mother, and they both broke down crying, I felt like Drake knew that while he was handing out money, he gave them something more valuable. I don’t know how anybody ended up being chosen to receive money, but you could tell after they received something, their days were a little bit better. I was moved to tears several times during the video. And I honestly don’t care if I got pimped for my tears, because that wasn’t fake money he was giving out, and those folks whose lives he touched appreciated it.
When people with lots of money and resources realize that they can change folks’ lives with simple gestures (and for rich people, money can be a simple gesture), I gain an appreciation for them because it shows me that they get it. I watched Drake’s video and I felt like Drake “gets it.” He went where he saw a need and alleviated some of it. For that, Drake’s all right with me.