Video Review: Labrinth “Express Yourself”

A refrigerator door opens inside a glacier. Labrinth leans over in his chair.

Arms folded, he sits in a chair as it rotates, as Will Smith once did in the opening credits of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. A young woman, wearing a pink tracksuit, jogs on the driveway and runs past her pink SUV.

A young man, wearing a red mask, spray paints a van outside a meat market. A man, walking with a doughnut in his mouth, lets it fall and calls out “hey!” to the young man. He chases off the young man as he runs towards him.

A young man bursts through the door of an apartment and plays with his drumsticks. The fortysomething women clap along and admire his body.

Labrinth sits on a desk in an animated classroom. “Whatever you do, do it good” is written on the chalkboard, similar to scene in The Simpsons’ opening credits.

A drill sergeant orders new recruits standing against a chain-link fence. One young man grins widely. A teenaged boy tosses a newspaper into a living shrub. The living shrub runs after the boy on riding the bike on his route. Two women watch as a young woman, wearing a red bikini runs away from several green toy soldier men. One slides into the blanket.

Two police officers destroy their patrol car. Labrinth brushes in teeth in an ocean blue painted bathroom. Labrinth falls onto a couch in a room full of plaques for all his best-selling albums.

A young woman, with a mascara streaked face, wipes tears away from her face. A second young woman on a skateboard grins as an astronaut jogs past her. The young woman, with the mascara streaked face, continues to cut the onions. Several store clerks dance in the middle of the aisles. A robot dances in a garage.

Labrinth waves his finger as he walks on comic book covers. He tosses some paper in the garbage can inside the classroom and continues to rotate on the chair.

Rating: 2/5

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a successful 1990 sitcom starring Will Smith as a young man sent to live with his rich uncle and aunt after getting into a fight. During its six-year run, Smith became a movie star, there were two Aunt Vivs and Carlton’s dancing became one of the first memes. The opening credits are a part of 90s pop culture history.

The Simpsons, an animated sitcom which started in 1989 and still continues to air, began with controversy stemming from the character, Bart. Bart, a troublemaker, often talked back to his parents and introduced “eat my shorts” into the lexicon. However, Bartmania took hold in the 90s and he even had his own song, “Do The Bartman.”

Now its 29th season, the producers are dealing with criticism about Indian character, Apu. The Problem With Apu, a 2017 documentary by Michael Melamedoff, addresses the problematic stereotypes associated with the character. It’s an issue the showrunners believe it will blow over.

However, the opening sequences seem to exist as a way for Labrinth to prove his pop culture knowledge. The inclusion of The Simpsons, though, is out of touch. The show has long lost its cutting social commentary and only serves to reflect in current episodes. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, in retrospect, was influential on its own. It featured a wealthy African-American family living in a zip code where they would be an anomaly. They have a standing in the community. In any other primetime show the family would be represented as lesson in racial tolerance. However, the Banks family have their own stories to tell and privilege to overcome.

Director: N/A Year: 2012

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Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit , Greatest City Collective & 45 Magazine and forthcoming in Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kristofia anthology.

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