By Chris Menahan
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery has released a music video calling white people “inbred spawn soon to die out.”
The video features a rapper from the group “Young Fathers” staring at portraits of former Scottish Kings like James III and distinguished architects like Sir William Bruce and calling them “dead, random white dudes” and proclaiming “they are a gravestone that a dog pisses against.”
Here’s the full lyrics:
Gold. Edged and decorated.
A coat framed with gold surrounding white skin,
wrapped around your body fat and muscles and bones like a magic cloak.
The signs of power.
The signs of wealth. Insignia.
Details that seem small and inconsequential but they are proof of status.
Your status. White. Powerful. Rich.
This picture confirms, you were a man, that you existed.
Your family bore fruit, burst from the tree and here’s the proof.
Does this mean I don’t exist?
That I’m not a man?
Because I don’t see a face like mine, framed in gold, hanging on the wall?
Have you taken all the space?
Sucked out all the air, swallowed all the wine, taken the goodness from the earth,
sweated the energy from my family’s living essence,
in order that you can live forever, edged in gold?
Where’s the universal balance?
Am I meant to admire the brushwork and the colours and the historical context,
without considering how you came to be here?
And people who look like me aren’t?
Am I meant to just accept that this is how things work out,
ignore the past that has survived despite attempts to gold-edge it from existence?
I am here, too, now.
And you are dead.
Dead, random white dude.
What’s so special about you?
I am here, against the wall, framed in gold, smiling in my privilege,
the privilege of being alive.
While you are now framed in dust.
The signs of wealth, the insignia of status,
they are a gravestone that a dog pisses against, shifting, cracked in clay.
They are a long line of in-bred spawn, soon to die out themselves.
But I am here. My very existence, my closeness to your face, my breath, all offends thee.
Or it would if you breathed yourself.
But you can’t. Your posterity is a cartoon,
evidence of a vain stupidity whilst my own monument is the living,
pulsing one that is here, next to you, in your hallowed space, every thought an encryption.
I am here, now.
But I can feel the gravity of mortality pulling me down.
Ghost breath stuffing my lungs, the endless gazes of dead, random white dudes.
You can’t frame me.
I’m a man.
Despite you, to spite you.
I see you.
I see you…
And I’m gone.