'You love Black culture, but do you love me?': Black athletes and artists in new ad

Ree Hines
·2 min read

This article originally appeared on Today.com

A new ad campaign from Apple’s Beats by Dre kicked off Thursday with a short video that accomplishes many things at once. It honors Black culture, celebrates Black joy, showcases Black stars and confronts an age-old hypocrisy, too.

Tennis champ Naomi Osaka, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, rapper Lil Baby, activist Janaya Future Khan and others can be seen in the two-minute clip that opens with the familiar refrain, “You love me; you love me not.”

But in this case, those lines don’t refer to the romantic petal-plucking game. Instead, as the video highlights, it’s all about mixed messages that are a common component of systemic racism — such as embracing Black culture without embracing Black individuals.

“You love Black culture. But do you love me?” musical artist Tobe Nwigwe narrates. “You love how I sound: My voice, these beats, this flow. Not me though, right?”

One by one, stars turn to the camera to punctuate those points.

“You love how I look: My hair, this skin. But me? Nah,” he continues. “We don’t get to exist. We’re forced to survive. We still fight. We still play while the world burns, on fields that ain’t even level.”

Tennis pro Naomi Osaka is among the star-studded cast featured in the clip. (Beats by Dre / YouTube)
Tennis pro Naomi Osaka is among the star-studded cast featured in the clip. (Beats by Dre / YouTube)

As the scenes turn from deep reflection to moments of revelry, the words shift back to where the poem began. “Love me or not, we love each other deeply. … You love my culture. But do you love me? What a world that would be.”

The ad, directed by Melina Matsoukas, serves as a powerful mini-film that challenges viewers to not just look at the screen but inside themselves as well.

“Those who touched this piece have seen the world actively love their art or their athletic achievements, while also seeing the world continually oppress the Black community at large,” a caption on the ad's YouTube page reads. “Beats, the creatives, and the cast joined together with the unified goal of inspiring Black youth by highlighting the everyday beauty and rich diversity of their culture.”