Vic Mensa’s new band 93PUNX are here to deliver a poignant message about migrant children in their video for “Camp America.”
Released Friday (June 14), the visuals for “Camp America” showcase Mensa in ICE gear with white children locked in cages similar to “family detention” centers that currently filled with children of color separated from their families. The children are also shown playing in the cages, drinking from a toilet bowl wrapping themselves in thermal blankets.
“We’ll be living it up, not giving a f**k / Splitting you up, then we put you in cuffs,” Mensa sings. “Then we shipping you off / Yeah, you could get lost at Camp America.”
The song is based on ICE director Matthew Albence’s quote comparing the detention centers to “summer camp.” Mensa tells The Daily Beast why he wanted to use white children as means to show “that twisted alternate reality.”
“I thought that was a crazy f**king idea and wanted to create a world with this song that imagined that twisted alternate reality, where it was fun for kids to be held as prisoners, drinking out of toilets, away from their parents, and somehow enjoy it like one might at a summer camp,” he said. “My intention for using white kids as opposed to minority children is to point out the blatantly obvious fact that this would never happen to white kids in this country or maybe anywhere on this earth. Although the nature of the actions the kids were involved in was graphic or shocking, it was all taken from actual occurrences reported at ‘detention’ centers.”
Mensa says that the children and their parents were aware of the political messages in the video. “All of the children’s parents were present and the children were really smart and understood the political statement being made—they wanted to be a part of it,” said. “Nothing about this is about shaming white children; it’s about showing that this simply would never happen to white children.”
This week, the Trump administration announced plans to use an Oklahoma military base that was used in World War II as an internment camp for Japanese and Japanese American to hold undocumented immigrant children. Huff Post reports the administration cited “a dramatic spike” in unaccompanied minors with 41,000 detained by border officials this year.
Other policial statements have been made this week from nonprofit organization RAICES and ad agency Badger & Winters. The group placed pop-up cages with dolls crying across New York City for their campaign called #NoKidsInCages.
Watch “Camp America” below.