Between Drake, “God’s Plan” and everything African celebrity philanthropy is not

It's officially impossible to hate Drake now

The era of big budget feature-film type music videos may have given way to this age DIY, but the art form is still used by artists at the top of the chain to document our life and times. As seen in Kendrick Lamar’s “King’s Dead” alongside Future and Jay Rock, rather than go all out with digital effects and a grand cast, we are also seeing more subtle and minimalist ways to make arresting visuals. Drake’s recently released video for “God’s Plan” sums up some of these storytelling qualities and more.

It has always been tough to hate Drake, but after his video for “God’s Plan”, it’ll be near impossible to do so now. Though the song isn’t Drake at his most charming, it’s his penchant for honest confessionals that scores him his quickest #1 hit song. This same unbiased sincerity is reflected in the music video, as a documentation of Drake’s kindness as he pulls off the biggest flex in rap history, spending the million dollar budget meant for the video on charitable donations.

The concept is a bit similar to Ryan Staake’s sarcastic video for Young Thug’s “Wyclef Jean”. But Drake goes bigger than a run-of-the-mill hip-hop music video showing off wealth through fancy cars, gold chains, watches, money showers or strippers. The video shows him announcing to the lucky people at a store that everything they buy has been paid for before we go on to see him giving out wads of cash, cars and checks to people and organizations in need.

If you’re the nitpicky type—or just another Drake hater—you could argue that the video budget was outlandish and perhaps even unnecessary. After all, the million dollars budget for the video did, in fact, go into the making of it, despite the eccentric way it was presented. Plus philanthropic acts aren’t new under any circumstance, so the video and all the fanfare it’s getting might be a bit uncalled for. Don Jazzy’s generosity on Twitter has served all sorts of courses and till date, we haven’t heard him brag about it, talk less of shooting a music video of reactions to his kindness.

The publicity given to Drake’s philanthropy makes it feel like a gimmick because one of the unspoken rules of society is that generosity should be done in secret. But maybe we’re missing the actual message of the video. Drake is a proud son of Toronto, and yet, “God’s Plan” was shot in Miami where all the donations were made. It goes beyond just a showoff by showing his concern for those in need while also raising awareness to the harsh realities on the streets of Miami. With a million dollar budget, all the sin and luxury of Miami were within his range, but instead, he went to the hoods that lie beyond MTV’s gloss and sheen. Walking around playing Santa Claus, Drake’s message in the video is simple enough; Find where there’s a need and help out as much as you can.

Celebrity philanthropists in Africa might not shoot music videos of their benevolence, but it’s not because they’ll rather give in secret. They take to social media giving out recharge cards without a care for how it inadvertently sacrifices the recipients’ dignity. What’s more annoying is how they even give out tasks and ultimatums like significant amounts of retweets before assisting those in need. You see it in money thrown into the chaos of an eager concert audience and in silly social media challenges said to be aimed at giving back to the society, but driven towards boosting singles and album releases. Even when artists handpick people off the internet to help from unfavourable conditions, the media that follows become so raucous it’s almost as though, the plight of their recipients is merely a tool for scoring cheap publicity.

Ultimately, it’s their money and they can do whatever they want with it, but we can all take a cue from the Director X directed video. Asides being heartwarming enough to bring tears to any hater’s eyes, it shows concern for those in need and encourages others to give and help out where they can.

See the video for “God’s Plan” below.

Featured Image Credits: YouTube/DrakeVEVO

You are meeting Debola at a strange time in his life. He wandered into a dream and lost his way back. Tweet at him @debola_abimbolu

ICYMI: Drake, Chance The Rapper and why we need to talk about touring in African music