Be prepared to get into your feels.
You don’t need me to tell you we’re living in tough times. Regardless of whether the world is indeed falling to shit as many seem to be convinced, or rather social media and 24/7 news coverage are making it impossible to tune out from tragedy, we as a human race are always in great need of inspiration and a friendly reminder that together we can accomplish amazing things.
With the constant tidal wave of negativity, it becomes more and more difficult to wade out into the waters of the positive. Sometimes, though, all it takes is a few keys on the piano and powerful words from a wise mind to remind us that beauty, triumph, and passion exist; that we have men and women constantly rising above to achieve greatness.
I’ve done my fair share of Olympics bashing these last few months, from the absurdity of hosting the games in a locale facing major social and economic issues to the fact I can’t pretend I’m interested in rowing or swimming. My cynicism has taken a back seat since the games’ commencement, however, after seeing the upswell of national pride for accomplishments by Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and more. Sport has the power to shift our focus to achievement and unity, and in response to the divisiveness and pessimism we’ve been inundated with the last several months, it’s a welcome change.
Music also has the power to bring us together, and the latest video from Nike and Chance The Rapper is both a beacon of hope that fuses the two and a holy shit you need to watch this moment.
As the video begins, stark keys and the images of athletes deep in focus and standing together act as a one-two punch of emotion before Chance utters a word. The athletes are plastered across houses and apartments, reminding us all of the communities and modest beginnings from which greatness arises.
Chance sprouted from such modesty and is painfully aware of the effect the power of the team, along with heroes and the hope for glory, has on a young mind. Chance The Rapper is great, but Chance the poet is outstanding, and his words are a carefully crafted message that remains reassuring even while recognizing families and folks have been hit, calling out for bravery through any “perilous fight.” Much like his Muhammad Ali tribute at the ESPYs, Chance simply has a gift for tapping into a listener's emotions.
"We want a W, we tired of picking different sides / I got your jersey, just a different size"
By the time you hear the pitched up vocals, you are completely transfixed. Nike ad or not, the short film hits deep. It’s a short but beautiful song, and a powerful message about working together that goes well beyond the sidelines of the court or the boundaries of a stage.
"People, people / We the people would like you to know / That wherever you go, we're right by your side"