I have not believed that the American Dream still exists for a while now. Actually, I don't think it ever did, but if it did, achieving the dream probably could've only been truly possible for a small group of people. Meritocracy has been a longtime myth shrouding the truth of upward mobility in this country — specifically that moving up the class ranks really relies a lot on your connections, identity, existing capital, and very, quite little, on actual ability. But, that's a cynical, maybe too privileged take on the whole thing. For many people trying to get into this country now, just being in a somewhat safer, somewhat more economically stable place is still a far better option than the place they are leaving.
Minnesota-via-Canada rapper and singer Allan Kingdom shares today new single and accompanying video, "Coming To America," which got me thinking about all of these things. Kingdom is honest about the struggles of coming to here. "They gon underpay you, Coming to America nobody gon save you, they would rather bury ya," he sings in the second verse. But, he's mindful to add, "you can be great too." Because, as cynical as people like me can be, crazier, wilder, and good things have happened too.
"It felt important to make a song that magnifies what's going on in the world," Kingdom wrote of the song via email. "Especially being an immigrant, I just always felt like this issue was something I needed to speak on."
Thumbnail credit to Karina Lopez.