Rihanna: American Oxygen

In Rihanna’s latest music video, the Barbadian immigrant uses imagery of the American flag to unpack its meaning in terms of American dreams and nightmares, ultimately declaring “this is the new America / we are the new America”.  Jake Flanagin in Quartz calls it “a surprisingly powerful statement on immigration” (surprising given Rihanna’s reputation for non-political dance music); more than this, it’s a surprisingly powerful contemporary pop cultural statement about the flag.

Rihanna – American Oxygen. Written by Alex da Kid, Sam Harris, Candice Pillay, and Rihanna. Directed by Darren Craig, Jonathan Craven, and Jeff Nicholas of Uprising Creative.

Breathe out, breathe in
American oxygen
Every breath I breathe
Chasin’ this American Dream
We sweat for a nickel and a dime
Turn it into an empire
Breathe in, this feeling
American, American oxygen

American oxygen
Breathe in, this feeling
American, American Oxygen

Oh say, you see, this is the American Dream
Young girl, hustlin’
On the other side of the ocean
You can be anything at all
In America, America
I say, can’t see
Just close your eyes and breathe

Breathe out, breathe in
American oxygen
Every breath I breathe
Chasin’ this American Dream
We sweat for a nickel and a dime
Turn it into an empire
Breathe in, this feeling
American, American oxygen

American oxygen
Breathe in, this feeling
American, American Oxygen
American oxygen
Breathe in, this feeling
American, American Oxygen

Oh say, you see, this is the American Dream
Young boy, hustlin’
Tryna get the wheels in motion
But he can be anything at all
In America, America
I say, can’t see
Just close your eyes and breathe

Breathe out, breathe in
American oxygen
Every breath I breathe
Chasin’ this American Dream
We sweat for a nickel and a dime
Turn it into an empire
Breathe in, this feeling
American, American oxygen

This is the new America
We are the new America
This is the new America
We are the new America

This is the new America
We are the new America
This is the new America
We are the new America

Breathe out, breathe in
American oxygen
Every breath I breathe
Chasin’ this American Dream
We sweat for a nickel and a dime
Turn it into an empire
Breathe in, this feeling
American, American oxygen

American oxygen
Breathe in, this feeling
American, American Oxygen
American oxygen
Breathe in, this feeling
American, American Oxygen

This is the new America
We are the new America
This is the new America
We are the new America

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Publicity photo for the single.
Publicity photo for the single.
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Author: SDM

Ethnography * Technology * Design

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