Directed by 22-year-old Toronto-native Karena Evans, Drake’s “Nice for What” seems set to be the female empowerment anthem of the year. It’s directed by the first woman to win Canada’s Prism Prize’s Lipsett Award. It samples a woman. It features only highly successful women (other than Drake). This combination could only create something that speaks to and for women. Here’s a list of all of the cameos:
Elizabeth and Victoria Lejonhjärta
Over Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor,” Drake declares that women are tired of love songs because they’ve moved on. Each time the looping sample says “Care for me, care for me, you said you’d care for me,” Drake has a retort. These women don’t worry about ex’s. They are focused on their own lives.
That’s a real one in your reflection
Without a follow, without a mention
You really pipin’ up on these niggas
You gotta be nice for what to these niggas?
Fittingly, Evans doesn’t allow any of the women to fetishize any aspect of themselves for viewers. They can just be, whether it’s in loose or form fitting clothes, or in a club or walking to class. Yara Shahidi studies in the library in her Harvard sweatshirt, which is the university she plans to attend in real life this fall. Issa Rae sits in a boardroom where she seems to be the only one keeping a level head in a room full of arguing men. And Zoe Saldana and her husband play with their young sons in a sun-filled room. These women are diverse, contemplative and confident, which is communicated in the slow panning over their smiling faces that is often reserved for explicit shots of greased up body parts. There are no tired tropes used on the star-studded cast. This video chillingly reflects every verse of the song.
It was announced this week that Evans, who also directed “God’s Plan,” has been signed to m ss ng p eces. This can only mean that more amazing videos are coming our way.