A$AP Rocky may not be a king of hip-hop just yet, but he gets to play the president – John F. Kennedy to be exact – in alterna-queen Lana Del Rey’s controversial new video, “National Anthem.”
In the clip, which premiered on June 27, Lana plays the dual roles of Jacqueline Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe as viewers watch her Jackie O and the Harlem rapper’s JFK fall in love in a sweeping, cinematic story that shows their family life (including some adorable kids), their glory days of romance and ultimately the final days of JFK leading up to his assassination.
Fans of the singer have been aching for the video ever since it was revealed that A$AP Rocky would be her JFK. Though the video was shot over a month ago, director Anthony Mandler has remained mum about it, not wanting to set fire to early to the already explosive reactions to the video.
But in a recent interview with MTV News, Mandler explained that the video’s concept was created by Lana, who wanted to explore the idea of a forbidden love and the loss of innocence.
And while the emotionally drenched love story portrayed on screen is enough for 1,000 conversations, many others are also talking about the fact that the socially charged video re-imagines JFK and Jackie O as an interracial couple with biracial children; a perspective which Mandler says he and Lana intended to do to stir up thought and conversation.
“We used the Kennedy framework to kind of implement this new Camelot, this racially diverse Camelot, this maybe socially diverse Camelot … bringing it into the modern era, but still keeping that classic framework,” he explained. “There’s a kind of micro-commentary of ‘This is the new royalty,’ you know, A$AP and Lana, trying to pick two people to maybe represent the next generation of something. I think even with an African American president, it’s still controversial to see him sitting and playing JFK, it’s still taboo, even if it shouldn’t be. You’re kind of like ‘Is this right or wrong? This feels very right, but also feels very wrong at the same time.’”
And if some fans aren’t pleased with the racial and political tones of the video, well, A$AP says they’ll eventually come around — in 2015.
“It’s some swag s—t,” A$AP told 16bars.tv. “I play JFK, she plays Jackie O. It’s some cool trippy s—t, some real 2015 shit. People are gonna get it in like three years, and that’s the whole purpose of it.”
Watch the visually stunning video here and check out some other cinematic forbidden loves after the cut. – nicholas robinson