Rapper and performance artist Mykki Blanco has the Internet abuzz with the release of his video for the song “High School Never Ends.” Directed by Matt Lambert, the video addresses the Syrian refugee crisis through a queer retelling of the play Romeo and Juliet.
Blanco told Pitchfork in a statement that he has been living in Europe on and off since 2012, noting, “I have seen the surface of acceptance and the novelty of my brown skin become a frown in a public square, a belligerent rant in grocery store with a cashier telling me to ‘Go Back to My Own Country’… This story is about outsiders, forbidden love… when the Far Left & the Far Right are willing to go to any extreme to prevail in their truth.”
The video is described as a story of “forbidden romance,” which ends in “unspeakable violence.” On YouTube, Lambert is quoted as saying, “It never once overtly comments on orientation or race, but only ideas of ‘us’ and ‘them.'”
The video overlays scenes of violence and love with orchestral strings and lines from Shakespeare’s great tragedy. The video was a collaboration with the French singer-songwriter and music video director, Yoann Lemoine, who goes by the stage name Woodkid.