"Why we back in the past?" questions Empire's Jussie Smollett on "F.U.W."--an acronym that aptly stands for "Fucked Up World" in direct response to Donald Trump's polarizing presidency. The queer actor co-wrote his solo single around President's Day, penning lyrics "for the oppressed" individuals facing even greater marginalization under today's new administration. "Who got that popular vote?" Smollett questions, before breaking into a powerful chorus: "It's a fucked up world," he repeats, pained and rightfully existential.
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In Smollett's self-directed music video, which debuted late Wednesday, the 34-year-old highlights human injustices, from LGBTQ rights to religious and racial prejudices. Familiar words like "lipstick lesbian," "fag," mexican rapist," "muslim ban" and "radical islamic terrorist" flash on-screen, as spliced together clips depict marginalized people of various ethnicities: a woman wearing a hijab, a black man with a swinging noose behind him, a transgender individual, a group of women alongside the words, "My Body My Rights."
One scene sees a man in a wheelchair roll over a Trump mask, recalling the President's public mocking of a disabled reporter while campaigning in 2016. "That mask is a representation of this false idea of patriotism," Smollett told AP. "And that mask is a representation of this idea of white male privilege. It's so much bigger than him. It's what he represents, and it's because of that representation, that's why he's the president of the United States currently."
Though Smollett's straightforward "F.U.W." video delivers a grim reality, and one many Americans face in the wake of Trump's political power, his visual closes optimistically, with everyone sitting together and swaying in unison. "Build a wall," he facetiously croons. "You won't keep us from loving each other."