“I made this song and video to address the extreme xenophobia happening in our country and the inhumane treatment of immigrants at the border,” Mensa tells Billboard in an exclusive statement about the cilp for the beat-infused, melodic tune that was released on Friday (June 14).
“There’s a place/ It’s the time of your life/ No parents allowed and no playing in sight/ You can laugh, until you cry, at Camp America,” he sings over images of laughing white children being locked in cages, fed pills, vomiting into steel toilets and playing patty cake as menacing guards look on as the incongruous, sing-songy chorus floats above: “I wanna have the best summer ever/ I wanna have the best summer ever/ At Camp America.”
The song’s title was inspired by then head of enforcement and removal operations for ICE, Matthew Albence, compared the shocking conditions in the child detention facilities to “summer camp.”
The video debuted less than 48 hours after Manhattan and Brooklyn residents awoke to find child-size mannequins locked in cages and wrapped in foil blankets set up on sidewalks around the city as a protest against the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance family separation policy, which resulted in thousands of children being separated from their families and detained last year. “I believe the duty of art is to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed,” says Mensa of the Titanic Sinclair-direced clip. “In such disturbing times we have to be radical. But we still gotta dance.”
Watch “Camp America” video below.