With tears in my eyes, I watched this video and thought Macklemore was speaking directly to the essence of my spiritual pursuit.
As someone who is in the business of branding products and designing advertisements, the commodification of identity is complicated. In fact, the very dillema of trying to aggregate my personal, professional and spiritual goals has led me to cofound a “conscious corporation,” BOOTSTRAP 50 whose vision is becoming the largest individual supporter of US veteran causes.
But for some, the belief that what we consume defines who we are, might only exist on the sub-conscious level. So the quest to abolish the ego and transcend the illusion of commodity giving meaning to our life, becomes challenging for us individually, and for the entire system of capitalism. Granted, there is the “good” that comes out of capitalism (e.g. providing jobs, offering health care at a reduced rate, nurturing the pursuit of mastery) but still, there is so much higher we can go.
In Macklemore’s example, clearly he is not attacking Nike or capitalism specifically, but rather the larger effort of struggling with issues of identity, self and the need to transcend a former personhood consumed by their image. This is a reasonably deep message for anyone, but especially for a hip-hop artist whose genre of music is stereotyped by colossal egos.
Macklemore is backed by an inspired Ryan Lewis production and the thoughtful video direction by Zia Mohajerjasbi. With over one million views and climbing on this YouTube video, this atypical example (not including sex, cute animals, or a silly dance) is being consumed in large portions by an audience affected by Macklemore’s passion, clarity and transcendence.
“These Nikes helped me define me, but I’m trying to take mine off” – Macklemore