A new Usher music video designed to draw attention to police brutality forces the viewer to activate their webcam and have their eyeballs tracked in order to watch the clip.
In order to watch the video, which is entitled Chains, viewers have to “look in the eyes of unarmed victims,” which means activating their webcam and having it track their eyes to ensure they don’t look away.
The introduction to the video advises viewers to “remove hats, glasses and overhead headphones.” It then lines up the face of the viewer with a generic face pattern.
If at any point the viewer turns their head to look away from the video, the clip pauses and is replaced by a message which states, “don’t look away.”
The video also pauses if the viewer clicks onto a different browser tab.
“Your camera will not be used to record you or to transmit or store any sounds or images,” states the Tidal website.
The video highlights numerous cases of alleged police brutality, as well as the shooting of Trayvon Martin, for which George Zimmerman was acquitted.
“The reality is that racial bigotry diminishes the lives of too many people in our country,” the Grammy award-winning singer told Rap-Up, explaining that viewers are forced to keep their eyes glued to the screen “because it is important not only to feel the issue but to face it.”
The notion of highlighting the abuse of state power by deploying a creepy Big Brother-style feature that mimics the abuse of state power in the context of mass surveillance was probably not the best decision by Usher’s marketing team.
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