Although I’m maintaining a good sense of humor through the tough times currently facing the world, I still wake up every day in disbelief… and I’m sure I’m not the only one. In horror, we love films about plagues, diseases, viruses and global pandemics. Unnervingly, current events seem to mirror the realism portrayed in such films as Contagion (2011) and Outbreak (1995). As local shops temporarily close worldwide and grocery store shelves are emptied of essential supplies, everyone is hoping for the best while preparing for the worst as COVID-19 runs its course.
During these troubling times, it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together, and we should be helping each other whenever possible in any way we can. Seeing the potential severity of today’s current situation, one L.A. based indie rap artist, Tom MacDonald, put his talent to use by dropping a new song and music video called Coronavirus about a week ago, reaching 2.8 million views on YouTube in just a short amount of time.
Having followed MacDonald for several years, I’m well aware that he does not back down from controversial topics. If I’m being completely honest, some of his songs have come off as mere nonsensical attempts at invoking a reaction and shock value, which I do not necessarily agree with or support. However, he really puts himself out there with other songs that resonate with me on certain levels.
Just as I thought his career as a musician was on the downswing, MacDonald proved me wrong by having the guts to tackle today’s current events. With tensions running high, this kind of move can either end a career or bring hope and awareness to something we are all experiencing. With lyrics pointing out potential for a horrific escalation of events due to the public’s panicked behavior as well as the potential threat this virus could pose to some individuals, this song offers some words of encouragement and hope that we will get through this together.
While some people have accused MacDonald of trying to capitalize on the current crisis, a thought that occurred to me as well, I now believe this to be unlikely. On March 19th, the rapper went live on his Facebook fan page to speak with followers since so many people, himself included, are currently self-quarantined in their homes. Intending to spend the majority of the hour and a half he set aside to simply engage with fans answering questions inquired in the comments section, MacDonald began by using the first 6 to 7 minutes addressing the song and video for Coronavirus.
According to the artist, he did not release this song for monetary gain. He mentioned that he would have taken a different direction if that were his angle. He would have waited four days until the song was streaming on more profitable platforms, and he wouldn’t have titled it after the virus due to YouTube shadow-banning everything with titles and tags that include the word “Coronavirus.” MacDonald also pointed out that YouTube is already suppressing the views due to the video’s content.
If the platform is actually suppressing views, it doesn’t seem to be slowing this viral video down as it is reaching far and wide much quicker than any of his previous work. Anyone familiar with MacDonald knows that he doesn’t necessarily need the clicks with previous videos having reached well over a million views within months of being released. Will he make money from this song? I’m sure he will. However, I don’t think that was the driving force behind this song.
While addressing the accusations, MacDonald also explained his reason behind creating this song and video. He simply thought it is an important issue. In 2017, long before the emergence of COVID-19, MacDonald’s girlfriend and partner in crime, Nova Rockafeller, was hospitalized for a simple common cold due an acute and severe asthma condition she struggles with on a regular basis. For her and many others with preexisting health conditions, COVID-19 could be a death sentence if the virus is as bad as it is reported to be. Therefore, it is important for healthy individuals to be mindful that they could be putting others at risk if they choose to act recklessly.
In his live stream, MacDonald explained that it was for this reason he worked around the clock in one day to write the lyrics for Coronavirus, mixed the beat, recorded the song and shoot the music video, releasing it on YouTube in the 23rd hour. As anyone who works to give an informative message to the public knows that urgency and accuracy are crucial when tackling current events.
Although it is important to remain calm and maintain a sense of humor – an attitude that literally strengthens your immune system – it is equally important to be smart, be safe and do your part. These are uncertain times the world is now facing. But there is hope. Click the link below for Tom MacDonald’s music video for Coronavirus.