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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Mason Parker’s ‘Stereotype’ breaks preconceived notions in BLM era
Single and video addresses racial prejudice
 
Published Thursday, June 25, 2020 3:58 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

COURTESY A1 DAY 1 PRODUCTIONS
Mason Parker takes a poetic approach to racial prejudice with his new single “Stereotype.” The song also includes an accompanying video.

Black people are sick of justifying their existence.


Mason Parker conveys that sentiment through a poetic approach in his song “Stereotype” featuring Keeyen Martin. Black Lives Matter and racial and social injustice became globally recognized after George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota in May. When Parker released his debut album, Quantum Leap on April 20, he did not intend to release a music video for “Stereotype” until next year. Instead, the three-minute and 49-second video dropped last night.

“It wasn’t a lead single until one thing in the country started to happen after another,” Parker said.

Parker and his manager Jameka Whitten agreed to make “Stereotype” a focal point.

“In the back of my mind, I was thinking, ‘I wonder if I should bump up ‘Stereotype?’” Parker said. “Then she hit me one morning, saying ‘I think we should bump up ‘Stereotype.’ I was like, ‘OK universe, let’s do it.’”

Parker did not change the premise of “Stereotype” to fit the current climate. However, awareness for social justice did make it easier to find people who were willing to participate in the music video.

“‘Stereotype’ just so happened to be on the album, and it just so happened to all of the sudden be really relevant,” he said.  

The video follows a young Black man walking through the woods. As he enters, he passes a white man smoking against a tree. The white man follows, startling the Black man when he comes up from behind. Rather than meaning the Black man harm, the white man followed to return a book that fell out of his bag. The interaction challenges stereotypes of both Black and white men.

“It speaks to racial profiling,” Parker said. “It speaks to the assumptions we make about people.”

Among those featured in the video is Mike Metcalf of Red Bull Racing, a Charlotte native and NASCAR pit crew coach who grew up with Parker. “Stereotype” was released the day after a noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Wallace is the only full-time Black driver in NASCAR’s top division.

Three minutes and six seconds into the video, Metcalf appears in his race-day apparel, as Martin sings, “who am I, but just another stereotype.” Metcalf opens his fire suit, revealing a black shirt with white letters reading, “I Fit the Description,” a shirt worn by nearly everyone in the video. The shirt is available on Parker’s website for $20. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Restorative Justice CLT (restorativejusticeclt.org)—a local organization addressing socioeconomic and racial disparities in the area.

“It’s like Black people are literally saying, ‘stop killing us,’ and people are literally out there saying, ‘but…’” Parker said. “It becomes very tiring to have to continually justify your own existence. I think this will humanize people on both ends a little bit more, and hopefully set the stage for conversations to be had, so that understanding can happen.”

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