American Dream

In class we discussed what does it mean to hear America sing. America has come a long away from where it starter but yet there is much work to be done to achieve the goals set forth during the creation of this country. The cultural object I chose is the music video for American Oxygen by Rihanna. The video as well as the lyrics are both a significant components in encompassing the actual meaning. The video shows various moments of history such as the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King Jr., 9/11, the Olympics, and much more. The lyrics try to send a message of an American dream that everyone is chasing and how we are a new nation, a new generation. The video shows flashbacks and clips from present day and how eerily similar they are. We have a new generation of hope and we can inspire change because so much progress is yet to be made to achieve this idea of the American dream. To make progress we need to inspire change and deviate from the patterns of the past. The lyrics and video almost are a contrast which plays at the perception of America.


2 thoughts on “American Dream

  1. The first time I listened this song, I thought it is patriotic song. However, when it towards the end, there are repetitive lyrics that caught my attention.
    “This is the new America
    We are the new America”
    Why does Rihanna emphasize that it is a NEW America? Is she ironic and questioning how America has become? Can Americans truly and freely “chase” their American dreams in this NEW America?


  2. This was my first time listening to oxygen by Rihanna and watching the music video. What I interpreted from her lyrics and the video is that an American is someone who works hard for their survival. Rihanna mentions a young boy hustling to get the wheels turning and in lecture we mentioned the Americans who worked under dangerous and unfair working conditions just to support their families and make a living. What I think of when I hear somebody singing like an American, is someone singing about a struggle and then overcoming it. People chase the American Dream and hit many obstacles which they must overcome. Whether the obstacle is overcoming civil rights movements, wars, riots, etc. we as Americans will overcome it and stand tall. One thing that I don’t understand is what does Rihanna mean by this is a “New America”? To me there is a new America everyday, because everyday we grow and change as a country.


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