It's been a hard week for South Florida. The tragic stories and photos that have emerged after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have left many in tears, grieving, and feeling raw, helpless, and depressed about the world.
Drake's "God's Plan" video will make you weep too. But in a good way.
Directed by Karena Evans, the video documents the many good deeds Drake performed during his time in Miami earlier this month. He showed up at the University of Miami for an impromptu student rally and to give a student a scholarship. He donated toys and funds to Lotus House, a shelter for women and children. He bought groceries for an entire supermarket of people. And he surprised many others with cash gifts.
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In total, the video says, Drake gave away $966,631.90. All of it, from the looks of the footage, is a complete surprise to the recipients. Drake's favorite trick, one used several times in the roughly five minutes of footage, is to sneak up behind people and let the cameras catch their reactions when they notice him. The emotion in those people's faces — shock, joy, relief — is a reminder that good things still exist, even and perhaps especially in the face of tragedy.
This approach could've gone so wrong. Drake could've appeared to exploit Miami's struggling citizens to make himself look like a hero, using money he admits wasn't even his. (According to text in its opening seconds, the funds were part of the budget for the video: "Don't tell the label.") Instead, Evans focuses her lens on the people whose lives will be changed by these funds. You can't deny their shrieks of happiness and the tears streaming down their faces. Even Drake gets choked up, and you believe him.
"It's a good life!" a man shouts joyously at both the beginning and the end of the clip. And he's right. When people with money and power use those things to create positive change, life can be fucking great. It's an especially timely reminder for South Florida.