With controversy still simmering over her D.C.-inspired tune “Community of Hope,” English rocker PJ Harvey has unveiled a video for the song.
The visual depicts a windshield tour of Southeast Washington, cut with a few New York street scenes. And that middle-aged white man in the video’s first two seconds? That’s Washington Post journalist Paul Schwartzman, who says Harvey based “Community of Hope” on a tour he gave her a couple years back.
The song has struck a nerve in town since it came out earlier this month. With lyrics that refer to D.C.’s Benning Road as a “pathway of death” and compare a local school to a “s**thole,” the track prompted strong criticism from elected officials as well as local nonprofit Community of Hope.
But Harvey’s video doesn’t seem as harsh as her lyrics. It comes across as optimistic — with footage of singers belting out “Community of Hope” inside Southeast D.C.’s Union Temple Baptist Church. “They’re gonna put a Walmart heeeere,” they sing, in a scene that’s both stirring and surreal.
Watch PJ Harvey’s video for “Community of Hope” above.