COLUMBIA - One Hickman High School parent says a music video provided to students as part of a curriculum provides value in the classroom.
"This video represents what the Black community is struggling with," Amanda Mims said.
The 2018 music video's title - "This is America" - is the message she wants State Rep. Chuck Basye to hear.
"This is the America that African Americans have to live in," Mims said. "And our life, our culture, our life experiences are completely different than that of a white person."
"Yes, it makes you uncomfortable, but sometimes the truth makes you uncomfortable. And you need to sit in that truth and think about why the truth would make you uncomfortable," Mims continued.
The song won the record of the year award at the Grammys in 2019, marking the first hip-hop song to take the honor. The video has been called a "moving testament to modern times and an unflinching exploration of the wretched past experienced by African-Americans."
“I can’t think of any other video that deals with American violence in the way that ‘This Is America’ does,” Lester Spence, co-director of the Center for Africana Studies at John Hopkins University, said to the Associated Press.
Rep. Basye (R-Rocheport) thinks otherwise about the music video by rapper Childish Gambino.
"It's crap. It has no business in a public school. And I'm gonna stand by that. And that's how I feel," Basye said.
In a press release Monday, Basye criticized the subject material presented in an AP U.S. Studies course at Hickman and said it contains what he calls "highly inappropriate subject matter."
"There is inappropriate use of guns, there's a clear cut case of murder, gun violence and drug use in that video as well," Basye said. "It's despicable that that's being used in a public school."
Basye says there's subject matter that's inappropriate for young people. He called for CPS Superintendent Brian Yearwood to resign due to the district's "refusal to address parents' concerns."
In an interview on Tuesday with KOMU 8, Basye cited parents as his source of information.
"I was contacted by some parents that have children at the school," Rep. Basye said. "One parent said that their child came home very, very upset. [She said] her and her husband and watched [the music video] and they were equally upset."
Many have said the video is symbolic of the gun violence experienced in the U.S. KOMU 8 asked Basye how he sees the video.
"I don't know. I don't know what it is. It sure looks pretty damn violent to me. You know, when you pull a gun out of your waistband and shoot somebody right in the back of the head, that doesn't look like it that's anti-violence," Basye said.
Mims praised the teacher for using the video as a means to educate their students.
"You know, it makes us all a better person to understand different perspectives, not just one, there are many perspectives, we have many cultures in America," Mims said. "So we can move past the differences between us and become a better society in a better country. And that starts with our teachers. And I applaud him, the teacher for for stepping outside the box of the norm. I really do applaud him."
CPS spokesperson Michelle Baumstark said the district was not included on Basye's emailed news release calling for Yearwood's resignation. She said the district will "choose the path of empathy and grace with regard to Rep. Basye's announcement." Read more about the district's response here.