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The Battle Hymn of the Postmillennials

In which one national nightmare ends and another begins in the wake of a new presidential election. Three postmillennials assemble during their break from their work making crap that nobody wants or needs, singing — sometimes in unison, sometimes in harmony.

THREE POSTMILLENNIALS
We’re still just as broke
We’re still just as miserable
We’re still just a huddled mass
The only difference now is the music on the runway
It’s just another manic-
Depressive Monday
For the hungry, hungry poor and middle class

We’re still just as lost
And even more invisible
And even more out on a limb
The only difference now is we’ve pawned all our illusions
We’ve muted all our mentions
And drawn our conclusions
Tomorrow’s tea leaves look pretty grim

The marches, the tweets, the online petitions
The hard-won cancellations by multiracial coalitions
We’ve squelched a so-called fascist reascent
With dragging and wokeness and weaponized walling
We’ve helped elect a new president

But we’re still just as broke
We’re still just as miserable
We’re still just a huddled mass
The only difference now is the music on the runway
It’s just another manic-
Depressive Monday
For the hungry, hungry poor and middle class


In which the descendants of non-natives begin to get restless. Two skateboarders pass the time indoors, singing.

BLACK-PRESENTING SKATEBOARDER
There’s nothing to do
And nothing to see
It’s just me and you
It’s just you and me
And climate change

WHITE-PRESENTING SKATEBOARDER
The trees are all bare
Too hot to go out
Breathe cold A.C. air
And wonder about
Our climate change

BOTH SKATEBOARDERS
The wheels on our skateboards squeak
And you and I don’t even need to speak
We just read each other’s minds
We just read each other’s minds
The news sells us age-old lies
And centrism is killing us — what a surprise!
And money’s the tie that binds
And money’s the tie that binds

BLACK-PRESENTING SKATEBOARDER
Sometimes we drink oil
They drill from the ground
The water we boil
As toxins abound
It’s climate change

WHITE-PRESENTING SKATEBOARDER
The wheels on our skateboards squeak

BLACK-PRESENTING SKATEBOARDER
And Washington’s vampires don’t even need to speak

BOTH SKATEBOARDERS
They just read each other’s minds
They just read each other’s minds

WHITE-PRESENTING SKATEBOARDER
And dead birds crunch underfoot

BLACK-PRESENTING SKATEBOARDER
And people are sick from breathing in soot

BOTH SKATEBOARDERS
And money’s the tie that binds
And money’s the tie that binds

WHITE-PRESENTING SKATEBOARDER
So we stay inside

BLACK-PRESENTING SKATEBOARDER
And skate through our days

WHITE-PRESENTING SKATEBOARDER
Defiantly ride

BLACK-PRESENTING SKATEBOARDER
To fight the malaise

BOTH SKATEBOARDERS
Of climate change


From left: Fendi jacket, $2,590, fendi.com, Proenza Schouler shirt, $950, proenzaschouler.com, Pop Trading Company jeans, $150, poptradingcompany.com, and Balenciaga shoes, $1,990, (310) 854-0557. Louis Vuitton hoodie, pants and sneakers, price on request. Moncler jacket, $1,715, moncler.com, Craig Green shirt, price on request, craig-green.com, Levi’s Made & Crafted jeans, $228, levi.com, and Fendi sandals, $1,190. Marni sweater, $850, marni.com, Polar Skate Co. shirt, $32, Heron Preston pants, $740, barneys.com, 4 Moncler Simone Rocha skirt, $1,780, moncler.com, and Louis Vuitton sneakers, price on request. Martine Rose hoodie, $780, and pants, $1,080, martine-rose.com, and Balenciaga boots, $1,490, and earrings, $395. Bottega Veneta coat, price on request, (800) 845-6790, Louis Vuitton shirt, price on request, vintage T-shirt, archive only, saintluis.com, Acne Studios pants, $340, acnestudios.com, and Wardrobe.NYC for Adidas sneakers, $500, wardrobe.nyc. Berluti jacket and pants, price on request, berluti.com, 2 Moncler 1952 jacket (worn underneath), $2,775, Polo Ralph Lauren T-shirt, and Nike sneakers, $170, nike.com. Heron Preston jacket, $570, heronpreston.com, Levi’s pants, $98, Nike sneakers, $160, and Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh bag, $2,166, neimanmarcus.com.

In which the postmillennial kids truly see whose lawn they’re on for the first time. They gather together after working their jobs where they make crap nobody wants or needs, singing in unison, somehow both under their breath and passionately from their diaphragms.

POSTMILLENNIAL KIDS
We are the postmillennial Pepsi ad
The new public-private partnership
Between the corporations and Democrats

We’re selling a brand
United we stand

We are the post-racial ad campaign
The new inclusion optical illusion
Designed by corporations and Democrats
We’re selling a brand
United we stand

United we Insta
United we post
United we get so little while doing the most
It’s the Great Anti-Depression
With no end in sight
United we selfie
United we smoke
United, surviving with key bumps of coke
As the Great Anti-Depression
Falls upon us every night

We are the post-united demographic now
The new free-to-be-you-and-me
Controlled by corporations and Democrats

They’re selling our brand
United they stand

United they gaslit
While drone wars persisted
United they fund-raised and hashtag resisted
While the Great Anti-Depression
Raged on and on
United they giggle
Like Rachel Maddow does
United in how good it is now and how bad it was
Though the Great Anti-Depression
Rages from dusk till dawn
While we pose
In our clothes
We’re just kids on their lawn


In which two black voters consider all sides. The one with the Afro steps forward, followed by the one draped in the American flag, singing.

THE ONE WITH THE AFRO
What did we have to lose voting for him?
An outsider showman and kingpin

THE ONE DRAPED IN AMERICA
We voted for him the last time
But only ’cause he wasn’t really a Republican

BOTH
He was business
He was jobs
He was money, money, money
He was swagger
He was tough
He was funny, funny, funny

THE ONE WITH THE AFRO
What did we have to lose? It turns out a lot
We knew to not make that mistake again
We voted for Dems the next time
But only ’cause they weren’t Republican

BOTH
They were health care
They were weed
They were black lives matter, matter, matter
They were trans rights
They were gay
They were glass ceilings shatter, shatter, shatter

THE ONE DRAPED IN AMERICA
But swinging back to Dems this time
Brings back an old cynicism
We grow discontent and we grow to resent
The neo/negroliberalism

BOTH
What do we have to lose? It turns out not much else
We’ve tried everything from Democrat to kingpin
But our votes are chessboard pieces
Our bodies are just pawns
And they’re all just robber barons
Whether kingpin or Democrat or Republican
Whether kingpin or Democrat or Republican
Whether kingpin or Democrat or Republican


In which a multiracial and multiclass coalition decides to take its country by force. The kids on the lawn plant bombs across the nation — themselves. They sing, in full-throated four-part harmony, an opera of postmillennial rage.

THE KIDS ON THE LAWN
A midterm militia
That’s what we need
A primary challenge to the ruling class
And their poisonous greed
We’ll take no prisoners
We’ve got bellies to feed
We’re busting through windows
And crashing through walls
Until they concede

Blow it up! Burn it down!
Smash it to smithereens!
Drag out the villains
Who’ve been hiding behind the scenes
Blow it up! Burn it down!
This is our final stand!
So let’s bear our arms
From the bodegas to the farms
Across this stolen land

A bloody insurrection
That’s what we demand
A deadly revolution
It’s the only solution
The time is at hand
We’re taking what’s ours
That’s what we’ve planned
In power while there’s time
Which won’t be for long
’Cause we’re on sinking sand

Blow it up! Burn it down!
Smash it to smithereens!
Drag out the villains
Who’ve been hiding behind the scenes
Blow it up! Burn it down!
This is our final stand!
So let’s bear our arms
From the bodegas to the farms
Across this stolen land

Behind the scenes at a photo shoot by the fashion designer Virgil Abloh for T Magazine. Courtesy of Virgil Abloh


Model: Adut Akech Bior at The Society Management. Street-cast models: Nina Clevinger, Riley Vaughn, Desmond Gree, Famous Smith, Tariyawn Knighten, Wisdom Chimezie and Rio Thake. Hair by Christiaan. Hair color by Daniel Moon at Hair Los Angeles. Makeup by Romy Soleimani at The Wall Group. Casting by Alexis Gross. Production: Be Good Studios. Photo assistants: Adam Jason Cohen and Alissa Desiree Godina. Makeup assistant: Marco Campos. Stylist’s assistants: Olivia Kozlowski and Hanna Ashbrook

Michael R. Jackson lives in New York City. He will make his professional debut as the writer, composer and lyricist of the musical “A Strange Loop,” opening in May at Playwrights Horizons and co-produced with Page 73 Productions.

Virgil Abloh lives between Paris and Chicago. He is the artistic director for men’s wear at Louis Vuitton and the founder of the Milan-based clothing and accessories label Off-White.