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Is it still about the shoes? Nike’s latest ad builds on the company’s tradition of slickly-edited propaganda & hypocrisy

Graham Dockery
Graham Dockery
is an Irish journalist, commentator, and writer at RT. Previously based in Amsterdam, he wrote for DutchNews and a scatter of local and national newspapers.
is an Irish journalist, commentator, and writer at RT. Previously based in Amsterdam, he wrote for DutchNews and a scatter of local and national newspapers.
Is it still about the shoes? Nike’s latest ad builds on the company’s tradition of slickly-edited propaganda & hypocrisy
What have skateboarding Muslims and kneeling quarterbacks got in common? They’re all part of the same social justice struggle, according to Nike. Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you that Woke Capitalism is at it again.

Released on Thursday, Nike’s ‘You Can’t Stop Us’ ad is simultaneously an editing marvel (its editors reportedly sifted through 4,000 hours of footage to get those split-screens and transitions right) and an unknowing parody of woke culture.

No scene illustrates Woke Capital™’s hunger for all things intersectional than a shot featuring a skateboarding girl in a niqab (is this what you call Radical Islam?) seamlessly morphing into a leather-jacketed transsexual holding a smoking rainbow flag.

The ad has racked up more than 25 million views and has been lauded as an aesthetic masterpiece. It’s easy to see why. The combination of inspiring music, sublime editing, and beautiful cinematography makes you want to cheer, until you consider how utterly ridiculous the scene is.

Is Nike suggesting that religious teachings that oppress and degrade women are somehow empowering? Or is the young skater’s transition into LBGT activist a sign of what awaits Muslim societies in a woke-ified world? Whatever the answer, perhaps the Uighur Muslims reportedly slaving away in Nike’s Chinese factories will finally feel represented, no matter how Haram the imagery. 

From black women overcoming some ill-defined doubt, to athletes of all colors taking a knee for ‘Black Lives Matter’, to soccer star and perennial liberal narcissist Megan Rapinoe pontificating on making the world a “better place,” no ethnic or social splinter group is left unmentioned in this 90-second compendium of wokeness.

The ad is right about one thing for sure: Woke Capital can’t be stopped. It can’t be stopped from absorbing, packaging, and profiting off righteousness. Walmart won’t pay its staff a living wage, yet pledged $100 million in June to open a “center focused on racial equity.” Apple, another corporation that uses Chinese slave labor to manufacture its products, kicked in the same amount to eradicate racism. McDonald’s, whose restaurants have contributed to black America’s shocking 75 percent obesity rate, has taken up the niche cause of black trans rights, for some reason.

Nike, however, is the undisputed king of wokevertising. From making anthem-kneeling quarterback Colin Kaepernick the face of its 2018 ‘Believe in Something’ campaign, to wheeling out a moralizing sermon on race relations just four days after George Floyd’s death, the company has evidently figured out that crises sell more shoes (and more breathable sports hijabs too). 

Selling shoes must be Nike’s aim, because the alternative is twice as bizarre.

That alternative is that Nike, a global megacorporation whose pockets are lined with the profits of slave labor, has appointed itself chief propagandist for a movement to dismantle the power structure of America on behalf of the ‘oppressed’ women, blacks and Muslims of the world. 

It’s that Nike, a company that donates to Republican candidates every election cycle, supports an anti-police organization founded by “trained Marxists,” whose stated aim is to destroy “capitalism, patriarchy and colonialism.” It’s chipped in $40 million dollars to this organization and those like it.

It must be about the shoes, right?

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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