Tay Zonday may be known to most as the “Chocolate Rain” guy, but the prototypical YouTube star is getting some new viral attention for his brilliant observation on the conundrum of being poor in America.
It has now been 11 years since the singer found worldwide fame with his song pulling the string on racial and societal issues, and Zonday still has his finger on the pulse of American culture. This week, he shared a tweet pointing out how being poor traps people, pulling them down into deeper and deeper poverty.
The tweet attracted viral attention, prompting many others to share their own stories of the pitfalls of being poor in America. One shared the pressure of having to ride on a bus two hours each way to work, and not being able to leave even a little late or else she would miss the bus that took her to her second job when it ended. Others recounted having to cross their fingers that the rundown car they couldn’t afford to fix would hold up, as they would lose their job if it gave out and they were without transportation.
Others noted how there are industries set up to prey on those living in poverty — from check-cashing outfits that charge a high fee to rental centers that put huge interest rates on appliances.
Zonday has often used his viral fame to point out societal ills. The message behind “Chocolate Rain” was one of the dangers of institutional racism.
“I grew up in a biracial household,” he told BET. “My mom is Black and my dad is white. We never referred to each other as ‘Black’ and ‘white.’ So it was a bit of a shock to out into the world as a teenager and there these things and they don’t really speak to my life and who I know human beings to be. I guess overall ‘Chocolate Rain’ was intended as a ballad about institutional racism.”
Tay Zonday’s tweet corresponds with a new song called “Mama Economy” about the world economy and how the working class is undervalued and often left helpless while banks and large interests are bailed out during difficult times.