In 1966, the Fermi nuclear power plant outside Detroit suffered a partial meltdown, throwing the city into a panic and later inspiring Gil Scott-Heron to write “We Almost Lost Detroit” to protest unsafe energy. “How would we ever get over / losing our minds?” he asks, wondering how a city that came so close to complete annihilation while DTE Energy continued raking in millions could ever hope to forget it. His solution: you just gotta work. When performing the song in concert, he transcended his anger at nuclear energy fat cats. “They don’t care about nobody, but we do,” he sings, “and if you do, you know you gotta go to work.” And isn’t that exactly what he’s doing?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.‘s video for their cover of “We Almost Lost Detroit” takes this often-lost aspect of what’s normally considered a protest song and brings it front and center. Rather than reflecting on our collective helplessness against the damage done, the duo (themselves from Detroit) shines a light on the city’s working men and women to show that, look, we’re still working, and look, it’s working. Detroit is working toward a brighter future, and it’s working.
STREAM: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – “We Almost Lost Detroit”