28 Nov 2018

Air NZ safety video: Shane Jones just ain’t street

9:27 pm on 28 November 2018

Opinion - Shane Jones may think the new Air New Zealand safety video fails the safety test and imports US street culture but James Nokise writes, does he not remember the Poi E video?

A still from the new safety video "it's kiwi".

A still from the new safety video "it's kiwi". Photo: Screengrab

Shane Jones thinks the Air New Zealand safety video is "cringe culture" and a "mish-mash that fails the safety test".

Let's break that down.

First of all, "mish-mash" is not really an insult.

Does it fail the Safety Test? No.

I feel just as educated on in-flight safety after watching this video as I did with the Lord of the Rings safety video, the Northland summer safety video, and Entourage actor Antarctic safety video.

Are Air New Zealand importing American Street Culture?

Absolutely, but only in the same way New Zealand absorbed US hip hop and RnB along with much of it's other pop culture in the late 20th Century. If anyone genuinely believes the breakdancing in Poi E is some form of solo haka, then there's bigger questions to ask.

I think the video looks great and local artists Kings, Theia, and Randa have talent to burn.

Is is "cultural cringe"?

Most definitely. And that makes sense, because 80s hip hop in Aotearoa was cringey (no disrespect to pioneers Double J and Twice the T).

Look, "It's Tricky" is a great 80s hit, but as someone who grew up in the 80s and 90s, lemme tell ya; hip hop culture didn't become mainstream in New Zealand till the 90s.

Coincidentally, the 90s are also when we found our hip hop voice - think Che Fu, OMC, Sister Underground, 3 the Hard Way, Kulcha, Upper Hutt Posse, and at least some of Supergroove.

So the next time Air New Zealand goes down this road, as they inevitably will, here's five 90s options to consider:

MC Hammer: Can't Touch This

A song that never made it to the top in the US and UK was number one in NZ, partly because "hammerpants" finally justified our shell track suits. Also, "hammer time" was the perfect catch phrase for a no.8 wire mentality.

Coolio: Gangsta's Paradise

From a film a about a teacher trying earnestly to educate some smartass kids, it resonated hard with Kiwis.

It's not like Coolio is busy these days. If you can afford Cuba Gooding Jr, you can afford Coolio.

"Been spending most our lives, waiting for this air safety advice"? (Call me, Air NZ)

Warren G: Regulate

From the second most gangsta man named Warren (props to Warren Buffet).

Regulate has a catchy call and response perfect for relaying boring information like what to do when the plane crashes.

McDonald's: Make it Click

Straight out of nowhere, McDonalds and the police put out this hip hop masterpiece which remains the standard by which all hip hop safety ads must be judged.

Jazzy Jeff and the The Fresh Prince (Will Smith): The Fresh Prince of Bell Air

"This is a story all about how..."

It's a rap song purposefully built to deliver information to a prime time TV audience.

Honestly of all the suggestions, I'm surprised this actually hasn't happened yet.

*James Nokise is a Billy T Award-shortlisted New Zealand comedian.