Ukraine, Vice News, & LEN’s Music Video for Steal My Sunshine
Have you noticed the coverage coming out of Ukraine from Vice News? Vice is known for sending its journalists into war zones like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine to get an uncensored look at what is happening on the ground. In addition, their reporters are known for posting raw footage of what they see in their documentary-style reports uploaded to YouTube. Most mainstream media outlets, such as CNN and Fox News, avoid disseminating that type of coverage to avoid scaring their viewers. To get a taste of how Vice presents its reports, please watch this recent upload by Vice News inside Kyiv.
Their owner, Vice, holds other properties such as Vice Studios and Refinery29. Vice initially launched in Montreal as ‘Voice of Montreal’ in 1994, with Canadian government funding, to cover music, art, trends, and drug culture not covered in print. They then changed their name to ‘Vice’ in 1996. Since their humble beginnings, Vice has aggressively expanded its portfolio across the mass media, opening offices worldwide and becoming embroiled in controversies. Besides the frat-boy culture at corporate failing to stop sexual harassment against their employees, Vice is known for pushing their reporters beyond their limits to provide you with the coverage you see now on social media and YouTube.
Now let’s get to the point. Do you see the screenshot below from LEN’s music video of ‘Steal My Sunshine’? You’ll see a few people at Daytona Beach on scooters stickered up with Vice logos. On one of the scooters, you’ll see Ryan Somers, the ‘Forrest Gump’ of hip-hop. He was a talent scout and hip-hop columnist back in the day for Vice Magazine. He was also making a lot of money doing his work. It also allowed him the opportunity to create relationships with up-and-coming artists that gravitated away from the mainstream.
LEN had just released ‘Steal My Sunshine’ in 1999, and Ryan Somers heard the song blaring out of a car driving by him on Roxton Road, Toronto, and he loved it. He met the duo behind LEN, Marc, and Sharon Costanzo. Marc and Sharon conceived the idea for the song after they went to a huge three-day rave. They wanted to write about what happened at the party, and Deryck Whibley, from Sum 41, was in the room when Marc wrote the lyrics. Vice Media at that time was also forming relationships in communities that they wrote in.
However, Ryan Somers’s connection with LEN went even deeper, and he was also invited to live in the massive three-story home on Roxton Road that LEN owned because of it. So it became time to shoot the music video in Daytona Beach. Directed by Bradley Walsh, the shoot lasted one week. They had a budget of $100,000, and they spent most of the money on alcohol. And to show the close relationship through Ryan that Vice had with the LEN, they sticker bombed the entire city with Vice stickers before LEN filmed their music video.
What exactly is this song about then? Some people say it’s butter tarts. What does it have to do with Ukraine? I don’t even know. I just decided to write this out of nowhere.