Earlier this week saw the premiere of the music video for “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump)” from YG and Nipsey Hussle. The video, which raises a giant middle finger to the radioactive bag of crap ideas that’s trying to be our next president, was directed by 21-year-old former sponsored surfer Austin Simkins.
Growing up in Northern California, surfing was Simkins thing, connecting with Rip Curl when he was 17. By the time he was 19, he was in school learning to be a firefighter, but he decided to switch paths again because he wanted to pursue a profession that’s more creative. Simkins soon got into fashion and music photography, then expanded into video direction, working on projects for HBK Gang members Iamsu! and Skipper. After approaching YG at a San Francisco recording studio several months ago, he was brought on to help the Los Angeles MC with his visuals. They’ve got another video done they’re keeping stashed for now, but “FDT” is Simkins’s biggest project that’s been released yet.
For the video, YG and Hussle staged three unifying rallies around the city during a single Sunday—one on Fairfax, one on Crenshaw, and one in South Central. The rappers would tweet out the location and time an hour before the gathering. Each stop drew over a hundred participants and shut down the streets. “It was really peaceful and it was a chance for everybody to be part of something bigger,” says Simkins.
The situation got the shakiest on Crenshaw when a police officer pushed Hussle when his hands were up. After that the fuzz came out with the Tazers and the beanbag shotguns. “People would say it was risky, and I would agree to a certain extent, but we weren’t causing violence,” says Simkins. “It was kinda chaotic, but so are the rallies that Donald Trump has. I mean, there’s more violence in the rallies that Donald Trump has than what happened with us.”
Below are a selection of photographs that Simkins shot on film during the making of “FDT.”