When Fall Out Boy first announced their humanitarian trip to Uganda back in May, the plan was to raise awareness about the plight of thousands of children displaced by the country's ongoing civil war and to urge the U.S. government to weigh in on the situation in the hope of stopping the suffering once and for all.
Sometime between that announcement and the day FOB touched down in Africa in July, it was decided that the best way to do all that was to shoot a video — for the song "I'm Like a Lawyer With the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)," a track that doesn't exactly instill one with a sense of international diplomacy.
Therein lay the difficulty for the band, director Alan Ferguson and Invisible Children, the nonprofit children's aid group that sponsored the trip: How does one make a video that encapsulates two decades of war for a song that's chiefly about the ins and outs of a relationship gone awry?
Simple — you make the video a love story starring a pair of Ugandan teens.
"Originally when we came here, we had a plan. [The video] was going to be shot documentary-style. We were gonna shoot it as Fall Out Boy coming here and interacting," bassist Pete Wentz said on the video's set. "But we decided that this treatment seemed a lot more dangerous and compelling. I mean, have you ever seen a love story between Ugandan people — especially with a rock band — on 'TRL'?"
And though it sounds incredibly basic, the "(Me + You)" clip, which debuted on "TRL" earlier this week, actually manages to be quite profound, primarily because it puts a pair of faces on the country's faceless refugees. Shot over the course of five days in and around an actual displacement camp in Uganda's northern Gulu District, the video stars two Ugandan teens who are trying to make love work in a time of war.
"What's truly groundbreaking is the majority of the video is the story of two young African kids, and what's great about it is that it's gonna humanize these people," Invisible Children co-founder Bobby Bailey said. "I think it'll connect to a lot of people. From the moment we arrived here, the kids here were telling us, 'Please tell our story. And especially let America know about our story because they have a voice in the world, and they can help end this thing.' "
"The plan is to show that and then emphasize the idea that if we sent one senior policy adviser from the U.S. [to Uganda] that there's greater potential to end the war [now] than ever — but for whatever reason, we're just not committed to do that," Wentz added. "Everyone's been focusing so much attention on our band lately — and so many times, it's the wrong kind of attention — [but] it's all right if the cameras follow us to Africa."