LECTURE KEY TERMS
- George Floyd
- Rodney King
- 1992 Los Angeles Uprising
- Oscar Grant
- Fruitvale Station
- Yo! MTV Raps
- Fab 5 Freddy
- Daryl Gates
- “carotid hold”
- “gang sweeps”
- NWA, “Straight Outta Compton”
- NWA, “Fuck tha Police”
- Ice Cube
PRIMARY SOURCES: MUSIC VIDEOS
NWA, “Straight Outta Compton” (1989)
2Pac, “Trapped” (1991)
KRS-One, “Sound of da Police” (1993)
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright” (2015)
Vince Staples, “Norf Norf” (2015)
Nipsey Hussle, “Picture Me Rollin” (2016)
- How is power depicted in each of these music videos? Who has power? Who uses it? Who wants it? Is anyone powerless? Do you notice any significant differences in the way power is depicted in the music videos from 1989-1993 versus those created in 2014-2016?
- What story is being told in the lyrics of each song? Do those lyrics match what you see on screen? If not, explain how you think the words are meant to pair with the images.
- Explore the Timeline provided, paying close attention to the chronological list of “Incidents” of police violence against black lives. Where do each of these music videos fit within that timeline? How do you think the events that happened both before and after the release of each music video influenced the way people responded to the lyrics and/or the images?
- Can music videos on a popular mainstream platform, like MTV in the 1990s or Vevo today, be effective as a form of protest? Why or why not?
- Where do black women appear in each of these music videos? How are their experiences of police violence represented?
- Can you think of another music video that references the police? How does it compare to the videos from this lesson? Where and how do you think it fits into the history of rap music, policing, and the movement for Black Lives?
ADDITIONAL SOURCES TO EXPLORE
Scene from John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood (1991)
Final scene from Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station (2013) [Warning: This clip depicts gun violence and death.]