What were you doing in the summer of 2004? I was going to the gym alot (!), waiting for my a level results, and starting a relationship which ended abruptly when the girl in question took a holiday to France and made love to the entire male half of the native population. Yet a recent post at Socialist Unity has reminded of something else: the music video for Black Eyed Peas song “where is the love” was getting played over and over again. OK, so wikipedia has just told me that it actually came out a year before, but since I don’t have a fucking clue what I was doing in summer 2003, I’m gonna stick with my original prose.
Anyway, with its constant refrains of “where is the love?”, this Black Eyed Peas song may not have been a new Das Capital in song form. Yet I would contend that the music video that accompanied it was indeed a rather excellent piece of politicized cinema.
The video reaches a crescendo from around 2 minutes 45. Band member alp.de.ap is chased by police – onstensibly for sticking a question mark on a moving vehicle. Just as he is about to be caught the story splits, and two alternate endings are interspersed with one another. In one alt.de.ap sits on the steps and challenges the calm and attentive police officer to consider some of the grander questions: “Whatever happened to the values of humanity whatever happened to the fairness and equality?…ask yourself”. Interspersed with this is a more common place ending to the narrative, in which the police officer pummels alt.de.ap against the bonnet of a car and arrests him. What emerges is a vivid picture of being human in The Present, of men marching to the rythm of the machine, while daring to ask if things might be otherwise. And thus I can forgive the appeals to god, and imagery of people looking towards te sky. It is an appeal to that which stands beyond and outside of the everyday grind – and should strike a chord with all of us who aspire towards the revolutionary transformation of society.
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