March 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s revealing that the anti-Kanye petitioner focused on the “threatening” spectacle of ‘All Day’: the masked-up crowd in top-to-toe black streetwear except for chains, under the light of pouring flames. The performance is a metonym for – a mirror of the whole visual grammar of – Ferguson. (To judge by a quick google search, I’m literally the only person who’s pointed this out – the other results are bloggers petulantly asking why Yeezy was “silent” about Eric Garner, which suggests just how useless some professional malcontents are at reading sonics & images.) Even the lyrics – & of course the core of ‘meaningful’ ‘real’ music is its focus on profound content – should be enough: “people still gettin’ popped on the day to day”, “get low, stay low”; that closing fragmented vocal sample like a police siren 20 years on from ‘Gangsta Gangsta’, an omnipresent articulation of social terror. What is “threatening” in the context of official culture – “Glasto” as long Home Counties snooze, l’apres-midi d’un Jools Holland – is the notion that black men, women & children might visibly claim any power over their own lives in the context of militarised state terror, even if only in the toxic sphere of culture; might present themselves (if they present themselves at all) as anything other than the harmless, helpless innocents of liberal fantasy.

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