Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Why can't we all get along? Straight out of Northbrook!

Last Sunday, whilst preparing for a nap, I saw part of a 1971 film series called "Pilot District Project Washington, D.C."

One of the luminaries was a very young Marion Berry.

Marion Berry at 35

He takes a walk in Washington's Third District. In the clip below, he walks through District expressing points of view that are not uncommon to hear today. Later in the clip, residents of the District are frustrated by the failure of this pilot project to have meaningful results.


The Office of Economic Opportunity spent $200,000 in 1971 (1.2 million today) to create these short films as a model for police departments around the country. Instead they OEO chose to store these three films in a warehouse in Maryland.

Now, almost 45 years later, the debate about community policing continues. I had hoped in this post to suggest solutions to this seemingly insoluble problem.

Seriously though, I got nothing.

I did recently see the film Straight Out of Compton at a 10:45 AM show at Northbrook Court with my son and about 20 other people. The film has done betterin other venues and at other times. As of this writing, SOC has grossed 130 million and has held the top spot at the box office for the past 3 weeks.

In this film, the police are not shown in the most flattering light.

Ice Cube is played by O'Shea Jackson Jr., the son of  Ice Cube nee O'Shea Jackson. If interested in the dynamic between the two men, click here for the Irish Times. (Charming article)

The younger Ice Cube is rousted by the cops in front of his house, thrown to the ground roughly in front of a recording studio in Redondo Beach while standing with fellow NWA'ers,  Eazy-E and , Dr. Dre , and in Detroit arrested after being warned not to play their hit, Fuck The Police. They played the song and plainclothes police rushed the stage. In the film, they are arrested just outside the venue. According to other reports, they were arrested at the hotel.

The tune, a mise en scène, if you will, is one in which a policeman is on trial for crimes against various NWA players.

As Ice Cube raps:

Fuckin' with me 'cause I'm a teenager
With a little bit of gold and a pager
Searchin' my car, lookin' for the product
Thinkin' every nigger is sellin' narcotics

Speaking as a white guy, albeit Jewish, but mostly white, I can go along with the song's premise. These young men are trying to make a living in the music business in the late 80s. They keep getting hassled  because they are black and profiled as dangerous felons. They fight back in the only the way they can as musicians and artists. The track, Fuck the Police. is at it's core a protest song.

Fuck The Police peaked at Billboard Top LPs at 37 and 9th in the now oddly sounding, Top Soul LPs. The top LP was the Fine Young Cannibal's, The Raw and the Cooked. Many of you sociology/anthropology fans will remember Claude Levi Strauss's book of the same name.

The Top Soul LP was Tender Lover by Babyface which topped the charts for 8 consecutive weeks.

Enjoy a few moments of FTP with me….

I am guessing that Fuck The Police is not in heavy rotation in much of the United States. It is an internet meme. (I don't want to link you to the page because it seems creepy). But it's a bunch of images like sexy women dresses as cops and hamsters cavorting around, with the text, Fuck The Police.

It is said that the phrase has been heard in Ferguson and Baltimore. Although not national news, my guess is that Fuck The Police is a popular political slogan around the country.

 In my day, "Power to the People," The Personal is Political,", "Ho, Ho Ho Chi Mihn, NLF is Going to Win."were uttered by disaffected young people.

Young people.


No comments:

Post a Comment