For a song that came out over 30 years ago, Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power”—created for the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s 1989 classic film, Do The Right Thing—remains remarkably resonant even in 2020. We’re still at war with structural racism and all of the issues that existed at the time of the song’s creation are present today. The need to challenge authority and demonstrate the might and will of black voices and freedom is as necessary now as it was then.
That’s why today’s video, on Juneteenth, is Public Enemy’s video. Juneteenth represents freedom in the Black Community and this song to me represents fighting for the never-ending quest for equality. Plus it jams.
Opening up with video from the 1963 March on Washington, which was 100 years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, “Fight The Power” demonstrated a different type of march, one more aggressive and less polished and respectable. Instead of trying to show the white people that good black folks exist, Public Enemy took on the mantle of black nationalism and looking after our own, and taking what was owed. The imagery they conjure is nothing short of empowering and revolutionary. So on this Juneteenth 2020, the fight marches on in the streets of America in the aftermath of so many police shootings to the point where we have to say names of people we never met so frequently, that they’re all part of our beings. From George Floyd to Breonna Taylor, we must continue to fight the power.
Meanwhile, I hope you have the day off. I do.
Fight the power.