In New Video, Prophets Of Rage Gives NFL's #TakeAKnee Protest Historical Context

Oct 16, 2017
Originally published on October 16, 2017 9:44 pm

Content advisory: The video below contains imagery and language that some may find offensive.


Move over, Eminem.

Barely one week after the rapper's anti-Trump tirade, performed during the annual BET Hip Hop Awards, sparked buzz and debates over America's double standards around race and rap, Chuck D, one of the genre's most politically outspoken artists, has returned to bring the noise.

Prophets of Rage — a rock-rap supergroup started by the Public Enemy lead and featuring Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, Brad Wilk, B-Real and DJ Lord — released a provocative video today for the unity anthem "Strength In Numbers."

The video juxtaposes a barrage of visuals; Hollywood's racist history of stereotypical blackface imagery in films and cartoons (similarly referenced in Jay-Z's recent "Story of O.J." video), the desecration of the American flag by its most strident defenders, footage of unarmed blacks being killed by police and controversial protests during the national anthem by NFL players, meant to highlight such unjust deaths. These are interspersed with images of insect colonies, schools of fish and swarms of bees mounting collective attacks on larger opponents, cutting a clear allusion to the song's title.

"Unify or it's do or die," B-Real raps on the hook of the song from the group's self-titled LP, which recently peaked at No. 4 on Billboard's rock albums chart.

The video ends by posing a question in response to the politically divisive #TakeAKnee protests that continue in Colin Kaepernick's wake: "Is it the knee or the Negro?"

Considering the former quarterback's recently-filed grievance against NFL owners for allegedly blackballing him from the league, there's no need to guess what his answer would be.

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