As Fight the Power is reworked for the age of Black Lives Matter, rap’s elder statesman gives his message for the US election – and explains the ‘hoax’ firing of Flavor Flav
It is 1989 and racial tensions in the US are simmering. Public Enemy have just released Fight the Power on Def Jam, with a video featuring a massive political rally, the Young People’s March to End Racial Violence. Fast-forward 31 years and Public Enemy are back on Def Jam and Fight the Power, immortalised in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, has been reworked in response to the Black Lives Matter protests that spread across the US and beyond.
The intervening years have seen all the hope surrounding Barack Obama, the US’s first black president, being replaced by the fear and divisiveness caused by Donald Trump. So it is unsurprising that Chuck D is finding it hard to see progress. In his distinctive baritone, Public Enemy’s leader and founder says Black Lives Matter “has made a difference – but you know, it’s a marathon, it’s not the 60-metre dash. To work on systemic racism and all those other ills, man, it is a long hike and you got to continually go at it. It’s a constant counterattack.”
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