As was the case for many of us, it’s probably safe to say that things didn’t exactly work out as planned for Rage Against the Machine in 2020.
Last year was supposed to mark the triumphant return of the most political multi- platinum band ever, including an appearance at arguably the most famous music festival in the world: Coachella.
Think about the message that would have been sent by a hundred-thousand or so beautiful and well-heeled people screaming along to “People of the Sun”, “Bulls on Parade” and “Wake Up”. And, please, don’t stop with “If you worked harder, you’d be able to afford Coachella too.”
RATM’s planned reemergence was doubly important given what’s gone on in America over the past Mango Mussolini-led years.
The mainstreaming of grabbing pussy whenever you feel like it. The rise of the tiki-torch hoisting alt-right, and unrepentantly racist Proud Boys. And Ivanka Trump and Count Jared Kushner refusing to let their assigned Secret Service agents use their gold-plated shitters.
But thanks to the monster known as COVID-19, the members of Rage Against the Machine found themselves at home rereading the The Communist Manifesto instead of mobilizing the masses.
That silver lining to that? Somehow, against long odds, the ground troops woke up and voted America’s White Supremacist in Chief out of the White House. Congratulations Cori Bush—you nailed it.
Despite being pushed to the sidelines, Rage Against the Machine has evidently been busy. Band members Zack de la Rocha, Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk have just released a short film titled Killing In Thy Name. And no, it’s not about what the MAGA hordes did at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 at the bidding of their burnt-orange-hued master.
Instead, the aim of the documentary, made with help from The Ummah Chroma, is to shine a kleig light on white privilege, and the concept of whiteness in general.
Things begin with a message: “The following is a document of true events. Our aim is for this piece to be a fire escape from the fiction known as whiteness and a spring for discovery. Remember, the children are always watching.”
Things we’re asked to think about is how people who arrived in North America identifying as English, Irish, French, or German quickly began embracing the catch-all description of “white”. And about why the stories or Moncure Conway and Helen Hunt Jackson aren’t given the importance they deserve in American schools.
Unfortunately, the question of why Ivanka Trump is allowed to take a shit in a toilet while those who’d take a bullet for her are not is not addressed. For that, we’ll have to hope for Killing In Thy Name 2. Or, perhaps, Coachella 2022.
Watch, and learn.