Code Pink releases bizarre rap video about Blackwater

    Last week, Code Pink came out with this wacky rap about how Blackwater “makes a killing out of killing.”

    I’m all for raising awareness about the mercenary firm’s never-ending scandals, and have written extensively about the industry myself, but I’m not sure that this was the right way for the antiwar group to get the message out.

    While the video has gotten attention, which some might say makes it a success, it may not be the kind of attention they were looking for. As Spencer Ackerman writes over at Danger Room:

    Whatever the merits of the substantive case, we’ve got to say: this is going too far.

    Does Blackwater really deserve the sight and sound of Benjamin bobbing her head and waving her arms like a fish out of its cultural waters, spitting, “They got a mercenary here, a mercenary there/ Erik Prince’ll send a mercenary” — wait for it! — “a-ny-where”? Must it suffer through a relentless AABB structure and a mid-tempo synth-driven beat, with no variety and no flow? Should it have to watch an ersatz-contractor, in blue polo shirt and wraparound shades, pantomime killing people and making it rain on himself? And what, no Cartman-with-an-AK reference? Cube’s “AK-47 is the tool” line in Straight Outta Compton” sets it right up for you!

    Not even the presence of D.C. rapper Head-Roc on the chorus can save Benjamin.  Jim McMahon’s “Super Bowl Shuffle” verse is officially no longer in the record books for most cringe-inducing mic performance.

    If it was meant to be a spoof, that didn’t come across – at least not to me.

    Who exactly they were hoping to reach with this is unclear. Older folks generally aren’t going to be into it because its rap. And all the younger folks who’ve seen it that I know, all of whom are sympathetic with the message, found it rough to watch.

    It would also seem to discredit Medea Benjamin – and the wider antiwar movement – in the eyes of those who don’t already agree with her politically. I could see conservatives seeing this as just one more bit of evidence that peace folks are wacky and not like them.

    What do you think? Does simply getting attention with a stunt like this make it a success? Or do the downsides outweigh any positive affects it might have?

    Recent Stories

    • Analysis

    How to develop movement candidates and win rural governing power

    April 8, 2021

    In elections, we are facing setbacks locally and more broadly. A bold new experiment in West Virginia offers lessons for long-term success.

    • Obituary

    Remembering Rev. Richard Deats, a life-long peace movement leader and influential teacher of nonviolence

    and Rev. John Dear
    April 7, 2021

    A prolific writer and speaker, Rev. Deats strengthened grassroots movements by leading nonviolent action trainings in conflict zones around the world.

    • Feature

    Young Indigenous organizers are taking the fight against oil pipelines to Biden

    April 7, 2021

    With the Line 3 and Dakota Access pipelines threatening Indigenous land, youth from the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes ran 2,000 miles to deliver a powerful message to the new administration.