“As disturbing as these images maybe to watch on your television, just remember these things are fictional. These things actually happened to people, these same events took the lives of fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, sisters. These things actually happen to us. So as disturbing as it may be for you to watch on television, imagine how uncomfortable it is for us to live through it in reality?”
“Warzone” arrived on Tidal earlier this month and it, too, takes a no-holds-barred look at life in America as a person of color. However, this time around, T.I. has brought a more cinematic approach to its video, providing viewers with a vision of what the world would look like if White citizens became the target of police violence with the same frequency and inconsequential repercussions as do people of color in real life. Although entirely fictional (whereas “We Will Not” pulls directly from historical imagery), “Warzone” is no less visceral and in facts begins with a warning reading “due to the graphic nature of this video, viewer discretion is advised.”
Viewers are taken through a few disturbing scenes, including reenactments of the killings of Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, and Eric Garner, only with white citizens playing the tragic victims. The video is a call to action for white people to wake up and witness the “Warzone” that exists in plain sight for minorities in this country.
Now you know T.I. who has never been afraid to speak his mind is not known for such overtly political content in his own music. He stopped by The Dailey Show and chopped it up with Trevor Noah, Monday. What also may surprise many is how he beautifully addressed his heartfelt inspiration as well as some incredibly powerful observations about Hip-Hop’s role as a reflection of life’s hardships, and by the time the interview was over, everyone in the studio was clearly taken aback and in full support.
“You’ve always said your piece, but you’re not a political person,” Trevor Noah says (to which T.I. agrees) at the 2:20 mark. When asked why he made the “Warzone” video, Tip responds by saying he was inspired by how recent travesties in this country have been happening at a rate that is “incoherent,” compelling in him a desire to speak his mind. “It became a project out of nowhere,” he says. “I just really want to create dialogue that will promote change.” After showing viewers a clip of the video, Noah discusses its featuring “Black policemen and a White kid being mistaken and being shot,” calling it “a powerful statement to make.” When asked if such arresting imagery and the dialogue it’s inspiring is in line with what his vision was, T.I. says “Absolutely. I wanted them to take notice and as disturbing as these images may be to watch on your television, these things actually happen to us…imagine how uncomfortable it is for us to live through it in reality.”
Noah then brings up the notion of what some critics would describe as hypocrisy in Hip-hop whereby artists argue for change in their music while simultaneously glorifying violence in other songs. When asked for his opinion on such criticism, T.I. fires back with an argument about seeking the root cause of systemic racism at the 4:39 mark. “Hip-Hop has always traditionally been a reflection of the environment the artist had to endure before he made it to where he is. So, if you want to change the content of the music, change the environment of the artist and he won’t have such negative things to say.”
I do not know why no one has thought or dared to flip the script visually before and show white dying at the hands of black cops the way black die at the hands of white law enforcement, but I applaud Clifford ‘Tip’ Harris for being ever so bold to be the first to do so. I believe the imagery need to be scene so there can is possible be a better understanding because as I stated 18 months ago, White People Can’t Comprehend – The Deadly Consequences of Being Black!