“I have a wife and two children who love me, I am the victim of police brutality”
As the Black community and its allies are once again stepping up to social injustice and fighting for equality, this week’s From The Vault comes courtesy of Michael Jackson and his plaintive ‘They Don’t Care About Us.’
Issued as the third single from the ’HIStory’ LP, Jackson self-produced track remains one of his most controversial cuts to this day.
Markedly more aggressive than previous social offerings like ‘We Are The World’ and ‘Heal The World,’ ‘About Us’ found Jackson fed up with the way “we” were being treated.
Of course, accusations of racism and call for revolt followed suit.
A huge hit in Europe, the song was only but a moderate hit in the US… likely because of its subject matter.
In keeping with the aura of the track, MJ chose to work with Spike Lee to bring the song to life and oh did he succeed.
Two videos were shot, both making social commentaries in their own way.
The first presented Mike in a Brazilian favela; but instead of putting the emphasis on the dangerous and ruthless aspects of that environment, the artist chose to paint a colorful, upbeat and optimistic picture of the neighborhood.
The second was shot in a prison and made much more obvious allusions to the way people of color are (mis)treated in America – with footage of the KKK and police brutality among other poignant images.
25 years after its release, unfortunately the words to this song still feel like the personal story of many a person of color.
Here’s hoping the uproar that is currently occurring the world over brings with it change, and that people turn up the volume about issues regarding racial inequality and white privilege; but most of all start being more active about how to fight this plague that has been part of history for far too long.