Reaction by: Shawn D. Allison
"F*** Rodney King!!!" This powerful declaration replayed and reverberated in my mind as I processed the documentary "LA 92." The line was the opening sentence from the brilliant thespian Roger Guenveur Smith in his painstakingly poignant monologue, aptly titled, "Rodney King."
Looking at this footage now at 31 years of age as opposed to 6 at the time, it's totally inconceivable how "just-us" seldom claims a victory even with blunt and concrete evidence live and in living color. However, our victory isn't really a full expression of jubilation because it's still under the force of a clenched white fist of oppression.
The verdict was more than a fuse lit to a bomb. It was like an elephant, or perhaps the Orkin Man stepping on an anthill and seeing such an energetic, frantic response from a colony with no set strategy during an invasion, yet full of rage, anger and uncertainty. As profound and necessary as NWA's rhythmic letter to law enforcement was, it just seemed to add fuel to their fire in the following years. Even now, whenever we hear about police beatings and murders, the riots replay in our minds not only as a grim reminder of our purposefully imposed subordinate American citizenry, but I think all the forcefully oppressive centuries and occurrences we've faced just builds up and may possibly explode with an unparalleled and unprecedented rebuttal.
Image crafted by Margaret Cusack "Rodney King: No Justice, No Peace
Rodney King's press conference statement should be revered as one of the greatest American oratorical soliloquies ever concocted. Given the back story of how the speech came to be, that kind of courage was on the same magnitude of Daniel in the lion's den. As hurt, traumatized, weary and mentally inebriated as King was when he spoke, it was so organic and human. He spoke for pretty much all of those on the societal spectrum from the oppressed and disenfranchised to the bigoted, prejudiced, monochromatic conservationists. If that savage and brutal beating had never been recorded, there's no telling how many of those cases would be publicly unnoticed.
As sick, twisted and horrific as the riots were, it somewhat channeled Nat Turner's revolt. And in this period of an inhumane and indigestible sour citrus-flavored administration, I wouldn't be surprised if the incumbent fruit ended up as strange fruit tied, gagged, and asphyxiated with its own tri-colored banner of pride, pale supremacy, and eminent domain---if ever such a feat is achieved, I still wouldn't quench my thirst with that spilled juice.
Image Courtesy of BroadwayWorld.com
This documentary will air on April 30th on National Geographic.Everyone please watch it.
Shawn D. Allison is a self-professed "Cultural Connoisseur. Renaissance Man. A Cool, Calm, Collected, Chocolate Clown." He is a contributing Writer/Blogger at Radio Rehab and Curator/Contributing Writer at Pride Magazine