Snoop Dogg Tackles Heavy Issues In His New Video

by S. Atkinson

If you're finding U.S. politics increasingly exhausting, then you might be in need of some extra inspiration to fire you up for your increasingly protest-packed calendar. Then step this way, folks: Snoop Dogg's new music video for the remix of BADBADNOTGOOD's song "Lavender" is out, and it's funny and sad and angry. This said, while the violence in the video is stylized in a way that makes it look less real, a warning is necessary: the music video does contain an incident of police brutality.

The remix, which will appear on Snoop's upcoming album Never Left, boasts a video with a clown-concept, something Snoop told Billboard made sense since "The whole world is clownin’ around, and... if you really look at some of these motherf*ckers, they are clowns." He continued:

"The ban that this motherf*cker tried to put up; him winning the presidency; police being able to kill motherf*ckers and get away with it; people being in jail for weed for 20, 30 years and motherf*ckers that’s not black on the streets making money off of it — but if you got color or ethnicity connected to your name, you’ve been wrongfully accused or locked up for it, and then you watching people not of color position themselves to get millions and billions off of it. It’s a lot of clown sh*t going on."

But the video wasn't just about clowns; it was about a more tragic subject. Director Jesse Wellens was inspired to shoot a particularly politicized video by the news. Around the time he wrote the concept, Philando Castile was shot by police, and he argues that "it’s clownery — it’s ridiculous what’s happening." We see this in the video, in which a clown father heads off to work and smokes a joint in his car during his commute, which leads him to be pulled over by the police and shot multiple times with a glitter gun.

The link to the tragedy is emphasized in the video thanks to a bystander filming the incident on his phone and later uploading it to "Clown Tube," which makes reference to the Castile case. Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds livestreamed a video on Facebook following the shooting, showing her talking to the officer who shot Castile while Castile is slumped in the car. And this obviously isn't an isolated incident. Smartphone coverage of police violence — from the video of the police killing of Eric Garner to officers using pepper spray on seated protesters at Occupy California— has sparked accusations that the police are overstepping boundaries and using excessive force.

But the video isn't just canny in its handling of police violence. Its focus on President "Ronald Klump" and his bid to deport all "doggs" parallels the stance on immigration Trump assumed throughout his presidential bid, vowing on his first day in office to deport millions of "criminal aliens."

Ultimately however, the video is at its most acute in depicting both Trump and the citizens under Trump as clowns. After all, while Trump may have inherited his fortune from his family and found his identity in business, he was first rocketed into the spotlight via the entertainment industry. According to The Washington Post, Trump accepted a job on The Apprentice against the advice of his agent, telling NBC's then publicity director Jim Dowd “My jet’s going to be in every episode. Even if it doesn’t get ratings, it’s still going to be great for my brand.”

It helped Trump reach a far broader audience of over 20 million viewers, and a much younger one. And just like a clown, Trump won audiences' hearts by making them laugh with his brutal honesty and catchphrase "You're fired." Trump himself acknowledged to The Washington Post that, while he'd been famous prior to the show, this

“...was a different level of adulation, or respect, or celebrity. That really went to a different level. I’m running to really make America great again, but the celebrity helped — that’s true.”

It's hard to believe that reality TV had such a profound influence on politics — but then again, here we are, with The Apprentice star in the White House. Snoop's video just hits home how Trump's politics and the influence of the entertainment industry on America's future has made clowns of us all and emphasizes how vital it is to keep on keeping on with your resistance.