Any group that includes members of Public Enemy, Cypress Hill and Rage Against the Machine will know how to agitate, and the group pulls no punches in its new video for “Strength in Numbers.” The clip piles on a powerful array of images to make the point expressed in its title, ranging from exiled quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players taking the knee during the national anthem, recent police shootings of unarmed black men, prison chain gangs and racist moments from vintage cartoons to nature footage — including hordes of bees, ants, birds, and fish — accomplishing remarkable feats through, you guessed it, strength in numbers.
Perhaps its most hard-hitting point is made when images of people firing automatic weapons are juxtaposed with both video footage and the names of black men being killed by police as the words “Totally legal” flash upon the screen.
As if the message weren’t already clear, the group’s Chuck D posted a message that accompanies the video and features the characteristic wordplay that’s been a hallmark of his work since he and Public Enemy first emerged in 1987: “ALMOST anything can be built or toppled with a collective force. A movement is never about an individual. On the opposition of Colin Kaepernick in today’s sports world, we ask ‘is it the KNEE or is it The NEGRO’”?