“Hard” is a 2009 platinum hit off of Rihanna’s fourth album,Rated R.The track features rapper Young Jeezy and received wide acclaim for what critics hailed as a departure from Rihanna’s previous material. Pitchfork Media, for instance, described the lyrics and musical style as “a strutting statement of power” and strength. In this video, Rihanna commands an army of men while wearing stylized military costumes, described by the designer as “military couture,” and handling a variety of artillery and other weapons in a barren scene closely resembling the deserts of Iraq or Afghanistan.
This clip comes from a 1991 broadcast of ABC World News tonight with Peter Jennings. It is an early news account of the beating of Rodney King, an African American male who was pulled over by the LAPD and became the victim of police brutality. The altercation was caught on tape by a pedestrian with a video camera.
Today, RuPaul is one of the best known drag queens in the world. At the time of this interview, RuPaul was just emerging as a global pop star. Many viewers would have been familiar with the music video for RuPaul's hit song "Supermodel (You Better Work)" which was in rotation on MTV in 1993. The Arsenio Hall Show was a late-night talk show popular with young people during its run from 1989 to 1994. This clip follows a fairly conventional interview format except that Hall, who is clearly enjoying interacting with the quick-witted RuPaul, asks his off-screen producer for "one more minute." One of the themes running through this interview is the relationship of RuPaul to her family. RuPaul describes them as supportive, says that she is "proud" of them, and laments that many of her fans "can't go home" because of their parents' homophobia. When Hall asks RuPaul about the political implications of his drag performances, RuPaul responds, "I can't change the world but I can change myself...and I can influence the world by what I do."
In this 2014 clip, a Los Angeles KTLA news anchor mistakes actor Samuel L. Jackson for another black actor, Laurence Fishburne, during a live interview. Presuming confusion due to Jackson and Fishburne’s shared race, Jackson responded by berating the man with a series of comments that clarify who Jackson is and is not. In this piece, Jackson is being interviewed as a promotion for his movie Robocop and the anchor is referencing a commercial where Fishburne promotes a car that aired a week earlier during the Super Bowl. Jackson’s terse responses such as “we might all be black and famous, but we don’t all look alike” as well as “I’m the other guy…there’s more than one black guy doing a commercial” make poignant statements of how black actors are viewed as a homogenous group.
This is the trailer from the 1996 feature film Set it Off, starring Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Kimbery Elise. Four female friends in Los Angeles, all facing various hardships and frustrated with their economic conditions, resort to bank robbery in order to better the circumstances of their families. The film demonstrates the grim and often desperate realities faced by working-class women of color. The clip depicts the four women planning and executing several bank robberies, and engaging in violent behavior along the way.Set it Offis a rare example of a major action film starring African-American women as the protagonists.