Black noise, police brutality, and city landscapes: Noir aesthetics in Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright”

Cristiane Guedes, Bielefeld University and University of Guadalajara:

The paper attempts to analyze whether the music video of the song “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar reveals new conceptions of the urban occupation and power relations within Oakland. To conduct this reflection, the author uses a Fanonian analysis of selected scenes from the music video with police officers and an analysis of the aesthetics of Noir cinema present in the music video. The article’s argument is that the image of the police helps construct a dichotomous imagery of dangerous places in a city: on one hand, for certain groups, the police can represent the fight against crime; on the other hand, for other groups it represents the danger personified. According to the author, the video not only criticizes police violence but also reclaims urban periphery as an alive space of Black culture.

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