Brow Beat

A White Cop and an Unarmed Black Man Brawl in Run the Jewels’ New Music Video    

In a new music video from Run the Jewels (separately known as Killer Mike and El-P), a white cop and a young black man fight on a hauntingly empty street. But there are no guns or weapons involved—no one is killed. Instead, the two brawl until they are exhausted. Throughout the video, directed by A.G. Rojas, they’re panting and visibly reluctant to fight, and yet they continue to wrestle one another.

The song, “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” might seem like an odd choice to pair with the video. Other songs from the duo, like “Early” off the same album, which focuses explicitly on police brutality, actually seem more directly relevant to the video’s subject. But the song’s hook, provided by Zach De La Rocha of Rage Against the Machine, gives the it a frantic energy that juxtaposes perfectly with the sight of the two men lethargically fighting for what seems like an eternity.

At one point, the young black man runs into a house, opens the refrigerator, and pours a jug of milk over his face. As the milk coats his skin in white, the cop snatches it away and dumps the remainder on himself before they continue to fight up the stairs. In the end, they wander to an upstairs bedroom, slumping onto opposite sides of a bed, facing away from one another in shame and bewilderment. As he looks out the window, the young black man seems to imagine himself walking outside into the light, arms spread out wide.