Earlier this week, I posted about the awesome Barack Obama video featuring will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas. The Washington Post has a great piece today about how the video came together, and how it became so viral:
The people behind the video say the Illinois Democrat's campaign had nothing to do with the video. "The intention," Dylan said yesterday, "was to make a really simple thing. . . . It was like, 'Super Tuesday's coming, let's try and get this up, maybe it can help a bit.' We weren't doing it for the campaign. We were doing it for what [Obama] said in the speech. . . . I believe the words he had to say."
"It's a very effective video," says Tricia Rose, professor of Africana studies at Brown University. "Semi-spiritual, uplifting, a fusion of progressive narrative with religious and emotional sentiment. It's an inspirational slice of the civil rights movement legacy."
Obama's Jan. 8 New Hampshire speech had nothing to do with losing. Will.i.am, the frontman for the Black Eyed Peas, said the speech shoved him off the fence and inspired him to make the video. "That speech made me think of Martin Luther King . . . Kennedy . . . and Lincoln . . . and all the others that have fought for what we have today," he wrote in his blog, Dipdive.com.
Watching the video with his 9-year-old daughter on his lap, cultural critic Mark Anthony Neal says he got choked up. His daughter -- whom he described as a Hillary Clinton supporter -- turned to him and said, "Daddy, why are you crying?" For Neal, 42, who was a child when Shirley Chisholm ran for president in 1972 and who came of age when Jesse Jackson first ran for office in 1984, the video tugged at him.
"For a generation of 40-somethings this is iconic imagery," says Neal, professor of African American studies at Duke University. It recalls Kennedy and King, "their hopes, their dreams, their passions and the reminder of their deaths. It really pulls at our heartstrings the way more mundane political songs don't.
"Political music is very often not very good music," Neal adds. "The aesthetics get left aside for the politics. . . . But I think this is an extraordinarily strong video. And the song itself is halfway decent; you wouldn't mind listening to it."