Run The Jewels release new video challenging racially charged police violence in the US

RTJ continue their uncompromising stance on police violence and racism

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The Independent Culture

Run The Jewels, the critically acclaimed US hip-hop duo of Killer Mike and El-P, have released the video for ‘Close Your Eyes (And Count To F***)’, which features Rage Against The Machine’s Zack de la Rocha.

Shot by Barcelona-born director AJ Rojas, the video stars Shea Whigham (Boardwalk Empire, Wolf of Wall Street), as a white police officer locked in a violent struggle with a black youth, portrayed by Keith Stanfield (Selma, Straight Outta Compton).

Following their highly-praised ‘Run The Jewels 2’ album last year, RTJ’s uncompromising stance on police violence and racism has further raised the duo’s profile lately, as the relationship between US law enforcement and the black community comes under renewed scrutiny .

The issue also formed the backdrop to LA rapper Kendrick Lamar’s new album ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, which saw him develop a more politicised outlook.

“We had to exploit the lyrics and aggression and emotion of the track, and translate that into a film that would ignite a valuable and productive conversation about racially motivated violence in this country,” said director Rojas, who has previously shot promos for Jack White, Gil Scott Heron and Emile Sande. “It was important to write a story that didn’t paint a simplistic portrait of the characters of the Cop and Kid.  They're complex, real people so the power had to shift between them at certain points throughout the story. Our goal was to highlight the futility of the violence, not celebrate it.”

Killer Mike praised the work of director Rojas and stars Whigham and Stanfield, adding: “There is no neat solution at the end because there is no neat solution in the real world. However, there is an opportunity for dialogue and to change the way communities are policed in this country.”

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