Section 3 of Issue 6 is a video essay that compares the use of the Rodney King beating tape in the films Malcolm X (Spike Lee, 1992) and Dark Blue (Ron Shelton, 2002). How do these two films differ in their inclusion of the tape of the attack and what does mean for their representations of race in America, the representation of racial violence, and the cinematic history of representing black bodies?

Essay written by Elysse Leonard, edited by Christopher Heron and narrated by John Cohen.


Works Cited

Alexander, Elizabeth. “”Can You Be BLACK and Look at This?” Reading the Rodney King Video(s).” Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art.Ed. Thelma Golden.

Boyd, Todd. “Popular Culture and Political Empowerment: the Americanization and Death of Malcolm X.” Cineaste Fall 1992.

Butler, Judith. “Endangered/Endangering: Schematic Racism and White Paranoia.” Reading Rodney King: Reading Urban Uprising. Ed. Robert Gooding-Williams.

Everett, Anna. “”Spike, Don’t Mess Malcolm Up”: Courting Controversy and Control in
Malcolm X.” The Spike Lee Reader. Ed. Paula J. Massood.

Hunter, Stephen. “A Cop on the Verge: In ‘Dark Blue,’ A Too-Macho Tale Is Handcuffed by a Weak Ending.” The Washington Post. 21 Feb. 2003. Web. 24 Apr. 2011.

“Interview: Ron Shelton, Director of “Dark Blue”” Interview by Ethan Aames. Cinema
Confidential. 17 Feb. 2003.

Nichols, Bill. Blurred Boundaries: Questions of Meaning in Contemporary Culture.

“Our Film Is Only a Starting Point: An Interview with Spike Lee.” Spike Lee: Interviews. Ed. Cynthia Fuchs.

The Rodney King Case: What the Jury Saw in California v. Powell. Courtroom Television
Network, 1992.

Stevens, Maurice E. “Subject to Countermemory: Disavowal and Black Manhood in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X.” Fight the Power!: the Spike Lee Reader. Ed. Janice D. Hamlet and Robin R. M. Coleman.

Tomasulo, Frank P. “”I’ll See It When I Believe It”: Rodney King and the Prison-house of
Video.” The Persistence of History: Cinema, Television and the Modern Event. Ed.
Vivian Sobchack.

White, Hayden. “The Modernist Event.” The Persistence of History: Cinema, Television and the Modern Event. Ed. Vivian Sobchack.

Williams, Linda. Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson.