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).
The essay explores how 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, sound recording by Brian Robertson, and narrated by John Cohen.
This video essay was first published in August of 2012.
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. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1994. 91-110. Print.
Boyd, Todd. “Popular Culture and Political Empowerment: the Americanization and Death of Malcolm X.” Cineaste Fall 1992. Web.
Butler, Judith. “Endangered/Endangering: Schematic Racism and White Paranoia.” Reading Rodney King: Reading Urban Uprising. Ed. Robert Gooding-Williams. New York: Routledge, 1993. 15-22. Print.
Everett, Anna. “”Spike, Don’t Mess Malcolm Up”: Courting Controversy and Control in Malcolm X.” The Spike Lee Reader. Ed. Paula J. Massood. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2008. 91-114. Print.
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.
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Nichols, Bill. Blurred Boundaries: Questions of Meaning in Contemporary Culture. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1994. Print.
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The Rodney King Case: What the Jury Saw in California v. Powell. Courtroom Television Network, 1992. Videocassette.
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