Saturday marked what would’ve been Michael Jackson‘s 62nd birthday, and to commemorate the date, director Spike Lee created a new version of the short film he directed for the late King of Pop’s 1995 protest song, “They Don’t Care About Us.”
The new video, viewable now on Jackson’s YouTube channel, uses footage from the original two clips Lee shot to accompany the tune — which focuses on themes of police brutality, racial inequality and political oppression — and incorporates footage of recent protest marches and riots from various cities around the world.
The original “They Don’t Care About Us” videos featured Jackson in the streets of Rio de Janiero, Brazil, accompanied by a large group of percussionists, and theatrical scenes of him in a prison. The clips also included disturbing scenes of war, riots, Rodney King being beaten by police, and more.
The new footage was filmed in Atlanta; New York City; Chicago; Kenosha, Wisconsin; London; Rio de Janeiro; Toronto; Paris; Madrid; and many other locations.
“They Don’t Care About Us” originally appeared on Jackson’s 1995 album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, and was a top-30 hit. Michael once said of the tune, “The song in fact is about the pain of prejudice and hate and is a way to draw attention to social and political problems.”
Lee debuted the new “They Don’t Care About Us” film Saturday during the 2020 edition of his Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson block party, which is held annually on Jackson’s birthday and which this year was a virtual event.
In a statement, Lee says, “Great protest songs can’t get old, stale or non-relevant because the struggle still continues. That’s why ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ is the anthem during this chaotic, pandemic world we are living in.”
By Matt Friedlander
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