The Usual Suspects

We’ve all seen political remixes, whether we realize it or not. Take that remix of Barack Obama singing ‘Call Me Maybe,’ for example. We’ve all seen that and all remember it, because of its creativity and ability to take make something new from something already existing. This is the power of a political remix.

Perhaps some of the most common we see are those taken from news clips. The political remix that stood out to me as being the both powerful and persuasive, ‘The Usual Suspects: Black Men in Black Hoodies,’ is a perfect example of a remix of various news clips. It takes a typical news cast and manipulates it to emphasize a modern cultural truth, this being that black men are continuously targeted as the ‘usual suspects’ in regards to crime. This also becomes the argument the remix attempts to make, through demonstrating how frequently black men are targeted as suspects across popular news channels. It does so through its main tactic of repetition, essentially being a two minute video of clips of newscasters mentioning something along the lines of the phrase ‘black male.’ All different scenarios, different newscasters, different locations, different ways of saying it. All compiled on top of each other. Though each clip and method of saying it is different, all have this implication of targeting black males.

This aspect of repetition throughout the entire video is what makes it so powerful. It makes it transparent just how much of a cultural truth this has become and continues to be. It makes it apparent how much it happens in our day to day lives, even if we may not realize it. Most important of all, is that the remix sticks with you. The phrase replays in your mind, even after you finish watching. I even watched it a second time. This is what makes it so effective. Something the creators of the remix could consider to make it even more effective could be to expand from the news and seek out use of the phrase in more day-to-day conversation. This would emphasize that this cultural phenomenon is not only evident in the news, but in our daily lives as well.