The Music Video For J.cole 's 2013 Crooked Smile Essay

The Music Video For J.cole 's 2013 Crooked Smile Essay

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The music video for J.Cole’s 2013 Crooked Smile is an expressive, and powerful production. It reveals itself as a short film commemorating seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley – Jones who was killed by an officer during a 2010 raid in Michigan. The video was nominated for the MTV Video Music Award for Best Video With a Social Message (Kaufman, 2014). It begins with an inconspicuous frame of J. Cole solemnly looking though a window appearing to have been arrested. The video then reverts backwards to show a comparison of two men leading similar lives earlier in the day. It is then revealed these men, although similar, are identified as binary opposites through ideological representation. Throughout the video a repertoire is built showing a white man, and a black man (J. Cole) living their natural lives. They then interact as the white DEA officer enters the home of the black drug dealer during a raid. With guns cocked, a little girl attempts to see what is going on when she is quickly shot and killed. In the flashing moments between life and death it is expressed that the innocent girl was connected to the DEA officer through his own daughter.
The video uses media apparatus to construct a reality that strongly reflects that of American ideologies. Further, it seeks to explain the notion of binary opposition in regards to the relation between race and occupation. Using aspects of the video I will explain how binary opposition interacts with ideological views of race, which is then reflected through the media apparatus.
Race and ethnicity in the media are a significant aspect of the Crooked Smile music video. J. Cole is an avid activist for the black community in the United States. He uses his star power to disseminate distinctive and cri...


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...de. The ideologies held by society allows for people who are otherwise doing little harm to be subjected to disproportionate danger and for the privileged class to justify their reactions.
J. Cole’s intention is to initiate a discourse revolving around stereotypes of black Americans. That what we see represented in the media effect how we judge a person and react to situations. He meticulously creates a reality that requires contemplation though the media apparatus and uses this structure to evoke ideological inquiry. By challenging mainstream perceptions of binary opposition he asks the public to rethink the magnitude of their social constructions. In conclusion, J. Cole uses the structure of the media apparatus to expound common misconceptions of binary oppositions created through the social construction of race and asks his audience to challenge them.










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