The revolution will be televised and it has begun, with apologies to Gil Scott-Heron who thought it wouldn’t be, although it was also, as he wrote, live. We are changing society for the better, and creatives who can imagine a better present and future, in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and staggering unemployment amid a catastrophic economic depression are leading it.
The video of George Floyd’s murder makes clear what happened. It cannot be denied nor termed fake news. Video is art, the documentary presents the raw and despicable manner in which his breath was slowly eked out of him. We all watched in horror and reacted, marching, peacefully demonstrating with signs, artfully composed to reflect the rapid reaction to this killing, with letters and torn cardboard signs as rough as the murder itself.
As the White House perimeter was extended for the President to walk to St. John’s Church, across the street from the White House, cavalry and police tear gassed and shot rubber bullets at the crowd to clear the path, and it was all recorded on video and still camera images, with audio recording the chaos of bullets and canisters exploding. At the front of the church, the President held up a bible, a book of stories telling a history, only showing the front, enough identification for his photo op.
That photo op and others that have been used in the last three years are artfully arranged. Here it featured a line of suited white men, with the president and his uplifted bible in front of them, all alone. Although he adores crowds around him, this crowd, now removed was the wrong one for the president. The lone man in front of the church, desiring others to see him as a savior, his disciples looking on, was the photo to present.
The next day, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed the portion of street in front of the White House, which had been violently cleared of protesters, Black Lives Matter Plaza, and in a show of unity and solidarity, artists painted those words on the street in huge yellow block letters. She even changed the street sign to Black Lives Matter Plaza.
The people ruled the day. They are creatives changing the world, imagining a new and better one. The revolution was televised, and tweeted, and sent out in every imaginable format. More than my words can say, I follow here with a photo essay, of what we all did and continue to do, if we only, as John Lennon sang, and as a lone singer in New York on Wednesday sang, “Imagine”.