On Tuesday, crossover-thrash metal outfit Body Count premiered a quarantine-friendly music video for their anti-police brutality single “Point the Finger,” which boasts an appearance from Power Trip vocalist Riley Gale.
“We just put out a new album, Carnivore, and we can’t even tour,” says Body Count vocalist Ice-T at the beginning of the video. “So now I’m sitting home like, ‘Damn, what am I gonna do? New album out, can’t even do a video.’ So I thought, ‘I’m gonna tell the homies to video on their iPhone, we’ll just edit this shit together and see how it comes out.’”
Ice ended his introductory remarks by teasing the possibility of a professionally shot music video “when this is all over.”
The self-described “iPhone quarantine video” captures each band member at home, singing and playing their instruments in isolation. Video footage of Gale shows him in what appears to be a garage, sitting on a stool and wielding a shotgun. Gale is also filmed in his living room, where a sign for long-defunct Dallas punk venue Red Blood Club (later RBC) hangs in the background.
Also pertinent to Dallas is some of the track’s lyrical content, which Gale stated was about Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who was found guilty of murder following the Sept. 2018 shooting of Botham Jean.
From the time of Jean’s death to Guyger’s October 2019 conviction, the case made national headlines and sparked a debate on police brutality. Jean, a black man, was in his own apartment unarmed when Guyger, a white police officer, entered the apartment and shot him. Guyger, who lived on a different floor in the same apartment complex, said she mistakenly thought she was in her own apartment and Jean was an intruder.
Two days after Guyger’s conviction, Jean’s neighbor, Joshua Brown (also a black man), was fatally shot twice in the parking lot of a different apartment complex. The Dallas Police Department’s investigation into the matter drew ire from civil rights activists, who felt that because Brown was a key witness in the Guyger case, they were too close to the case to be impartial.
Gale alludes to this on “Point the Finger” with the lyrics, “Dead witness, no coincidence,” just as Ice issues a scathing rebuke in the form of the passage, “The fucking badge is the biggest gang we’ve ever had.”
Of course, police brutality is not a foreign subject to Body Count. The band provoked controversy following the release of their 1992 single, “Cop Killer.” In another interesting nugget of local trivia, the Dallas Police Association responded to “Cop Killer” by calling for a boycott against Time-Warner for as long as its subsidiary, Warner Bros. Records, continued to back the single.
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Garrett Gravley was born and grew up in Dallas. He mostly writes about music, but veers into arts and culture, local news and politics. He is a graduate of the University of North Texas and has written for the Dallas Observer since October 2018.