Merton and Music for The LA Riots



Uprising: Hip Hop and The LA Riots – watch film here

The documentary made by Mark Ford, explores the topics on how hip-hop music during the time of the LA Riots was used as their way of communicating their message to the world of what life was like living in the ghetto of LA at that time. Hip Hop music by artists such as N.W.A, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, was the voice of all of their struggles, issues with police corruption and also with how they are treated in their society.  When watching this documentary it reminded me of the video we watched in class about the riots in England. I found that the rioters in both documentaries were rioting and looting for the same reasons and feeling they didn’t have a voice.  Ford explains that his film, “shows how powerful music can be, what it can do and what it means to people. I hope what people really take away from it is for us to pay attention to the suffering going on in our society. It just so happened at that time, hip-hop was about the only place you could hear the messages being told.” The music was made 20 years before the LA riots took over that neighborhood, but these songs were used as a theme song or soundtrack for the Riots.  Everyone on the streets had these songs blasting in all their cars with lyrics like ” F*CK the POLICE” clearly showed the anger, and resentment towards the police and the system. I watch this film thinking about how Merton’s ideas can be applied. But I think Merton can explain that the music and the way in which the public reacted to to as an Innovation adaption. The music is something they created to get their message out to the world, and they succeeded by it spreading to people of all races in which the film explains. Music with these lyrics wouldn’t be allowed on the radio, but they eventually got extremely successful to over power that.  But the violence that broke out in these LA riots, and the destruction of buildings, and cars were an example of the result of what happens when the police backed out and left the crowd getting more hostile towards everything. Merton would explain this as an rebellion adaption.  They weren’t secretive about it, they were rebelling publicly and looting just like the rioters from England and all for the same reasons which is why I think these videos closely relate to each other. 



One response to “Merton and Music for The LA Riots

  1. Music can be the sound of a generation. Sometimes, I wonder which came first: Did the music inspire a revolution? Or did the revolution inspire the music? In the late 1960s and early 1970s, so many people were against the Vietnam War. They picketed in the streets, wore flowers in their hair, and had dreams of making the world their oyster. They felt invincible. I know two people like that, and I call them my parents.

    Unlike my parents, who were a generation of do-ers, I feel like our generation has become a society of passive social activists. We “like” or “share” or “reblog” a picture, and then we think to ourselves, “Well, my job here is done! I got the word out on this social injustice.” Social media is wonderful way to share news and learn about the world, but perhaps we’re too “connected” and over-stimulated, to the point where we’ve lost our sense of urgency. I give so much credit to those students who took part in the L.A. riots, and those who participated in England. They didn’t just sign an online petition and call it a day. No. They actually got up off their behinds and did something about it.

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