In this pivotal year and racially charged era, the BET Awards chose to open their show in June with a new version of Public Enemy’s iconic 1989 song “Fight the Power,” which sadly is as relevant today as it was 31 years ago. The new video includes group founders Chuck D and Flavor Flav along with many images and scenes from recent Black Lives Matter protests, as well as guest verses or appearances from Nas, Rapsody, YG, Jahi and the Roots’ Black Thought and Questlove.
It was a powerful start to a powerful show: Nas’ lyric addressed both the current political and paid tribute to Public Enemy:
“Yo Chuck, I’m fighting the power right now/ Thanks to you, Flav and PE putting it down/ Putting your life on the line so I can rap now.”
The group, which announced last week that it has returned to Def Jam Recordings after more than 20 years and is releasing a new album next month, has officially released the video.
The song, originally featured in Spike Lee’s film “Do the Right Thing,” is the first single from the group’s forthcoming new studio album “What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down,” set for release via Def Jam on September 25.
The group is one of the few hip-hop acts to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“Cultural Institutions are important. Being an integral part of one is an honor bestowed and to uphold,” says the group’s Chuck D. “Public Enemy songs are forever sonic prints in the sands of time. And it’s time – it’s necessary – to bring the noise again from a place called home. Def Jam. Fight the Power 2020.”