It's hard to believe that MLK Day only became an official national holiday in 1986--23 years after Martin's "I Have A Dream" speech and 18 years after his assassination--and that it wasn't until 2000 that the holiday was recognized in all 50 U.S. states.
Arizona was one of the holdouts, and unsurprisingly, the Grand Canyon State's refusal to join the MLK celebration didn't sit too well with hip-hop revolutionaries Public Enemy. (Yes, please remember that before P.E.'s Flavor Flav was courting Hoopz, Brigitte Nielsen, and Deelishis on trainwreck VH1 reality shows, he and Chuck D were constantly courting controversy with their fiery political manifestos.) So P.E. wrote the protest song "By The Time I Get To Arizona," accompanied by a rather shocking video that didn't exactly depict then-Arizona governor Fife Symington III in the nicest light.
It's uncertain if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a famous pacifist, would have agreed with this video's violence, but he certainly would have supported Public Enemy's right to free speech. So let's screen the controversial clip now:
Another politically minded veteran band, U2 (whose concert film Rattle & Hum was, ironically, shot in Arizona) also honored Martin Luther King Jr. in a song/video, albeit a much less incendiary one, "Pride (In The Name Of Love)." Watch it here:
Which video better celebrates MLK's legacy? Feel free to post your opinion--or any other thoughts you may have on MLK and the Civil Rights Movement--on the messageboard below.
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- Happy Martin Luther King Day