Media Seeks to Discredit ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Video from Pussy Riot

Image Credit: Pussy Riot - Denis Bochkarev

Image Credit: Pussy Riot – Denis Bochkarev

Moscow, Russia (TFC) – Pussy Riot’s viral video ‘I Can’t Breathe’ has received criticism for trying to “Hijack” the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Apparently, the Russian musical group can’t express solidarity with the police accountability movement in the United States because of a Twitter hashtag.

Setting aside the obvious fact that the movement is much larger than the simple statement that #BlackLivesMatter, Pussy Riot has had members of their band beat, strip searched, and sent to prison for victimless crimes. I would suggest that the women of the group have more in common with Eric Garner than the blonde hair blue-eyed writer for Vox that said:

“There’s some skepticism to be held here about whether or not Pussy Riot is taking the life and struggle of one man — and a culture they are not a part of — and using it as a publicity stunt.”

A writer for Fusion, who also has blonde hair and blue eyes, also expressed that the video attempts to hijack the incident for their own purposes. Arielle Castillo wrote:

“And here’s where we veer into questions over what is appropriate in the act of being an ally. “I Can’t Breathe” certainly intends to come across as a message of solidarity, but it falls short of amplifying the stories of Garner and others like him.

Instead, it appears to uncomfortably shift the narrative back onto Alekhina and Tolokonnikova’s own experiences.”

This is where the American media shows why they dislike the video. It makes the Eric Garner case more relatable. The two women have been the subject of police attacks. One of the problems with holding police accountable is that cops tend to abuse and target the disenfranchised among society. Whether the victim is a homeless white man with a mental illness or a black man with a lengthy arrest record, the victims are typically not easy for mainstream society to relate to. However, Alekhina and Tolokonnikova are pretty young white women. It’s something that middle America can relate to. The fact that America’s mainstream society can more easily relate to a Russian punk band than they can to members of their own population is a subject for another article.

The real reason why people in the media will continue to attempt to discredit this show of solidarity is because the videos are too dangerous. Yes, there are two videos. There is the one that is viral which displays two members of the band being buried alive near a pack of cigarettes, and there is the one that shows footage from protests.


The stats speak for them themselves:

At the time of writing, the easily-relatable video featuring the two pretty white girls has more than 310,000 views. The video featuring the protesters has less than 45,000.

The real problem that the people in power have with the video is that it is appealing to the mainstream. It reaches beyond the activist community. It reaches beyond the black community. It reaches beyond the white journalist. It reaches out of our cozy little echo chamber and into the rest of the country. Perhaps the scariest part for those that profit off of the black/white divide in the US: is that it reaches the youth.

Ignore the criticisms, share the video. This movement does not begin and end with a single demographic. Police violence reaches everyone, the movement needs to take advantage of every possible display of solidarity from anywhere in the world.

 

Disclosure notice: The Author has blond hair and blue eyes.