Hackers supporting ongoing protests against racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death have have harnessed a much-beloved — and surprisingly pertinent — internet classic to thwart police.
Vice reports that on Saturday, Chicago police officers may have had more difficulty communicating with one another after protesters — thought by some to be affiliated with the hacker group Anonymous — jammed police radios with music. (Others attributed the act not to Anonymous but a less sophisticated commandeering of radio frequency, per Vice).
Regardless, one of the songs chosen by protesters was the YouTube classic “Chocolate Rain,” which turned its writer, producer, and performer Tay Zonday — whose real name is Adam Bahner — into a viral icon. While the 13-year-old clip went viral for Bahner’s quirky mannerisms and unique baritone — to the tune of 127 million views to date — some viewers might not know that the track is actually “a ballad about institutional racism,” as Bahner told BET in 2018. Some of the track’s pithy lyrics include ‘Some stay dry and others feel the pain’ and ‘The same crime has a higher price to pay’.
Videos shared to Twitter show police radios playing “Chocolate Rain” — as well as N.W.A.’s “Fuck The Police” — while a female dispatcher can be heard saying, “The radio is being blocked, I can’t copy anything that you’re saying,” per Vice.
I move away from the mic to demand justice.
— Tay Zonday (@TayZonday) June 1, 2020
In response to the protests, Bahner has re-shared the piano-only version of “Chocolate Rain” that he recorded to commemorate the song’s 10th anniversary. And on Sunday, Bahner tweeted, “I move away from the mic to demand justice” — a nod to the way that he dramatically moved away from his microphone in the original recording to ensure his breathing was inaudible.
You can check out “Chocolate Rain” — and perhaps interpret the track’s lyrics with a fresh perspective — below: