Rage Against The Machine have unveiled a new mini-documentary that details how racism in America inspired one of their most classic songs.
Released in collaboration with international artists collective The Ummah Chroma, the short film follows a teacher as he educates his students on the history of oppression in the United States.
Throughout their career, Rage Against The Machine have helped change the face of rock music with songs such as “Bulls On Parade,” “Guerrilla Radio” and “Sleep Now In The Fire.” However, there’s one song of theirs that has truly stood the test of time.
Now, the 1992 hit is at the forefront of a new documentary from RATM. In Killing In Thy Name, Rage Against The Machine explore America’s history with racism while also showing how the classic song is still relevant today.
“The following is a document of true events,” the intro to Killing In Thy Name reads. “Our aim is for this piece to be a fire escape from the fiction known as whiteness and a spring for discovery. Remember, the children are always watching.”
The short film includes old interviews and live footage of Rage Against The Machine. As well, viewers watch as a teacher educates his young students on America’s history of oppression. Throughout the film, the teacher uses a chalkboard to retell the centuries of slavery and racial injustice in America.
“Living in the States, you’re living in one of the most brutal societies in the history of the world,” frontman Zack de la Rocha says. “The country who inherited the genocide of the Native American people. A country that participated in slavery.”
For Tom Morello, this new mini-doc as well as the meaning of “Killing In The Name” still hit close to home.
“My mom [Mary] is a white woman with a radical voice,” Morello says. “For three decades she was a progressive teacher in a conservative high school inspiring students to challenge the system – in her actions and words she has always taught that racism must never be ignored and must always be confronted.”
“Killing In The Name” is used throughout the mini-doc, further showing the events that inspired the classic song and how it is still relevant today. During the film, bassist Tim Commerford notes that writing political songs such as “Killing in The Name” isn’t a choice.
“Writing songs that have something to say about what’s going on socially and politically isn’t a choice for us,” he says. “It’s an obligation. I want to use music as a weapon and start spraying fools.”
The cover art for Killing In Thy Name also has historical significance. The artwork depicts a famous photo of a man standing beside a mound of buffalo skulls. The animals were slaughtered in the late 1800s in efforts to starve Native Americans.
Killing In Thy Name is available to watch below.
Tom Morello was one of many rock musicians to denounce the events that transpired at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6. The guitarist shared a tweet of the high-level security during the Black Lives Matter protests, a dramatically different site than what was seen at the Capitol earlier this month.
Makes ya think… https://t.co/9PN5o8T3bv
— Tom Morello (@tmorello) January 6, 2021
Earlier this month, Morello also shared some new music with fans. He recently teamed up with System Of A Down‘s Serj Tankian for a cover of Gang Of Four‘s “Natural’s Not In It.” The cover is featured in an upcoming tribute album to guitarist Andy Gill who passed away in February 2020.
What are your reactions to Rage Against The Machine’s documentary? Let us know in the comments below.