Commenting straight from the underground: NWA, police brutality, and YouTube as a space for neoliberal resistance

This article argues that videos of N.W.A.’s “Fuck tha Police” uploaded to YouTube represent performative and spatial audience resistance within a neoliberal context. Analyzing YouTube comments sections, I argue that audiences use the four “Fuck tha Police” videos’ YouTube sites as landmarks of resistance through mediated emotional excess. This expression reestablishes the public community discourses missing from neoliberal culture, reintroducing the systemic context of racial police brutality. Finally, I argue that audience comments are testimonials, recasting the space of YouTube to mirror N.W.A.’s mock courtroom. In each of these performances of resistance, though, audiences work within institutional media structures to claim audience ownership of N.W.A.’s message.

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