Dinner Party 'Freeze Tag' Is A Reminder Of Life's Fragility

This video, part of our 'We Insist' timeline of 2020's noteworthy protest music, was released Oct. 29.

A still from Dinner Party's video for "Freeze Tag." // Courtesy of the artist


The video for Dinner Party's newest single, "Freeze Tag," is centered around an age-old tradition in the Black community: the cookout. Group members Terrace Martin and Robert Glasper stand by as local kids and neighbors gather to eat grilled food and share a few laughs. That's until a young boy in a crisp white t-shirt appears mid-frame with his fingers twisted into a makeshift gun. As he fires a shot, he's hit by one. The color shifts to a dramatic black and white as Martin, Glasper and company scatter. A few frames later, directors Elliott Sellers and the members of Dinner Party return to the initial scene. This time it's peaceful, a quiet night with a hopscotch grid scribbled on the concrete.

The song itself is equally emotive. "They told me put my hands up behind my head," vocalist Phoelix sings above the track's head-nodding drum loop. "They told me if I move, they gon' shoot me dead." Here, Dinner Party flips the notion of a childhood game into a grim portrayal of police brutality in the United States. Cordae's verse unpacks the frailty of human existence: "The funny thing about this life s*** is that we all die / Hoping for heaven although we're closer to hell / Dreams to get my brother out that cage and open his cell." In that way, both the video and track are political and intimate, reminding us that life can turn at a moment's notice, and that state-sanctioned violence is still an American plague.

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