Kendrick v Trump – the showdown that never was

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By Jack

Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz stadium crackled with anticipation on Monday night. Donald Trump was confirmed to attend the College Football Championship – just two days after an organisation called Refuse Fascism had called for a demonstration outside CNN, headquartered  downtown. The halftime performance came from the People’s Champion: Kendrick Lamar.

The crowd were primed for a dramatic scene – but that wasn’t how it went down.

A call of “Fuck Trump!” came and went; the same phrase was somehow (amazingly) projected onto the Stadium wall. Public appearances at sporting events are a dicey affair at the best of times, but for Trump…well…

However the dramatic confrontation never materialised. Trump was gone by the time Kendrick took the stage. Onstage Lamar flew through the prime cuts of DAMN. – ‘HUMBLE’, ‘ELEMENT’. Crucially ‘DNA’ cut off before the Fox News snippet, which seems like a missed opportunity to make a non-verbal jab.

In the end Trump doesn’t care and probably wouldn’t have either way – it’s Trump after all. Still the image of Kendrick on the field, looking up at the stands and flipping the bird at Donald Trump, the crowd cheering & on his side like he’s Russel Crowe in Gladiator, that is a scene to savour.

When you still get a performance from Kendrick fucking Lamar though it’d be hard for anyone to complain. His performance was a demonstration of tempered aggression – with some outlets including (bizarrely) the Daily Mail bemoaning his apparent use of playback or syncing. Given just how hard it is to rap in a live setting compared to a contemporary performance there’s nothing inherently surprising about that. But then the Daily Mail don’t cover many rap shows.

When the performance dovetails into a snippet of the new Marvel movie, your heart does sink a little. It feels like what it is, a big corporate event, a big singer in a big stadium promoting a big movie. Just another Marvel promotion.

This could have been a real firecracker moment. The ongoing FBI investigation into Trump Jr.’s affairs and the election is probably a more real development in the War on Trump – this would have made for a visceral, spirited moment of resistance.

Photo Credit: Streetz945

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