The creator of the viral 'Bonk Song' on how a water jug became a symbol for the Palestinian protests

The creator of the viral 'Bonk Song' on how a water jug became a symbol for the Palestinian protests

Art is integral to the success and longevity of social movements. It is woven into the fabric of development. The Palestinian Liberation War is no different.

Dozens of protests have erupted on college campuses over the past few weeks over the war between Israel and Hamas. They started at Columbia University and spread to more than a dozen other schools across the country, led by students calling on their universities. Separation from companies who are supporting Israel's military efforts in Gaza.

The protests have made significant progress. The police presence on campus. in response, About 1,000 people have been arrested.. During a clash between protesters and police at Cal Poly Humboldt, one protester shot a police officer in the head. Empty water containerWhat is now being called the “Jug of Justice” online. It quickly went viral on social media and led to many calling for “lock up the police” and made the water jug ​​a recognizable anti-police image.

No$hu, a 29-year-old artist, saw the video and turned it into the now-viral trap song. The song begins with “I hate the police” and ends with “If you're resourceful, anything can be the right weapon.” But the lyrics are so passionate and automatic that they make the radical politics of the lyrics palatable.

The song has sparked debate about whether it's appropriate to highlight the ongoing conflict on campus and the war in Gaza. For No$hu, it's not only appropriate — it's necessary. In a conversation with Mashable, she pointed to a quote by anarchist printer Jack Frager from a biography of anarcho-feminist icon Emma Goldman. I am living my life. “If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution.”

“You can normalize radical thinking with something playful,” No$hu said. “If you listen to the song, I'm saying very radical things. If I said that in anger, you might scare some people. But doing it playfully with some Auto-Tune makes it more accessible. “

Mashable spoke with No$hu about writing a viral song, finding joy in revolution, and using his powers to help the protest movement.

Mashable: What inspires you when you're making music?

no$hu: It has a lot of humor. There are some more serious things, but what comes naturally to me are things that have to do with protest, justice, or resistance and revolution, mixed with humor.

Powerful videos of these pro-Palestinian protests have emerged. What is it about this video that caught your attention?

How hilarious was that. When I see cool clips like that, (and) I have a lot of them, I go ahead and try to enhance it with something creative. So I saw it, and it was just instant. I immediately started thinking, “How can I approach this creatively?”

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Tell me more about it – the process of making it.

I pick three or four obvious points that I want to talk about — like jigs, bonks, you know. And then I'll just play with the words until I come up with something I'm satisfied with. So, like “Jug or not, Juggernaut,” stuff like that.

And then did you send it to a producer?

no. (I used) a free tool from YouTube that I had on my laptop. I was looking through the beats I had already downloaded trying to find the right vibe. And as soon as I heard that – there's an instrument playing in it, that I was immediately like “bonk, bonk,” you know? Just swinging with this melody came into my head. So it worked perfectly.

How long did it take you?

I saw (the video) two days after it initially came out. And so that night I started coming up with ideas based on jig and bonk (like words). And then the next morning I recorded it. I was in the hostel at the time, so I recorded it between other travelers entering and leaving the room. Just so they wouldn't hear me screaming (and) making weird noises, I had to squeeze the recording on my bed in the hostel. But it took me 20 minutes to complete the recording. Then mixing and editing it can take another 40 minutes.

What do you record and mix?

The software I use is called Mixcraft, but all the recordings are very simple, done with a laptop, an interface, and a microphone.

Then you uploaded it to social media?

I uploaded it to Twitter and Instagram, and I had no expectations. I just threw it away. Because I often do. Some of them get a lot of views, and some of them don't, but if it looks good to me, I just put it up. I release it and then see what people think about it. I remember coming back to it after an hour and it already had 300 likes and a bunch of retweets. I was like, “Oh, okay.

How has the response been?

It's been crazy. I've been on my phone a lot because I'm trying to answer all the messages. It's good to see what people have to say. Among the comments was someone like, “I'm going to play it on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.”

Do you know any of the people who are protesting on campus? Did you talk to the person who bonked?

No, I haven't spoken to him. I want to talk to him though. The man is a legend.

Have your other songs spread as fast?

I had a couple last year that have the same number of views. Some of them pop off, some of them don't, but I have five or six good ones that have gotten ideas like that.

What makes you so interested in the liberation of Palestine?

To me, it's so obvious how disturbing and disgusting what's going on is. This is not something I feel the need to articulate. Genocide is happening there.

Many people feel powerless if they are not in California or New York City or on a college campus where these protests are taking place. You're traveling right now — have you felt that helplessness, and what do you do to support the cause when you can't physically be at a protest?

I know how I like to contribute, or how I naturally contribute, is through music. It comes naturally. I don't feel powerless because I've been doing this for a while, and I know how much laughter and joy goes into things like this. When things get stressful, it's important to have some humor. I know I can contribute to that. So I never feel powerless. When I see things happening like this, I feel empowered, and I'm motivated. I can contribute in my own way. And I think people should do the same. Take what their talent is or their skill or what their passion is and contribute to it to help things snowball.

How do you feel about participating in the creation of a fun meme during a time like this?

There is a huge percentage of (young people) who like memes and take (information) that way. So we should use it to our advantage.

Do you think that adds some longevity to the movement?

You have to be able to laugh. It is very easy to get discouraged and discouraged. You need to laugh as much as you can at every opportunity.

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