The video for Snoop’s remix of “Lavender,” from the jazz group BADBADNOTGOOD, uses a running theme of clowns in clown makeup, but also takes on much more serious social issues. Snoop Dogg is featured prominently in the video, and it’s clear he’s got a bone to pick with recent developments in the US.
In one of the year’s most controversial music video moments, Snoop Dogg holds up a gun to an orange-pancake-faced clown by the name of Ronald Klump, and pulls the trigger. A flag with the word “BANG” pops out, its style mirroring classic prank guns.
No surprise that it caught the eye of President Trump, who tweeted:
The video, however, goes much deeper than just criticism of the nation’s president. The lyrics also tackle the issue of a racist drug war “from a black man’s point of view.”
We watch a morbid scene of a clown on his way to work with a joint in his hand. The cannabis catches the attention of a face-painted clown cop, who pulls him over. As the driver tries to explain himself, he opens his briefcase to reveal a gun. The driver immediately puts his hands up, but to no avail. The officer fires anyway, and the gruesome scene becomes almost farcical as glitter sprays from the chest of the victim while an onlooker records the entire encounter with his cell phone camera. Snoop’s lyrics emphasize the helplessness of witnesses: “It’s all on camera and they still don’t believe you.”
The scenario, acted out in clown face, is far too familiar. Recent police-involved shooting deaths are fresh in American memory, and cannabis often pointed to as a scapegoat. Michael Brown’s past marijuana use was presented to the media as justification for his shooting in the weeks following his death, and more recently, Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed due in part to the suspicion of cannabis being in his possession.
The theme of cannabis runs deep through this video. Snoop watches the news with a blunt in hand and an array of joints by his side. We see Klump outside, smoking what appears to be a cigar or blunt. As he crushes it underfoot, Snoop takes aim and fires the prank gun.
It becomes clear in the next shot that Klump is fine, albeit wrapped in chains, watching Snoop and one of his clowns pass a joint amongst each other, with Klump occasionally reaching for the joint they pass.
Whatever the underlying message is meant to be in either the lyrics or the video for “Lavender,” the intention is clear: Snoop Dogg is fed up with the federal administration.