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Staff Riding with the BLK JKS

07.04.2011

We love that the BLK JKS are taking nu-age Soweto space rock to the world, but this video for their track “Molalatladi” has them dick-riding visceral imagery of Train Surfing, without highlighting the fact that this pastime regularly kills its practitioners…

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RESPONSES (21)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh, boo-hoo. You’re just looking for an excuse to not like it.

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  2. react says:

    grow some…

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  3. Moose says:

    Mahala is health and safety now?

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  4. Tom_D says:

    What an absurd thing to say. They are musicians and artists. That’s like saying that films shouldn’t show sex without a clear message about safe sex or actors shouldn’t smoke on screen without warning the audience that smoking kills. Get a life, Mahala.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I agree, there’s no need to always be so obtuse, it’s a fucking cool song and a good video.

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  6. Andy says:

    maybe the phrasing was a bit klunky – but you’re basically saying that it’s fine for a pop band to leverage off “cool” images of bored ghetto youths involving themselves in a lethal activity for sport… Without even attempting to make a larger, more relevant point. A few things rub me the wrong way here. Primarily it’s the hype factor – the Blk Jks are making train surfing look cool – for cool’s sake – and invariably encouraging people to do it. They’re not showing the disfigured and dead bodies lying alongside the tracks, the instant leg amputations from getting it stuck under a moving carriage. They’re not engaging with the culture or the social moment that gives rise to a stupid albeit exciting activity like train surfing. There’s no reference to the poverty, depression, unemployment, substance abuse; the surrounding milieu that gives rise to train surfing.

    Watch Sara Blecher’s incredible documentary Surfing Soweto for some real insight into this culture, and to learn just how deadly it is. This is the face of South African township nihilism and it’s being exploited for the cool factor – and the real message is being purposefully left out… because let’s face it, dead kids are a bit of a downer.

    All we get is smiling staff riders and groovy hipsters… it’s a very one sided hype-filled depiction… and I’m afraid it does nothing but exploit train surfing and make it look appealing.

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  7. zero says:

    @ Andy…then people should look for that in Sara’s doccie and not in the BLK JKS video. Kids in the suburbs have their skateboards/bmx/ for thrills and this what a portion of the kids in the hood have for thrills… and i think that your comment is an attack on BLK JKS rather than the fact that they train surfing on their video. and arent those clips from the same doccie you aretalking about?

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Andy, did it ever occur to you that train riding is fun?
    I mean, it might be why the kids do it, and why it is depicted as something terrible like ‘fun’.
    Do you believe your site is responsible when documenting pastimes such as the xhosa stick fighting you do, or even other sports like surfing, or skateboarding or motorcross…. or basically anything that puts bodies at an element of risk? Not all of it is done responsibly.
    I think the fact that it has been handled like this is an even more sincere reflection of the reality. The kids in the Soweto who are doing this, are excited about it. It’s fun. It’s rebellious. It’s exciting. It’s the same emotions white suburban kids when getting involved in a more ‘extreme’ sport.
    Do music videos depicting people on horseback have to include a disclaimer notice with christopher reeves as reference? As a surfer: would any footage that highlights how totally awesome and awe inspiring big wave surfing is, be required to include some bloated swollen bodies that have been rolled around on some rocks and barnacles for a bit?
    Do the BLKJKS, as a band of dudes from Soweto who are making music, suddenly have additional social obligations and responsibilities that other acts don’t have?
    That doesn’t seem fair.
    They’re commenting from within the scene, not objectively outside of it. They’re selling a pieve of that culture.
    Next time a local artist features a steamy intimate scene they better put red ribbons and condoms all over or I just wont think it’s responsible.

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  9. react says:

    ‘bored ghetto’ is an assumption, I tried it once and fell on my butt in front of the whole platform, it’s a funny story that my friends love to rub in…

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  10. Andy says:

    nah, you’re way off. I don’t think you can compare train surfing / staff riding to skateboarding, bmx, surfing etc. it doesn’t even have parallels to stick fighting. It’s more dangerous than all that stuff. In fact comparing train surfing to an extreme SPORT renders your whole argument invalid. Seriously, go watch the doccie Surfing Soweto. The images in the Blk Jks video are stripped of their context and used because they’re cool, to promote music, presenting an exotic african vibe to an international audience. But the video robs the whole story of its context. Culture should reflect and help us understand that context not gloss over it. This just dick-rides on the coolness of train surfing… and yes, it sure looks like fun. They are exciting images. But they should be understood in relation to the images in Sara’s documentary of kids lying dead on the tracks.

    PS – I’ve never seen a dead skateboarder, surfer, bmxer, motocross rider… but i’ve seen several dead train surfers.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    I feel your opinion on this tipic is only fed by the context of you having watched the documentary, now you feel the need to attach that same reflective depth to any other depiction of the same topic.
    Guys on motorbikes, on our streets, die every day. They still feature in music videos for ‘cool factor’.
    People get drunk and die in car crashes every day, but you’ll often see some dudes drinking in a bar, or maybe getting a little loose and reckless with their boys havign some crazy fun in a music video, living that idealised rock star lifestyle.
    It’s as irresponsible as a music video selling a lifestyle that is intricately attached to alcohol and drug abuse, and direct consequences of that party lifestyle. Everyone here reading this probably knows or has lost someone close to them from an alcohol related incident.

    The reality of the images depicted in the video are not any less different than the reality of the danger elements. In art, you’re never required to be responsible, or to give an objective over all insight into anything.

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  12. react says:

    comes down to that old ‘right of passage’ that most kids partake in, some survive, some conquer, we all grow stronger…

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  13. K says:

    I find it funny that Mahala’s taking a health n safety line on this vid when every other rave story here is a drugged up adventure. Sure they’re mostly great reads, but if Mahala’s getting all righteous about train surfing, then every ‘I got uber smashed on drugs n booze’ party article should carry a warning on the hazardous nature of boozing n taking e’s, otherwise y’guys are ripping shit off and marketing it as kiff ish, in the same way Blk Jks is doing.

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  14. zero says:

    “PS – I’ve never seen a dead skateboarder, surfer, bmxer, motocross rider… but i’ve seen several dead train surfers.” he might not be dead, but he was close.check out this link of a bmx rider who got paralyzed from the shoulder down http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Murray_(BMX_rider), many surfers or skaters have suffered close to fatal crashes.

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  15. Kaylee says:

    Mahala, it seems that you really don’t know the BLK JKS guys, their views and experiences with train surfers. Maybe investigate further before passing judgement…

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  16. Mika says:

    Oh come on…. Bands all around the world include all sorts of themes to their music. Perhaps they just want to show it and not take a specific line on if its right or wrong.
    Music videos contain referances to drinking excessive alchol, and drugs dont have to tell you its not the smartest thing.
    I usually respect what is written here, but I feel you are just trying to find something to be critical about…

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  17. Andy says:

    Harrumph! If the Blk Jks themselves were staff riding it would be cooler. Maybe they can’t run fast enough in those skinny jeans

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Yes Andy but at least they can fit in them.

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  19. Andy says:

    I can rock a tight jean pant with my buddha frame… what you saying anony?!

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  20. Fuck off Andy says:

    Yeah I don’t know about that. A friend in Durban died just two years ago when he had an accident on his skateboard.

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  21. Andy says:

    shut up Montle

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