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Video: Checkpoint by Jasiri X

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From Ferrari Sheppard’s website Stop Being Famous:

Up-and-coming Pittsburgh Emcee Jasiri X releases “Checkpoint,” a chilling music video documenting his experience visiting Palestine in 2014. The video features footage Jasiri himself captured of Israeli soldiers, as well as newsreel clips of IDF brutality against Palestinians and internationals. Watch closely, Ferrari Sheppard of Stop Being Famous has cameo in this powerful video.

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And here are the lyrics:

Journal of the hard times tales from the dark side
Evidence of the settlements on my hard drive
Man I swear my heart died at the end of that car ride
When I saw that checkpoint welcome to apartheid
Soldiers wear military green at the checkpoint
Automatic guns that’s machine at the checkpoint
Tavors not m16s at the checkpoint
Fingers on the trigger you’ll get leaned at the checkpoint
Little children grown adults or teens at the checkpoint
All ya papers better be clean at the checkpoint
You gotta but your finger on the screen at the checkpoint
And pray that red light turns green at the check point

If Martin Luther King had a dream of the checkpoint
He wake with loud screams from the scenes at the checkpoint
It’s Malcolm X by any means at the check point
Imagine if you daily routine was the checkpoint

Separation walls that’s surrounding the checkpoint
On top is barbwire like a crown on the checkpoint
Better have ya permits if your found at the checkpoint
Gunmen on the tower aiming down at the checkpoint
The idea is to keep you in fear of the checkpoint
You enter through the cage in the rear of the checkpoint
It feels like prison on a tier at the check point
I’d rather be anywhere but here at this checkpoint
Nelson Mandela wasn’t blind to the check point
He stood for free Palestine not a check point
Support BDS don’t give a dime to the checkpoint
This is international crime at the checkpoint
Arabs get treated like dogs at the checkpoint
Cause discrimination is the law at the checkpoint
Criminalized without a cause at the checkpoint
I’m just telling you what I saw at the checkpoint
Soldiers got bad attitudes at the checkpoint
Condescending and real rude at the checkpoint
Don’t look em in they eyes when they move at the checkpoint
They might strip a man or woman nude at the checkpoint
Soldiers might blow you out of ya shoes at the checkpoint
Gas you up and then light the fuse at the checkpoint
Everyday you stand to be accused at the checkpoint
Each time your life you could lose at the checkpoint

If Martin Luther King had a dream of the checkpoint
He wake with loud screams from the scenes at the checkpoint
It’s Malcolm X by any means at the check point
Imagine if you daily routine was the checkpoint

At the airport in Tel Aviv is a checkpoint
They pulled over our taxi at the checkpoint
Passport visa ID at the checkpoint
Soldiers going all through my things at the checkpoint
Said I was high risk security at the checkpoint
Because of the oppression I see at the checkpoint
Occupation in the 3rd degree at the checkpoint
All a nigga wanna do is leave fuck a checkpoint

Sheppard and Jasiri X were traveling together in Israel/Palestine on a delegation organized by the Carter Center of prominent African-American journalists and artists. You can read more about the trip on Sheppard’s site here, here’s an excerpt:

In Jerusalem, I witnessed great religious and ethnic diversity. I saw Arabs, Asians, Europeans, Africans, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Christians, all scrambling in Old City Jerusalem towards their various destinations. It was postcard worthy.

The variety of cultures in Jerusalem is outstanding. Similar to many societies however, Palestine-Israel presents a polished version of itself to tourists, where 5-star hotels in Tel Aviv and tourist attractions in Jerusalem cloak its brutal realities. The fact remains that our delegation was subject to a type of racism I’ve only experienced in the southern states of the United States of America. Of course, to a Jew or a middle class Palestinian living in Jerusalem or Nazareth, my observations may sound like exaggerations, but for the African migrant sleeping on the ground in South Tel Aviv, or for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, my evaluations are dead on.

The blatant, systemic subjugation and profiling of Arabs was most pronounced when our tour guide, a middle class Palestinian woman, was forced by IDF soldiers to exit our tour van and pass through a checkpoint on foot. As all Palestinians must do, she was told to place her thumb on a scanner to pass through a turn-style at a checkpoint. The members of our delegation were no exception to IDF scrutiny. The light skinned blacks in our delegation were interrogated and asked bluntly if they were Arab, and if not, what the last names of their fathers’ were.

Palestinians and progressive Israelis told our delegation story after story of the abuses and degradation they’ve suffered at the hands of Israeli settlers or soldiers, and we witnessed some of this treatment first hand. Along with the rampant home and land confiscation in the West Bank (in which settlers receive state subsidies), agricultural violence is on the rise, as settlers uproot and destroy the olive trees Palestinians rely on for income and nourishment. More sinisterly, public beatings, arrests and shootings are common, particularly in the West Bank. Without charges, a Palestinian can be imprisoned and held for months or years under administrative detention. The same law does not apply to Jewish Israelis. In fact, Israeli citizens can commit a range of crimes against Palestinians with near impunity.

Read the rest of Sheppard’s post “I Traveled to Palestine-Israel And Discovered There is no ‘Palestinian-Israeli Conflict'” here.

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15 Responses

  1. Sycamores
    January 28, 2014, 12:04 pm

    very powerful music video. watching the views on youtube going up. 28 likes already

  2. annie
    January 28, 2014, 1:56 pm

    fantastic video. wow, hope it goes viral, it deserves it. palestine deserves it.

    • Sycamores
      January 28, 2014, 2:25 pm

      hi Annie,
      it after receiving so many views in a short space of time that the view counter has frozen on youtube. it’s now stuck at 301+views

  3. ritzl
    January 28, 2014, 2:24 pm

    Great video. Thanks, Adam.

    Interesting comment on YouTube:

    Andrew Lake via Google+
    1 hour ago

    I really need to take a moment of genuine introspection because I actually hesitated to share this.

    I didn’t hesitate because I was uncertain if I share the sentiments expressed. I hesitated because I was concerned what some folks might think if I did. This is not how I’m meant to walk through this life. I’m meant to live honestly, without apologies.


  4. Shuki
    January 28, 2014, 6:03 pm

    It’s obvious this “artist” knows very little about MLK (whom he invokes in this “song”).

    Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect her right to exist, its territorial integrity and the right to use whatever sea lanes it needs. Israel is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security, and that security must be a reality.

    • talknic
      January 29, 2014, 5:17 am

      Shuki “Peace for Israel means security”

      Then get the &*&^% out of non-Israeli territory

      “and we must stand with all our might to protect her right to exist”

      States either exist or they don’t . Israel already exists. It has no right to any non-Israeli territories.

      ” its territorial integrity”

      All Israel’s wars have been fought when Israeli forces have been in territories outside the State of Israel. There are no UNSC resolutions condemning any state for invading Israel (or attacking Israeli forces outside of Israel)

      “and the right to use whatever sea lanes it needs”

      It already has that right. It does not have the right to stop other states from having the same rights

      “Israel is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world”

      No mention of democracy in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.

      ” how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy”


      “Peace for Israel means security, and that security must be a reality”

      See top

    • just
      January 29, 2014, 5:58 am

      “security”, “peace”……

      Israel wants nothing except the Palestinians gone, and all of their land and resources safely left to apartheid Israel.

      The world has watched Israel and knows the truth all too well– your attempts here are pathetic and transparent.

  5. jon s
    jon s
    January 29, 2014, 2:40 am

    On the website Mr. Sheppard describes his trip from the airport to Jerusalem:
    “Riding from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the first thing I noticed, besides the breathtaking Palestinian landscape with its palm trees, olive trees and immense hills and valleys, were walls and barbwire. There were literally hundreds of miles of concrete walls and barbwire–not the kind one sees on a Los Angeles off-ramp, but those belonging to a prison”.
    After that, how can he be taken seriously? Literally hundreds of miles… “literally”. Seeing that the distance from TA to Jerusalem is about 80 km. and from the airport to Jerusalem less than 60 km. A hallucination?

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      January 29, 2014, 2:04 pm

      “Seeing that the distance from TA to Jerusalem is about 80 km. and from the airport to Jerusalem less than 60 km.”

      Who said he went from one directly to the other? Maybe he detoured to see your Warsaw-Ghetto job in Gaza and the Berlin-Wall-like obscenity you’ve built across the Palestinian landscape, the “refugee camp” prisons where you house those you people ethnically cleansed from their own land, and the dehumanizing “checkpoints” that you’ve instituted solely to torture your victims.

      There are literally more than hundreds of miles of prison walls and barbed wire that you invaders have built on your stolen Palestinian lands.

  6. Djinn
    January 29, 2014, 5:01 am

    Seriously Jon, reach much?

    If I travel in a direct line from point A to B that doesn’t preclude me from turning my head and seeing stuff stretched out from C to D as well. I can not believe the logical issue with your argument wasn’t clear to you.

    • talknic
      January 29, 2014, 7:45 am

      @Djinn jon s, like all apologists for Israeli intransigence, never turns his head

    • jon s
      jon s
      January 29, 2014, 12:47 pm

      Djinn, are you serious? I invite you to get on a plane, land at BG airport, travel from the airport to Jerusalem, turn your head in all directions, and look for the “literally hundreds of miles of concrete walls and barbwire…”

  7. just
    January 29, 2014, 5:42 am


    This one video can do more to educate the uninformed Americans and young America than anything else. They will pass it on to their friends and elders and conversations can begin…….finally.

    When they realize that all of this brutal apartheid is being done with our consent and money…minds will change.

    Thank you so much Adam. Many thanks to Jasiri X and Sheppard for all of it.

    (btw– anyone hear Mr. Obama saying this last nite?

    “As we speak, American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel – a Jewish state that knows America will always be at their side.”

    My blood pressure shot way up…….)

  8. Sycamores
    January 30, 2014, 12:47 pm

    this song reminds me of the anti-apartheid song ‘Sun City’ in 1986

    i wonder could another group of united artists against apartheid produce a song or an album today.

    Emcee Jasiri X “Checkpoint” could be a rallying point for such an album.

    the power of music has help to bring down vile regimes before .

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