Yasiin Bey has never been one to hold his tongue. Undergoing the force-feeding measures instituted in Guantanamo Bay, however, he had to hold his breath.
Bey, known as Mos Def until 2011, is a critically-acclaimed and politically-pertinent hip-hop artist and actor. A member of the Nation of Islam, Bey demonstrated Guantanamo Bay's force-feeding with human rights campaign Reprieve to raise awareness for the 106 Muslim inmates who are hunger-striking for the Ramadan fast, which begins Monday. The video, released to the Guardian, is the latest effort to urge President Obama to halt the force-feedings out of respect for the holiday.
In the 4-minute clip, Bey is seen gagging, grunting, and begging for the procedure to stop as a small tube of nutrients is shoved up his nose. The video notes that the actual procedure can take up to two hours and is often administered twice a day.
Using his media platform for political advocacy is nothing new for Bey. In 2000, he performed a benefit show for controversial death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal. He's also appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher twice and released "Katrina Clap," criticizing the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, in 2005. Yet this remains Bey's most explicit political message, and it certainly hits home.
Bey's video will reach a new niche of media consumers and raise a lot of awareness in pretty graphic style. Watch the scene below and sound off in the comments.