The Kominas’ “Freedom” video is a hysterical takedown of racial profiling

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The Kominas
The Kominas | Photo by Eddie Austin

There was a groundswell of opposition this winter in the wake of President Trump’s proposed travel ban targeting a number of majority-Muslim countries. But for many of our fellow citizens, discrimination while traveling is nothing new. Boston / Philly punk four-piece The Kominas remind us of this in their new video for “Freedom,” another brilliantly satirical clip from the band that previously addressed racial profiling in their “See Something, Say Something” video.

In this video, directed by Omar Majeed, live footage is intercut with a re-staging of the bandmates enduring asinine questions from an offscreen source — which could be a TSA agent, sure, but could also be a journalist or a clueless dude at a show.

“Why’d you guys come to America?” we hear the offscreen voice say at one point. Singer-guitarist Shahjehan Khan pauses, perplexed, and responds “I was born here.”

It’s often funny, sometimes awkwardly so, and equally infuriating when you consider how very true it rings — the band told Mic, where the video premiered earlier this month, that they get questions like this all the time, sometimes in four-hour screening sessions while traveling from Canada back to the U.S.

It seems contemporary, given current events, but it’s nothing new; as the Mic interview also points out, while the travel ban catalyzed public awareness, policies leading to this sort of profiling date back to the Patriot Act in the early thousands, and further back still. Likewise, as guitarist Hassan “Sunny Ali” Malik points out, the band has always functioned as critics of discrimination, no matter who was in the White House.

We have an album that we just finished, and one of the first comments we get is, ‘Can’t wait to hear your anti-Trump song.’ And we’re kind of like, ‘There isn’t anything that specific.’

It’s almost insulting because I feel like we’ve been making great music and anti-establishment music. Trump didn’t trigger us dissenting … People try to give him credit for every negative thing that people react to, like, ‘Trump has brought us all together.’ That’s not really the case. It’s just that some people are finally showing up.

Watch the “Freedom” video below, and catch The Kominas live at Johnny Brenda’s on Wednesday, June 14th. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. And in case you missed it, check out The Kominas’ brilliant 2015 album Stereotype.

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