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Archive for Tuesday, May 1, 2012

‘Uprising’ revisits L.A. riots

May 1, 2012

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Snoop Dogg narrates “Uprising: Hip-Hop & the LA Riots” (8 p.m., VH1). The documentary recalls the civil unrest that rocked Los Angeles in late April 1992, leaving 53 people dead and countless businesses looted and burned.

‘‘Uprising” revisits the rage that accompanied the telecast of amateur video footage showing Los Angeles police officers beating a black man named Rodney King, and the incendiary violence that followed the officers’ acquittal.

Featuring interviews with musicians and ordinary citizens caught up in the violent frenzy, the film discusses how the popular “gangsta” rap of the period all but predicted the street chaos and became a virtual soundtrack to the unfolding calamity.

The King video marked a real turning point in media. For decades, dating at least to the 1949 publication of George Orwell’s novel “1984,” people had focused on the government’s use of surveillance cameras to control and pacify the population. The King video showed how ordinary people could monitor the authorities and shine a spotlight on injustice and abuse. The proliferation of video cameras and phone cameras in the last two decades has accelerated this trend, enabling people all over the world to watch street uprisings in Iran in 2009, the uprising in Egypt in early 2011 and the ongoing rebellion in Syria. Ubiquitous cameras have not banished tyrannical regimes or ended police brutality. But they have made it harder to hide or deny abuses.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Rachel and Kurt make their big-city tryout on “Glee” (7 p.m., Fox).

• “American Experience” (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings) profiles black American track star Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It was quite a statement at a spectacle designed to showcase Hitler’s belief in the invincible superiority of the so-called Aryan race.

• A virus looms on a “Hawaii Five-O” crossover episode of “NCIS: Los Angeles” (8 p.m., CBS).

• Fears of romantic retreat on “New Girl” (8 p.m., Fox).

• “Frontline” (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) presents part two of “Money, Power and Wall Street,” a survey history of the economic collapse of 2008.

• Suspicion abounds when Carrie’s oldest foe becomes a victim on “Unforgettable” (9 p.m., CBS).

• An illegal immigrant facing deportation wants to give birth in the United States on “Private Practice” (9 p.m., ABC).

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