J. Cole’s new “Crooked Smile” video dramatizes a real-life inspired event, with the clip dedicated to the memory of a young girl killed in Detroit a few years back.
In the “Crooked Smile” video, J. Cole plays an older brother and pot dealer, contrasted with that of a Drug Enforcement Agency officer with a daughter of the same age as Cole’s little sister character.
The song’s music video shows the respective pairs in parallel scenes, until the sister of Cole’s dealer character is shot to death by a cop in a drug raid. As the video concludes, a message dedicates it to Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, killed in a similar raid in Detroit back in 2010.
On the screen, the following words appear:
“For Aiyana Stanley-Jones. And please reconsider your war on drugs.”
Roland Lawrence, Chairman of Justice for the Aiyana Stanley-Jones Committee, says Stanley-Jones’ survivors are pleased that J. Cole’s “Crooked Smile” video spotlights the unnecessary death of the 7-year-old back in 2010.
Lawrence was thankful, and said in a statement:
“There can be no forgetting what happened to an innocent 7-year old as she slept in her grandmother’s arms. This effort and recognition by J. Cole hopefully will call us all on the table as it pertains to injustice in America, and, in fact, injustice everywhere.”
After the girl was killed in the raid, Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley was charged with involuntary manslaughter, but a jury in the trial was hung. Weekley claimed the girl’s grandmother struggled with him, but another officer testified that there was no resistance.
J. Cole’s “Crooked Smile” video (above) was directed by Sheldon Candis. Candis told Vibe that J. Cole and Roc Nation hoped that the video honoring Stanley-Jones’ death would serve as a “social statement” about the war on drugs and its effects.