appropriation + appreciation in the music industry

Lemons out of Lemonade.

Music is a universal language. Music transcends across the world, across all languages, cultures and beliefs. Music isn’t limited (Bresnahan, R 2016). So, if music is meant for everyone, all cultures, to be experience and enjoyed by everyone where does the blurred line of appreciating and appropriating music begin?

Beyoncé’s studio album and film “Lemonade” (2016), is my main example. The piece was made as a healing process for her husband’s affair, and as a piece for black feminists. It explored the “impact of infidelity on Black women”. Beyoncé has global success, fans from all cultures and racial identities, but Lemonade – it’s not for white people. Every frame of this visual album is made with intent and purpose, it calls out black culture in media, the culture of violent that is promoted under white supremacist sexist patriarchy (Edwards, E B, Esposito, J, Evans-Winters, V 2017). So, where do white people fit into Lemonade? – or other People of colour cultures for that matter?

The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” – Malcom X (X, 1962)

It’s as simple as viewing, enjoying and respecting. The minute someone, a white someone, tries to interpret this piece that was made and meant for black women, to inspire and empower them, make no sense at all.

The “roles” of whiteness and blackness or other cultures doesn’t have to exist in music for negative purposes. One of the popular examples in media at the moment is the concept as to why white people started to wear cornrows, as it originates in African culture for a way for women of colour to protect their hair, one of the only hairstyles black women could wear. And now it’s used in fashion and media appropriating the hairstyle, white people taking something from a rich culture and making it their own. It’s problematic because it shows no respect for the culture. It’s essentially mocking.

Lemonade was a big moment for black women. For them to be able to take action and be able to name their oppression and see it in mainstream media, that meant so much to so many women. That’s why itis very important for public figures, especially ones as successful as Beyoncé to speak truth that they know will resonate with their audiences – worldwide. To give them something to have common ground with. To say “hey, I feel that way too and it’s okay.” And Lemonade is that, its a piece of art that Black women can sing as their anthem, and its also an album that any Women who has been wronged can scream. – It’ s meant to be universally respected.

Lemonade, like many before it, is an album. When it comes down to paper, it is an album made by a talented artist that is adored by many. And can be listen to and enjoyed by everyone, male/female, white/black/green – doesn’t matter. Like any piece of art, it comes does to one’s respect for the art and the artist. And by all means, if you can do that, then scream the lyrics from the top of your lungs.

References:
– Bresnahan, R 2016, Appropriation vs. Appreciation  in Music: Where Should We Draw the Line?, Sonicbids Blog, date accessed 26/8/19, http://blog.sonicbids.com/appropriation-vs-appreciation-in-music-where-should-we-draw-the-line
– Brown, A 2016, White Commentary on ‘Lemonade’: No One Asked Us, HuffPost, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/white-commentary-on-lemonade_b_9780056,
– Edwards, E B, Esposito, J, Evans-Winters, V 2017, “Does Beyoncé’s Lemonade Really Teach Us how to Turn Lemons into Lemonade? Exploring the Limits and Possibilities Through Black Feminism”, Taboo: The Journal of Culture & Education Fall 2017
– Candid Beyonce, https://toofab.com/2016/08/23/beyonce-reveals-behind-the-scenes-lemonade-pics-appears-in-rare-snapchat-with-jay-z/
– Beyoncé Lemonade, https://www.theverge.com/2016/4/23/11122368/beyonce-lemonade-new-album-available-now
– Hold Up, Beyonce, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeonBmeFR8o

“in-con-ceivable” – the princess bride, a review

The Princess Bride is a story told in true fairy-tale fashion. The film opens on a sick little grandson being read a storybook by his grandfather. And the kingdoms tale of long lost love begins.

It’s a weird poor boy-loves rich maiden love story with a mix of Monty-Python-esque fight scenes. The story basically  follows a masked heroes quest to save the woman he loves. He battles 3 villains, two which turn away from the dark side and join his quest. And then at the end he must fight the Prince who solely  wishes to marry the young maiden just for the flare and drama of it all (also in hopes to start a war with his neighbouring kingdom). PS… he ends up being the bad guy at the end.

The movie was made in the 1980s and it was filmed in both Great Britain and Ireland. Yet the scenes of the Grandson and Grandpa are most likely shot in a studio in Hollywood. If the question is “who is the movie made for?” – I wholeheartedly, cross my heart and hope to die, could not give you a legitimate answer. But I will say the film is, at the same time, made for everyone, yet no one at the same time. It for inner romantic in all of us, pulling at the movies theme that true love is unstoppable. But technically speaking the movie is classified PG and is shelved under the Family/Kid category.

For one to just grasp the basic contextual ideas of the movie they must:

  • have knowledge of fairytales and ye ole times – kingdoms, knights, fair maidens, giants (that kind of thing)
  • know what “inconceivable” means (not capable of being grasped mentally; unbelievable.)
  • be aware that the spaniard’s name is Inigo Montoya, and if you killed his father.. you must prepare to die.

The movie supports the idea of cultural homogenisation, not just because the film is set in a time where royalty reigned, but because the culture of this “rich kingdom” is show to be superior to the poor kingdom, and film even talks and dumbs down one of the only character of “colour”, the spaniard, it paints him to be all braun. But for a film of its kind, like I said – very similar to Monty Pythons tropes – it’s perfect.

It is in no means a mega blockbuster to me but as a “blockbuster” can be described as an evolving system to determine films based on kind of knowledge deemed to be worth of social events (Stringer, J 2003) – to some, namely my sister who has been asking me to watch this film for years, it could be considered a major blockbuster. It one of those films that isnt quite big enough for people to throw a big party over – yet does have quite the cult following.

As this is a movie review – ill have to give it a rating. So as a spaniard, myself ill give the film four dead father out of five. If you’ve got a thick brain and love some dark, stupid, poorsome comedy. This ones for you.

References:

michael scott vs. david brent

As a dedicated believer in the fact that Michael Scott is in fact the “Worlds Best Boss”, I’ll be the first to admit this post is biased. The 2005 NBC Sitcom “The Office” aired on American television four years after the British version aired and some, dare might say, it was even better than the UK.

the office boss GIF

Firstly let us discuss globalisation. “Television shows” today have the power to go global in the matter of seconds. Programs deemed as a “TV show” aren’t just TV shows anymore. Streaming services, paid TV subscriptions, YouTube Channels even Social Media websites have all in some way or another created platforms for series to be created and viewed by the entire world.

Often was successful in one country will not be in another but that just the case with different cultural preferences. But of course it depends on which member of the audience is watching. ‘Culture, identity, proximity and language leads to the favouring for a culture, which then leads an audience to favour local or national productions over those that are global.’ (Straubhaar, J 2014) For me personally, the shows I watch are American, which I would say is pretty normal. Even though I would say I am drawn to American culture more and more. Even through my online activities I seem to follow more Americans on social media and watch them on YouTube. But I think for someone in the US to say all the shows they watch as Australian would be rare.

After trying to remake many British TV shows and failing The Office US was able to achieve its own success and some might say even outdid the UK version with its success. Like any program it has to relate to its viewers. So the producers knew it would do the job to just air the UK version.

Adapting a successful program makes more sense than simply importing the original because, as Moran observes, “locally produced programmes, whether based on formats or not, are likely to attract larger audiences than imported programmes” (Griffin, J 2008)

NOW! The moment we’ve been waiting for Scott vs. Brent. Michael Scott has the same egotistical essence as David Brent. Both men have over the top ego’s that mask insecure little boys. Though both bosses share very similar trait, there are differences. Both are clueless but David is more articulate and Michael, occasionally mangles his vocabulary or grammar. (Griffin, J 2008) This clumsier character was more appealing to American audiences which also effected the success of the show as the central character became relatable.

Which is better? Depends on the audience. The reason for the global success both is that the show runners of both series found something that appealed to everyone on the world – office life. They were able to make a mundane career look like the funniest environment in the world. Global success for various shows really depends on how appealing the show is – the country the show is irrelevant.

references:

  • Straubhaar, Joseph, D ‘Choosing National TV: Cultural Capital, Language and Cultural Proximity in Brazil’ in The Impact of International Television: Paradigm Shift, edited by Michael G Elasmar, Oxford: Routledge, 2014, pp-77-100
  • Griffin, Jeffery. ‘The Americanization of the Office: A Comparison of the Offbeat NBC sitcom and its British Predecessor’, Journal of Popular Film and Television, ​ 35:4, Winter 2008, pp.154-163
  • thumbnail, The Password – The Office US, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GxqvnQyaxs
  • http://www.giphy.com/YwpylUojkfOZa

how global am i?

I woke up this morning. Stepped off my IKEA Swedish made bed. Changed out of my Australian Peter Alexander PJs. (…flexing on you) And opened my Chinese assembled MacBook and hit play on the “Global Top 50” Spotify Playlist.

As a daughter of two mirgrants I like to consider myself to be pretty global and pretty globally aware. I like to constantly mention my diffrent ethnices when I meet new people as it makes me feel more “exotic” I suppose. When I use products theyre made and created all across the world – these go from my skin care routine to when I drive out of my house in a car assembled across the globe.

Id say I mostly watch television shows and YouTube videos that were created in America – yet the actors and influences come from across the globe themselves.

I can open my social media accounts and I am immediately exposed to photos, messages, tweets and videos coming in from all over the world. Without purposely doing so I am exposed to different cultures and influences from all over the world. I would like to say im pretty global… but I also live in the bubble of my little Australian home. SO! Lets say “Yes!” I am pretty global, but lets just say theres room for improvement on my end…

till next time, always: SWOON!

image: https://www.instagram.com/p/BuwHYNzBiEk/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=4ow69rakuz2m