BCM111

Graceland 🎤

When I started looking into the topic cultural appropriation and culture appreciation, my dad told me about an album, released by Paul Simon, that he vividly remembers listening to during his HSC. In the album ‘Graceland’ Paul Simon used South African singers to create a political statement about Apartheid. Around this time, the U.N sanctioned South Africa over their oppression of black people. During this time countries from around the world boycotted playing international sport against all South African teams, like cricket, and rugby, their major sporting codes. There was also a call for musicians around the world to boycott touring or including South African artists also during this time.

Paul Simon on the other hand used black South Africans to create his blockbuster album ‘Graceland’ in 1986. He was first exposed to their magical music through voice, when his friend Heidi Berg gifted him a bootleg cassette tape during a tough time in both his career and personal life. On this cassette tape was “Gumboots: Accordion Jive Hits, Volume II — originating from either Ladysmith Black Mambazo or the Boyoyo Boys” (Camacho, 2016), which were later collaborators involved in ‘Graceland’. After an initial visit to South Africa, which was received poorly in many circles for political reasons, Simon completed his album in Abbey Road studios in London, June 1986. Two of the songs, ‘homeless’ and ‘Diamonds on the soles of her shoes’, had heavy collaboration with lady Smith and became focal hits for the album. The track ‘diamonds on the soles of her shoes’ had a large political meaning within its lyrics as it links back to the mining of zulu lands to find diamonds, the exploitation of the black people and the creation of the rich white society leading to a stronger apartheid.

In terms of cultural appropriation, the album Graceland can be seen as both an acceptable collaboration of south African cultural music as way to expose these artists to international stages, or on the other hand, can be seen as another exploitation of white using black culture for financial benefit. However, it is widely accepted that Simon collaborate with these musicians purely to expose their talents and cultural music to the world. In fact, in 1987, Paul Simon produced the group, Ladysmith black mambazo’s 1987 album Shakazulu, which was first released in America not South Africa. He had brought African music to the world, as stated by Jordan Runtagh in the article ‘Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’: 10 things you didn’t know’, “white artist had been incorporating traditionally black music into their work for most of the 20th century. But Graceland was ground-breaking for wearing its influence for all to see”. Simon was determined to produce an album that demonstrated an equal collaboration between both parties. Louise Meinjes, although come across as disagreeing with the album Grace land, agrees that the song “homeless” was clearly “the most collaboratively conceived of the album’s songs” in her article about Paul Simon, South Africa and the Mediation of Musical meaning.

Even though the term cultural appropriation was not a known term in 1986, it is perfectly demonstrated in this ground-breaking album.

References:

Camacho, P. (2016). The Rich History (and Controversy) of Paul Simon’s “Graceland”. [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/all-things-picardy/the-rich-history-and-controversy-of-paul-simons-graceland-a8dff6d8328a [Accessed 30 Aug. 2019].

Meintjes, L. (2019). [online] Available at: https://ey9ff7jb6l-search-serialssolutions-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/?genre=article&ID=doi:10.2307/852356&issn=00141836&title=Ethnomusicology&volume=34&issue=1&date=19900101&atitle=Paul%20Simon\%27s%20Graceland,%20South%20Africa,%20and%20the%20Mediation%20of%20Musical%20Meaning&spage=37&pages=37-73&sid=EBSCO:JSTOR%20Journals&au=Louise%20Meintjes#? [Accessed 30 Aug. 2019].

Runtagh, J. (2016). Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’: 10 Things You Didn’t Know. [online] Rolling Stone. Available at: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/paul-simons-graceland-10-things-you-didnt-know-105220/ [Accessed 30 Aug. 2019].

BCM111

Opportunity knocks

Whether it be from the UK, Japan, Europe, America, or our home Australia, the access to global media has never been so easy. With platforms like youtube, Netflix, Stan, Foxtel, or Tv on demand, the world has become a lot smaller. We are able to view Tv shows and movies from all over the globe comfortably in our living rooms through our small laptop screens or televisions.

Through the app 9 now I am able to watch multiple shows from all over the world. Being an Australian-based-channel it surprises me how many shows there are from other countries on just one media platform. The highly controversial show love island was released to Australian tv for only one season in 2018. The show failed to have a big impact with Australian audiences unlike the UK where the show originated from. The UK has had such a success that its recently aired its 5th season. Along with love island shows such as the voice, bachelor/bachelorette, married at first sight, and idol had replications of the base concepts of the show spanning from Europe, Asia, America, the Uk and Australia.

These are only a few examples of the many shows I have seen to be replicated across the globe. A great example is ‘Got talent’, which has been replicated in 58 countries. In fact, in 2014 the show originally founded by Simon Cowell in Britain, was “recognised by Guinness  World Records as the worlds most successful reality tv format” (Lynch, 2014). On searching Got talent on google, the first result that came up was a video posted on YouTube by ‘Britain’s got talent’ of a girl named sacred Riana. Sacred Riana originally entered the Asia’s got talent in 2017, where she wowed (freaked out) the judges. She is someone I had seen before on YouTube having sat with my parents who had seen it on Facebook and were absolutely in awe of her performance. Her first audition saw her reaching “650 million views on YouTube, which is more than any Got talent star in the world” (McIntyre, 2019). She has also been described by Simon Cowell as the “scariest act ever” as she brought her act over to Britain’s got talent only this year. Due to the global platform provided by the numerous media access we are exposed to, she has become a global sensation.

It wasn’t like this in 1975 when my Uncle David Mckay competed and won the Australian remake of ‘Opportunity knocks’. At the age of 14, a boy soprano, he won the show against adults. Therefore, won the opportunity to fly to England where the show originated, and he competed in their show. Although viewed in Australia on TV, there was no media coverage or video when he competed in Britain, due to no internet and media platforms like YouTube.

It’s hard to believe how far our global access has come over the many years. It’s become too easy for us to view whatever Tv show and movie we want to and whenever we want to. As stated in O’Shaughnessy’s article ‘globalisation’, “the most important points for media students to focus on include the relationship between globalisation and technological and economic changes in the media industries”. These days when the opportunity knocks, it’s not just a knock, it’s more like a bash.

References:

Lynch, K. (2014). Simon Cowell’s ‘Got Talent’ confirmed as world’s most successful reality TV format. [online] Guinness World Records. Available at: https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2014/4/simon-cowells-got-talent-confirmed-as-worlds-most-successful-reality-tv-format-56587/ [Accessed 28 Aug. 2019].

McIntyre, C. (2019). Britain’s Got Talent 2019: Amanda Holden terrified by ‘scariest act’ ever. [online] Newslanes. Available at: https://newslanes.com/2019/08/31/britains-got-talent-2019-amanda-holden-terrified-by-scariest-act-ever/ [Accessed 28 Aug. 2019].

O’Shaughnessy, M. (2012). Globalisation. 5th ed. [ebook] South Melbourne: Oxford University press, pp.458-471. Available at: https://tr.uow.edu.au/uow/file/e01a63f7-0d98-4c21-8b3b-9b259ada70a9/1/o%27shaughnessy-2012-458-471.pdf [Accessed 28 Aug. 2019].

BCM111

Crazy Rich Asians

Either because the roles haven’t been written, or the roles are marginal, Asian-American actors never get the chance to become A-list actors,”

Nancy Wang Yuen, Biola university professor and sociology chair
(lee, 2019)

Since the early 1900s, Asian representation in Hollywood film and television has been enormously lacking. “For decades, Asian Americans working in the film and television industry have carried the impossible burden of fixing a system that has tended to punish, stereotype and ignore them” states Karen K Ho in her journal ‘Crazy Rich Asians’. In fact, it isn’t until recently that Asian-American actors are appearing more frequently on the big screens specifically as lead roles in romantic/comedic films. Such examples can span from Netflix’s recent internet sensation ‘To all the boys I loved before’, that featured an Asian-American as the leading role, even becoming one of the most viewed Netflix movies in 2018. Another notorious movie released into cinemas August 2018, is “Crazy Rich Asians’, being “the first major contemporary-set release in Hollywood with an all-Asian cast in 25 years” as stated by Ashlee Lee in a 2018 ‘Bustler’ article.

Based off an already famous book, written by Kevin Kwan in 2013, this film was bound for success. Even before its release to the public, news articles such as the article “How Crazy Rich Asians is going to change Hollywod. It’s about time” (Time, 2019) had people buzzing with excitement to see it. Myself included. In fact, there was no targeted audience other than a global one. As a lover for any cliché movie with a the mixture of romance and comedy, this movie sounded perfect. Girl meets prince? Brilliant. Set in Singapore; even better. Did I use this weeks task as another excuse to watch it for the 100th time? I most certainly did. I believe that this movie is both entertaining and educational for all viewers. 

Kevin Kwan, the original writer of the best-selling novel, created a storyline that intertwined both American and Asian culture. Once you’ve been introduced to the many hints of both cultures throughout the entire film, it becomes clear just how cleverly written this whole book/film is. It provides a demonstration of a modernised version of traditional Eastern culture class systems. A class system that stems from outrageously rich families, well-to-do families, and the working class. We are first introduced to Rachel Chu, an economics professor, brought up in the American working class by her single mother from Chinese descent. She considered her partner Nick Young, a foreign student from Singapore, studying in America, to be a regular working-class man. Little did she know, Nick was a member of one of these so-called outrageously rich families, possibly considered royalty. It follows her journey to Singapore where she is introduced to a whole new different world of rich. 

Image result for crazy rich asians wedding

My understanding of Singapore’s wealth, development and culture was very limited and possibly a little stereotyped when thinking of an Asian country. However, through watching this film, it became clear just how little knowledge I had of just developed, modern and wealthy Singapore is. The class system demonstrated throughout this film can also be viewed as almost identical to a typical American class system. These ideas link this film to this weeks topic of hybridisation where a Hollywood film travels across the globe and is remade/remixed into another culture. What we see here is a cliché American storyline remixed into a film filled with culture, romance and extravagance beyond belief.

-T

References:

Bustle. (2019). Here’s What It Was Like To See ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ With An All-Asian Audience. [online] Available at: https://www.bustle.com/p/how-seeing-crazy-rich-asians-with-all-asian-audience-made-me-appreciate-the-movie-even-more-10139847 [Accessed 23 Aug. 2019].

HO, K. K. (2018) ‘Seeing Is Believing: What the Rise of Crazy Rich Asians Signals for the Future of Hollywood’, Time International (South Pacific Edition), 192(8), p. 40. Available at: https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f6h&AN=133108639&site=eds-live (Accessed: 1 September 2019).

Lee, C. (2019). ‘It’s not a movie, it’s a movement’: Crazy Rich Asians takes on Hollywood. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/aug/11/crazy-rich-asians-movie-kevin-kwan-jon-m-chu-constance-wu [Accessed 18 Aug. 2019].

South China Morning Post. (2019). Crazy Rich Asians: how is the film different from the book?. [online] Available at: https://www.scmp.com/culture/film-tv/article/2160113/crazy-rich-asians-five-biggest-changes-book-kevin-kwan-films [Accessed 19 Aug. 2019].

Time. (2019). https://time.com. [online] Available at: https://time.com/longform/crazy-rich-asians/ [Accessed 26 Aug. 2019].

BCM110

Coffee Talk ☕️

In this weeks lecture, we were introduced to the concept of a public sphere. An 18th-century coffee house was used as a metaphor to describe a space where people could talk openly and freely about their ideas, issues of the day and debating topics. This metaphor was first introduced by Jurgen Habermas whom in his book ‘The Structural Transformation of The Public Sphere’ (1962), spoke about himself ‘imagining’ a public sphere. Which, in his case was like an 18th-century coffee house.

We were asked to imagine what our public sphere would be. I thought back to the coffee house metaphor. I related to the concept of people coming together over a cup of coffee and some tasty food. With a love for coffee and all things social, there’s nothing I love more than sitting around a table with friends or family and talking for hours. Whether it be at a café, at a park bench, in a lunchroom or even sitting at home with a freshly made cup of coffee, I always find myself engaging in the most interesting conversations. Somehow, I can speak freely and openly in these situations. There’s joy in the openness to freely speak about our thoughts on certain topics in a friendly manner not to offend or upset.

Cassandra, Brooke and May

These conversations usually stem from a simple information swap. Controversial topics can easily come up in one of the conversations and can span from political, cultural, legal, and social matters. However, with the people I surround myself with and, the environment I’m in, I know I can express my feelings openly and where we can enjoy engaging in debates.

I do not agree with the exclusion of others. However, in my public sphere, I would exclude those people I don’t feel comfort in sharing my ideas with.

It’s easy to misconstrue information we see on the media. As mentioned in my last blog ‘Can we trust our media?’, we have to be careful of what information we take away from our media. Not all information is reliable and across the many media platforms, information can be altered and changed. Therefore, each individual depending on what app, website, or article they visit, is given different information and in turn alternative opinions.  

So, whether it be about a new Kardashian/Jenner scandal, a family issue, issues people face regarding culture, gender, or race, or even over political matters and opinions, I can do so in my public sphere freely and openly. All while sipping on a nice hot coffee surrounded by friends, family, co-workers and sometimes even strangers. It’s a coffee talk.

-T

BCM110

Can we trust our media?

Every morning, I start it off by having a scroll through my social media for a few minutes. In these few minutes, I’m introduced to new scandals, new headlines and new ‘fake news’. I am given these stories supported by ‘compelling evidence’ of photos, quotes, video footage, and the pure belief that these stories are in fact reliable. But are they really? How can I be so certain of where this information is coming from and how much of the story I’m being given? Never do I stop and think about who owns the media I use.

The most frequently used media of mine is Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Which I believe are the three most used apps by people my age. Most users, like myself, on Facebook, know Mark Zuckerberg as the founder and owner who created it in 2004.

I couldn’t wait until the day came where I turned 13 and my parents would finally let me sign up…. It wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. It was just like another app I had called Instagram, where I could see what friends, celebrities, companies, and my favourite clothing brands had going on. The main difference being Instagram is predominantly focused on the aesthetic layout of your photos followed by cute captions, a thousand emojis and hashtags. Whilst Facebook is less about the aesthetics and more about the humorous and family orientated side of our lives.

I love hearing the newest scandals of celebrities, just like any other teenager. I read the articles that people share, and I am entranced in the information presented in front of me. However, I’ve recently learnt that the information, photos and ‘evidence’ we’re all shown, might not be as accurate as we are led to believe. Personally, I had no idea how limited my information source through the media actually was. That was until I discovered Instagram is now also owned by Facebook and has been since 2012 when Instagram was bought for the sum of ‘$1 billion’, stated by Alyson Shontell, on the site ‘Tech insider’ (Shontell 2013).

The reality is that the majority of us don’t realise how small our stream of information is. We are getting only a small fraction of the details. It matters to me mainly because the two apps I get my information branches from one source, one insider. It’s important to know just how influential the owners of our media are controlling our sources of information. By learning this, I am now careful of what I now believe to be reliable or unreliable sources. I suggest next time you do the same.

-T

Shontell, A. (2013). How Instagram Co-Founder Kevin Systrom Spent His Year After The $1 Billion Facebook Acquisition. [online] Business Insider Australia. Available at: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/its-been-1-year-since-facebook-bought-instagram-for-1-billion-heres-how-co-founder-kevin-systrom-spent-it-2013-5?r=US&IR=T#about-one-month-after-the-facebook-sale-systrom-and-krieger-took-their-team-on-an-off-site-spring-trip-to-team-to-napa-1 [Accessed 6 Apr. 2019].

BCM110

Love is War

When I was given this weeks topic, I was confused. A fair few too many google searches and I still only had a few small ideas on what complex image I could choose to discuss. Then a conversation with a friend brought up Banksy. Banksy is an anonymous street artist, who is well known for his complex graffiti and artworks. He’s done a number of artworks, all with underlining meanings and messages, however one in particular stood out for me.

This image to me represents the balance between love and war (violence). It’s an image that can be interpreted in different ways depending on the persons views. His dark clothing in comparison with the colourful bouquet of flowers, is powerful on its own as it shows the contrast of light and dark; good and bad. His stance and the angle of which he holds the boutique suggests a motion of war or violence. Usually this stance is accompanied with a weapon, a grenade even, but is swapped out for a bouquet of bright, yellow flowers. This artwork can be taken as a symbol of a tough exterior with a soft interior. A man who seems tough, is actually acting in love. Trying to portray an act of violence which ironically reflects his true morals of respect and love.

Building off that interpretation, the image can also represent a man that hopes for love and peace, instead of the lifestyle he is given. It can represent a man who has grown up in the lifestyle of violence and danger. A man who only wishes to act in love and peace, instead of the violence best known to him.

These two interpretations stem from the same idea, the idea of ‘love in war’. They demonstrate how a complex image may seem simple at first glance, however, when building a backstory, this image can be interpreted in many different ways.

Banksy is successful in creating a piece of art that’s open to interpretation. The mind sees what we or what the artist wants us to see. It’s up to our imagination to interpret what we want from this complex image.

-T

Dhar, S. (2018). The Art of Banksy and more: Celebrating street art across the world. [online] Indulgexpress.com. Available at: https://www.indulgexpress.com/cover/2018/jul/13/the-art-of-banksy-and-more-celebrating-street-art-across-the-world-8805.html [Accessed 26 Mar. 2019].

BCM110

Experience an audience

A time I was apart of an audience? Well that’s a common occurrence for me, as genuinely I’m not the main attraction rather the one observing. However, i’ve been on the opposite end … I’ve been the centre of attention. It’s easy to conclude I enjoyed being apart of the audience, more than I enjoyed being the performer. Throughout my 18 years of life, I have been to wiggle concerts, festivals, musicals, movie theatres and even sporting matches, and yet there is one performance that stands out for me above the rest. Les Miserables. ‘Les Miserables’, written in the 1800s by Victor Hugo, has become one of the most famous musicals to date, one i was fortunate enough to enjoy live with my family at the Capitol theatre in Sydney.

As a singer, I have always loved the message and feel that ‘les miserables’ provided its audience. The cast were absolutely outstanding and as the curtain closed you could feel the disappointment shared throughout the theatre that the show was indeed coming to a close. That’s when you know a show has really succeeded in engaging and appealing to its audiences. Undoubtedly there are negatives that come with watching live shows or movies in a room filled with many, even hundreds of other people. The seating of a short person, like myself, behind an extremely tall person, whose head takes up the entire stage in front you. The crunching of chip packets and popcorn kernels in the most quietest moments or even the commentary from the couple behind you, who don’t realise just how loud they are. Although these are negatives that impact an individuals experience, overall, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

I enjoyed this performance not only for my love of this specific musical but because as you looked around the room, there was an extreme diverse of people. Both old and young, men and women, everyone was there together to watch this one show. It is not made for one age group but for any person who loves an engaging and enthusiastic show filled with energetic music numbers every 5 minutes. I took away from this experience the realisation of just how powerful the emotions are that people can create through acting, singing and dancing with the help of stage props and lighting.

It’s a scenario not many people would expect to find me. Someone who has my lifestyle of beach, sport, and travel, would not necessarily be seen (almost in tears) sitting in a musical theatre, but that’s what makes it such a memorable passion of mine. It’s one thing no one would know about me. I’ve been apart of a number of audiences whether it be on social media, a netlfix watcher, a member of a crowd watching a concert or festival, sitting in the stands cheering on my favourite team (or whatever team is winning). Each of these experiences I have been filled with pure happiness.

These experiences link to this weeks ideas of different audiences and our experiences as part of these different audiences. At home watching netflix, I am alone or with a few friends, not really taking in our surroundings. While when I am watching a musical such as ‘les miserables’ I am drawn into everything around me; the variety of people seated around me, the setting, decorations, the chatter and everything else that makes the audience what it is. That’s where the magic is…. in the audience. The audience I’m immersed in.

-T

BCM110

Introduction…

An introductory of who I am and what I set out to achieve through these blogs is supposed to be easy. Simple even.



An introductory blog is one that points out the basic facts about myself. That I’m an 18 year old girl, studying a bachelor in communications and media at university. But what will these facts achieve but to let you in on the smallest details of my life? Although a blog is necessary for my course, I want to take this opportunity to really portray my views as a way for you to fully understand the finer details of who I am. A girl with not only a passion for creating and sharing, but a girl who has depth, opinions and perspective on matters that inspire me the most. My love for all things music, film, and fashion as well as my love and fear for the ocean. Travelling is my biggest passion, but reality of money kicks in real fast once I start organising where I want to go. I share these passions through film, and that’s what I plan to create.

-T