Dancing for a cause

Creativity is one of the most useful tools that a person can utilize; a tool that he or she can build upon throughout his or her many years of inspiration and application. Creativity manifests itself in different forms depending on individual personalities and capabilities. There are many forms that creativity takes on. Some people are more innovative than crafty/artistic or vice versa. Others draw ideas solely from outside experiences to create their own mash-up of an idea. Music, dance, art, inventions and numerous other aspects of peoples’ daily lives are derived from creativity. For me personally, dance is the creative form that I would use to construct change. A good combination of music and choreography can be extremely moving and enjoyable both to do, create, and watch. Choosing a cause to focus a dance on and picking applicable music to accompany the piece can change a persons whole perspective on a matter and inspire them to make a change, especially along with emotional choreography and expression that tugs on heart strings and engages the audience. Throughout my many years on a competitive dance company I witnessed copious amounts of heartening dances that struck a change in me, and I believe through my experience with dance and choreography that I could do that for someone else, as well. Of all of the amazing dances I have witnessed, one choreographed by Mia Michaels by the name of “Gravity” has remained with me the most. “Gravity” focuses on relationship violence and unhealthy addictions to another person. As an example, I have attached a video from a dance competition, much like one I would have attended throughout my years on a company. This dance highlights the huge issue concerning the large amount of children in crisis, who are born orphans or become orphans everyday. As Kate Beaudoin’s blurb under attached the video says “the best choreographers create routines with a purpose in mind.” I now propose a question—what creative form would YOU choose to extract change?

Please take the time to watch this link! It is an amazing piece.

http://mic.com/articles/109326/this-incredible-dance-video-just-won-the-2015-vibe-dance-competition

 

State of the Union

When watching the State of the Union, I noticed how Obama used story-telling not just facts, which made the speech more compelling and relatable to viewers who are from various demographics. When talking about a new economy, he used the story about Rebecca and expressed that her story was “our” story, America’s story.  He also used the notion of togetherness. He made statements such as  “we’re in this together as Americans, through everyone’s contribution in some way.”  He mentioned Ferguson and the NYD case but framed them in a way that resonates with people on both sides of the problem, a black teenager and his parents fearing him to walk alone and a police officer’s family fearing whether he will come home alive. At the end of the speech he used that quote from Rebecca’s story to parallel it to America, which he claimed is “a strong tight-knit family that has made it through some very hard times.”

One of the most tweeted quotes from the State of the Union is “I have no more campaigns to run…I know because I won both of them.” Particularly on my twitter timeline, which is majority “Black Twitter” filled with young adults, majority ages ranging from 18-25, there were many humorous memes, with that quote from President Obama.  Some news outlets such as Wavy News 10 and PBS News tweeted that the most influential quote from the address was: “I want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood, your life matters.” CNN revealed through its twitter page that this 2015 State of the Union was the first time the words “Instagram, lesbian , bisexual, and transgender were used in any State of the Union.”  I found this tweet extremely interesting. Fox News posted a tweet stating that Rebecca, the lady Obama centered his address around, was an “ex-democratic staffer,” suggesting bias on President Obama’s part.  CNN also tweeted the video of Britt Hume on the Fox news show, Kelly File, who stated , “I doubt this state of the union will be remembered very long.”  So let’s just say, everyone had their own story, opinion, and beliefs about the State of the Union.

Three Songs

If I am tardy to class, there are three songs that I would decide to sing.  One song that I would sing is the song “Joyful, Joyful” from the movie Sister Act 2 because it’s one of my favorite movies and is lead by one of my favorite singers, Lauryn Hill. It also has a gospel feel to it, which is one of my favorite genres.  Secondly, I would sing the song, “Flying Without Wings” by Rubben Studdard, which is the song he sang when winning the singing competition, American Idol.  This song is special to me because it’s an inspirational song that I listen to when things get hard, and I need to be reminded that I can do anything that I put my mind to. It also has a soulful feel to it, and soul is also another one of my favorite music genres.  Lastly, I would sing the song “My Love is Your Love” by the late Whitney Houston. Whitney Houston is another one of my favorite singers that I use to listen to when it was just me and my mother in her red Toyota.  In the song, Whitney talks about how there is nothing that can come in between the relationship between her and her daughter.  This song reminds me of the same relationship that I have with my own mother.  Furthermore, Whitney Houston is one of the best voices of all time, which is why I was very disappointed in the Lifetime Biopic that came out a few weeks ago.  It was more about her relationship with Bobby then her God given talent.  When reading this post, it may sound as if I have chosen some very challenging songs that will be hard to sing unless I’m a gifted singer myself.  I am nowhere near a “gifted singer,” I just plan on getting to class on time!

 

Reactions to SOTU Address…

According to numerous publications, there were roughly 2.6 million tweets sent out over the duration of the State of the Union address.  Of those 2.6 million tweets, one of the trending topics that stood out to me was #SOTBU, State of the Black Union.  Tuning into the address, many, including myself, were anticipating the President to speak on the Black Lives Matter movement.  Not just speak on it, but make a clear declaration that he has heard the cries and frustration of the black community that currently feels like it’s been under attack.  But instead, he pulled an #AllLivesMatter stating,

            “We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York.  But surely, we can understand a father who fears his son can’t walk home without being harassed. Surely, we can understand the wife who won’t rest until the police officer she      married walks through the front door at the end of his shift.”

In an effort to please those on “both sides” of the issue, Obama alienated many activists of the #BlackLivesMatter movement by simply dancing around the issue and never directly speaking on the correlations between race and policy brutality.  As much as I knew that he “couldn’t,” I wanted him to say it directly.  I needed to hear the President of the United States say to the Nation “Black Lives Matter.”  Those sentiments were also echoed by Black Twitter, where many found his “colorblind” rhetoric to be problematic as it ignored the main basis of the Movement.  To equate the fear of a black child walking down the street, to that of a police officer attending his post is false equivalence as the former is a fear based on systematic prejudice and oppression based on the color of one’s skin; while the latter is fear due to the dangerous nature of the job itself.  That’s not to say that the fear of officers and their families is not valid or okay but when a black person is killed every 28 hours at the hands of police, those two incidents are not of the same nature.  In addition, although Obama did mention talks about reforming the justice system and combating racial tensions, many activists on Twitter seemed to be pessimistic about when we will actually witness executive action making steps towards combat these issues.  Although there were a few moments that really spurred excitement on social media, i.e. Obama’s comedic one-liner, “I know because I won both,” overall, Twitter, especially Black Twitter, seemed to be rather disappointed with the President’s lack of proper acknowledgment towards the protests and unrest in the black community.

If I’m late to class…

If I’m ever late to class and WAS FORCED to sing out loud, I would choose between “Grown Woman,” by Beyoncé aka Queen Bey aka Goddess aka…. you get the point, “Monster,” by Kanye West and “Through the Wire,” by again, one of the greatest to ever do it, Kanye West. When we were prompted with this task, I knew both Beyoncé and Mr. Ye had to make it on the list as they’ve been my two favorite artists for as long as I could remember. Although it was difficult to limit myself to only three songs, I chose “Grown Woman” because it’s one of Beyoncé’s newer, fun, upbeat songs and perfectly embodies her movement for female empowerment. This song, like many of her others, inspires me to  dream beyond the constraints of the societal standards for women, and remember that independence, especially financial independence, is key for a grooowwwwn, successful,  I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T woman. #AMEN

I chose “Monster” because my older sister, Lily, used to crank the volume to as loud as it could possibly get in her old Toyota and belt out the scream that’s in the beginning of the song. Every. Single. Time. It’s one of my favorite memories I have with her and puts a smile on my face every time I think about it so this one is for her.

Lastly, I chose “Through the Wire,” because it’s one of my favorite songs from Ye and it showcases a side of him that many are not familiar with. People are quick to label him crazy, a**hole, egotistical, etc., but this song shows that there’s a lot more depth to him than what many perceive. He’s brutally honest and shows his vulnerability as he’s literally raping through wires that are holding his mouth shut, as a result of a car accident he was previously in. It’s also on his first album, “College Dropout,” which also happens to be one of my favorite albums of all time.

Grown Woman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3MjxWn5W9M

Monster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ona42jz8w0k

Through the Wire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvb-1wjAtk4

 

#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords

Like many political events in the modern age, the 2015 State of the Union was discussed, analyzed, and commented upon via social media – especially Twitter. Twitter users – including news outlets, activist organizations, political groups, and everyday citizens – used the hashtag “#StateofTheUnion” to discuss the president’s statements and other details of the event.

Another prominent hashtag that arose pertaining to the address, “#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords,” sheds light on our current political atmosphere and how social media is influencing the way we process information. “#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords” perfectly represents our society’s need in the modern era for rapid synthesization of information, consolidation of incoming news, and overall brevity.

While scrolling through the “#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords” hashtag, what also became apparent was the polarization of our current political atmosphere. A majority of the tweets, though limited to only three words, were of a remarkably opinionated nature. “Yes We Did,” “Obamacare is Working,” and “Invest in America” are examples of tweets that took a positive stance on both President Obama and his State of the Union Address, while tweets such as “Out of Touch,” “Constitution Successfully Shredded,” and “I Blame Obama” demonstrate the opposing viewpoint. The “#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords” hashtag was enlightening, as it showed that when forced to use only three words to describe the State of the Union Address, opinions generally trumped cold, hard facts – an arguably universal tendency of human nature that we have discussed in class.

Finally, there was a third and final group of prominent tweets that emerged in the “#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords” hashtag – those of a humorous, frequently non-political nature. “Haters Gonna Hate,” “Two Terms, Baby,” and “Boehner’s Distracting Tan” are examples of how users used the hashtag to bring comic relief to a serious political event. Overall, Twitter’s response to the State of the Union address, and specifically the hashtag “#StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords,” reflect perfectly how social media has affected the way American society absorbs, processes, and responds to current events.

Late to Class

If I were to be late to class one day, I would most likely choose to sing Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours, Iggy Azalea’s I’m So Fancy, or One Direction’s Story of My Life.

Jason’s Mraz’s I’m Yours, which came out during my middle school years, represents the time of my life during which I learned I could turn to creative writing, photography, and filmmaking as outlets for the stressors of everyday life. I was a very creative child, but in later years I struggled to find ways to channel that creative energy – that is, until I began pursuing photography, filmmaking, and especially creative writing. The song also, for the most part, reflects the type of art I create. I enjoy celebrating the beauty of life while also subtly touching on more serious issues such as gender roles, difficult relationships, or mental health.

Iggy Azalea’s I’m So Fancy was constantly on repeat this past summer during a family reunion/vacation at the beach; the ample memories I have of singing (very off-key, I might add) the song in the car with my sisters as we drove along the beach, or dancing to it in the kitchen with my cousins while making dinner, symbolize my tendency to be very family-oriented.

Finally, the last song I would pick to sing if I were late to class is One Direction’s Story of My Life. This song was taught to me by a group of 3rd-5th grade girls during a practice for Girls on the Run – a nonprofit organization I volunteer for that teaches young girls about healthy living, positive body image, and effective communication. Before Girls on the Run I did not know a single One Direction song, but now I can proudly say – thanks to them – that I know a few of 1D’s hits by heart, and might even possibly be able to name all the members of the group.

An odd mix of song choices, to be sure – though while they may not represent my music taste, I feel they do a good job describing my personality and interests.

Songs

“I Want It That Way”—Backstreet Boys

I mean, this song essentially was my childhood. I won’t assume that every girl was into boy bands back in the day but I definitely was. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was boy crazy or associate this song to a boy at the time, but definitely associate it to all of the sleepovers I had with my closest girlfriends in my adolescence and singing this song at the top of our lungs. Plus, I think that every time I go to karaoke bars, I make an active choice to end the night with this song.

“Wannabe”—Spice Girls

Again, this song is a reflection of my childhood. I think there are great messages in this song, definitely stay true to yourself when involving yourself with someone else. I mean, take it or leave it right? My favorite line, “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends” because no one knows you better than the friends you consider siblings. I also lowkey wished that I was scary spice. I vicariously lived through her in the privacy of my bedroom and shower. SHE IS EVERYTHING.

“You’ve Got A Friend In Me”—Toy Story

I am obsessed with Disney movies. What I enjoy most about them is the fact that when people watch them in different stages of their lives, they acquire different messages and perspectives. The messages I picked up on as a child are completely different from the ones I receive now and that’s what makes them the ultimate family movie. I really value my friendships with the people in my life and that relationship that I consider as friendship extends to family members as well. All I ask for in life is to have “friends” that will be there for me through the good and bad and if they’ve “got troubles, well I’ve got ‘em too…you’ve got a friend in me”. Love this song!

#SOTU

In President Obama’s State of the Union Address, I think he talked about progress in liberal terms and appealed to the left-wing American audience. A lot of his issues that were hot topics for discussion were the social issues, such as the acknowledgement and condemnation of the gender wage-gap, the recognition and support of lesbian and transgender people and they’re rights. I thought he didn’t nearly touch on the Ferguson/police brutality/Black Lives Matter issue enough, but then again I also don’t really expect him given the controversy Americans have made about it- it wouldn’t be “safe” for him to advocate for the movement. On social media I noticed there was a lot of conflicting posts from Conservatives and Liberals about deciphering the truth about America’s economic standing (of course); Conservatives say he’s lying about the trillions of dollars in debt we’re in (left under the legacy of the Bush admin) and that the debt is still growing, while liberals are more positive of his progressive middle-class economics and confrontation to Congress to raise the minimum wage.

Other topics that were hilarious and really popular during the SOTU are comedic commentary on verbal and body language. Obama’s fist pump comment, “I don’t have any more campaigns to run…I know because I’ve already won them both” generated a lot of attention and commentary, including in the form of memes. In addition, there were a lot of comments on Biden and Boehner’s facial expression throughout the speech, and also which audience/Congress members applauded/stood up for certain points addressed. I think this was popular because it is something that breaks the rhythm of a long speech and provides entertainment.

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Social media functions very differently from traditional media outlets which are more formal and exclusive. Social media creates spaces for informal commentary, jokes, and is more open to different languages and vernaculars. Social media is also good at capturing the attention of people who are not particularly interested in politics or who wouldn’t normally watch the SOTU Address, where as traditional media is usually communicated to a particular viewership/readership.

#SOTU

People use social media, especially during times like the State of the Union Address that appeals to a collective identity, to voice their opinions, comments, and concerns in the form of a live feed. During the 2015 State of the Union Address, hash tagged #SOTU on Twitter, trending topics I thought were popular were tweets in regards to a better bipartisan politics, free community college, and #BlackLivesMatter. These three issues sparked controversy and the undeniable skepticism many Americans have when addressing social justice issues that many believe have not been given the necessary attention. The notion of bipartisanship that President Obama emphasized was a very popular topic on twitter because I think more Americans are realizing the unproductive nature of a polarized country where people feel forced to identify with a political platform with very ambiguous stances. In regards to free community college, many twitter users commented with uncertainty that a goal like this would come to fruition with concerns of how the government would pay for it acknowledging that higher education in America follows a model to increase economic capital and not really social capital. Many twitter users, especially on Black Twitter, were disappointed in the fact that one of the most important social movements happening in America, #BlackLivesMatter, was not mentioned discouraging many people to believe that we live in a post-racial society where we have to speak in politically correct language in order to appeal to the masses. It is interesting to see how traditional media integrated Twitter posts in their news coverage on TV and online news articles. Social media like Twitter can draw in a wide range of narratives and perspectives, so of course depending on the political platform that different news broadcasting stations support, the news can pick and choose which live feeds to use to support their stance or even demonize other positions.