The song that I chose to analyze is the song “Everything is Everything”. This song is brilliant and poignant as it speaks to those who are disenfranchised by society in which the systemic structures are used as tools of divisive barricades
“It seems we lose the game,
Before we even start to play
Who made these rules? We’re so confused”
The lyrics above could have not been any more poignant as they describe the state of affairs in the minority social system. Many people are stuck in a cycle that they are not a part of in the foundation making the system. All out of minorities feel as though they are at a disadvantage as to the fact they are not making the rules that affect them yet they have to adhere to rules that will disenfranchise them. There is not a more perfect example than the state of education in the United States and those who have access to it and those who do not have access to it. About three weeks ago, the UVA BOV dropped a tuition hike bomb which disadvantage present and future students of the university, Lauryn’s lyrics “who made the rules” could not be more relevant because the situation with the BOV, it spoke volumes of those who were making the decisions for low income students. The members are all well of professionals whose credentials barely gloss the education realm. Lauryn Hill continues to sing
“Sometimes it seems
We’ll touch that dream
But things come slow or not at all
And the ones on top, won’t make it stop
So convinced that they might fall
Let’s love ourselves then we can’t fail
To make a better situation
Tomorrow, our seeds will grow
All we need is dedication”
I take this verse as the battle is not yet over and we need to be optimistic as we continue to fight for education reform at the University of Virginia. Outside the classroom , UVA has taught me so many life applications in dealing with people whose ideologies differ your own. The recent events with Martese and the tuition hikes have opened my eyes to the unfair discourse of the world . There are some unfortunate realities that we are all going to face and it is up to us to open our minds to be willing to question the status quo. Lauryn Hill’s “Everything is Everything” displays the unfortunate discourse that protrudes the United States Education system .
I think women add to hiphop an interesting dynamic to the movement. When I think of Women in Hiphop I think of Monie Love, TLC, Queen Latifah, Lil Kim, and Nicki Minaj. One thing that I have noticed aboiut females in the hiphop movement is the attention that they bring to female sexuality and while sometimes it is progressive, I feel as if that people who view them with a critical gaze find that they fit into the hypersexualization of the female. Women in hiphop are criticized for their sexuality because those who choose to be in the hiphop realm are seen as sexual objects. I think that females bring to the table a different perspective to the mostly black narrative of hiphop. They bring their stories and how they perceive their role in the greater discourse of the societal implications of race and the intersectionality of gender. In terms of social revolution I think that female rappers bring a sense of girl power to a craft that is seen as almost exclusive to men. Also like I said before, females shed light to issues that females deal with (ie TLC “Unpretty”, Nicki Minaj “Fly”). I think there needs to be more females in the hiphop game because there needs to be a spectrum in the female narrative.
Find my way- A Tribe Called Quest – This song would be used as a song that highlights the psychology of love and the different emotions that go into being in love. I think that it is important to talk about love in school just because it is an important part of love and almost everyone experiences it at least once in their lifetime. ATCQ’s lyrics are poignant as it speaks about the fleeting movement of love and how it’s hard to “find one’s way” in the complex game of love and attraction. To be honest I think normal human emotions like love should be taught in school because it would prepare and expose the students to something that occurs on a daily basis. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-tjrM9qugQ
Po’ Folks- Nappy Roots- Po’ folks would be used to discuss the disparaging income inequality in the United States. Income inequality often gets brushed under the rug in classrooms unless that school system is directly affected. The poverty levels all around the country are unfortunate and yet there seems to be a stalemate in terms of what to do to with the growing income inequality. Also this song would be used to be what it means to be poor and how that comes with stigmas and unfortunate misappropriation . I think students need to be exposed to the economics of the world because it is many people’s reality. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbN6VkleO48
I Am Not My Hair- India Arie – This lesson would be based on self –love and acceptance of one’s differences. I think that especially black females from a historical context have been told that a certain type of hair is acceptable in society ( Eurocentric straight hair) I think we tend to put so much power to our hair that we often use it as an expression of identification . This song embodies the movement of self-love and how as black women we have to figure out a way to lover ourselves and not use the Eurocentric standards of beauty as a indicator of our own beauty . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_5jIt0f5Z4
Practice-Jazzy Jeff- This song is about practice and its importance in all facets of life. Jazzy Jeff takes clips from the Allen Iverson’s speech about practice. “ We just talkin’ about practice…We sittin’ here, I’se supposed to be the franchise player And we in here talkin’ about practice…I mean, listen, we talkin’ about practice…Not a game, not a game, not a game; we talkin’ about practice!Not a game, not a, not, not the game that I go out there and die for…”. The Song is very applicable to practice in the sense of academics but also relateble to the trials of the real world. I would use this as a teaching tool for perserverance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsxFx8oj-ZM
Paris, Tokyo Remix-Lupe Fiasco, Pharell, Janelle Green- I would use this song as a study abroad lesson; the song discusses the importance of getting different perspectives from around the world. I think of often times people are afraid of the unknown/ do not know how to be privy to the openness and adventure of the world. I would use this song as a tool to promote the importance of study abroad programs on might encounter in their lifetime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=679b1jwd2wQ
U ,Black Maybe- Common – This song would be used to discuss the unfortunate realities of being black in America. Common discusses. I think this song would be indicative of what it means to black in America. Common’s lyrics state “I heard a white man’s yes is a black maybe”, I think this is such a powerful sentiment because it delves into the conversation of institutional discrimination and how laws effect minorities even in the present day America. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KUOW1CYueQ
Around My Way-Lupe Fiasco –I would love to use this song as a history lesson because I feel as if Lupe puts a twist to away to speak about history and America’s involvement in worldwide politics. In my experience , school’s teach it’s students a lot of “American Exceptionalism “ and to be honest that breeds a lot of problems especially when students are given the good and bad of American politics. I think Lupe speaks to the realities of America and how we operate with third world countries. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S77zUWqawag
Heaven Only Knows –Kos I would use this song as a tool to highlight the importance of having that religious/spiritual stability in life. I would also like to use this song as a self-meditation and self-reflection tool. I think that the world is so faced paced and hectic that people tend to lose themselves if there is no time or importance put of meditation /prayer. I think teaching students the importance of not allowing the complexities of life to bog them down is very important. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGXNALH_iy8
Champion-Kanye West – One of my favorite Kanye West songs! This song is about self-realization of one’s worth and power. I would teach this school lesson as a precursor to graduation. This song would be used as an upliftment lecture; I would speak to students about how important it is to up lift one’s self and realize that a champion is bred from within . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I-d0LJ6ojg
Going on Gnarls Barkley- This song to me captures a point in the education system when you move on from high school to college. I think it is hard to leave your family and peers when you are leaving for college but I think this song captures the conflicting emotions of wanting to stay behind but realizing that there is a beauty in change and growth. Gnarles Barley’s lyrics capture the inner conflict in his lyrics “One foot in front of the next, This is the start of a journey.And my mind is already gone And though there are other unknowns .Somehow this doesn’t concern me.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_R9fId_Rqo
To be honest, I have always had a very lukewarm response to rioting and looting. When I say that, I mean that I have never truly understood the rioting and looting until the recent tragedies displayed on the news. After the Mike Brown incident I was able to look at the riots in a different light, I realized that the riots and looting were from a place of frustration and hurt. People can only be marginalized and institutionally ostracized for a while before they begin to push back at the status quo. I think that riots and looting are a result of the oppression that those in retaliation have to endure. Looting and rioting get attention in the media and press which inevitably puts pressure on the law makers and those who have the power to dispel the anger of those who are looting and rioting. Unfortunately violence gets the attention in a quick manner, I think those acts of emotion are the precursor for change. In my opinion those acts bring awareness to issues that the majority either chooses to turn a blind eye or honestly has no clue of the discourse that is occurring. I think back to the Ferguson movement and the criticism that the inhabitants of Ferguson received because of the damage done to their city. I think back to how the passion of the city was splattered on the television as chaotic and hostile. I think that society has to reevaluate its views on looting and rioting and instead look deeper into why people choose to use these forms of expression to display their unrest. I think the violence/ or reactionary anger as a form of social justice is a way that people express their dissatisfaction with the world and it gets more attention.
After days of unrest and dissatisfaction with the world and the state of African-Americans , I was able to finally calm down to reflect on my experiences and what I think of this situation. .I think implicitly a lot of black students at the university realized an important lesson that day. The important lesson is that no matter what accolades you have, no matter your attendance in a prestigious university, you still can’t escape the realities of the real and often harsh world. We can see this as Martese cried out “I go to UVA” it was heart breaking because it was as if he expected those words to shield and protect him from the abuse he suffered. To be honest the situation with Martese made me very jaded especially when it came to the cops, while deep down I know that majority of the cops are out to protect people like me, my psyche honestly has been messed up to thinking the worst out of the law enforcement. My parents had to unfortunately repeat the epithet that you are black in America, a country that still battles with the vestiges of its long history of enslavement. This made me upset because I knew they spoke the truth, but it made me think how do I move on from what is going on and how do I make sure I feel secure and safe in my place in the world? I realize that in order to do that I have to fight for equality and justice and go against the status quo. I think moving forward my peers and I have to make sure we don’t become jaded because of all our experiences , also we need to use these experiences to push back against the status quo and fight for social justice .
Also I would like to discuss my dissatisfaction with the administrators at the university. We have administrators who are supposed to serve as representatives and champions for the student body, unfortunately in my opinion they fall short. As I watched students rally the tuition hikes and demand answers from the Dean of Students and the President what hit me was an epiphany . I realized that the administration honestly has no idea how to handle situations of this caliber in which the students are actively pushing back against the status quo. One thing that was very poignant to me was the question when the students asked “ How long had the president known about the tuition hikes?” , her answer was “ten days”. This brings up the question of who is running the show? Who gets to decide the fate of the students and why are we not allowed to air our grievances with them? I was joking around with my friends and compared the Board of Visitors (BOV) to the illuminati just because there is an air of mystery around them that must never dissipate to keep up their image. My realization over the past weeks has solidified my thoughts about how I think the administration does not care about their students wellbeing . There have many incidents that those in charge of being the representative for the students have failed acknowledge. Last semester a bunch off students marched to the presidents house and demanded that she acknowledge the current state of race relations at the university, her reply was “I hear you” . What does that mean? To me it means thanks for voicing your concerns however I am not able to do anything about it. The administration likes to feed into the Majority discourse of how great this university is and how everyone is a symbolic stock representation of a page from the UVA college book. To be honest I am troubled that those who are supposed to be the voice of me and my peers don’t have our best interest at the forefront .
As we watched the movie Schindler’s List, we realized the important role that the media and public perception played in the film.Media has become an increasingly effective tool for social change. Film can be used for social change by conveying a deep, challenging message to the audience. Films can motivate you, inspire you to live a bit differently and even transform your beliefs. It is difficult to understand what discrimination, slavery, poverty or suffering are like when you never been through it or it doesn’t affect you personally. It also gives light to the struggles and problems that exist in society, often giving voice to people who might otherwise be silenced. That is how film comes in handy when being used for social change. It takes you through a journey of other people lives for a few hours. Films have the power to anger, motivate and change us.
Specifically in the film we were assigned (Schindler’s List) this film was reality. This film was one based on the Holocaust, which was a well-known tragic event that occurred under Adolf Hitler’s and the Nazi’s rise to power. During this period of blood shed, thousands of lives were taken from Jews by German empowerment. This harmful circumstance was reversed by George Schindler who is the main character in this film by turning his business into a refuge for jews. While in the process, Schindler managed to refuge over 1000 jews from concentration camps. So when asked the question of how films differ from reality, my answer is that this particular film doesn’t. This film is reality.
In accordance to reality, this film provoked social change commentary and the consequences that might occur with that.Film brings an interesting perspective to social change, the director and producers uses their own gaze to project social change. Personal perspectives of the agents used to make the movie, makes the move much more poignant. In the movie Schindler’s List we are able to see how the director Steven Spielberg thought to show the world his perspective of the Holocaust. The movie was thought provoking and it showed the realities of the Holocaust that revealed a part that not many people wanted to think about. In terms of social justice, films like Schindler’s list really put into perspective the role that the United States plays when faced with adversity that occurs in foreign country. This is the consequence of film, it brings a critical gaze to the roles played in certain historical moments. This movie really prompts the viewer to think how they can play a role in the world so situations such as the Holocaust will not exist again. Spielberg was able to use his life experience to project the movie to a social commentary , In a New York Times article Spielberg stated ‘“I was embarrassed, I was self-conscious, I was always aware I stood out because of my Jewishness…In high school, I got smacked and kicked around. Two bloody noses. It was horrible…His family had direct ties to the Holocaust: relatives died in Poland and Ukraine” (NYTimes)’. Film as a medium is used to express social change because it uses agents who use their perspectives to strike conversation and unsettlement which prompt social change.
Hopefully I will never have to sing in front of the class but if I ever have to here are the songs I would perform 1. Electric Relaxation- A Tribe Called Quest This song is one of my favorite songs in life! ATCQ really was the gateway group into my love of old School hip hop. I lyrically think this song is genius with an addictive bass line that just won’t quit! I really think that ATCQ throws back to a time when ( in my opinion) hip hop was not as gimmicky as it is now. They spoke about numerous subjects from the use of the N word to the impacts of Date rape, in my opinion they are hip hop royalty!
2. Switch Up-Big Sean and Common Love this song just because I think it showcases Big Sean as a rapper and allows Common to dabble in rap as well. I am a big fan of Common and love everything he does just because I think he has a message behind his music. I personally love the growth that I have seen Common accomplish album after album. This song also displays Common’s versatility which I can say is very impressive and it is awesome to see a lighter side of Common.
3. Bring it all to me Blaque and JC Chasez This song epitomizes 90’s R&B, with its catchy under currents and cheesy lyrics it really throws back to a time when R&B was favored by the masses. This song is great because it has JC Chasez from Nysnc and that fulfills my boyband obsession that I had growing up. This song is symbolic for the romantic R&B songs that I have loved since childhood. It also represents a time which I thought was during hip hop and R&B’s golden age. Overall I think this song is really awesome represents an age when R&B music was very prevalent.
The State of the Union Address has always fascinated me because I am always surprised by the public response. This year I decided to descend to black twitter to hear their take on what many are calling Obama’s “find quote/ stat”. After hours of pilfering through the internet I was able to find some hilarious but also thought provoking tweets
I think social media is very important during highly publicized events such as the State of the Union Address because it captures what people are feeling the moment they are able to digest the coverage. Twitter acted as an avenue that people used to broadcast their concerns, approvals, and disdain for political movements/events that ravish our country. I think that Twitter has enhanced the watching experience of the SOTU because it allows you to see what and how people consume the information that is put in front of them. In focusing my gaze on the black twitter I was able to physically see the issues that Black America thought was important but the president failed to address.
After seeing articles and clips about the state of the Union and the response from black twitter, I picked up on something important that evening .I think Black twitter highlighted is that there seems to be a disconnect between the wants of the public (particularly the black public) and the perception of the President’s influence on those wants. For example, a lot of people where discontent with the President’s address on Ferguson, New York, and Black lives matter movement. I thought about how the president could gloss over such life altering events that sparked outrage in our country everywhere and came to the conclusion of audience perception. I believe that the president had to be careful in not marginalizing the issues of police brutality and black lives matter (hence the statement of “all lives matter”); he had to tip the fine line because let’s not forget that the State of the Union is addressing white middle class America because they are the targeted audience. So my question is to you readers and to myself is how we as a people use the avenue of Twitter to propel our grievances with the way issues to the black community are being handled?
Social Change and how people go about expanding it has always fascinated me. I think the biggest barrier for those who want to see social change is getting other people to participate in the movement. There have been a lot of times at the University when the black students have been involved in the promotion of controversial topics (ie the Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin cases), the biggest setbacks are connecting to people who have a hard time connecting the topic at hand. The video that we watched last week was very interesting because it displayed how people use unconventional mediums to connect to others. I think that is how the black population in general needs to promote certain social situations that the mainstream public would not care about.
My means of spreading social justice to broaden my individual network would be through performance art. I have always thought of performance art as a medium of expression, whether it be dance or spoken word , performance art has always been a venue for those who have had trouble expressing their views in traditional forums. Performance art has the potential to be widespread and reach people through social media, for example there was are video of a woman performing a spoken word piece about being articulate and the stigma attached to black people and their “dialect”. The video was able to collect over a million views and it started a conversation about the perception of black people and their use of the English language. I feel as performance art has shaped the way I view certain situations in life, I grew playing instruments and being in color guard. Color guard has always been my performance art of choice because it transcends more than language, it is able to connect to people on a nonverbal level. Through the uses of a flag, rifle, or saber color guard transcends the unspoken through movement. Through performance art I hope to take my individual world and expand it to the greater network.
The two songs that I would like to compare and contrast are Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Going to Come” and Common’s “The People”. Sam Cooke’s song became the anthem for the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s, the song delved into the struggles and despair of race relations in America. The inspiration of the song came from an incident at which Cooke was turned away from an white only motel. Cooke was influenced by Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and decided that he needed to write a race anthem of his own. Common’s “The People” focuses on the collective improvement of the African-American experience. He references how his song is heard all over the world with hopes of bringing awareness to the struggles in a city like Englewood, Michigan to a country like Botswana in Africa. Both Artist are using their surroundings to speak to the mainstream audience the formidable state of race relations in the United States.
What is interesting is that many people believe that musical artists are not using their medium of music to stand for the injustices of the world. I tend to believe that some artists are so tied up with management and public perception that they are afraid to express their reality. That is why I love Common so much; he is able to express to the world the realities of his life and in turn reveals pieces of the black experience:
And the struggle, a lot of brothers and their folks
The lovers of the dope
Experiment to discover hope
Scuffle for notes
The ruffle I wrote
Times was harder
If a rock star to the voice of a martyr
Common realizes his responsibility to be the voice of the silenced and I think that is what Sam Cooke tried to accomplish with “A Change is Going to Come” . Both musicians really bring to light the frustrations, trials, and tribulations that African-Americans are facing. What is interesting is that Sam Cooke calls for change from the outside –in meaning, Cooke is calling for the world’s perception of blacks to change in order for there to be an improvement with the state of blacks in the US. Common on the other hand makes a call to action within the black community, he is asking for a collective form of reform in order to accomplish change.