The Diaspora of Hip-Hop Culture [BCM310]

For those of you are unversed in the world of Hip-Hop music, this blog post will hopefully clarify some of the unknown facts about the truly unique art form. Created in the streets of the Bronx in 1970’s through the use of sampling and cutting up old records, Hip-Hop created a rich music environment, with freedom for creative expression, often used to voice the opinion of the lowest common denominator.

Its rise to the top was something traditional musicians could never understand and soon Hip-Hop had become not only a new genre, it had become the voice of the people. Much the same way as Dylan was the voice for white America, Hip-Hop artists such as DJ Kool Herc & Coke La Rock were the voice for the African American. By the end of the 1970’s many artists saw hip hop as more than merely a platform- a way of life and a microphone for voicing their opinions. Hip-Hop had given the voiceless a megaphone and there was nothing or nobody in the way to turn it off. The spread of the Hip-Hop sound was imminent. From New York, to Paris, Tokyo, Sydney and localities in between, hip-hop cultures are Diaspora spanning ethnic, linguistic, and geographic boundaries (Motley 2008).

One key element to the culture of Hip-Hop is the ‘breaks’ dance style. How many of you would have guessed that Samoans’ were some of the first break-dancers in the world? In a reading by Henderson he examines the connection between Hip-Hop culture and the influence that the geographical positioning of Samoa and American culture. For the Samoan culture, dance had become a way to tell a story; just the same as an MC would ‘spit’ a rhymes or DJ manipulates a beat or takes you on a journey during a DJ set.

Fast-forward to the current day and the Diaspora of Hip-Hop culture is very much alive and well. With more than 50 million hip-hop fans in the United States and 100 million worldwide consume some form of hip-hop, making hip-hop consumers a lucrative market to understand (Motley 2008). Making Hip-Hop a truly global force to be reckoned with.

Here is a video I made in my first year – A minute and half look at the Diaspora of Hip-Hop Culture


References

Henderson, A.K. (2006). Dancing Between Islands: Hip-Hop and Samoan                 Diaspora. The Vinyl Ain’t Final: Hip-Hop and the Globalisation of Black Popular Culture. D. Basu and S. J. Lemelle. London, Pluto Press: 180 – 199, accessed 21st May 2014, Summons Database.

Motley, C (2008). The global hip-hop Diaspora: Understanding the culture. The Journal of Business Research. Vol 61, No 3, pp.243-253, accessed 21st May 2014, Summons Database.

A Global Miss-Communication [BCM310]

Globalisation as defined by many cultural theorists can be referred to as  “the widening, deepening and speeding up of global interconnectedness”. According to Matos, globalisation is driven by communication technologies, as well as by the fact that expanding internationalism is producing more awareness about the similarities and differences between cultures and political systems (Matos, 2012). With the advancement of new media technologies, the notion of internationalism and global connectedness still remains an issue of great discussion throughout both the third and first world.

In the late 1960’s Marshall McLuhan stated that the rise of new communication technologies would culminate in the creation of a “global village”, one capable of enhancing initial understanding between people and forging new communities. This ‘global village’ as predicted by McLuhan is far from a reality. At best the introduction of new media has created an even bigger issue for media industries. Although the expansion of new technologies has had a major role in the globalisation of communication, there still remains a significant ‘digital divide’ in both the first and third worlds. Globally, there is a gaping digital divide between the ‘information rich’ and ‘information poor’. According to the latest Global Information Technology Report 2014 “Little progress is being made in bridging the digital divide between technology savvy nations and others. This stalling of progress is considered worrisome for emerging and developing nations, which are at risk of missing out on many positive impacts information and communications technologies bring, including increased innovation, economic competitiveness and greater social inclusion”.

With half the world population still to even make a phone call. Notion of “global village” still remains a distant reality. The issue of the digital divide isn’t just an international problem; it also remains an issue for many Australians. Despite an overall increase in technology access, there is evidence of a digital divide between parents’ education and job and a student’s preparedness for a digital future. With many parents reluctant to learn new technologies, there are a growing percentage of children who are failing to keep up with the demands of their digital environments. This issue if left unaddressed, could not only impact Australia socially, it could have a drastic economic impact for future generations to come.

References

Matos, C. (2012) “Mass media and globalization” in Wiley- Blackwell’s Encyclopedia of Globalization, Oxford: Wiley- Blackwell, pp.1329-1338

The Hope of Just Representation [BCM310]

Stereotype; .a fixed, over generalised belief about a particular group or class of people.” (Cardwell, 1996)

In part, stereotypes are vital for our brains as they allow us to respond rapidly to situations as we may have had a previous similar experience (McLeod, 2008). However, they also disadvantage us by makes us ignore differences between individuals; therefore we think certain aspects about a person/persons that might not be true. We create generalised perceptions of strangers based on our own learning’s, experiences and pre-conceived knowledge without even the blink of an eye. These instincts occur automatically and are most of the time help to cut down the processing time of messages in our brains.

No matter what form of media you choose to view there will be always be stereotypes. Whether it is via gender representation, ageist material or the depiction of race, the shear amount of stereotyping throughout the media landscape is highly alarming. A key example of the complex design of racial stereotypes used my media industries is the depiction of Muslim/Islamic culture throughout both television and film. Alsultany calls these “simplified complex representations” These are strategies used by television producers, writers, and directors to give the impression that the depictions they are producing are complex, yet they do so in a simplified way (2013, pp.165). These representations often challenge or complicate earlier stereotypes yet contribute to a multicultural or post-race illusion.

The question begs. If stereotypes are an automatic response by the brain based on our learning environment, can we change our perceptions of a specific race through channelling positive thoughts to combat what was previously once learned?

According to Brain Lowery, Associate Professor at the Stanford Business School, racial stereotypes can be reversible through the use of positive role models. This is exactly what a group of young educated African American teens are aiming to do through the use of social media. The group created a YouTube clip that portrays the average young African American male with strong moral values, a position that many media channels often are remiss to show. The group created the viral video as a response to the negative stories told daily in the media around their culture. “They don’t tell the full story about how young Black men are becoming leaders within our community schools.”

As use of technology grows across the globe, we should all remain hopeful that the use of new media could better provide a voice to those who wish to change the negative perceptions associated with the colour of their skin.

References

Cardwell M 1996, Dictionary of Psychology. Chicago IL, Dearborn.

Alsultany, E 2013, Arabs and Muslims in the Media after 9/11: Representational Strategies for a “Postrace” Era, American Quarterly, vol 65, no 1, pp. 161-167, accessed 6th May 2014, Summons Database.

McLeod, S 2008, Stereotypes, http://www.simplypsychology.org/katz-braly.html, last accessed 6th May 2014.

Jobs Available: Female Sports Commentators [BCM310]

Have you noticed something different about your sports commentary over the last few years? Besides from the additions of the recently retired megastars of the game you may have spotted there are now prominent women on the panel of most sports shows. This week’s topic surrounds gender roles and media so I thought I would stay clear of the negative associations of female media roles and look at some of the more positive aspects of the female presence within the sports commentary environment.

For years programming such as Channel 9’s NRL Footy Show have been dominated by an all male cast with the exception of segments with cheerleaders, scantily clad women and very rarely, a female who actually is interested in the game of Rugby League. As of this year the panel has its first full time female host. The incredibly talented Erin Molan. Not only is she one of the sharpest thinkers of the game, she is the perfect representative for female Rugby League lovers nationally. Her keen eye for detail and her passion for the sport have rejuvenated what was fast becoming a ratings disaster for the Nine Network.

With the NRL having countless issue of sexism and violence against women it begin to ask the question, why wasn’t this considered much earlier? According the National Rugby League official website “41% of the game’s NRL club financial members are female, increasing to 88,150 in 2013 (82,250 in 2012)”. With female participation in Rugby League on the increase there should be no doubt that Erin will not be the only female on the panel for much longer.

Recently Channel Nine has just announced that Yvonne Sampson will be joining the heavily male dominated commentary team for the 2014/2015 Cricket season. According to Steve Crawley who is the head of Channel Nine’s sports coverage Yvonne has been bought in to “improve female representation within the sport as she “’knew her cricket” and was expected to be used in a hosting/presenting role”.

There is no doubting that media outlets are now beginning to see the importance of female roles within sports commentary. However, it would be extremely naïve to consider these two roles as reaching any form of equality. For too long women’s roles within the sporting environment have been downplayed and it times, heavily ostracised. Lenskyj argues that this struggle is due to “mass medias consensus of the power elite and the dominance of male media corporate/giants (pg.21, 1998).

Will there come a day when football coverage across Australia is dominated by female reporters? I hope so. After all, they would do a far better job than this moron.

Reference

Lenskyj, J 1998, INSIDE SPORT’ OR `ON THE MARGINS’?: Australian Women and the Sport Media. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 33 (13), 19-32, accessed 30/04/2014, Summons database.

Luke Macdonald
Media & Communications & Commerce Student
University of Wollongong 

 

 

 

Don’t Steal my Newspaper [BCM310]

Throughout this blog I have discussed at length how digital technologies have changed the many ways in how we consume media. In an age where consumer need for information is immediate, many of us are becoming more reliant on smart phones and tablets, and are ditching the daily paper for quick and more convenient form of information that is tailored to the needs of each individual. Last year, during a TED Talk Tom Rosenstiel, the director of the American Press Institute described the consumption of new media technologies as the “entering of a new enlightenment” and highlighting the benefits of “news on demand” (TED, 2013).

It is no secret that the sales of newspapers are in steep decline. According to online news (oh the irony) publisher Mumbrella print news papers have seen a double digit decline across all mastheads, with the biggest Among the biggest were weekday editions of News Corp’s Sydney paper The Daily Telegraph, which fell below 300,000 for the first time. The Herald Sun fell through the 400,000 levels for both its Monday to Friday and Saturday editions (Mumbrella, 2013). Although physical sales have dropped, the rate of digital subscriptions has almost made up for the difference between the two mediums. Both News Corp CEO Julian Clarke & the managing director for Fairfax Media Allen Williams both are ‘delighted’ with the increase in readership across the digital platforms. I am also encouraged by consumer decisions to maintain their interest in Australian newspapers, however there is still a big question around the future practice of professional journalism.

A comprehensive research study by the Pew Research Centre into current state of American journalism highlighted the changing nature of consumer habits and the impact of investment from philanthropists, venture capitalists and other individuals and non-media businesses. After all, the successful nature of professional journalism relies heavily on the advertising revenue that supports mainstream media industries. As a consumer of both print and digital media I believe that there is still a place for both mediums. Although consumer trending habits may disagree with my outlook, I have hope that I will still be able to sit at my desk and browse through the daily paper for many years to come.


 

Music: The Forgotten Sphere [BCM310]

Over the past two and a half years you may have begun to recognise a trend into the concepts and main art form that captures my imagination throughout this blog. If you haven’t already guessed I’ll tell you. It’s music. Jimi Hendrix once said, “Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music”.
For many, music is an art form that not only entertains us, it teaches us the ways of the world through deconstructing the hard truths of our generation.

Music has always, in one-way or another, been an integral part of the public sphere. However, during the 20th century music’s impact on the public sphere grew considerably. With new technology in the 20th century, music has been able to reach definitively larger audiences. Prior to these technologies, musicians and artists often had very minor influence outside of their own communities. Issues of limited exposure and high costs of transportation made it almost impossible for artists to voice their message to a global audience.

Throughout the 20th Century music has been the catalyst for shaping cultural values, inciting protest, demanding democratic change and most importantly, giving a voice to the once voiceless.

No longer is theoretical depiction of Jurgen Habermas’s coffee house scenario a true representation of the public sphere.