Listen to Tupac. Really listen to Tupac.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Tupac Shakur. Tupac was a prominent hip-hop artist in the early 1990s well known for his deep, progressive lyrics in popular songs such as “Changes” and “Keep Ya Head Up.” However, he was more than just a rapper – he was a poet, a philosopher, and an activist. From a young age, he expressed incredible insight on contentious topics such as education, poverty, feminism, and police brutality. Recently, there has been a clear rise in national awareness and conversation about the roles of race and racism in modern … Read more

Racism in Comedy

Every first and third Tuesday, Brew Works in Bethlehem hosts an open mic night for aspiring comedians. I have attended several events, particularly because my friend is interested in becoming involved in the business. Good beer and good laughs – what could go wrong? Every first and third Tuesday, I find myself privy to the uncomfortable silence following racist, sexist, or homophobic jokes. Just this week, a man walked up to the stage and said “I hate women, they’re crazy. I also haven’t been laid in awhile.” He then proceeded to make a series of racist and homophobic comments, and … Read more

Which one is better?

For my final blog post I decided to revisit the question that kind of stuck with me during our last class. I don’t remember the question exactly but it essentially said: isn’t bad media representation better than none because it is a start? I sort of answered it in class, but I was still struggling after. And I still, sort of, am struggling with it now. So I’m determined to find an answer by the end of this blog post. My gut reaction was “no,” but then I thought that, although bad representation was obviously bad, at least actors of … Read more

Ignorance Taking Form as a Need to Identify with Music

This post was sparked by a conversation between a White friend of mine and a White woman about Beyoncé’s song Formation. The woman believed that many White people felt betrayed by Beyoncé because her newest song did not allow for White people to relate to it. Additionally, this woman believed that the song depicted Black people as dominant (but she also believed the song had nothing to do with race). Although she did not fully consider Beyoncé’s intent in making the artistic decisions she did, her discussion of the relationship between White people liking music with White people relating to music … Read more

“Cultural Appropriation” – Where Do We Draw the Line?

One of the most widely used terms in discussions about race is the phrase “cultural appropriation.” And yet despite its frequent usage, cultural appropriation is one of the most controversial concepts. It is especially difficult to understand in conversation with the arts. The primary purpose of the arts is arguably to provide a medium for creative and emotional expression of the artist(s). The visual arts allow for creative expression devoid of auditory stimuli. The performing arts such as dance, theatre, and music allow for emotional expressivity with the added features of motion, sound, and/or words. Hans Christian Andersen once said … Read more

Don’t We All Culturally Appropriate?

In light of the recent posts regarding the performance of historical dance works by Muhlenberg College students as cultural appropriation, I find myself questioning cultural appropriation, its nature, what is appropriate, and what is not. To put it even more simply, can anyone really emulate someone else’s experience via performance? And if not, what is the point of performance, if it is not to express an experience of an artist? In my opinion, it comes out of individual perspective and individual accounts of the purpose behind art.  If someone of color sees a performance as offensive and a direct account … Read more