Sunday, April 27, 2014

Teens Talk Back: #itooamharvard

Teens Talk Back: Reflection

“Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned. This project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard.”

Earlier in the year a group of Harvard University students came together and created, #itooamHarvard. #itooamharvard is a photo campaign highlighting the faces and voices of black students at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Black students make up 11% of Harvard Freshman class. 

I was fortunate enough to attend a college prep high school that was also a boarding school.  High school was great because I've meet life long friends.  Our student body was very diverse with our international students but there was still a possibility of being the only black student in some classes. I can remember one night at dinner when these white boys told my sister, I and a couple of black friends how chefs made dinner for us that night because it was fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese....… At that moment I was in shock. We were all in shock. What was made to be a “joke” was a very stereotypical joke and I did not think it was a very one.  I am African American so I did not grow up eating soul food. My skin is black but I am African.

These Harvard students were fed up with the remarks and comments that were said to them on campus because they were black or different. Some of them had been hearing these comments since they were freshman and some of them are freshman. Being fed up with everything they took it upon themselves to shed light on this issue. 

Here is the video below.....

The video is amazing and their Tumbler page is even more amazing. These teens choose a great way to speak up and talk back! Because The media was the best they to talk back. Media Matters  and because of this they gained NATIONAL attention! They were reposted my BuzzFeed, USA today, NY times and they were recognized by many celebrities including Janelle MonĂ¡e. This started on campus spread worldwide, It made me think of the teens in #itooamharvard feeling like they were some kind of alien life form.  Some did  admit to feeling like they did not belong on campus so there is a connection there. These students were prejudged because they were black.  I do not know how it feels to be a black teen on a college campus like Harvard but these students gave me a look into what they have experienced and I feel for them. The #itooamharvard  play premiered on Harvard's campus this past March. 

#itooamHarvard is Amazing and was a great way these students choose to talk back

Questions for class:

Did you ever feel like you were judged as a teen because of your skin color?
Can you connect being an alien life form to something else other than being a teen?
What do you think of #itooamharvard? do you think these Harvard teens choose the right way to talk back?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hip-Hop Controversies

Hip-Hop Controversies;  Free Write

Dr. Tricia Rose believes that hip-hop is not dead it lives underground. Unlike Nas a rapper that has a song titled Hip-Hop is dead. After reading Dr. Roses interview with time magazine and conducting my own research I would have to agree with her. I too believe hip-hop is not dead and that it's lives underground.

     Dr. Tricia Rose uses great adjectives and examples to make her observations and beliefs as clear to us as she possibly can. She made sure to let us know that hip-hop NOW is commercially made. Some rappers now make music based off what will sell and what is IN. This reminded me of representation at a cost. Some rappers deliberately change their music to sell records. Therefore they are misrepresenting at a cost. This cost is what’s making hip-hop dead. According to Dr. Rose the rappers that are faithfully representing what they believe are the rappers that are underground. These faithful and passionate rappers are not commercially exploited. I say exploited because they are rapping for the love and not necessarily the money.

Dr. Tricia Rose said Jay-Z  “acknowledged that he's "dumbed his music down" so that he can sell records”.  I did some research and have posted 2 Jay-Z songs. 

Big Pimpin (1997)

Part II (2013) 

Back in 1997 Jay- Z rapping about "pimpin" and not giving his heart to anyone. He was no where near wanting a relationship or thinking about one. The rapping in this song is a little faster and he has other rappers featured on this song. In 2013 Jay-Z is married to Beyonce and they have one child together. His rapping has now changed and so has the content. Jay-Z uses his songs to tell his life stories. All of his songs tell a story including Part II which is about love

I'm not sure exactly what Jay-Z meant about "dumbing down" but this makes me believe that Hip-Hop has changed. I believe when Jay-Z said he "dumbed down" his music he was talking about the way he presented it. He used to rap faster and more harsh when he first came out but that's changed. He still collaborates with rappers but he also collaborates with other genres of music. Jay-Zs music is more commercial now because you can not only rap to his songs, you can also sing to them. Jay-Z can always bring back the Jay-Z he was when he first came out and when hip-hop wasn't "dead" but that's not IN.

--------- I spoke to my brother who is true Jay-Z fan about this topic and he explained to me what Jay-Z meant about dumbing down his music. As being a true Jay-Z fan the first thing my brother said was Jay-Z talks about his life and keeps it 100. He said he speaks about reality. Take a look at the songs.  




What are your thoughts on these two songs?

Do you agree that hip- hop isn't dead?

 Do you think that the change is rappers lives have effected their music? 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Queer Representation in the Media

I've never thought about how much progress Queer Representation in the Media has made over the years. 

Ellen Degeneres is someone who comes to mind with this topic. She had made much progress in the media and is she a lesbian. Ellen started doing standup in New Orleans before moving to hollywood in 1986. From there her career and life in the media started. In 1997 after all of the rumors Ellen announced on Oprah that she was a lesbian. After her "outing" she got lots of backlash and lots of criticism but she never let that hold her back. Ellen has came a long way on Television and in the media. She is a cover girl, she has her own show, she has hosted awards shows and she has helped numerous amounts of people!

When Ellen came out the Media changed forever! 

Kudos to Ellen Degeneres 


How many feel that Ellen Degeneres is a representation at a cost? explain... 

what was your reaction the first time you saw a same sex couple commercial or anywhere in the media? 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cinderella ate my Daughter

Cinderella ate my Daughter
By: Peggy Orenstein

Extended Comment Post on Brianna Pari's Blog Post

Brianna starts off her blog with this qoute....

“She is everything I would imagine my daughter would reject, would not in fact, ever encounter or even understand if she did, let alone embrace: the passive, personality-free princess swept off by a prince (who is enchanted solely by her beauty) to live in a happily-ever-after that he ultimately controls. Yet here was my girl, somehow having learned the pot line anyway, blissfully lying in wait for loves first kiss.”
Brianna said this quote exemplifies the Snow White story and all of the other well-known fairy tales stories every child learns regardless if their parents try to stop them. I AGREE with Brianna on this comment because many parents want their child or children to grow up without being exposed to these fairy tales. Unfortunately sometimes there is no way to escape it. If your child is not exposed to it at home they could be exposed to it at school or even an after school program.
Like Brianna I too saw a connection from this reading to the Unlearning the Myths that Bind us by Christensen. We are all sadly blinded daily by what society is teaching us whether you are an adult, child, mother, father, cousin; you will be "sucked in". As Brianna said, you can try and do everything to protect your child from the "common stereotypes" but sadly this doesn’t always work.

As for the word princess society needs to do a better job defining this word and reconstructing what is already done. (I added the hyperlink to urban dictionary. This is a website where people can give their own definitions to words. Take a look to and see what people define princess as. It’s very interesting)  I'm glad that Disney has tried to make many different types of Princesses so maybe every young can relate to but the classics will always have that bad reputation because their stories revolved around a guy.

Before and After look of the Princess from the Disney movie Brave
Here is a picture of the Disney princesses as of 2014. Which princess would most relate to or want to associate with? The option of not choosing any is a choice.
Also, after reading Cinderella ate my Daughter, will you allow your daughter to be exposed to these princess stories?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Cycle of Outrage; Gilbert

A Cycle of Outrage
By: James Gilbert


This reading was an interesting one like the last. I understand why we were assigned this reading because there was lots of history involved about teenagers. There were three quotes that stood out to me...

In a special issue devoted to explaining teenage behavior Cosmopolitan said, "We've stopped trying to teach them how to live. Instead, we're asking them how they think we should live."

This quote is very true. Teenagers are the ones that are usually always up to date. Parents do not know how it is growing up as teenagers now a day because everything has changed. So teaching teenagers how to live in THEIR world is useless Teenagers will always understand the roles of their parents but there are certain things they know parents will not understand about them. A simple question will hold the relationship between a parent and teenager together. Communication does wonders.

"But music could not be isolated, as both parents and teenagers recognized, from the seamless web of culture, centered on high schools, souped-up cars, teen magazines, and a social order of gangs, new dating customs, drive-in theaters, hair cuts, and clothes marked "inaccessible" to unsympathetic adults."

I like how they ended this sentence by saying “unsympathetic adults” because it shows how parents can be heartless when they think they are right about a certain situation or when they want to stop a teen from doing something. The media has always been apart of teenager’s lives and as we can tell parents weren’t always a fan of this. This goes to show us the media will ALWAYS effect teens or our lives one way or another. I doubt the music and social outings compare to the ones teens are exposed to today. Have you seen how “twerking” became popular once Miley Cyrus started doing it?? 

"On top of curiosity and worry came the increasing recognition that teenagers had a major impact on the shaping of American popular culture."

Teenagers will always impact the shaping of the American Culture, plain and simple. I just turned twenty- two and I am wayyy behind with what’s going on today. Do I like it? Not one bit! And I honestly find myself asking teenagers what’s the latest 411?? lol. I am quite ashamed that I have to do that but how else will I stay in the loop. So I can see why this may bother older folks. Teens will always have the power parent’s lack and this is a scary thing to them.


The question I have for class is….
….are afraid of the power that teenagers can have?

-After reading this assignment I know that teenagers will always have the power to do many things especially right now with the amount of social networking there is. Things can go viral in minutes. We can ether fear teenagers and social networks or love them. Where do you stand?