Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power”

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Back then many hip hop and rap artists rapped about what was going on in the world during the Black Power Movement in the 1960’s. Gwendolyn D. Pough, the author of “Seeds and Legacies: Tapping the Potential in Hip-Hop ” explains how the famous rapper Tupac Shakur left footprints behind that showed his involvement and how he tried to use rap as his medium to try to help the back minority community. Although many felt as if he had the power to become as involved as the Black Panther, leader since he grew up with a mother and father who were first handedly members, Shakur chose to express himself through rap(286). As the author explains, “Hip hop can give us a mirror to the ills of society and to tap the potential we need to look in that mirror and work to change the things we see(288),” therefore explaining how hip hop was a form of expression to many who felt empowerment through the songs created by artists like Tupac Shakur and the Public Enemy’s songs.

Just like Tupac Shakur, the Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” song was an expression of how the black community felt discriminated against and their feelings about war.

The lyrics, “Yet our best trained, best educated, best equipped, best prepared troops refuse to fight / As a matter of fact, it’s safe to say that they would rather switch than fight,” show how they felt about serving in the wars. This explains how some were opposed to fighting in the war and would rather join their “group” which was seen in negative connotations if there was any white male engaging with a black male.

The next lyrics show how the Black Movement was all about gaining back their power. Through the chosen lyrics they describe how they felt underrepresented in the nation and how they felt powerless thus wanted to “fight the power” and gain their own.

“Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Mother fuck him and John Wayne
‘Cause I’m Black and I’m proud
I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped
Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps
Sample a look back you look and find
Nothing but rednecks for four hundred years if you check
Don’t worry be happy
Was a number one jam
Damn if I say it you can slap me right here
(Get it) let’s get this party started right
Right on, c’mon
What we got to say (yeah)
Power to the people no delay
Make everybody see
In order to fight the powers that be

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be”

Read more: Lyrics Source

Citations:

Pough, Gwendolyn D. Thats the Joint! The Hip Hop Studies Reader. Chapter: Seeds and Legacies: Tapping the Potential in Hip-Hop. Routledge, New York.

Sam Cooke “A Change is Gonna Come”

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Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” is a civil rights movement song that was released in 1964. It shows how many people struggled through the segregation and discrimination against black people thus this song gives hope to those who are being affected.

The lyrics:
” I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep tellin’ me don’t hang aroud
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will “
-(AZlyrics.com)

It gave the people at the time hope that the racisms and discrimination give against minority groups will eventually change. As Robert Darden explains in the huffingtonpost.com ” there is a quiet determination, tempered with weariness and pain, but with an underlying sense of determination,” within the song. Instead of showing anger or frustrations, he shows that there is hope for the future. I remember hearing this song a few times before and I never realized how this song brought strong feelings not only to the writer who was first handedly a victim of racism, but a whole community that needed to feel hopeful during the civil rights movement.

Photo of Sam Cooke
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Sources:
https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/samcooke/achangeisgonnacome.html

Darden, Robert. Tragedy and Art: The Power of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come.’ The Blog. Thehuffingtonpost.com

HACK #3, Accumulation: Native American Hoop Dance.

Video Source for Youtube Link

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Photo Source from a Travel Information Website

I went to Knott’s Berry Farm in the beginning of this month and it was the first time I had seen the Native American Hoop Dance in the Indian Trails stage. It was full of flute and drum music that caught the attention of many visitors. However, I did notice two individuals who were merely ridiculing his appearance on stage. As explained by the Navajo Tribe Native Americans in the Youtube video above, this dance was a representation of the connection between the animals, the people, the land, and everything that is there(Youtube). The video shows him hoop dancing in raw land next to fellow tribal members all showing an understanding and appreciation of the dance. Clearly this is embodies the cultural importance of the connection their tribe has with their surroundings. However, even though the dancer at Knotts Berry Farm, the Dancer is a true Native, his setting is the quite opposite. He is not surrounded by familial tribal members and is presented as a “character” within the multiple types of settings that Knott’s has, such as the other Western town, Calico.

As Root’s presents to its readers in the “Cannibal Culture: Art, Appropriation, and the Commodification of Difference” article, she states how “the provincial tourist industry appropriates Native imagery and traditions to encourage visitors to the provident seems evident.” By this quote, she is explaining how Native American images/symbols/ and stolen artifacts are being used to merely attract tourists that in the end looses the raw meaning of what their cultural representations truly mean. When it comes to the hoop dances in Knott’s Berry farm, I found that by simply doing a google search of hoop dance and Knott’s Berry Farm, showed a result of many travel online agencies that were using the Native American attraction at Knott’s as an advertisement in order to lure possible visitors. Their Native American culture is being commodified and being sold to tourists. Root’s described how by being different has become a “salable commodity”(71), that can be seen as being ignorant to the Native American culture that is much more deep and full of spiritual context than how American advertisements portray them to be.

The Knott’s Native American attraction can be used as an educational resource for those who have never experienced a beautiful Native American tribal dance. However, I also believe that some may be too uneducated within this cultural significance such as the individuals I saw laughing at the hoop dancer at Knott’s. I also like to point out that there has been a great diversity era that has exposed many people of the cultural diversities that exist within one nation overall.   and there has also been great acceptance and appreciation of witnessing beautiful dances by other cultures. I myself appreciate other cultures that are foreign to what I grew up in and admire the Native American stones that many tribes wear as adornment and jewels. I am a consumer of tribal influenced jewelry because I find them to be very beautiful. Reference to the youtube video where you can see the turquoise jewelry many are wearing, I too have a few jewelry pieces that resemble the Native American style that has been adapted by American fashion.

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Citation:
Root, Deborah. Cannibal Culture: Art, Appropriation, & the Commodification of Difference. (1996)

Early American Cinema Project, Woman on the Moon (1929)

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FILM:
The melodrama “Women in the Moon” was published by in 1929 and directed by Fritz Lang It was premiered on 15th of October, 1929 at the UFA-Palast am Zoo cinema in Berlin. The cast consisted of Klaus Pohl as Professor Georg Manfeld, Willy Fritsch as Wold Helius, Gustav con Wanfenheim as Windegger, Gerda Maurus as Friede Velten, Gustl Gstettenbaur as Gustav. This film was one of the first serious films of this kind with no voices. These kinds of science influenced films became popular during this time because of the “space race” when every country was trying to launch their people to the moon. However, this film was banned in Germany because of possible similarities to actual rocket ships that could have been replicated to advantages.
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Early 1900’s gender roles were basically established within the American culture. The women took care of the family by cleaning, nurturing, and cooking for them all. The male role would consist of going to work  to be able to provide a home and to be able to bring money to the table to support the whole family. However, as the 1920’s rolled by these established gender roles started to change due to the governmental constitutional changes that sought for gender equality rights. The changes due to the implementation of the 19th amendment changed society’s outlook and limitations as to what women were allowed to do and make of themselves. The film “Woman in the Moon (1929)” is a refreshment as to how powerful the equality rights movement, specially the feminism era, that changed gender roles within the typical American gender roles.

The gender equality rights in the 20’s showed to have changed the outlook of giving women more opportunities in various areas.  In the film “Woman in the Moon (1929)” Friede plays the woman who becomes the first to land on the moon. In real life, this was accomplished by Neal Armstrong, a male educated individual who served in the US Navy with a lieutenant ranking (wikipedia). Many critics at the time saw this as something that was unforeseen to be accomplished by a woman because females not only were not allowed to volunteer in these missions but they were given lower ranked jobs at the time. However, the 19th Amendment extended woman rights allowing them to have more freedom to what the wish to pursue but not to this extent, at least not till the late 1900’s. The scene where she was asked to join the mission was not over dramatic nor were the others shown to be concerned with the fact that a female would come aboard. This shows that within society women were able to expand their opportunities without being judged. Women were still considered the “others” regardless of the push to create gender equality roles a societal normalcy (Sternheimer). Let alone a women landing on the moon but also having a female play a strong role of being the first to land on the moon. In the end, she stayed on the moon with her lover also showing the signs on nurturing, caring person that fits well with the early woman/wife role. Therefore showing that the transition to give women fully equal rights was still being transformed in the greater society.

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This may have been a film that was most likely inspired by the accomplishment of Amelia Earhart. At the time when this film was being shown, one of the most recognizable female accomplishments was when Amelia Earhart flew across the Pacific Ocean in 1928 (Wikipedia). She made American history because this was one of the few missions that was done by a female. After woman started to show to be financially independent and well capable of being able to take care of themselves, there was backlash, as The American Dream states that “along with these new careers came new anxieties about gender roles and a backlash in many articles about scheming, heartless women. (21)” Today, family value and family gender roles are always changing and vary in many ways. As Ryan Stamper stated in his blog post “American Family Values” he says “Family values are constantly changing, sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse.” I agree because the world is always changing to meet the needs of the current societal changes.
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Blog Post: https://history110discussion1.wordpress.com/

Bibliography:
         Sternheimer, Karen. “Celebrity Culture and the American Dream: Stardom and Social Mobility.” 2nd ed. Routledge Publishings.

         History.com Staff. “Neil Armstrong.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2010, http://www.history.com/topics/neil-armstrong.
         Jenkins, Aric. “Bones Found on Remote Pacific Island Belong to Amelia Earhart, Researcher Says.” Travel + Leisure, 2018, http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/amelia-earhart-nikumaroro-island.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Armstrong

HACK 2, Titanic (1997)

titanichttp://www.cornel1801.com/1/t/TITANIC/5-cast-crew.html

The movie Titanic is very well known film that will most likely live on forever as being the best longest film ever created. As many times as I have watched it already, I never really realized at how women were predominantly portrayed as powerless and controlled individuals. A woman who is outspoken, the older heavier lady who befriends Jack and lends him a suit for a formal dinner, is treated as the rebel of the woman cliques within the film. Women are expected to honor the family name so weddings may be formed for improving a families social status. For example, when Roses soon to be husband, Caledon Hockley, flips the table while having tea time because of his outrage of her not following his orders. He says “My wife in practice, if not yet by law. So you will honor me. You’ll honor me the way a wife is required to honor her husband. Because I will not bemade out a fool, Rose.”

rose

Rose’s body is exposed in a few famous scenes such as when her and Jack have sex for the first time in the back of a coach car and when Jack accepts her request at drawing her wearing nothing but a necklace. Was there a specific reason as to why these scenes were sexualizing her female body? Also, would this have had the same reaction if she was being drawn in a beautiful dress? I believe the director knew that these scenes would catch the eye of the audiences due to the nature of feelings and emotions they bring to audiences. Just as in Linda Williams article “Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess”, she points out scenes such as these are the “sexual saturation of the female body that audiences of all sorts have received some of the most powerful sensations.(4)”

References:

Williams, Linda. Film bodies: Gender, genre, and excess. University of California Press. Film Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 4 (Summer, 1991), pp. 2-13

Titanic (1997), Director James Cameron.

Actors mentioned:

-Kate Winslet as Rose Dewitt Bukater

-Leonardo Dicaprio as Jack Dawson

-Billy Zane as Caledon Hockley

-Kathy Bates as the heavier outspoken lady who helps out Jack, plays Molly Brown in film

 

HACK 1, Circus/”Others”

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The Circus was a long time phenomenon back then when things were simple and not taken wrongly into context. From the beginning, circuses traveled to populous areas because of financial reasons. Once the Civil war was over and the transcontinental railroad was completed, it opened up new doors to circuses around the world. Eventhough it brought entertainment that was most of the time new to many people around the world, many Euroamericans viewed these traveling people as inhumane and erotic; and other than paying to watch their shows, they did not want to be associated with the “freaks.”

The exclusivity was as far as being called Others, another form of creature. Euroamericans tried to keep a control of the new diversity the circuses brought to their communities. They were scared that the “new minority would take over their political and social power.” Once more diversity started to pour into the towns, many Euroamericans wanted to put a stop to it by trying to oppress the small changes in cultures that they brought into their communities. They were treated differently because they had different views of living their life. The white supremacist society pushed back anything that was different than what did regarding their culture, their appearances, and many other things of such.

#Others #AngloAmericanOppression #Circusshow #SocialOppression

Works Cited

Janet M. Davis. “The Circus Age: Culture and Society under the American Big Top.” San Diego State Online Library, GV1803 . D38 2002.

“Encountering the Other” reading.

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