Hack #5


Tupac is known as one of the most impressionable Hip-hop artists to have ever lived. His effort to the Black Power Movement is undeniable. He often expressed his frustrations through his music. There is often a debate considering who is the best rapper to have ever lived between Tupac and Biggie Smalls, I’ll let you be the judge of that one.

In Seeds and Legacies: Tapping the potential in Hip Hop, Gwendolyn argues, that there is a political link between rap music and the Black Power Movement. Afeni Shakur was an integral part of the Black Panther Party, Panther 21, and was arrested in New York for alleged bomb threats. “Afeni gave us Tupac, The Black Power Movement gave us Hip-Hop. Afeni and Tupac then become the physical embodiment for the link between The Black Power Movement and Hip-Hop culture….They can also be viewed as the untapped potential and unfulfilled legacy in rap music.”(Pough)

In Keepin’ It Real in Hip Hop Politics: A Political Perspective of Tupac Shakur, Karin says, Tupac support Black Nationalism through his poems. One specifically that stood out to me was “How Can We Be Free.” In this poem he says, “Sometimes I wonder about this race, Because we must be blind as hell, 2 think we live in equality, while Nelson Mandela riots in a jail cell, Where the shores on Howard Beach, Are full of African corpses…”(Karin) Tupac condemns police violence and the need for political change. I see this as an out-cry, basically saying WAKE UP AMERICA! Why is this still a reality?

I chose “Holla If Ya Hear Me,” as the song I wanted to write about because he is practically begging for change and for the rest of America to open their eyes to the truth of how black Americans were being treated on a daily basis. Black men and women were being racially profiled and killed by police on a regular basis and no one batted an eye. Our government is supposed to protect all men and women equally and Tupac often argued that black Americans were not treated fairly in court because they were not tried by their PEERS but rather citizens who belittle them or feel superior to. This truth surrounded him in his daily life and changes were not happening. He used his platform to beg for change in hopes that maybe HE would be heard.

Aww yeah, uhh, uhh
Holla if ya hear me, yeah
Here we go, turn it up, let’s start
From block to block we snatching hearts and jacking marks
And the punk police can’t fade me, and maybe
We can have peace someday, G
But right now I got my mind set up
Looking down the barrel of my nine, get up
Cause it’s time to make the payback fat
To my brothers on the block better stay strapped, black
And accept no substitutes
I bring truth to the youth tear the roof off the whole school
Oh no, I won’t turn the other cheek
In case ya can’t see us while we burn the other week
Now we got a nigga smash, blast
How long will it last ’til the po’ getting mo’ cash
Until then, raise up!
Tell my young black males, blaze up!
Life’s a mess don’t stress, test
I’m giving but be thankful that you’re living, blessed
Much love to my brothers in the pen
See ya when they free ya if not when they shove me in
Once again it’s an all out scrap
Keep your hands on ya gat, and now ya boys watch ya back
Cause in the alleys out in Cali I’mma tell ya
Mess with the best and the vest couldn’t help ya
Scream, if ya feel me; see it clearly?
You’re too near me –

Unfortunately, Tupac died before he saw any real change. Although we did have a black president, there is a lot that hasn’t changed for black Americans and Tupac’s words are still relatable to this day. Tupac encouraged young men and women of color to stand up for their rights as American citizens and did so by his activism. Maybe it’s time we need someone with his same devotion and effort to stand up and do the same.

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Seeds and Legacies: Tapping the Potential in Hip Hop. Gwendolyn Pough. SAGE. 2011.

Keepin’ It Real in Hip Hop Politics: A Political Perspective of Tupac Shakur. Karin L. Stanford. Routledge.

AZLyrics. 2Pac Lyrics. Holla If Ya Hear Me. 2000. Aug 12. 2018





Hack #4


HACK #3 – Acculturation

In Cannibal Culture: Art, Appropriation, & the Commodification of Difference by Deborah Root, Root discusses how cultural appropriation was cultivated and how white-owned companies thrived by selling cultural pieces as novelties for tourist. By definition (according to root), cultural appropriation means, “commodification of aesthetic of a culture.” In Cannibal Culture, Root quotes Artist Joane Cardinal-Shubart saying, “Money, that is what appropriating is about. Whether the issue is land or art or iconography or ceremonial reliquiae, the focus of deprivation is money. Something to be gained by imitation, copying or stealing.” (Root, 70)

These white girls dressing in traditional Chinese gowns as their work uniforms at a bar in Sydney Australia is a prime example of cultural appropriation. The owner is practically mocking the Chinese culture to make money.

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Acculturation and cultural appropriation are two different things although they stem from a similar place.

According to Merriam Webster dictionary, the definition for acculturation is a cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting to or borrowing traits from another culture. In my eyes, that translates to a positive thing. In other words, two cultures come together or someone of one culture embraces another culture. Pictured below is a highly controversial photo from a few months ago when 18-year-old Keziah posted her prom photo on Twitter.

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Keziah received a ton of backlash for the photo because many people believed she was appropriating the Chinese culture by wearing a traditional gown that often divided the social classes in China. Daum defended herself by saying the dress, “really gave me a sense of appreciation and admiration for other cultures and their beauty.”(NewsTimes) I really believe that she had the best intentions while wearing this dress and she was embracing the Chinese culture. I agree that she was actually acculturating and not appropriating. As explained in the Philip DeFranco news show on Youtube, the other photos posted to Keziah’s Twitter page also weren’t appropriation but actually H3H3 meme’s. In the video, Phil explains this whole situation from the beginning to about minute three. NewsTimes article also said, “Critics of Daum bashed her for one photo in particular in which she and her friends hold their hands together in prayer-like poses. Daum said that her friends were inspired to make the pose by a popular YouTube personality, h3h3Productions, and she had no idea it would be interpreted as culturally offensive. Daum responded to the barrage of criticism by saying she meant no harm in wearing the dress and was “in no way being discriminative or racist.” This also corroborates Phil’s video.

At a time when a girl wants to look her best, I don’t believe Daum would have worn a dress to make fun of a culture. Prom is up-to-date one of the most important nights for a teenage girl. She wanted to look beautiful and in my opinion, she did.




Cannibal Culture: Art, Appropriation, & the Commodification of Difference. Deborah Root.1996. Jul. 30.2018.

NewsTimes. Hearst Media Services. May 2018. Jul.30.2018.





American Cinema Project- The Kid

Image result for The kid charlie chaplin

Film- The Kid

Filmmaker- Charlie Chaplin

Features- Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Jackie Coogan

Year- 1921

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Chaplin with the infant child shortly after he cannot find a way to get rid of him. (above)

What have silent film’s taught us about American Culture?

The Kid is a silent film about an infant child who is left an orphan by his mother. Chaplin finds the young boy and after trying a few ways to dispose of the child, he decides to keep him. Chaplin plays a Tramp in the film with very little to offer this new life. He raises the boy until he is 5 years old and they have a humorous relationship. Chaplin is depicted as a goofy clown looking man with a personality to match. When the boy grows sick at age 5 the authorities get involved and attempt to take the boy to an orphanage. The biological mother discovers this boy is her son and she offers a reward to get him back. She eventually allows Chaplin back into the boys life.

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The boy as he is being taken from Chaplin. (above)Image result for The kid charlie chaplin

The two as they are reunited temporarily.(above)

“The 1920s was a dynamic decade, characterized by prosperity, leisure, technological advances, consumerism and major shifts toward modern values. Modern values were particularly pronounced in urban locations. As more people relocated to large cities, like New York and Chicago, a way of life developed that was dramatically different from the rest of rural society. This urban culture became the hallmark of the entire decade.”(Sullivan) This lead to an interesting time in the United States as families income grew and they had greater purchasing power. The twenties also consisted of prohibition, great migration of African Americans moving north, 19th Amendment, the birth of Jazz, the Model T, and readily available radios. World War 1 ended in 1918 and Americans were eager to get back to normalcy. After experiencing such a tragic time like World War 1, it’s no surprise that people like Chaplin created films to bring humor back into peoples lives.

Chaplin’s movies were widely successful, he went from a small time actor to owning his own business within 10 years. “When his contract with Mutual expired in 1917, Chaplin decided to become an independent producer in a desire for more freedom and greater leisure in making his movies. To that end, he busied himself with the construction of his own studios. This plant was situated in the heart of the residential section of Hollywood at La Brea Avenue.”(CharlieChaplin) (Pictured below)

Chaplin ready to build his studios at the corner of La Brea Avenue and De Longpre Avenue

In the film, due to Charlie’s strange living situation and collection of the child, he is nearly treated like a criminal. He is clearly the “Other” in this film and I see this through the lens of culture and time. The biological mother is portrayed as an upset frail woman who didn’t know how to handle her atrocious sin. After the boy is truly gone she realizes her mistake and longs for him until she eventually finds him. During the years without her child she becomes very successful her status gives her leeway with the police. She then seems like an innocent victim when, in fact ,she abandoned her baby.

The theme of the movie plays into fantasy. Like most films, if this situation were real, it would not play out in the same way. There likely would not be a happy ending . I’m not too savvy on how court cases would happen in the 1920’s especially on a case so specific. But frankly, I’m not so certain Chaplin would be let back into the child’s life. The time of the film also dictated the lack of roles played by African Americans. The only character of color was a young boy who delivered food to the new found actress. I was thankful to see that she tipped the young boy for his service and he was elated.

I was not able to find any information regarding awards the film may have won but the movie is known as one of the greatest silent film’s of all time, according to its Wikipedia page.

Movies brought patriotism back into peoples homes after feeling scared and vulnerable from the war. In chapter 2 of Celebrity Culture: The American Dream, Sternheimer quotes an issue of the Chicago Tribune: “The moving picture theaters are becoming community centers of patriotism…. In communities largely made up of persons of foreign birth or extraction the work of the movie theaters…..has been of special value.” In her own words, “Silent films also erased one of the most salient indicators of region, ethnicity, and immigration status: the accent.” I find this to be a great epiphany and i wished today’s citizens could also experience this. It seems all too often the residents of the United States have forgotten where we all came from.

Here we are almost 100 years later and I think there is a lot we could still learn from a silent film.


Celebrity Culture: The American Dream. Karen Sternheimer, 2015. New York, NY. 19 Jul. 2018

1920s American Culture: City Life and values. Nate Sullivan, unknown. Study. Web. 17 Jul. 2018.

The Kid. Dir. Charlie Chaplin. Janus Films (The Criterion Collection), 1921. Kanopy. Web. 17 Jul. 2018.

Overview of His Life.Roy Export S.A.S. Web. 17 Jul. 2018.










HACK #2 – Film Bodies

Dave Franco, Abbi Jacobson, and Charlotte Carel in 6 Balloons (2018)

Film- 6 Balloons

Director- Marja-Lewis Ryan

Lead Actors-  Abbi Jacobson and Dave Franco

The film released April 2018.

Trailer- https://www.imdb.com/videoplayer/vi2989406233?ref_=ttvi_vi_imdb_1

In the film 6 Balloons, Abbi plays a character named Katie and her brother is Seth,   played by Dave Franco, they share a very strong bond and also toxic relationship. Seth has a two-year-old little girl and also a crippling heroin addiction. Katie is an obsessive-compulsive person who carries anxiety on her shoulders, most of which is caused by trying to protect and care for her brother. The movie is melodramatic and exposes their unique relationship.

Dave Franco and Abbi Jacobson in 6 Balloons (2018)

While neither of the characters were highly sexualized in the film, the director did tell a story with the unique shots of their bodies. While Seth experiences heroin withdrawals, the camera moves in close to emphasize his enlarged veins and the sweat dripping from his neck. It gives the feeling that you are with him experiencing what Katie is feeling as she watches her brother squirm with pain. During times of happiness, the frames are slowed down and the music begins. Their bodies move slowly as they dance down the street. By slowing down certain shots, your senses have time to react to either the joy or anger the characters are feeling. I believe the same reaction from the viewer would not exist without this technique.

Abbi Jacobson in 6 Balloons (2018)

“Italian critic Franco Moretti has argued, for example, that literature that makes us cry operates via a special manipulation of temporality: what triggers our crying is not just the sadness or suffering of the character in the story but a very precise moment when characters in the story catch up with and realize what the audience already knows.” (Williams)

I.E.- the moment when Seth has come back down from his high again after his sister helped relieve his suffering by getting him high again. The viewer didn’t forget that moment would happen.

After watching the film, I don’t believe the director emphasized many differences between the genders of Katie and Seth. Neither character looked sexualized because of their situation but more so their emotional state was put on display.

Photos: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6142496/mediaindex?ref_=tt_ql_pv_1

Linda Williams Article: https://blackboard.sdsu.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-4113639-dt-content-rid-82662267_1/courses/HUM370-01-Summer2018/Film%20Bodies-%20Gender%2C%20Genre%2C%20and%20Excess%281%29.pdf



The “Others”

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Image source: www.thehumanmarvels.com

The circus brought entertainment to most homes in America for many years. That entertainment was at the cost of marginalizing many people like the man shown above in the photo, his name was Francesco Lentini. Francesco was born in 1889 with a parasitic twin that consisted of a pelvic bone and a leg. Due to this rare occurrence, none of Francesco’s legs was the same length. Although Lentini found a career in the circus and went on to have four children and two marriages, this doesn’t take away from the fact of why he gained a career in the first place. Like many other performers in the circus, Francesco was marginalized for his appearance therefore, He is the “Other.” Performers in the circus were savvy to the fact that they were perceived as an outcast. This commonality created a sense of family. “Despite the constant racial, gender, and class divisions within the circus caste system, show people still saw themselves as a part of a close knit traveling community.” CircusAgeReading

#Marginalized #Other #Circus #DifferentScaresPeople #SadReality

With that being said, today we look at similar situations in a different light. After some thought, I realized that shows like America’s Got Talent are a modern form of the circus. Aside from the singing performances, many of the,”talents” are specticals that peak our curiosity in the same way that people viewed the circus dating back nearly 100 years ago. On the show you can see many talents shown that are unique to each guest.



-Shannon Mills

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