Extra HACK: The global influence of hip hop

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Photo Source: https://hiphopdanceschool.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/1971the-rock-steady-crew/

In the 1970s, hip-hop as a cultural phenomenon became an important cultural change in the United States. “Hip-hop is a state of mind; a way of living and being” (Gwendolyn D. Pough, “Seeds and Legacies: Tapping the Potential in Hip-Hop, p. 284). In this scene, there are art forms of singing, graffiti, DJ and B-boying styles. In this HACK, I will write about B-boying emerged in the Bronx, New York in the 1970s. Since then, it had been used as a firm rejection of the dominant white patriarchal social order by the black and the Latino and now a nonverbal communication tool between people across the globe beyond barriers such as race, cultural difference, verbal language, and so on.

Dancers called B-boys usually performed on street and showed their creative forms of body movement with beats such as rap music and other musical forms. In the above video Breaking L.A. 1980s, Ice Cold Crew performs the b-boying in Venice Beach, L.A., and people from the young to the old and from the black and the Latino to the white got together and enjoyed the performance.

Like a rap whose lyrics influence on social issues, b-boying as a counterculture functioned against social problems. Emily Jordan quotes the journal Identity Constructions among Breakdancers written by Fasting, Kari, and Langnes on her post about the history of b-boys, “The B-boy world functioned as a counterculture – an escape – from the traditionally oppressive society that members encountered on a daily basis. As a B-boy, dancers felt empowered and liberated from the stigma and stereotyping they faced as a result of their race and/or ethnicity” (http://haenfler.sites.grinnell.edu/b-boys/).

In the modern society, hip-hop, the subculture of America, has been spreading throughout the world. Kai Ryssdal and Daisy Palacios explain on the article The Global Influence of Hip Hop and Breakdancing, “Although hip-hop culture has made its way through much of the world, there are still some places where you wouldn’t expect hip-hop music to flourish, and countries like Colombia, Yemen, Cambodia, and Uganda, might not come to mind when discussing the art of breakdance.” Hip-hop dancers express their identities with free but specific body movements including their own signature movements through the competition called “Battle.” Their dance and body languages are used to communicate with the opposite group during the battle. Even though it is called as ‘battle,’ they don’t fight but pursue the interaction within the peace. I attach three videos. In the first video, you can see how they feel the music and enjoy the hip-hop subculture.

In the second video, you can see how they control their excitement aroused by the opposite dancers and pursue the peace.

The last video, one of my favorite videos, is not about B-boying but Poppin dance which is another type of hip-hop dance. In this video, you can see how they are creative and interactive.

These three videos have one thing in common. They pay attention to the opposite dancers, try to understand what they express, and actively participate in their nonverbal communication without any distinction. Even though there would be some aggressive expression during the battle, they hug each other and express their respect for others without ill feelings. I think this subculture of America has influenced on the world with good function.

 

References

Langnes, Tonje F, and Kari Fasting. “Identity Constructions among Breakdancers.” International Review for the Sociology of Sport, vol. 51, no. 3, 2014, pp. 349–364., doi:10.1177/1012690214526402.

Forman, M. (Ed.), Neal, M. (Ed.). (2004). That’s the Joint!. New York: Routledge.

“Subcultures and Sociology.” Grinnell College, haenfler.sites.grinnell.edu/b-boys/.

Staff, Marketplace. “The Global Influence of Hip Hop and Breakdancing.” Marketplace, Marketplace, www.marketplace.org/2015/05/19/world/global-influence-hip-hop-and-breakdancing.

Method in the Madness: Exploring the Boundaries of …http://www.bing.com/cr?IG=86406468A4F04AE785BF03320CA4EBD1&CID=175D67AFC032670806806BE4C1CF6627&rd=1&h=KCeUFBZVr6ZE8xG8KIRxLDrNJ_34c1AVZ3-_ENF6xyk&v=1&r=http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/13504639751952&p=DevEx.LB.1,5063.1.

“1971:The Rock Steady Crew.” Hip Hop Dance School!, 10 Apr. 2010, hiphopdanceschool.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/1971the-rock-steady-crew/.

skillsone. “Breaking L.A. 1980’s.” YouTube, YouTube, 25 Oct. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCjF-8hgHMQ.

“Morning of Owl vs Disfunctional Art | Royal B-Boy Battle Qualifier 2017.” YouTube, YouTube, 8 May 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3IoUeYLpzE.

“Pro KillTheBeat Morning of Owl Crew vs Pockemon Crew Battle FINAL 2015.” YouTube, YouTube, 30 Jan. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhsix5EgZPw.

hurricanesstudio. “HURRICANES BATTLE-ISM 2013 TAIWAN | POPPIN CREW BATTLE – TEAM EUROPE VS TEAM KOREA.” YouTube, YouTube, 5 Dec. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvKxPExS-yM.

 

HACK #5: Hip Hop, Black Power, and Rap

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Photo Source: https://me.me/i/september-13-1996-tupac-shakur-died-this-day-at-age-18644883

Tupac Shakur was the most important Hip-Hop musician in 1990s. His mother, Afeni Shakur who was a member of the Black Panther Party since the 1960s, influenced on his childhood when he had experienced racial discrimination and violence many times. The legacy of his mother helped him capable to clearly express the reality of black ghetto and denounce injustices from which the black people suffered by white policemen through his lyrics. Even though he took criticism for the reason his songs can incite crime and violence, he has been renowned for his ability to combine music with a straightforwardness about the problems and the underside of both the black community and the whole society.

“He differs from other [gangsta rappers] by engaging in authentic activism, attempting develop solution-oriented ideas and motivating his listeners to also “do politics”” meaning political activism with no pay received for involvement (Karin L. Stanford, “Keepin’ It Real in Hip Hop Politics: A Political Perspective of Tupac Shakur, p. 9). His weapon is a rap music that is a part of Hip-Hop culture. “As a youth movement that crosses race, gender, class, and sexuality, rap music and Hip-Hop culture have the potential to bring people together” (Gwendolyn D. Pough, “Seeds and Legacies: Tapping the Potential in Hip-Hop,” p. 284). By using the ability “to get [people] moving in the same direction towards social change” (Pough, 284), he contributed efforts to denouncing social issues such as crimes between the blacks and women’s poverty in poor surroundings of black ghetto. In other words, his “music touched the lives of many on a daily basis” (Pough, 288). “Hip-Hop can give us the mirror to the ills of society and to tap that potential we need to look in that mirror and work to change the things we see” (Pough, 288). For example, in his song Brenda’s Got A Baby, he shows us the underside of society and makes people feel the necessity to resolve that problem. In specific, it seems that he as a human rights activist made this song for women’s human rights.

His song Brenda’s Got a Baby tells a story of a single mother, which shows the problem that many single mothers deal with in a slum area where they have hopeless lives or the whole society beyond a slum area. Because his lyrics is a story, I attach the entire lyrics below.

[Intro: Dave Hollister]
Brenda’s got a baby

[Verse: 2Pac]
I hear Brenda’s got a baby, but Brenda’s barely got a brain
A damn shame, the girl can hardly spell her name
“That’s not our problem, that’s up to Brenda’s family”
Well, let me show you how it affects our whole community
Now Brenda really never knew her moms
And her dad was a junkie, puttin’ death into his arms
It’s sad, ’cause I bet Brenda doesn’t even know
Just ’cause you’re in the ghetto doesn’t mean you can’t grow

But oh, that’s a thought, my own revelation
Do whatever it takes to resist the temptation
Brenda got herself a boyfriend
Her boyfriend was her cousin, now let’s watch the joy end
She tried to hide her pregnancy, from her family
Who really didn’t care to see, or give a damn if she
Went out and had a church of kids
As long as when the check came they got first dibs

Now Brenda’s belly’s gettin’ bigger
But no one seems to notice any change in her figure
She’s twelve years old and she’s havin’ a baby
In love with a molester, who’s sexin’ her crazy
And yet and she thinks that he’ll be with her forever
And dreams of a world where the two of them are together
Whatever, he left her and she had the baby solo
She had it on the bathroom floor and didn’t know, so
She didn’t know what to throw away and what to keep
She wrapped the baby up and threw him in a trash heap
I guess she thought she’d get away, wouldn’t hear the cries
She didn’t realize how much the little baby had her eyes
Now the baby’s in the trash heap, bawlin’
Momma can’t help her, but it hurt to hear her callin’
Brenda wants to run away
Momma say you makin’ me lose pay
There’s social workers here every day
Now Brenda’s gotta make her own way
Can’t go to her family, they won’t let her stay
No money, no babysitter, she couldn’t keep a job
She tried to sell crack but end up gettin’ robbed
So now, what’s next? There ain’t nothin’ left to sell
So she sees sex as a way of leavin’ hell
It’s payin’ the rent, so she really can’t complain

Prostitute, found slain, and Brenda’s her name
She’s got a baby

Source: https://genius.com/2pac-brendas-got-a-baby-lyrics

 

References

Stanford, Karin L. “Keepin’ It Real in Hip Hop Politics: A Political Perspective of Tupac Shakur.” Journal of Black Studies, vol. 42, no. 1, 2010, pp. 3–22., doi:10.1177/0021934709355122.

Forman, M. (Ed.), Neal, M. (Ed.). (2004). That’s the Joint!. New York: Routledge.

“2Pac (Ft. Dave Hollister & Roniece) – Brenda’s Got a Baby.” Genius, 20 Dec. 1991, genius.com/2pac-brendas-got-a-baby-lyrics.

“September 13 1996 Tupac Shakur Died This Day at Age 25 Six Days After Being Shot Multiple Times in a Drive-By He Was a Rapper Actor Record Producer Poet Screenwriter Activist and Writer | Drive by Meme on Me.me.” Me.me, me.me/i/september-13-1996-tupac-shakur-died-this-day-at-age-18644883.

HACK #4

The 90’s protest song that I select is “The Times They Are A-Changin” by Bob Dylan who was one of the most famous songwriting activists linked with the folk protest movement and the civil rights movement. His song tells the flow of generation. This song, released on January 13th in 1964, is highly acclaimed since it describes the social and political circumstances in the 1960s and has long been a representative song for civil rights movement in addition to hippie movement and anti-war movement. In this period, the U.S. was experiencing the Vietnam war and many rapid changes throughout the world. For this reason, the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement was actively growing. Dylan also realigned these public sentiments by producing protest songs. Dylan considered the youth as the main victim in a repressive society and thought adults just oppose the youths sometimes without reasonable rationale. In this article, I want to talk about Free Speech Movement by college students at the University of California, Berkeley in 1960s.

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“Free Speech Movement leader Mario Savio leading student protestors at the University of California, Berkeley. Nov. 20, 1964. Chris Kjobech, photographer. Gelatin silver print. Collection of Oakland Museum of California. The Oakland Tribune Collection. Gift of ANG Newspapers.” (Source: http://picturethis.museumca.org/pictures/free-speech-movement-leader-mario-savio-leading-student-protestors-university-california-be)

The root of FSM (Free Speech Movement) was the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960. White college students in the north, inspired by the African-American civil rights movement in the south, began concerning about social issues. Also, at UC Berkley, student organizations, such as SLATE and SNCC, started to participate in activities especially for the elimination of racial discrimination. But, on September 1964, the school announced a new regulation that prohibits all political activities in the school, which put students and the school in the conflicting relationship. FSM emerged with the subject of “Free Speech” and then started to grow to criticize education system and social system. They, who realized the injustice of the society during FSM, influenced on the anti-Vietnam war movement and the hippie movement as well. The above picture shows Free Speech Movement student protestors at the University of California, Berkeley. (11/20/1964).

In his song “The Times They Are A-Changin,” Dlyan emphasized the prepared unity to welcome coming changes with the lyrics of “Come gather ‘round people wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown,” warned writers about their speculation with the lyrics of “Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen, and keep your eyes wide, the chance won’t come again,” condemned politicians who suppresses the changes with the lyric “Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call. Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall. For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled. There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’. It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls,” and gave the advice to parents in the older generation with the lyrics of “Come mothers and fathers throughout the land, and don’t criticize what you can’t understand. Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command. Your old road is rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand.”

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(Photo Source: https://www.mojo4music.com/articles/14485/bob-dylan-best-albums-60s)

 

References

“The Berkeley Free Speech Movement.” Women Were the Foundation of the Civil Rights Movement, www.jofreeman.com/sixtiesprotest/berkeley.htm.

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/ninasimone/thetimestheyareachangin.html

“Unforgettable Change: 1960s: Free Speech Movement & The New American Left.” World War II Homefront Era: 1940s: Women Replace Men in the Workforce | Picture This, picturethis.museumca.org/pictures/free-speech-movement-leader-mario-savio-leading-student-protestors-university-california-be.

Sutcliffe, Phil. “Bob Dylan In The ’60s.” Mojo, 1 Nov. 2017, www.mojo4music.com/articles/14485/bob-dylan-best-albums-60s.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/1037121?seq=14#page_scan_tab_contents

 

HACK #3: Cultural Appropriation

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Gucci, one of the leading fashion companies in the world, was at the center of cultural appropriation controversy because of a commodity used on its FW18 runway. According to Deborah Root, on her book Cannibal Culture: Art, Appropriation, & the Commodification of Difference, she defines the cultural appropriation as “the term signifies not only the taking up of something and making it one’s own but also the ability to do so” (70) and adds “appropriation is entirely different from borrowing or sharing because it involves the taking up and commodification of aesthetic, cultural, and, more recently, spiritual forms of a society. Culture is neatly packaged for the consumer’s convenience (70). The commodity that roused lots of people’s antipathy was a Dastar, a turban worn by Sikhs. As seen in the above-left picture, non-Sikh and white models wore a Dastar.

When it comes to Sikhism, it is a religion between Islam and Hinduism. Sikhs, followers of Sikhism, do not cut their beard and hair. Instead, they wear a Dastar to cover their head. The Dastar is used by part of Shia and one of the symbols of Sikhism. Gucci’s mistake of not caring of the cultural factors would be considered as the cultural appropriation to share another’s unique culture as a part of design without paying no regard to it, which signifies “commodification and use that overlook both the cultural context and the desires of the people of that culture” (76). On the runway, we can find Root’s word “The original meaning is decoded or deterritorialized (we can imagine the sense in which this means “removed from its territory”) and quickly recorded as something else, according to a new system of meaning determined by outsiders with different values and agendas” (85). The religious value of Dastar is decoded and recoded just as the beauty of fashion design by Gucci.

Personally, I’ve seen a few people were criticized by the public for using the mark of “the Rising sun flag” as their part of fashion commodity. The Rising sun flag was the flag used by Japan during the WWII, having meaning of Japanese militarism. I even saw a Japanese worker wearing the Rising sun flag on his head in a Japanese restaurant in San Diego. It seemed that people are not interested in it except only I and my Korean friends. So, I understand how the cultural appropriation could hurt people in another culture.

 

 

 

Work Cited

Root, Deborah. Cannibal Culture: Art, Appropriation, and the Commodification of Difference.

Westview Press, 1998.

Bakar, Faima. “Dear Gucci, Using a Sikh Turban as a Fashion Accessory Is Not Okay.” Metro,

Metro.co.uk, 25 Feb. 2018, metro.co.uk/2018/02/25/dear-gucci-using-a-sikh-turban-

as-a-fashion-accessory-is-not-okay-7340237/.

T, Bhavna. “Importance Of Wearing Dastar In Sikhism.” FindMessages.com, 11 May 2016,

www.findmessages.com/importance-of-wearing-dastar-in-sikhism.

“Diet Prada ™ on Instagram: ‘In @Gucci ‘s #Pluriverse , We Control Our Own Identities.

However, Certain Signifiers of Identity Are Better Left Untouched.

While…”.” Instagram, www.instagram.com/p/BfijmSel-XY/.

Early Cinema Project: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

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Image: https://alchetron.com/The-Cabinet-of-Dr-Caligari

In 1919, the black-and-white horror movie “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” was released by Robert Wiene. The strange and gloomy mood is melt into the movie. It begins as the main character Francis looked back on the past about Dr. Caligari and ends as coming back to the present. The film background in the movie looks like a place apart from reality. In such modified and twisted place, most things, such as sloping roofs, indented buildings, triangular windows and so on, are not shaped like what we generally think.

When it comes to the period, the movie was released after World War I ended. In Germany, people would suffer from anxiety of war experience, uncertainty about the future, and fear. If considering this point, it seems that the movie reflects the German public’s state of wounded mind and mental anxiety resulted from the defeat in war by using the distorted film background. With a somnambulist in this movie, unrealistic and unfamiliar characters, such as a vampire from Nosferatu (1922) by F. W. Murnau and a cyborg from Metropolis (1927) by Fritz Lang, also would reflect the contemporary political and economic instability in public’s mind because of the disintegration of existing values by rapid industrialization and defeat in war.

When it comes to the characters in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Dr. Caligari would symbolize the greedy authoritarianism that ignores human rights and values in order to satisfy own desire to dominate as well as pursues power or authority. His somnambulist called Cesare would symbolize a German citizen who had been used by the authority. Francis, who runs after Dr. Caligari, would symbolize the intellectual who revolts against authority. Therefore, the movie could be interpreted as about the defiance and criticism toward authority and the necessity of upright authority and leader.

Unlike German at this period, the state of the U.S. was relatively positive according to Sternheimer, Karen. On her book “Celebrity Culture and the American Dream: Stardom and Mobility,” she said, “After victory in World War I, boom times arrived in the 1920s. Immigrants and members of the working class increasingly joined the ranks of the middle class, which seemed to provide evidence that prosperity would be available for all willing to work for it” (Sternheimer, 21). Moreover, American women in this period contributed efforts to the reform of new order through various ways such as voluntary association, institute, society, movement and so on. “As women gained the right to vote with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, they also experienced upward mobility and became more financially independent” (Sternheimer, 21). While women in the society experienced some upward mobility much during the war but less after the war ended, there were still sociology issues regarding gender, race and female mobility. When it comes to race, according to Jeanahuynh on HIST110 blog, she maintained, “many African Americans were lynched are because of the economic downfall after the war and their voting right” (HIST110). At this period, African American, “the Orient who are nonwhites or nonwesterners” (Sternheimer, 5), and women were used and sacrificed for the authority’s greed as the somnambulist on the movie was used by Dr. Caligari. The movie reflects the opposite negative atmosphere in Germany after the war but still has the same social issue in common with the U.S., which is about who are exploited as “the other.”

 

Bibliography

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Dir. Robert Wiene. Kino Lorber Edu, 1919. Kanopy. Web. 20 Jul. 2018.

https://sdsu.kanopy.com/video/cabinet-dr-caligari

Sternheimer, Karen. Celebrity Culture and the American Dream: Stardom and Mobility. Routledge, 2015.

Jeanahuynh. “Hack#2.” HACK It!, 28 Feb. 2015, hackintohistory.org/2015/02/27/hack2/.

Hack #2: Film Bodies

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Photo source: http://hollywood-elsewhere.com/2008/02/marion-cotillar-1/

“Feminist critics” in movies had been actively developed based on psychoanalysis, image semiotics, etc. in the 20th century. These critics analyzed and criticized some masculine views dominating mainstream movies, which contributed to the establishment of active feminine views. Linda William, on her book “Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess,” also analyzed how feminine characters were used for fostering “ecstatic sex,” “ecstatic violence,” or “ecstatic woe” in movies especially in three genres; Pornography, Horror, and Melodrama that she called “female body genres” (p. 9). She said, “Each of the three body genres I have isolated hinges on the spectacle of a “sexually saturated” female body” (p. 9) and also added, “and each offers what many feminist critics would agree to be spectacles of feminine victimization” (p. 9). She criticized the point that female bodies are “gratuitously” used to make “sensational effects” usually with “sex, violence, and emotion” (p. 3). When it comes to this point, one of the greatest film directors in the past, Alfred Hitchcock, cannot avoid the feminist critic in his movie, “Psycho (1960).” Let’s look into the above movie scene that is the object of the feminist critics.

The woman in the movie was murdered during her shower after a very long day. To be honest, I thought this scene would have no defect because of three reasons. First, it was interesting that she, who ran away with another’s huge cash which might be his all, died without even a cloth. In other words, she eventually had nothing. Second, using the high-pitched screaming by the woman is a good thing because it easily causes a fear. For example, there is a study that indicates that hearing a sudden high-pitched sound, after hearing irregular and low-pitched dissonance for a while, could cause a death of a person. Third, a shower room, where a person may feel most comfortable during the day but cannot escape, would be the best place causing the fear when a murder happens. Despite these elaborate and clever set, the reason why it is the object of feminist criticism is that it very “gratuitously” shows parts of her body. It is surely gratuitous.

Hack #1

the greatest showman

Image source: https://writingstudio.co.za/the-greatest-showman-inspired-by-the-legend-and-ambitions-of-americas-original-pop-culture-impresario-p-t-barnum/

What image comes to your mind when you hear the word “Circus”? In my case, I’ve had three different images about Circus. First, the image of circus was negative, violent, gloomy, and inhumane when I’d read the novel, “The Man Who Laughs” written by Victor Hugo who is one of the most famous writers in 19th century. Its story is featured with British children who were grown with acquired physical deforms and used to pleasure circus-goers as performers by a bad guy in 17th century. The bad guy tries to make the children look eccentric and strange since they are so little or born by any means necessary such as putting a small wooden box on a child’s foot so that the child has a very small and squared foot when he grows up. While I read over 600 pages of the novel, I was sick of inhumanity of the owners of circuses and spectators who pay money for seeing inferiority of Others or performers. However, the different image of circus came to my mind when I watched the movie, “The Greatest Showman” inspired by imagination of P. T. Barnum who contributed his efforts to reform the circus in America in the 1880s. The above image is the movie scene where you can see Others whose gender, race, and appearance look different with the normal Whites (as well as the normal British). Before they get together as performers of Barnum’s circus show, they are discriminated against by the public. But, can you find any character who looks sad or shrink with a lack of confidence on the image? No, never. They all look great and confident. They don’t hide but show their marked individuality. They even look equal to us. This movie changed how I think of circus. Last, after reading the part of the nonfiction book, “The Circus Age: Culture and Society under the American Big Top” by Janet M. Davis,” I glanced at real culture and history of circus in 19th century America. It started as one-ring European circus featured with “an entertainment whose “talking clowns” and ring masters integrated witty, gossipy commentary about local politics into the program” (p. 25). The early circus seemed not the show with only strange visual fun. Audiences listened to clowns satirizing politics as well as enjoyed spectacle performance. When it was enlarged as the three-ring circus, it is said that “overwhelming, “too big to see at once” with its huge canvas enclosure of rings and stages, a distinctly American cultural form whose scripted chaos and singular indigestibility departed sharply from its intimate one-ring European antecedents” (p. 24). It became too complex. Spectators visited the circus to see the visual inferiority of performers. It is ironical because people want to see beauty from themselves but look for unloveliness from Others. The circus would be the place where spectators were free to discriminate the performers from themselves without hesitation, which fostered the tendency of the public to discriminate others based on gender, race, and so on. The circus could have been the place where the audience could see equality between performers and equality between performers and themselves further if what the visitors were willing to see was not differences and inferiority but equalities.