Thirteen Reasons Why – Proof of Positive Celebrity x sociopolitical interaction

When it was announced that Selena Gomez had been an executive producer on a Netflix version of Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why I think the world around people were admittedly wary. With such touchy subject matter how would they turn the revered novel into something visual? And then it came out – and we were in awe. It became the Netflix’s most popular show, racking up 3.5 million social volume impressions in the first week following its release. Here’s why that’s important: it’s proof positive that if celebrities are provided with the information to disseminate to their fans we will be establishing an entire generation of socially, politically engaged individuals with actual fact behind their engagement. The fact that the show features powerful messages about mental health and other issues that teens face today means that hopefully, people will be encouraged to talk about their own experiences after talking about the show; and that the stars and in Selena’s case producers, are accessible because of social media makes it that much more powerful – its tangible because of this.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – social media is not the root of all evil; celebrities having an opinion on social issues and politics and expressing them is not cause for telling anyone to shut up and sing – both of these things come together to create a dialogue from which we have a lot to learn. I give Selena mad props for putting herself out there for a project as important as this one. As we learn in Thirteen Reasons Why – everything affects everything.

NEA As A Staple for Arts in the US

“We are disappointed because we see our funding actively making a difference with individuals of all ages in thousands of communities, large, small, urban and rural, and in every Congressional District in the nation.” The NEA posted the statement you see here after it was announced that President Trump will be moving forward to eliminate the agency.

Quartz delves into who actually loses if this agency is eliminated. In terms of the actual numbers, the NEA is a tiny fraction of the federal budget, according to The Atlas:

So, why does it matter if the US government gets out of the business of funding arts? Well, as the aforementioned Quartz article puts it, “cutting federal support for the arts will have the greatest impact in rural areas and on the vast swath of America that sits between its coasts. Big city museums and performing arts centers often benefit from the largesse of corporations and luxury brands eager to associate themselves with the high culture they represent. But NEA grant money helps to smooth out access to the arts across the nation, said Ryan Stubbs, the research director at the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. It funnels essential grants to organizations in underserved counties that are less likely to receive support from private patrons.” So basically, art kids like me who grew up in not-so-metropolitan midwestern cities, that’s who loses here. Learn more about the potential cuts and what they mean here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/with-elimination-of-nea-and-neh-trumps-budget-is-worst-case-scenario-for-arts-groups/2017/03/15/5291645a-09bb-11e7-a15f-a58d4a988474_story.html or here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/arts/nea-neh-endowments-trump.html?_r=0

Why some support it here:

http://www.heritage.org/report/ten-good-reasons-eliminate-funding-the-national-endowment-orthe-arts

Protecting Punk

The nature of Freedom of Speech is often tested. Since the beginning of time music has existed, and since around the same time (thanks Government) so has censorship. The idea that music is inherently powerful – usually that power is assumed to be corrupting, to be negative and threatening. We can see that from opera to rap.

The late 80’s cultivated “antirock legislation” and “passed [it] in more than a dozen states, including Pennsylvania, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Virginia. Each state legislature acted on the assumption that all controversial music was legally obscene and had no redeeming value.”[1]

The 2000’s showed less concern about sexual exploitation, offensive/hateful language or demonstrations of violence. Has our concern for protecting the impressionable from the obscene diminished or have we figured out that maybe that SLAPS test has a point after all, (proving serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value of a work.)

I’d argue the later – as seen by Tomi Lahren’s rise to infamy and Green Day’s most recent release. Check out the punk legends newest release, a very pointed discussion of the current state of politics in the United States, and one that (for now) is entirely protected.

…And All Was Right with the World

screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-9-00-20-amHe’s Back… The one and only ‘Ginger Jesus’ has made his return to the radio waves and therefore 2017 is off to a great start (well, for most of the world, still a little concerned for the US of A.) Dropping two singles off third studio album ‘Divide’ due out March 3, 2017 (a full 49 days, 14 hours and 55 minutes away at the time of this writing.)

Sheeran broke his year-long social media silence with tracks ‘Shape of You‘ and ‘Castle on a Hill.’ With ‘Shape of You’ even sampling on a SnapChat Face Filter. The album track listing, posted on Sheerio’s Instagram is set to be emotional (because Ed…) and amazing as we’ve come to expect from the Brit. Though the Grammy Nom’s are out for this awards season I would put money on Sheeran for the 2018 awards (hopefully for ‘Shape of You’ because what a banger!)

Pop music is ever changing and Sheeran’s been out of the game for a bit, it’ll be interesting to see where he fits in as more of the album is unveiled.

 

 

 

 

From Talvin to Hiddleswift and a Kardashian-West Smack Down: A Taylor Timeline

It’s been quite a month and a half for the Swifties and Taylor herself. From announcing her break up with Calvin Harris to the quite surprising and public hook up with budding movie star Tom Hiddleston mere weeks later its no surprise that Swifties all over the globe are suffering some whiplash.

And then it happened. Kim Kardashian tool to her TV show and then her Snapchat to reveal to the world that T.Swizzle had been informed about now infamous Kanye song ‘Famous’ and had approved the lyric suggesting that Kanye and Tay ‘might still have sex’ [notably leaving out ‘I made that bitch famous.’] Taylor released this statement on her Instagram

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 12.50.32 AM.png

Swifts statement seems to spew an urgency to protect the ‘America’s Sweetheart’ image she’s been cultivating, as she said, since 2009.

AND IT DIDN’T STOP THERE! Calvin Harris had gone OFF in a Twitter Rant about Swift and her part in writing ‘This is What You Came For’  even including her known rival Katy Perry in the rant, saying, “I know you’re off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy [Perry] ETC but I’m not that guy, sorry. I won’t allow it. Please focus on the positive aspects of YOUR life because you’ve earned a great one.” After the release of the snapchat from Kimmy K. Harris’ social media was bombarded with Snake emoji’s, and Katy Perry weighed in with a retweet of her own tweet from 2015

Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 12.36.36 PM.pngand tweeting a Gif of Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton shrugging and looking all knowing.

Kim and Kanye might face issue with the release of the video because a) Taylor’s legal team had told them to destroy it and b) it’s pretty much a no-no to tape a phone call without the other person’s consent. SO MUCH IS HAPPENING! Leave me a comment if you’re following as closely as I am!

The Lost Week

I have an anxiety disorder; one that sometimes feels like an elephant sitting on my ribs and sometimes like a needle in one lung slowly but surely letting out all the air. Music has always been my saving grace – whether through a dance routine I’d poured my soul into or driving through the rain with the correct, most fitting genre playing as loud as possible in the background (sorry mom & dad.) It’s usually under control, flare up here, or there, I struggle going into social situations, or doing things for the first time. Interactions with people I don’t know make my blood burn but for the most part, it’s under control.

It was under control, until 1 artist who I watched grow and engage with fans all over the globe was gunned down by a fan; until 49 people who just wanted to let loose and have good time in a club, Pulse Night Club – one of many- that could be cited as the ground upon which modern pop was born, were killed. Suddenly my saving grace, the entity I thought was going to save the world was wrapped into something that terrified me, that triggered something for me that left me too anxious to get on a subway or to leave my apartment. Suddenly the thing I loved more than most was tied to something horrific- if the music had sounded different in Pulse maybe the patrons would have been able to identify gun shots earlier. If the internet hadn’t created the idea that we’re entitled to the acts we love maybe Christina Grimmie would still be making music.

It took me the entirety of last week to sort out where music ended and tragedy began… that’s why Unhinged is your song of the week this week. Because, I still haven’t fully sorted it out yet, because to take Jonas’ lyrics literally ‘right now my head isn’t screwed on right.’ Because, politically I’m confused by the American people’s ability to take this in stride, by the ability of certain people to try to gain something from this senseless act of violence, on of many – too many in this country. I’m confused that we’re not rioting in the streets and demanding a change. The fact that the statistics about gun violence in the country continue to grow higher and higher and no one has acted. I’m confused, my heart hurts for the families and communities in pain, and for the loss of belief that music will save us. But it can heal us – that much I know from experience.

-God Bless-

xx Madison