Media tagged Class

Is Coldplay’s “Hymn for the Weekend” cultural appropriation?

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This two-minute .Mic video addresses the issue of cultural appropriation vs. cultural appreciation through an analysis of Coldplay and Beyoncé’s 2016 “Hymn for the Weekend” music video. Natasha Noman, a .Mic reporter, describes conflicted reactions to the music video, which was shot in India and features the all White British band interacting with Indian people and traveling through the country witnessing and participating in various cultural ceremonies and rituals. By using clips from different parts of the music video, Noman analyzes what some have critiqued as cultural appropriation, and what others have argued is cultural appreciation. These clips include scenes of religious figures in traditional attire, as well as people celebrating in Indian formalwear, jewelry, and makeup tied to cultural and/or religious practices, and the band, Coldplay, playing their instruments covered in colorful paint thrown by Indian kids participating in the popular Holi festival. Beyoncé is featured in the video as a Bollywood movie star, dressed in a glamorous sari-like dress, dancing in an Indian style, and with Henna on her hands. The .Mic video uses these scenes as well as pop culture examples from Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and others to define and compare cultural appropriation versus cultural appreciation.

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Jennifer Lopez - Maid in Manhattan

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This 2002 romantic comedy features a hotel maid who captures the heart of a high profile politician when he mistakes her for a wealthy hotel guest. It is a modern day Cinderella story of two lovers that get caught between the restrictions of a class-based society, while it adds a racialized element to the tale – a white actor (Ralph Fiennes) plays the politician, and the maid (Jennifer Lopez) is Latina.

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Jessica Alba, The Honest Life

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This is a promotional video for Jessica Alba’s 2013 book The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You and her business The Honest Company, which provides a range of “unquestionably safe, eco-friendly, beautiful, convenient, and affordable” baby products. In the video, Alba introduces herself as “mother, founder of The Honest Company, and actress” embarking on a journey to find “the happiest and healthiest life for my family.” This film includes snapshots of Alba playing with her children in a park; doing craft activities with her daughter; and, laughing while cooking home-made food in a spotless, white kitchen.

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Jon Stewart - “Signs of Anarchy”

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In this 2014 clip, satirist Jon Stewart analyzes tensions in Minneapolis after mayor Betsy Hodges posed for a photo with a young black man while both were volunteering for a voter registration drive. The photo, specifically, the two pointing at one another in said photo, sparked controversy, including the local media and police department describing their gestures as a notorious gang-sign. In the video, Stewart plays to the absurdity of this framing by drawing comparisons to babies pointing as their first form of communication, the gestures associated with N.W.A, an influential rap group tied to antipolice sentiment in Los Angeles during the late 80’s and into the 90’s, and what happens at sporting events. Stewart draws the conclusion that the comments from the officers are likely influenced by criticisms the mayor made previously about the police department needing to work on building trust and bettering community relations, including rooting out officers that abuse their positions. Stewart ends the piece by adding pointing to his “list of innocent things black people do that look suspicious,” thereby signifying that this politically motivated exchange between the mayor and law enforcement catches black citizens in its crossfire.

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Keeping Up with the Kardashians

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Keeping Up with the Kardashians is a reality television show that first premiered on E! in 2007. It centers around the upper-class lives of the four Kardashian siblings, their mom and extended family. The show has been critiqued primarily for a “superficial focus” on famous people who “doing nothing but be famous”. In this clip, Kim Kardashian is set up by her sister and mother, who suspect she is addicted to shopping. They challenge her to come to the mall with them and not buy anything, and ultimately they catch her sneaking off to try on clothes. Although the show is shot to appear candid, it is unclear how much of the show and its storylines are staged.

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