Response to “The Danger of Single Story” (Vasudevan)

When viewing something that are not familiar to us, we should, not only base our judgements  on the single story. On the contrary, when we are the storyteller, we should, try our best not to tell a single story.

Adichie delivered her presentation on the danger of telling a single story and explained it with piles of examples. And those examples, illustrates how the single stories makes people fall into stereotypes  about other people they are not familiar with, like Adichie to Fido, roommate to Adichie, Americans to the Africa. And those examples are so vivid because they are all the author’s personal experience and moved the author as well as all people listen to that presentation.

Single story is defined as a story which lacks completion and it bring others bias or stereotypes on the people in the story. Like some Americans did not get a true view of Africans, because of the media broadcasting only spreads Africans’ negative descriptions, which makes people feels like Africa has beautiful landview but the people there are all suffering, they are barbarian, they lacks all sorts of source, they don’t know science, and so on..But as the Adichie describes, Africans can have a good life though lots of Africans are still living in bad conditions and needs help, and we should not be driven by the stereotype produced by the single story.

So as a media maker in the future, we are supposed to present the true scheme of the topics we are working on, instead of concealing part of the information.  Because concealing the information always means that we are trying to misconstrue others using the limited source of information, which will give rise to the discrimination and other social problems. We should try to make the  some works that are completed in depiction, which should at least not casting  any stereotypes.

(Week7) Respond to the two readings[Vasudevan]

Theft and Artistry

The article mentions so many musicians and their music pieces. With these examples, the author focus on how we distinguish “the fundamental relationship between art and theft”.

The idea that “your training as an artist is essentially about impersonation, imitation” and  “You learn to get better kind of borrowing or adapting or training yourself in the way of the people who came before you” seems to be a conclusion of the formal readings. I still hold the idea that it’s unavoidable for artists to get inspiration from others while there must be a line between “inspired” and “copy”.

Then I began to think about the “cultural colonialism” mentioned by the author. I’m still wondering among all these artworks, why Eminem is controversial while Adele is not. In my opinion, they both borrow one music form. Is it because Eminem contains more other culture? The core question is how to distinguish what should be regarded as offensive and what should be regarded as appreciatable.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

This is really an inspiring article for me. I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about Reggae and Hip-Hop until I read this article. The idea interests me most is the politic use of music. I do know that music plays a role as a way to express people’s feelings and ideas. However, it never occurs to me that music can express politic ideas. According to my formal idea, by using the lyrics of the song to express politic ideas seems to be too obvious and by melody is too abstract. However, after the reading, I suddenly remember that Communist Party of China has created many music pieces for the propaganda of the party to show how good the party is and how important it is for people to have patriotism to their country. All the music works have simple melody and lyrics understandable even to poorly-educated people. I think this is also one way of the politic use of music. I can’t help to reconsider the politic use of music. Maybe in different situations, the most proper way of using it varies. The way of using it stimulates innovations as well as the evolution of the music.

The power of music can never be ignored. As the title shows, “can’t stop, won’t stop”, music is having a great impact on our life even without our notice, we can never ignore its influence to our life.



Week 6: Response to “Theft and Artistry” and “Can’t stop Won’t stop” – Vasudevan – Nancy

Both of these two articles discussed the issue of music creation and cultural appropriation.

In “Theft and Artistry”, the author mentioned the case of Coldplay and Beyonce that ” the video (of their song) , which uses India as a backdrop, has drawn a focus on where we draw the line between what’s acceptable and what’s offensive.”And this case led to a debate related to cultural appropriation.

In “Can’t stop Won’t stop”, We can conclude from chapters that music style is strongly influenced by the environment where it was created. Music pieces are productions created to express artists’ thoughts. And artists’ values and ideas can be easily shaped by the outside environment. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that the creations of certain music trends are closely related to political issues. And what I really agree about the author’s opinions is that the outside environment does play an important part in shaping the trend of music development.

So based on these two articles, we can see that the cultural issues really matter in the creation of music. But what need to be highlighted is that, artists should respect the culture and apply the cultural factors in a proper way during the music creation



Response to “Theft & Artistry” article from NPR (Vasudevan) // Hoiyan Guo

Response to “Theft & Artistry” article from NPR

The articles puts forwards an amount of examples where musicians make use of certain musical elements from culture backgrounds which are other than their’s. For me, the controversy lies in that whether it’s proper use of other cultures or inappropriate use using only the format of the music not the essence or the soul of it. Whenever I want to induce a citation in an essay, I will be reminded what I learn in class that only use citation when its content can be used to prove my argument, if it’s only a citation for the sake of citation or it’s a citation without deep understanding or analyse, then it works the opposite way. I think it’s the same thing in music. Because people don’t really have a “work cited” or bibliography for music, the only way to give credit to those elements, no matter it’s cultural or personal, is to use the element by heart, and use it after having enough knowledge of it. It’s an important way to attract audience and make them think a musician is reliable and honest.

Response to “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation” by Jeff Chang (excerpt) (Vasudevan) // Hoiyan Guo

Response to “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation” by Jeff Chang (excerpt)

In my room at dorm, my roommate used to have a big flag of Bob Marley, as she told me once, she is very obsessed with the content or lyrics of his music. The next moment I reminded myself of a song of Marley – Is This Love. But the melody which came to my mind in the first hand was from a cover version of the song by Corrine Bailey Rae, a musician I also appreciate very much. Rae’s version is quite different from Marley’s, it’s much softer, nothing like reggae music. However, it does capture some important elements from the song and recreates it in a successful way. It’s just different. In the original version, Marley puts what he likes to convey about the song in a straightforward way.

To me, reggae is a kind of straight music. They were popular and therefore recreated in various ways, then people start to focus on the music in respect to the music itself or the lyrics, but after reading the articles, I see that there is always much more than what music brings to our ears, besides, there are stories of people and information people want to convey. Music is just a format. Taking Jamaican music as an example, its connection to politics can never be ignored. In retrospect to the time after the independence of Jamaica from the Great Britain, there was a line in the article saying “Marley and the roots generation…reacted to Jamaica’s national crisis, global restructuring and imperialist posturing, and intensifies street violence.” Here we can see that the old generations didn’t create music or any other art for the sake of creating them, they were utilising the various forms to reflect their reality and at the same time making their own voice be heard. The article inspired me to see what is behind a piece of music and be aware that there is always much more than what we hear or see waiting for us to probe.

Week 7: Response to “Theft of Artistry” and “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” (Vasudevan)

I enjoyed this week’s NPR article, “Theft of Artistry”. It critiqued how popular artists use elements of other cultures, primarily minority cultures as influences for their works, and tried to explain how their works are acts of cultural appropriation. What Jimenez had said on the NPR podcast was, “You don’t have to look hard to find a discussion about an artist taking from a culture that is not their own”. Artists frequently use other cultural elements, in Bieber’s case, Latin beat for his song or other cultures as backdrops, like in Coldplay and Beyoncé’s song, “Hymn For the Weekend”. There’s a quote that I found very relevant, “much of art is about theft… you learn to get better by adapting”. I don’t necessarily see it as theft, rather you’re putting works of art into conversation, but then again, there’s a fine line between taking something as inspiration versus trying to pass something off entirely as your own (and then in most cases in the music industry, to profit off of it). It’s an opportunity when you place lesser known inspirations on a global stage, but artists shouldn’t pass it off as something “new” because it’s not theirs. The issue is the way in which the cultures are presented and the intent of the presentation that guides the appropriation narrative.

Music is created through an evolution of inspirations. The only way we progress is by drawing in different influences. This was explained in the “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” excerpt. The Jamaicans used music as a mode of expressing their political thoughts and views. By having music out, it became a platform that could be spread. What originally began as reggae branched into what is known today as hip-hop. History influences cultures to “fuse”, in a way of bridging the past (the history) together with the present, and to tell a story about the future.

Week 7: Response to Theft and Artistry and Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop(Vasudevan)

I thought these two readings were really interesting, because although I know a little about cultural appropriation and its nuances, I didn’t know in such specific detail about how Jamaica’s history shaped Hip-Hop. Being aware of these issues,being Mexican-American, I guess I’m little bit of a stickler. But these issues get complicated very easily. What I found super interesting was how the Tate and Hank from Public Enemy agreed that what matters about cultural appropriation is whether or not something is “dope.” Another interesting point made was that people don’t care if its Adele, but they do when it’s Eminem. My guess is that perhaps, some examples are more blatantly disrespectful to other cultures. To be honest, I generally side with whoever feels that their culture is being appropriated. Generally, these times, the adaptation is sparse and the little remix that’s done is not dope by any means. But that is so subjective.

To be honest, I’m not sure where the line is. With things like this, I think the line will always be blurry but, to me, context is most important in evaluating these examples. If you take for instance Iggy Azalea , which *most* people agree has not added anything significant  to the genres of Hip-Hop or Rap, her music just seems like a muddled version of the originals, people who actually practice these things as an art form. Again very subjective, but another example could be as the NPR article mentioned, Katy Perry. She didn’t add anything significant when she took some phrases she thought sounded cool and put them to the tune of a pop song, with little regard for where they came from. Then, in the middle of Perry’s video for that song (“This is How We Do”) she sticks a picture of Aretha Franklin as if the song were an ode to her. I’m not sure everyone would agree with me that this song is appropriation, considering slang from Hip-Hop has always wiggled its way into mainstream culture, but at best, we can call this distasteful. What does Aretha Franklin have to do with it? Just an honest question to which I have no answer.

I’m glad I know more about the history of Hip-Hop, because I know that a lot of slang from America derived from it. There’s a lot to be gained from learning about the history of something that shapes culture in your country so significantly, especially since it’s not something you learn about everyday.

Though this is a reiteration of stuff I already think about a lot, the most important thing I took out of reading these two articles is this: If you’re adapting something from another culture 1) it needs to be actually mindful and 2) it’d better be damn good and very well adapted lest you be ROASTED by three quarters of Twitter and NPR. Not things I’d ever wish upon myself. Being the voyeur I admittedly am, I do, however, enjoy all the celebrity Twitter roasts. Twitter, keep on!

Week 6: Reading (Vasudevan)

Theft and Artistry

The article allowed me to comprehend in a more in-depth way the manner by which cultural appropriation is criticized. In response to the article, I know see cultural appropriation as the act of using another culture, apart from one’s own, to gain profit from the implementation of the foreign culture.

These situations tend to include an artist who fails to portray the culture in question appropriately, and instead, includes members of their own race to represent the cultural traits they seek to signal out.

The example given in the article was Beyonce’s and Coldplay’s song Hymn for The Weekends, whose music video was extensively criticized for wrongfully displaying Indian culture. Moreover, neither artist in a participant of the culture under scrutinization, which worsens the situation even more.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Response:

While I enjoyed exploring the roots of reggae music and its thereafter offspring, hip-hop, I was not too engrossed by the reading as I had previous background information regarding the topic. I am also not surprised to discover that reggae was originally created as a means to express political points of views, as this is also the case for most music genres.

Music has been a means to express political discontent for years. Many artists raise awareness of immoral situations worldwide through the lyrics and melodies implemented in their music.

However, I did find very intriguing the excerpt where the author mentions:

“Every Jamaican Politician knew what every Jamaican musician knew – the sound systems were crucial to their success” (page 30).

In the previous quote, not only does the author claim music can display political points of views, but they are also stating that musicians had a direct effect on the outcome of the polls.

I partially agree with the author’s opinion, since if lyrics disclose information which had been previously out-of-reach to the public, then such a situation can have a definite impact on elections’ outcomes.

Week 6: Reading (ComLab) (Vasudevan)

Theft and Artistry

When appropriation (which is related to art and culture), should we take along the original sense behind the art or culture, should we just “remix” it as much as we want, like what Paul Simon says, “…they play their best, I’m going to play my best”. He means that he will make the best use of what he appropriates in his own (understanding) way, regardless of the origin. Or, should we keep the respect towards the origin piece, for instance, in the case of “Hymn For The Weekend” pay more attention to the background Indian culture. It’s still for debate.

Cant stop wont stop

“Can’t stop won’t stop”, like the title is showing, music is just like time itself, lying along Jamaica spirits’ past, now and future. Doesn’t matter whether music and dance have already become part of the gene of those people or not, people are used to use music and dance to express stress, rage and hope, within which political appeal can be read, to a extent that the political parties have to pay attention to the music life (music fair). (because that the country ‘s economy is growing but people at bottom class suffer, in 1972 PNP was voted to in charge of the government, in replace of JLP). KOOL HERC’s early life in NYC refreshes my cognition towards music: music is more close to violence than it looks like. The thing is, while music is a way of expressing emotion, on the other hand, violence is also one way to get the same purpose. If violence represents destruction, music also does. When the situation is hard for the people to make a live, not only they use music to show their expectation, but also to drain the sense of destruction. They want to destroy something, since they are already in the situation where they have nothing to lose. Even when some of them have gone outside, the destruction is still within their (produced in the future) music. I think the process of “Become American” also contains such trace: abandon the person as a Jamaican and reborn as an American; Death and Reborn, Destruct and Rebuild, as an individual. They are able to do this because the Jamaican are free spirits, such free spirits that political power has been forced to concession.

CL-Week 6: Response to “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” (Vasudevan)

Before reading “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”, I had little knowledge of Jamaica. Now this article has given me a general impression of this Caribbean country, especially about its music. Reggae music, and later Hip Hop music that was derived from it, can both find their origins in Jamaican ghettos. Living in China where music is often influenced by politics, I am not at all surprised at the relationship between music and politics in Jamaica. Due to the conflicts between different parties along with the economic decline thereafter, Jamaican citizens chose reggae to express their feelings and wishes. In the mean time, politicians noticed the power of local music, and they wanted to use music to maintain social harmony. I am not against connecting music to politics, but I also do not encourage this phenomenon. During the election of American president last year, I admired that American singers and actors could freely present their standpoints. For them, music seemed a neutral art that could not be controlled by politics. Under the specific background, Jamaican music has developed into what we can observe nowadays. However, different from Chinese music affected by politics, the Jamaican music has much more passion and flexibility, which is very interesting to make further research. In terms of the story of Clive (later called Kool Herc), I really enjoyed reading about his growth in playing music. It is like witnessing the flourish of a new culture.