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The Year of Yes: #BlackLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter

 

 

 

Shonda Rhimes is a self-described Titan. But even Titans experience burn-out. In this heartfelt TedTalks, the creator of the mega-popular shows “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder” peels back the curtain on creative burnout in the the life of a single mother who happens to run a media empire. What Shonda Rhimes has done is break a glass ceiling not just for women but for African-Americans by diversifying racial storylines, and providing powerful actors of color with roles as lawyers, professors and doctors, and more. As a recent article in the New York Times, “What Does the Academy Value in a Black Performance?” pointed out in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite, blow-out following a dearth of nominees of color for 2016 Academy Awards, most Best Actress/Best Actor nominations when they do occur for black actors, reward roles as prostitutes, homeless people, drug addicts, maids and chaffeurs. (It’s worth noting, that the majority of Best Actress Oscars have been for roles as prostitutes, including Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlize Theron, etc., but that’s another branch of this discussion…)

Given that more diverse storytelling opportunities for women and minorities have been cropping up on small screens–Netflix, HBO, Showtime, as well as the major networks–one may well wonder why we continue to make such a fuss about the Academy Awards. It is entirely possible that their out-of-touch practices with their reward systems may obsolesce the institution completely. Time will tell.

As the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche pointed out in her 2009 Ted Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” we need many stories and many different kinds of stories to keep humanity evolving.

“Scandal” star Kerry Washington recently tweeted out an echo of this thinking:

Yes. @ReginaKing just gave a brilliant speech at #abff about love life art opportunity & #blacklivesmatter LOVE YOU MAMA!

— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) February 22, 2016

Culturally we are experiencing seismic shifts in the ways stories are told, transmitted and how audiences engage with narratives via social media. Just visit your Twitter feeds any Thursday night and you will see that Shonda Rhimes owns not just ABC’s evening line-up, but often trending topics on that platform.

One part of this trending support has to do with the demographics around Twitter usage.  According to a study done by Pew Research Internet project from 2014, 92% of African-Americans own a cell phone and 56% own a smartphone, comparable to whites. Where this differs is in Twitter usage. 40% of African-Americans between 18-29 use Twitter compared to 28% of whites the same age. To learn more about the influence of African American viewers on the Twitterati, read Tonya Pendleton’s in-depth post, “Black Twitter.”

#BlackLivesMatter, a powerful hashtag movement, coursed through Twitter and other social media platforms in response to the murder of an unarmed death of Trayvon Martin by an armed self-appointed security guard, George Zimmerman.Trayvon Martin’s story gained worldwide attention in part due to the efforts of Martin’s parents, who created a Change.org petition to protest Zimmerman’s acquittal. The #BlackLivesMatter movement became nationally recognized for galvanizing street protests in the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City, both of whom died at the hands of armed police officers.

At first, the story gained little mainstream media reportage, but online activism aided by significant citizen journalism coverage on Twitter and Facebook helped increase crowd size and brought international attention. The national recognition of this brutality trend in a series of murders of black males, aided by the virality of dedicated social media networking, created a tipping point that led to major coverage on mainstream news and a political and social dialogue that was unprecedented. What began with a hashtag has become a U.S.-based international movement co-founded by three black women activist/organizers: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi.

At least 672 “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations have been held worldwide to protest the murders of Michael Brown; John Crawford III, a 22-year-old African-American shot to death by Beavercreek police officer Sean Williams on August 5, 2014, in a Walmart store near Dayton, Ohio, while holding a toy BB gun; the choking death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, and the shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. And the protests about these deaths have not died down but continue to resonate both online and off.

#BlackLivesMatter has had an impact on the 2016 elections, with key public call-outs to both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to acknowledge the issues embedded in the hashtag. Though an echo of #AllLivesMatter entered the dialogue, the fact is #BlackLivesMatter has had staying power and political clout, moving pop cultural leaders like Beyoncé to include bold activist allusions in her recent video, “Formation,” which debuted in time for her performance at the 2016 Superbowl.

Powerhouse. Power in the house. Power can shift with a single song drop. And a hashtag can have a long tail influence on dialogues key to human evolution.

What are your thoughts about these shifts in storytelling power and the power of a hashtag to change the world?




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  1. Christina Murray

    I found the Ted Talk’s to be very inspiring. Shonda Rhimes explanation in the power of saying yes, really hit home for me. I have five year old daughter who ALWAYS wants to play, I am very motivated to say yes more often. By doing things Shonda was afraid of, she overcame most of her fears simply by doing. I also loved her story of play and how it really is the opposite of work. We really need to make more time for play.

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s explanation of the dangers of a single story, was eye opening. I never put much thought into why we think the way we do, of a place or person prior to meeting or seeing. The story of her roommate’s assumptions is sad but true. It was a story of pity with no possibilities because she already had her mind made up based on one single story. By rejecting a single story, multiple stories can help regain empowerment to the person or place. This actually reminded me of when my husband was deployed in Iraq when the war first started. I purposefully avoided social media and the news during this time, because all that was shared was horror. Things obviously changed throughout the course of the wars, but in the beginning he felt they were actually doing good. Based on what was on the news at that time, I never would have expected that. This is why social media is so powerful. By creating awareness through the use of things such as hashtags, together we can change the world, for the positive.

  2. Morgan Gildersleeve

    While I am in full support of the #blacklivesmatter movement, I have always been skeptical of social media and its ability to misconstrue a message. It is evident that the start/spread of this movement did start on Twitter, which is where my mixed emotions come into play. Part of me dislikes social media in regards to making a change, because it is easy for someone to tweet about an issue, post an article, or hashtag. What all of that is good and obviously has the ability to spread important messages, I think that it also creates an environment for the public to take an absolutely positive messages and turn it into something with a negative connotation. Furthermore, social media is a convenient outlet for people to make a political statement without actually doing much of anything. I know it is easier said than done, but if you care, why not get out from behind your computer screen and do something? With that being said, I stand 100% behind the hashtag, and thoroughly believe that racial segregation and mistreatment exists and permeates our society. It is easier for most people to go about their lives, turn their heads and create blinders to the reality that African American people are systematically and intentionally separated and left powerless at the hands of the state. I think this movement goes far beyond the illegal killings of black people by police and self-proclaimed people of power, and fights for the basic human rights that black people are deprived of in our society. This is a movement that is absolutely necessary. The only downfall I could point out in regards to the influence social media has had on this movement, is that it has allowed for prejudiced individuals to cast a negative light on such a positive endeavor. I suppose that is part of what comes with anything becoming so public and talked about. I think it is incredibly powerful when popular public figures such as Beyoncé,
    or Common and John Legend use their creative platforms in order to address and shed light on such a crucial issue. While the power of the hashtags is evident, I think it is incredibly important to also continue to fight for progress outside of the virtual world.

    • John Wilson

      I echoed exactly what you are saying about not trusting social. It’s like a really bad version of the telephone game. The more something is shared, the more deluded it gets. If you comment about your own life, that is your business but when you try to be a journalist you better do your research and back your comments up. I wish I knew the statics of how many people do that but my point is most people don’t check and spew thoughts and emotions on things they don’t understand. Journalism is factual, non-emotional, to the point, and relies on confirmed sources before being published. When in doubt, people turn to social for answers since the new networks are failing them.

      • Kathleen Sweeney

        I have been thinking that we need to find a new way of communicating with mindfulness on social media: taking a pause before we share, comment or react, then run the information through a series of filters before echoing the content in any way. We live in an era where we are often manipulated into bi-polarized modalities of thought rather than subtle, less black and white discussions. We are goaded into being reactionaries when that is not our true nature. Just as there are many stories to be told and there is a danger in one story, there is a danger of becoming wedded to a single narrative within our own minds: a single lens, a single perspective.

  3. Chloe Wang

    I have noticed the #blacklivesmatter hashtag trending on Twitter before as well as on Instagram. Hashtags have become so powerful today and it is especially hard to miss something like #blacklivesmatter because it trends on social media quite often. In addition, social media basically consumes our everyday lives as we are almost constantly checking up on it. No matter if you are using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc., they all consist of hashtags and function a lot through that. We are able to search things up through hashtags and create new ones too. They definitely have the power to change the world. But, I think sometimes they can also be misused. Sometimes, hashtags do not send out the right message and they could just start trending, helping to spread something that shouldn’t be spread. The information given out could be incorrect or it could be coming from an unreliable source. But, because of the power of social media, people would all receive that particular message.

    Furthermore, I really enjoyed Beyoncé’s new music video, “Formation,” because it really speaks out to and for African American people. Racial segregation is not as big of a problem today as it was decades ago, but in some states, it still exists greatly and affects the lives of black people. And, seeing popular artists contribute to #blacklivesmatter really makes a big impact because of how much people are influenced by popular culture today. It helps people realize and pay attention to this topic.

  4. Tara Shanahan

    I love Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche so I really enjoyed watching her Ted Talk. I read her novel Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists and really enjoyed both of them. For those who haven’t read it, it’s about a woman named Ifemelu and her life in America and Nigeria. It’s an amazing story and the writing is incredible. I’m glossing over this because the relevant part is that Ifemelu has a blog where she writes about racism in America. It’s witty and poignant just like she is in her Ted Talk. I really liked her Ted Talk when she talked about how stereotypes don’t have the full picture. In Americanah her blog makes a difference like the hashtag black lives matter. The power that technology and the internet possesses now is being exercised in the real world. The #blacklivesmatter illustrates this even just by looking at the stats in the article.

  5. Valeria Maxera

    #Blacklivesmatter hashtag has been around the world for a lot of time. It is such a powerful and meaningful hashtag that it is hard at sometimes to keep up with what is happening. This means, that hashtags are so viral, it is a way of demonstrating to the world what is happening at a faster pace. They are all over social media, and in fact, people search news based on hashtags. It has become an easier way of approaching to the world and connecting others. For example, in my case, I learn more about TED talks through hashtags. In fact, both TED talks above for me are great examples of this whole revolution of #blacklivesmatter. They throughly explain the pros and cons of this whole revolution and fast information world we have called social media. Having an important figure such as Beyonce state a strong idea in her new music video called “Formation” has its pros and cons. Its amazing how she stands out for her own and for others who are fighting, but at the same time, this music video has been receiving a lot of backlash. Not only because of how she portrays her point of view, but also because social media is so strong and fast at this time, that it discovers her actual music video steals scenes from a documental of an ‘unknown’ director that calls her out, through social media. It’s sad to see big and important people, such as Beyonce, do that because it goes agains her own idea of the music video in Formation. Thus, in the end, all this contradiction, tends to pay attention to all aspects in this area.

    • Kathleen Sweeney

      Valeria, Please share these examples of your discoveries about the backlash with a few links if you can. Beyoncé is no stranger to controversy; indeed that is true of most great artists: they stir up ideas, conversation, dynamically and usually intentionally. The tricky part here is that while she is using visuals and lyrics to bring issues of racism, climate change and the history of slavery in this country and beyond, she does not address her own place on the fiscal ladder of success and how it relates to perpetuating the oppression of a consumerist culture. She and Jay-Z are, afterall some of the wealthiest and powerful Americans today. What are they doing with that power? How are they shaping opportunities for people of color, for the impoverished and how are they as a couple addressing global warming which contributed to the flooding in New Orleans? What are they doing about police brutality? I’d love to learn more, to know more, to see more about solutions to changing the power structures currently in place.

  6. Anna Mackie

    It has been great to see representation of race shift in the media and hopefully as time progresses, people of color will not only play controversial and stereotypical roles or storytelling roles that portray the racism and inequity people of color encounter, but any role that, for example, Anne Hathaway or Rachel McAdams would play. Typically identified and portrayed as thugs and criminals in the media, not only are African Americans dehumanized and denigrated, but they are racially profiled by the hierarchical bureaucracy of authority, resulting in the death of Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and the inconceivable number of other unarmed, defenseless black individuals. The #BlackLivesMatter has been an extremely relevant hashtag, used globally within the couple of last years. Through the use of media and social media, influencers such as Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, and many others, have been able to, despite controversial backlash, stand up for their beliefs and work towards change.
    While great points have been made by fellow classmates on this blog post questioning and showing skepticism regarding social media, I think that although statements and situations can be misconstrued, it is a great way for people globally, to stand up as humans beings for what we believe is right or fair, and call attention to these unjust situations, in hopes of seeing a brighter tomorrow.

    • John Wilson

      I like what you mention about characterization. JK Rowling got backlash because they casted a black women to play Hermione in her play in London but she quickly comes back with and epic tweet – Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione ???? (Source – https://twitter.com/jk_rowling/status/678888094339366914?lang=en)
      The funny thing with imagination, we often build the characters as we see them…so maybe we should all expand our minds 🙂

      As a writer myself, I try to create my characters without the confines of labels society has excepted. I also prefer for the characters to be in situations without the limitations on race, gender, sexuality. The story will unfold and those details will come but I don’t believe in long expositions of those labels because really all that matters is that they are humans try to overcome odds and achieve whatever goals they are trying to achieve.

  7. John Wilson

    Is there anything Shonda Rhimes can’t do? I have watched most of her shows and love how she creates these characters and their stories with such verbrado. As an aritist myself, I appreciate her candid nature about not only her work but the pressures she feels by being a rolemodel for women.

    We live in a culture that aspires to enslave itself with the limitation of labels. White/Black, Woman/Man, Democratic/Liberal/Republican, gay/straight/bi-sexual…and the list goes on. And then we build ceremonies which instead of celebrating the arts of humanity as a whole for their contributions, it is focused on selections, exclusions, all for what…a statue; how is this an honor? When it comes down to it, who can determine complexity of art in all of it’s diversity? Shouldn’t art be freeing and liberating for the soul instead of being confined to competition?

    If anyone has noticed, there has been a sharp decline in ratings for award cermonies like the Oscars, Gloden Globes, The Emmy’s. “The slump in ratings for the Oscars and the Grammys are in line with broadly critical reviews for both broadcasts. The lack of diversity in nominations and ceremonies that couldn’t quite deliver were just a few bones people found to pick.” (quoted from this article http://www.vocativ.com/culture/tvmovies/oscars-2015-ratings-award-shows/)

    As for the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, national News networks have show their bias natures towards broadcasting stories. The result, take for example the most recent despicable rant Fox news made about President Obama. Here is a link to the video which basically depicts A) the #BlackLivesMatter campaign as a bunch of anarchists and B) a president who supports anarchy. http://www.addictinginfo.org/2016/02/19/fox-airs-footage-of-riots-while-covering-president-obamas-black-lives-matter-meeting-video/

    There is a percent of the population that takes this type of information and amplifies it through the new News outlet…Social. Suddenly it is our responsibility to point out lies especially when they are coming from what some people are calling a trusted source. But part of the problem with that is we are not professional journalist news reports and so the information just gets more and more deluded with each share. If there is anything that needs to change beyond the policies and measures of law informant, it is how violence against humans is portrayed in media. We need unbiased networks looking for facts and communicating real stories all over the country. And if that facts are not supplied, then don’t fill in the gaps. #AllLivesMatter and we should all work together to ensure a better future. Without labels there is only one thing we can be uniquely, united human beings.

    • Madison Porter

      I definitely agree with you, John about how we create and limit ourselves with unnecessary labels and titles. Instead of celebrating the individuality of human beings, we put one another down. Everyone is so diverse and interesting we don’t embrace it.
      I’m also not surprised that there is such a decline in ratings for award ceremonies. Even though they don’t make a difference in lives of everyday-people, they are such a big part of pop culture and society.
      We definitely need unbiased news networks that are focused on the facts rather than social media opinions. It is unfair. I agree with you, we do need to work together to create a better future.

  8. Szu-Chen Doleon

    I found Shonda Rhimes’s speech very inspiring. The hum to me is love. The love of your work, the love of yourself and the love of your life. Although sometimes you might feel the hum disappeared or lack of support, just give yourself a short period of time to play to find back your hum.

    • Szu-Chen Doleon

      Forgot to add the rest comments.
      About the speech by Ngozi Adiche. Ms Adiche talked about the danger of a single story. For example, she pointed out that the house boy, who was from a very poor family. Ms. Adiche was shocked by seeing a extremely beautiful handcraft made by the house boy’s family. People often judge others by stereotypes and maybe just a single story.

  9. Anika Pivarnik

    All three of these figures- Shonda, Chimamanda, and Beyonce- have been role models for me over the past few years. As a kid, I looked forward to Thursday nights at my grandmother’s house, where we would watch Grey’s Anatomy. In high school I read Chimamanda’s book Americanah and it remains one of my favorite novels, offering such an eloquent description of contemporary American life, especially as it pertains to racial and feminist issues. And of course, like most girls my age, I love listening to Beyonce’s music. All of these woman are representative of the type of success that I would like to achieve and I really loved how Shonda’s TED Talk touched on what elements are necessary in order to achieve such success. I think many creative professionals are familiar with the struggles of finding work-life balance and managing to maintain a steady flow of ideas without a creative block. Sometimes I have the opposite problem of Shonda- I work too little and allow play to distract me. It would be interesting to hear from a successful figure who was able to fulfill that problem. In relation to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, all three of these woman have been able to shatter stereotypes and shift the discussion of racial issues (and feminist issues) to the mainstream. We need more cultural figures who are willing to take risks and shift contemporary dialogue to be more thought-provoking and socially aware. For example, Beyonce could have made a song that was more safe, less controversial, but she didn’t- she chose a more politically charged approach and the positive response was overwhelming. As I am finding in this course, when progress is made towards alleviating a social issue, such progress is usually greatly influenced by the work of prominent figures and celebrities, like these three women.

  10. shikun liu

    I love Shonda Rhimes’s TED Talks. She as a workaholic suddenly found that the “hum” disappeared, but when her children asked her play with them, she gradually found the other “hum”, the hum of love and the hum of life, which again gave her the support. Especially in New York, everybody seems so busy as a bee. Sometimes we are so overwhelmed by our work, and studies,but we are not robots. We need to give ourselves a period of time to relax and enjoy ourselves a bit to find a balance betwwen work and life, in order to regain the strength to go back to work.
    Before watching Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s Ted Talk, I’ve never thought about how we can easily Judge something or someone base on a single story. The example she gave us about her roommate was sad but true, as stereotypes were probably not wrong, but they were not complete. But how do we know the truth about something if things happened far away from where we are? Social media nowadays is one of the most important source. By using hashtags properly, hopefully they could help to do something good to the world.

  11. Madison Porter

    Shonda Rhimes’ Ted Talk is very inspiration. I’m a fan of her stories, but that’s all I really knew about her. She is more than just a writer. Her role as a “titan” reaches multiple countries and provides countless jobs. The dedication she has to simply play with her children, while she is working on multiple episodes and imagining stories, is amazing. I think it’s necessary to find 15 min to make you feel good. “Work doesn’t work without play,” she states. I can relate to working hard and being titan while trying to become a professional ballerina, but play is necessary to keep work going. Her dream job isn’t a dream job without some sort of playing. She is an inspiration to every girl out there who wants to create and do what they want.

    Recently hashtags have brought situations to millions of peoples’ attention. For example, #FreeKesha is everywhere right now and is getting so much attention. It is clear that hashtags are one of the most vital ways to make people aware. I have obviously seen #BlackLivesMatter being used, but I had no idea that 672 demonstrations have happened. This hashtag made people aware of the initial situation that had happened in Ferguson and caused a massive movement to occur.

    • Kathleen Sweeney

      What’s interesting about hashtags like #FreeKesha and #BlackLivesMatter is that they become little seeds of information that begin appearing in the newstreams and people start to ask, “Where did I hear about that? Who is Kesha? What does Black Lives Matter mean?” and dialogues initiate in very interconnected ways. These info-seeds get into our subconscious awareness and eventually rise to prominence to create change. I do hope that Kesha can become free of the manager who has oppressed her. It will send a signal to anyone who has been abused to speak up against unfair treatment. Lady Gaga, whose Academy Award nominated song “Until It Happens to You,” deals with the same issue, has joined many other celebrities in support.
      http://freekesha.com/

      The other hashtag to look out for this week is #OscarsSoWhite….http://www.poynter.org/2016/how-news-outlets-are-covering-diversity-at-the-oscars-leading-up-to-hollywoods-big-night/398582/

  12. Rhea Goyal

    In the TED by Shonda Rhimes the “titan” calls the HUMM… is the fear of failure, thats something that keeps her going. “The more balls in the air, the more eyes are on me, the more successful I am, more I want to work.” “HUMM” was the interference with between her daughters and her was the “HUMM”. She is the perfect single women, someone I aspire to be. But in her story she says that It was soon enough when something you’ve always loved and worked for starts tasting like “dust”. It sounds easy to play over work, but what happens when your work is all you wanted? She has made me question my own self about what I really love and how ever lasting its effect is going to be on my life and my off springs or love life to come. A legendary Black woman we discuss Beyonce has set the bar so high of the ideal life. In the true sense a queen B, and I don’t say that just coming off of her success stories. It is because I have seen her perform in real life and that women has earned her place in the world. She is a feminist, her performances hold a infallible essence of power and enchanting message with each of her songs. Her struggles in life has made her what she is and there doesn’t go a minute that she forgets that. Special people like herself are out to make a difference in the world and inspire millions of women. But are only lyrics enough? Does her immense wealth and power combined with her partner Jay-Z sufficiently making a difference? Are they falling through with promoting and making a difference those “matter of attention” topics in her songs?

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s story really brings out the fact how we judge a book by its cover.

    As read #BlackLivesMatter trended through social media and Facebook and caught attention of several subscribers on this fragile matter, (here we understand that media played its part in making Ferguson News to go viral). All supporters had to go is go ahead and use the hash tags and communities were created and members kept becoming a part of it. Colored or White there were supporters from everywhere, getting connected and aware through one trending hashtag. Even in the elections we see that the issue of #BlackLivesMatter has been looked into. Hence a hashtag has not viewer limit and its strength has been testes and proved time and time again.

  13. Yiwen Li

    After watching Beyoncé’s “Formation,” I can feel the song sings out for African American. Although racism is not a big issue today, but in some states, some people still happens and affects black people. I am very impressed by her brave to made this song, because It will let people pay attention to this topic.
    I am very impressed by Shonda Rhimes’s Ted talk. I’m very impressed by her “Yes”. She explains that she tried to balance her ambition with her life behind the scenes and how she treated her friends, family and herself. She said: “I was kind of a workaholic. I was someone who spent a lot of time working and I was getting really good at it, and I was really enjoying it. I was really enjoying it.” When her daughter asked her to play with, she always answer “Yes”. It made it very simple because you play with them for a while and then they take off and they’d be thrilled and she can be 10 times more relaxed and go off to the office in a much better place.

  14. Alexander Silva

    “I said yes to less work and more play and somehow I still run my world, my world is still global, my campfire still burns.”

    This quote by Shonda Rhimes truly gave me chills as I am currently at apont in my life where so much is happening that I feel as though I haven’t paid attention to the hings that truly matter. Although I’m nowhere near that level of success in my career (as a matter of fact, I’m just starting) I think it’s important for the individual to know that taking time to focus on themselves and their loved one’s won’t take away from their talents.

    Adiche’s TedTalk highlights how far into the history of our society ignorance has been sprouting through literature and how we truly can’t blame other’s for thinking the way they d if that’s all they’ve been exposed to. Her eloquent way of expressing the beauty of what is truly happening in Nigeria so subtly manages to completely erase the bad from what the world has previously portrayed Nigeria to be.

    The #BlackLivesMatter tag on social media platforms was something I personally found to truly reveal the frustration of millions of people around the world. This tag truly managed to socially spotlight the issues in regards to African American males around our nation and highlighted the problems that need to be solved. Personally, it took the #AllLivesMatter tag to understand that at this very moment, we need to focus on #BlackLivesMatter because this is where the issue is prevalent. As a citizen of the US, I understand that to not feel safe in my own country is unacceptable, and that absolutely no one needs to feel that way. Beyoncé’s Formation highlighting African American issues and culture was astonishing in my personal opinion. Although critics have had negative commentary regarding the icon’s artistic expression towards political issues, I think it does a damn good of exemplifying that individuals should be proud of where they come from but that attention should be given to various issues in our nation.


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