OUR CULTURE IS POP CULTURE: THE REAL FACE OF AMERICA

 

Elvis Presley Digital Wallpaper

“We set the standard.”


who we are

For anyone interested in knowing what the culture of America is, then I will tell you. This is a pop culture country, considering we have so many different ethnic groups in this country. With each, people bring their own style which contributes to the pop culture of the nation. Some may see that is an uncomfortable reality because all pop means is popular. People don’t want their culture sometimes to be seen as the pop thing because pop goes in and out of style. And culture of a group should not be seen as a style for many to use then throw away. But I guess that is the downsides of living in such a diverse nation.

song-dance-dress

In this country, we have such a strong identity via the music we listen to, the way we dress, and the dances that correlate with the music. We have even influenced the world with the music and the way we dress. Why, well we as Americans have always set the tone for what is cool in society. Other countries have their idea and perception of cool, but with so many different groups in America, if you have been cool here you are big everywhere.

anyone can be anything

In how many other countries can you see a musician become a world leader? Or better yet, a television personality who became president of the country? America is a country where this happens and we think nothing about it. In other countries, a leader has to hold positions for lengthy periods of time in public office. We as Americans will feel an attachment to a celebrity and think they should lead. But that is also a good thing about living in this country. You can always continue to reinvent yourself. And for someone like me living in New York City, you can be what you want everyday. And rarely see the same two people twice.


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THE K AND J EFFECT: WHY THE KARDASHIAN-JENNERS ARE SO APPEALING TO THE MASSES

Image result for kardashian jenner

“They’re young, rich, beautiful, and influencers.”


For the past ten years, we have been inundated with the presence of the Kardashian-Jenner family. From the reality series of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, to their numerous business ventures. This family has grown into a nearly $1 billion brand that stretches all around the world. We were first introduced to the surname Kardashian from the O.J. Simpson trial. Robert Kardashian, the girls father, was an accomplished attorney who served as one of the counsels for former NFL runningback O.J. Simpson during his trial. He passed away back in 2003, while the name is still being held strong by his daughters. And as an addition came the Jenner family when the mother remarried former Olympian Bruce Jenner (Katelyn). Two of the Jenners would go on to edge out their own identities in society: Kendall and Kylie.

Why has the influence of the sisters grown in size the way it has grown. Ten years ago, when their reality show first aired America, must less the world, didn’t even know of the sisters. As socialites in their hometown of Calabasas (Los Angeles), CA, they were known among a small group of friends. Once the reality show took off, we were first introduced to the second oldest sister, Kim Kardashian. Soon after we began to get to know the two other sisters Kourtney, the oldest, and Khloe, the youngest. Even their brother Robert was brought into the mix. And the influence of the sisters began to spread. We only knew them as reality personalities, not business women. That is until they introduced us to their store in Los Angeles D.A.S.H.

And slowly, but surely, the two Jenner sisters began to emerge as well. We knew them as the rambunctious pre-teens from the reality show. But eventually, Kendall would be introduced into the modeling world via her mother and sisters. Not long after her introduction into modeling came her younger sister Kylie. Now with all the girls more focused on their own business ventures and less with the reality series, my question still remains. How did they manage to garner so much attention? And why do so many young girls and boys flock to them? That’s right girls and boys. And here is one of my theories as far as exposure is concerned.

When we look at the Kardashian-Jenners, they were supposed to be like anyone else who popped on the scene the way they appeared. They were supposed to get their 15 minutes of fame, and vanish like everyone else; yet they didn’t. So, why have they managed to garner attention and stick around so long? Here is a theory of mine, the introduction of social media. Getting involved in social media with an early start before so many other people joined. Their series became popular not that long after airing on television in 2007. But guess what else took off around that time as well Twitter (founded 2006), Instagram (founded 2010), Facebook increased popularity (founded 2004), and YouTube (founded 2005) increased popularity. Also, the launch of major networks such as the one their show is on E!, introduced between the years 2002 – 2009. They became popular right when social media and reality television was taking off. Fact of the matter is, they got in early.

That is a strong reason as to how they became so popular. Then what about the popularity with so many young people. Well, young people are what young people have always been. The age group of 18 – 35 is such a wide demographic, yet this group makes up the validation and association group. From the highly publicized relationships of the sisters, to their signature look. So many young girls and young women want to be associated with the K & J (Kardashian and Jenner) name.  But the boys love them because one, the girls love them. And another reason is the other one, status. Men need to be validated just as women do. So, to men, we look and go young, beautiful, their own wealth, liberated, and famous. Dating a “K” or a “J” would be the equivalent of winning the lotto and moving from your one bedroom apartment into a 10,000 sq. foot manor. The underlying theory is that if you date one of them, or a woman that resembles them, you have arrived.

See, in the end, the Kardashian-Jenners have tapped into something in America. And that something lies in the very fabric of our nation. That something is capitalism, validation, and fame. All three things the sisters have, all three things society holds up as a standard for what you should want, even if you never attain it. I don’t see them going away anytime soon. Because that 15 minutes, is pushing 15 years. And still, with business opportunities endless, fame and being a socialite is crumbs compared to if they really position themselves well. They are in the app world, and we all know how lucrative the tech industry can be. Whether you like them or not, they are no longer socialites, but the society standard.


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GUILTY: BLACKNESS ON TRIAL

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“Are you Black enough?” “And what does that mean?”

Stop acting White. You’re not Black enough. You’re a sell out. These are a few of the statements you hear growing up in the Black urban community. But why, why is it that deciding to live your life in a certain manner brings your ethnicity into question? Is it at all possible to act like another group? And if it is, then how do act Chinese, Russian, Indian, Spaniard, or Egyptian? The reason why the previous sentence sounds ridiculous is because it’s not possible to act an ethnicity. That is a constraint that is placed on you in America between Black and White People. Well then, why do we say it?

For starters saying you’re acting a certain group is an ignorant statement to make once we breakdown what that means. Let’s assume I say you’re acting White. Then you say, what am I doing that would constitute me to act White? And when you listen to the response, it generally is from a place of ignorance. But not only ignorance, the reply is usually a dangerous statement. You say to yourself, why is that dangerous to say? For one, it implies that you are appropriating the cultural norm which exist in another ethnic group, which means you must reject your own. False, you can be proud of who you are and express admiration for another groups culture.

Another reason why saying you’re acting like an ethnic group is dangerous is because typically when Black children are told this, it most certainly means you’re doing something positive. Whether it’s reading a book while everyone else part take in fun or speaking with a clear English vernacular rather than slang. Children will grow to think that being Black equates to ignorance which leads to negative views on ones’ self as well as lowered expectations. How and when did this change? And what I mean by how and when because Black people have not always had this in our community.

Being a Black intellectual was celebrated throughout history. But somewhere along the historical timeline, it became popular to exuberate low cognitive abilities. Let’s try to backtrack in time to where this approximately happened. I would say coming from the 1970’s into the 1980’s is when there was a major shift. Poverty during this time was on the rise and narcotics were taking hold. Single parent homes were the norm and gang violence was rapidly spreading. Eventually all of this found it’s way into our pop culture.

And once something becomes mainstream, that’s it. And it’s not because of mainstream alone, but the economics behind the entertainment. Meaning, once young males and females saw the profitability through entertainment such as rap/hip hop music they acknowledged an out. Everybody wanted to be rappers; dress like rappers, talk like rappers, and act like rappers. These men became so influential, you could say they were on par with civil rights leaders of the 1950’s and 1960’s as far as their influence. This was an aspect of the decline in expectations. But what else, entertainment is powerful, but not as strong to cause the shift of low expectations in the community today.

The biggest shift was the lack of quality education in inner city schools throughout the recent decades. On top of poor education, you have students dealing with hardships of poverty, and some even victims of abuse at home. All of this was a recipe for disaster as things worsened, so did the expectations. Now you have a smart Black child being called out for his or her intellect simply because someone or the entire class lack quality knowledge that he or she does. So what takes the place of knowledge when knowledge diminishes; valuables, that’s what.

Black people have been accused of not assimilating into society. But we have, we are a fully economic base. Meaning America is a capitalistic society based around goods and services. Blacks are in full swing where we spend nearly more money than any group of people in America. As a matter of fact we are worth roughly $2 – $3 trillion per year to the America economy. That means if we were a country (Black People), we would be somewhere between 4th and the 7th of the top ten wealthiest nations on earth. So with all that money why such poor education. Well because we have assimilated into this system of economy, that’s the problem. But why are we fully economic.

The reason being, when you grow up poor, it’s hard enough being poor now you look poor. And to top it off, your school environment is poor. So dressing in the latest fashion distracts everyone from your impoverished situation. Now, some economist might go America still benefits. But others will say, if we could get more of this group to come up through the financial ranks, then more money is pumped into the economy, the better America will do. But it starts with education, which brings me back to blackness. Blackness can’t continue to be reached and defined by means of ignorance. A people bereft of knowledge effects us all because we all now take on the financial impact due to the lack of quality education in the environment. But more knowledge, equals more people in the know. More people in the know means elevating yourself. Through elevation comes finances, and from finances comes prosperity. Ultimately, we all seek to benefit being that we share this country.