1) What does this (Un)Conference mean to you? 2) What is most significant to you about the day?
1) Actually, I had no attachment to the conference. I just noticed it was going on and came to see what it was about. I wish I knew more of the back ground information so I knew what was happening. I would have planned my day differently so I could hear what everyone had to say about the different social justices going on and how they affect each individual. This event seems pretty cool and eye-opening.
2) I believe that women getting together to speak truth to power is significant. Most females won’t speak for themselves. Seeing such strong figures today made me realize the fight and passion that lives in them; it makes me see the desire they have for change in their communities.
1) I found this conference to be extremely important because it discusses the problems with social justice, whether it be race or gender. I didn’t really notice the way women were treated and the gender problems women face in different countries was as big of a issue as it is until attending the conference today. People need to realize that it is important for women to take up space. Women play a significant role in society everyday. The social justices women face today need to be resolved and differences need to be made. These powerful women opened my eyes today and changed my perspective on the situations at hand.
2) Today, I really got to see the fire behind each women. I got a chance to see what each of the represent. They have a voice and chops to use it to promote awareness to each of the social injustices that they are facing. All of the women that I saw speak today have educated me to be better and helped me understand that I can make a difference too.
From watching Black Mama perform I learned so much. I learned about the oppression and the struggles women are going through not necessarily only in Ecuador, but all around the world as well. It is almost like we are on a different planet because we don’t know all the things that are going on in separate countries. I didn’t know prostitution in Ecuador was as big as it is so it was really crazy hearing it. While prostitution is a problem in the states, it isn’t as big as it is in other countries. She goes through oppression in her country because of the color of her skin. She struggles identifying with whites because she is seen as black. She struggles fitting in with blacks because she is too light. And most importantly she has a problem identifying with both groups because they claim she is too indigenous for both groups. What I did find intriguing though is that even while facing all the political backlashes she stands strong behind what she believes and she doesn’t give into the problems that she sees. She does what other women are too afraid to do; she speaks up for what she believes in. She is trying to be heard and she is trying to make a difference in her community for the women she is around. She is a powerful women who is very inspiring and very talented. Even though, I couldn’t understand all that she was singing about, I knew she was very passionate and felt every word she was saying in the songs she sang. I gained better knowledge about the situations she is facing, and while doing that, I enjoyed a little music as well. I think going on in the future, things like these are very helpful in gaining knowledge.
The first article I read was the biography of Mia Zapata and it talked about the success and the achievements that Mia and her band had reach. It talked about where she had started and her influences as an artist. I found it to be intriguing because it is Seattle music history that I would have never known about if I didn’t read the article. The thing that hit me the hardest in the article is when the author stated, “Some of the songs on this album relate to Zapata’s murder directly (such as “M.I.A.”, which encourages vigilante justice for her killer) as well as Sargent’s death by drug overdose (“Rock A Bye”). It hit me the hardest because music is used a lot to help cope with the loss of someone close; it also is used to express how one is feeling on the inside. I know from personal experiences, music has helped me get through some of the darkest times while also bringing up the deepest expressions and feelings that I have that I wouldn’t have showed otherwise.
The second article I read was “The Gits’ Mia Zapata Resurrected in Film” and it mainly discussed the documentary made honoring Mia Zapata’s life and simply telling her story. The documentary goes over her musical career and her spiraling down fall (her death). The author, Marc Hirsh, stated in his review of the documentary, “Zapata and her bandmates were just learning to harness their power, and it’s one of many tragedies surrounding The Gits that they never got the opportunity to find out where it would have taken them.” This stuck out to me most because it showed their potential if Mia wasn’t brutally raped and murdered. They definitely had things going for them. But, in the end, following her death, rather than her family and friends wanting revenge for her death, they simply asked for justice for Mia; this showed the true character of Mia because of the people she surrounded herself with.
When did you become a feminist and what led you to make the decision?
What’s the greatest challenge you have faced being a black female feminist in the hip hop world?
The song is 4 minutes and 24 seconds.
In the song “Now” by Miguel on his most recent album, War & Leisure, he talks about the immigration and racial problems the states are facing today. Miguel calls it “Now” because these are his feelings and opinions that he has at the current moment. I chose to fully analyze this song because I find it to be a major issue. At the beginning of the song, Miguel make references to building a wall to keep illegal immigrants from crossing the border. His reference is directed toward Donald Trump and his promise in his presidential campaign speeches back in 2015 to build a wall. Donald Trump is widely used in music today because artist bash on his ideas in the music they have wrote. Tons of big named artist don’t like the way the country is being ran and don’t accept the leader in place. Also, when he repeats the phrase “CEO of the free world now”, Miguel is considering Donald Trump as the CEO of our country rather than the president; he uses this reference because Trump is well known for being a successful business man rather than a successful leader of our country. In his chorus, I noticed that he talks a lot about freedom and proposes rhetorical questions like, “Is that the look of freedom, now?”. His intentions for the rhetorical question is to get the point out there are people who are at the bottom of the totem pole that are struggling because of the oppression they are facing. Rather than Trump acknowledging it and fixing what needs to be fix, his integrity gets in the way, and he acts as if he doesn’t care about those in need of help. The nation is almost sitting there watching the silent screams from the lower-class people and not doing anything about it. Also, he talks about some of the recent events that have taken place in the United States, for example the hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Houston, and New Orleans. He talks about other issues like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and in Standing Rock, South Dakota. He later discusses the racial problems by referencing the Black Lives Matter movement. He alludes to the police shootings and killings of African Americans or the rallies and protests that have stirred up due to the police brutality cases. Miguel discusses these issues as a cry for help from the government; these actions keep repeating themselves and something needs to change in order to improve everyday life. He is criticizing the government for doing absolutely nothing. Lastly, he uses the reference “dreamers” to communicate the idea that immigrants came to America in search and in hopes for a better life and a better opportunity. They came for freedom. I chose this song because I found it to be extremely powerful and relevant to the problems we are facing in the states at the present time. Problems with Donald Trump and his ways of leading our country are very concerning right now. Major catastrophes are happening and nothing is being done to fix them. This album, also, touched me because it leaves the listeners with a lot of questions about this country and what is happening “now”. I think it is a song that really changes peoples’ perspectives on the immigration process and how we as a nation, or, more specifically, Donald Trump is handling it. I think the more people really listen to this song and take in what Miguel is saying, the more awareness there will be for the current situation at hand and maybe things will change and differences will be made. My political view on the whole situation is that changes need to be done in order to reach different outcomes with the problems we are facing today. I personally feel that some of the measures Donald Trump has attempted to take are either too extreme or too ridiculous to be executed. Also, it doesn’t help that he doesn’t have enough people backing up his ideas and supporting his opinions. When hearing the issues listed in the song, it makes me think of other problems that have been important more recently, for example the gun control laws. Since the government hasn’t made the proper adjustments, terrible things, like the shooting in Florida, will keep reoccurring. We can use this song as a call out for change in order to make this world a better place. My thoughts sort of changed after watching the music video. I learned a lot more about this song and the circumstances that rest behind it. The music video contains factual information about the largest imprisonment facilities of immigrants. It, also, has a clip that displays immigrants who are holding up signs that say, “Immigration detention centers” but the words detention centers are crossed out and replaced with prisons to compare the two and show that they are pretty much the same things. He takes time out of the song to address the fact that the government is taking innocent people and ripping them from their way of life and stripping them of their freedom; they are imprisoning them and turning them into cheaper labor workers. When held in these “detention centers”, they are being victimized as human beings and as detainees. We as people need to spread love, compassion, hope, and peace for people who are looking for freedom in our country rather than imprisoning them. We need to bring this problem out of the darkness and come together as a unit and figure out a plan to make a difference in the system. We need to “speak out and do something about what we believe in if we want to see the change”.
The two articles I read were “How #BlackLivesMatter Started a Musical Revolution” and “Close to Home: A Conversation About Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’”. The first article I read talked about how the black lives matter movement was expressed through a musical revolution. Big-time names contribute to the black lives matter movement by sharing their opinions and ideas about the topic at hand and also, writing songs and albums to express themselves. For example, the article states, “All three artists meditate in varying ways on the meaning, quality and value of black life by way of vastly different, thrillingly difficult, unconventional and unpredictable structures of form and content.” This demonstrates that artist make music sometimes as an outlet or a way to promote awareness or to help people who are suffering find a way out of the darkness. Artist also use music to share their opinions. After reading this article it made me realize the thinking and the actions behind the artist and their lyrics and songs in order to provoke a certain emotion out of their listeners. The second article talked more about Beyoncé’s album “Lemonade” and the effects it had on society. While it wasn’t promoting black lives matter, Beyonce is more of a feminist who promotes women and supports women. Her emotions and expressions and words that she was saying throughout the video became very controversial throughout the world. It made people think and question somethings. People started truly understanding women’s’ “worth”. It also expresses what really goes on in normal women’s life and how everyone is affected by at least one thing she talks about throughout this album. The article states, “The video version of this album reflects the private lives of a certain group of women who share a set of memories and experiences; the arc of its narrative will be harrowingly close to home for all of us.” I used this quote because it basically demonstrates that the content within the lyrics of the album Lemonade happens on a daily basis in our private lives’.