Summer in Review – Arts


#TIDALforNONE | Zaena Harrison

Rapper and business mogul Jay Z recently launched a new streaming service called TIDAL. You may have heard about it. But the buzz about TIDAL is not because (most) people are excited about, it’s because they are outraged.

 

Here’s why: TIDAL took to Twitter for the bulk of their promotions, and their approach was not in good taste. They piggy-backed off the movement Black Twitter activists had started regarding topics of police brutality and the lack of exposure of police crimes against black women. Whereas their twitter movement focused around exposing issues around the murder of Eric Garner and the #SayHerName campaign, TIDAL’s did not. The company’s Twitter account, along with some acclaimed artists, posted tweets like “Together we can make music history. Start by turning your profile picture blue. #TIDALforALL,” copying activists that turned their profile pictures black for the #BlackLivesMatter campaign. Another tweet followed the same structure: “Louder than words. The Revolution is coming… #TIDALforALL”. Jay Z has co-opted the leg work done by young activists while remaining silent about the seriousness of the campaign he imitated.

 

Household names like Jay Z have influence. He could have done something revolutionary by speaking up about the issues plaguing a community he was once a large part of. His silence on these issues while using the same formatting of people fighting for something comes off as gimmicky, and reduces the work of social media activists to something that is seen as trendy and profitable. TIDAL has a monthly cost of $10.99, making it a luxury item that many cannot afford. One of the main reasons Jay Z attributed to his creation of TIDAL was that the streaming services around weren’t paying them enough money. This was hard for many to stomach seeing as he is clearly a member of the 1-percent club. The company has not been doing as well as Jay Z had anticipated, and many people have spoken out saying that they think it will fail, including rapper and business mogul 50 Cent. One can only hope that consumers will really look into what people are trying to sell them and make informed decisions. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. There is power and strength in numbers after all.

 

 

 

Caitlyn Jenner | Kyle Simons

 

As a former Olympic athlete and reality television star, Caitlyn Jenner’s transition dominated headlines over the summer. After her interview with Diane Sawyer aired in April, the celebrity, who still identified as “Bruce” at the time, retreated from the public eye to undergo a journey that would impact the lives of young trans* people worldwide.

Over the following weeks, the public eagerly waited for the star to re-enter the spotlight, and on June 1st Caitlyn Jenner took center stage on the cover of Vanity Fair. Overnight, social media feeds were plastered with the cover, and the star instantly became a trending topic on Twitter. Media personalities and Internet users immediately began commenting on Jenner’s post-transition beauty, but what was really beautiful was the articulate, sensible, and mindful way in which she handled her transition.

During the Sawyer interview, Jenner emphasized the privilege she would enjoy as she underwent this process. She did not have to endure the same fear of loss of employment or workplace discrimination that other trans* people face; her status as a public figure arguably provided her a degree of safety from physical harm; and she could financially afford to undergo the many costly surgeries necessary to transition, a privilege many trans* people are denied.

 

Jenner’s awareness of her privileged position within the trans* community shone through during her acceptance speech for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the EPSYs. In her address, she brought up the names of a number of trans* youth who have taken their own lives, and stressed the need to change both the way that trans* issues are viewed and how trans* people are treated. Caitlyn Jenner’s discussions of her journey have been well-articulated, well-delivered, and have demonstrated the celebrity’s strength as an activist and as a role model for transgender youth.

 

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