Useful YouTube Tips…Disable Suggested/Related Videos Grid

I found this useful info on the website of my alma mater University of Michigan. I’m working on the video documentary for The Black Girls YouTube Project on twerking. I have a bunch of screen shots of the grid of related or suggested videos that always comes up at the end of any video. I’m using the shots to show how race shows up in algorithms about black youtube videos.

Sometimes I find these suggestions obnoxious. Maybe you do, too. If so, here’s how to disable them even in videos already embedded on your blogs or  whereever you have access to the HTML code.
Thanks U of M website!!

YouTube Videos – How to Control Suggested Videos at End

Background

You may have noticed on YouTube, that after the video you’re watching ends, the player window shows a grid of “suggested videos.” These video suggestions are chosen automatically from the entirety of YouTube’s public video collection by their proprietary suggestion algorithm.

The channel owners have no control over the suggestions. In the first example, from the primary U-M YouTube account, you can see some suggestions from our channel, a paid commercial placement, and others from non U-M YouTube channels.

These “suggested videos” also appear at the end of embedded videos (YouTube videos on your own site) by default. This can sometimes lead to unwanted or inappropriate suggestions. The good news is that this behavior can be disabled.

Solution:

  • Each time you generate embed code for a video, you will want to uncheck the box for “Show suggested videos when the video finishes.”
  • If you already have videos embedded on your site, it is easy to disable suggested videos without having to regenerate the embed code. Simply add ?rel=0 after the URL and before the close quote. Above and to the right is an example highlighting the checkbox as well as the location for the code snippet.

 

A Rough Cut of our Collaborative Video on Twerking
Got some reveals coming for the documentary which are SOOOooo exciting!!
Keep watching. It’s coming very soon!!

Kyraocity Rocks!!

Useful YouTube Videos…Get Your Gadget Freak On!

Since 2007, YouTube has provided so many pleasures and resources. When I taught my YouTube twerking class, Anthropological Analysis ANT4800, we had a conversation which I recorded somewhere about what YouTube is for you. One student said it was her math tutor. Another said it was her TV. For me, YouTube is my go-to for problems. I once bought a bottle of German beer with a cork and for the life of me this black woman had no clue how to pop the cork?!?!! So I searched it on YouTube. Low and behold this guy made a 50-second YouTube video for it. Saved my night! It was all in the indentations from the cage surrounding the cork. Who woulda thunk??!

So today I ran across an amazing BuzzFeed video on Everyday Technology You’re Using Wrong with some neat, useful tricks for watching YouTube videos. Did you know you can use the number keys to review or scrub any video?? Know ya know! Check it out these gizmo techniques!! #blackgirlsyoutube

Why? cuz’ Kyraocity Rocks!

Game-songs on YouTube from Sesame Street to Remix

I wrote about the connection around two game-songs:  “Slide” for its oral-kinetic teaching of polyrhythm and keeping a steady beat–a critical feature of black music-making– and the game-song “Down, down, baby” aka “Hot dog.” You can read more about them in my 2006 book  The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop which is available on Kindle and many people say it’s a great read.

The work I’ve tried to do is to connect the socio-cultural logic of musical blackness in learning black girls’ musical play to the production of popular taste in commercial music by male artists. I’ve always been interested in the inter-sex communication between girls’ games and male artists from rhythm & blues to hip-hop genres as some kind of musical courtship that teaches girls and boys the heteropatriarchal norm. This frame continues in my work on black girls twerking on YouTube esp. given the prominence of twerking in mainstream explicit rap contexts where the patriarchal gaze thrives.

The fact that both games began with the trans-local phenomena of black girls across the country and that traces of the games are found dating back  to the early 20th century and its transmission is evident on YouTube even in far-flung places like Australia and India says these games still are important realms for the study of children’s culture, black girlhood, and musical transmission.  Black girls transmitted this culture through their public schools often during recess.  As part of their immigration and assimilation into US culture, Afro-Caribbean girls learned them and brought some of their games into the mix, too which were sampled in  (caution NSFW:) “Oochie Wally” by  Nas & Ill Will Records Presents QB’s Finest. Non-black girls as well as black girls’ male siblings, family members and friends learned the games as part of their associations in childhood and school settings.

The latter has been forcing me to rethink how I present these games as “black” and “female” in my analysis. How we can start to talk about the role black culture plays in larger circles of cultural transmission that are not viewed as “black.” Both game-songs is not unlike the spread of hip-hop as my colleague ethnomusicologist and hip-hop scholar Joe Schloss has always written about and emphasized. The ideals of musical blackness are the fabric of hip-hop though the music culture is by no means limited to black folk or to men as mass-mediated narratives might have us think.

After going to bed early, restoring a routine that my biology loves, I was rewarded when I woke up this morning. My brain is alive and most creative before 8am just after I wake up. Got some fabulous ideas for a presentation I will give next week at the Children’s Studies Program at York University in Toronto to over 200 majors. Amazing!! It will be about black girls twerking on YouTube and I thought I need to show the connection to my previous theories about black girls’ play offline.

YouTube and You: Black Girls’ Games from Sesame Street to Remix

YouTube has become a repository of some many connections you could not grasp before it as the world’s largest video-sharing archive thanks to Google but more importantly, thanks to YOU – the “you” that feeds the user-generated uploading of things great and small since the revolution of participatory digital media platforms like YouTube.

Here are three videos I am using in my presentation.

#1 is a video of the game-song on Sesame Street.
The taping of the show is probably from Boston and the black girls’ performance with the younger girl is fascinating to observe for it’s scripted-ness for TV and the way I’ve studied the peer-to-peer learning that has been going on for decades within black girls’ musical play.


#2 is a video of two slightly older black girls giving a “tutorial”

This is how the girls label the video in its description for their viewers. It was uploaded last summer in 2013.

#3 is two non-black girls giving instructions on the hand-clapping patterns and the song.
What is fascinating is that this style of clapping is swapped into other songs. In the late 1970s, this pattern accompanied a version of the S.O.S. Band’s female-led song “Take Your Time” (“Baby, we can do it /  Take your time, do it right! / We can do it ba-by– /Do it tonight!”) and other popular handgames. Embodying polyrhythmic gestures and different songs, sampling segments of game patterns or phrases of games into other games was what I articulated as a connection to the sampling practices found before hip-hop and in hip-hop musical practice. This kind of interchange within a musical system of creativity is a defining feature of many oral-kinetic traditions or folk practices. This video pieces together or samples lots of different game-songs as well making it a great piece to analyze esp. since it features non-black girls. I can examine who transmission is changing, adapting, growing, etc.


#4 is an example of college-age male students’ use of a game
 Slide.
In the video (:55), one of the guys claims he is the “Patty cake King.” Since these games are typically assigned to female gendered performance, the patriarchal norm asserts itself by establishing masculine dominance in the practice before demonstrating his skill at the game. This seems to be from students at VCC West or Valencia Community College – West Campus in Orlando, Florida.

#5 is my favorite. It’s a remix of Slide from two older teen girls
These two older black girls, college age, creatively incorporated new elements to the structure of the game-song while waiting in line at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. It’s the 2nd oldest part in the country. Their explanation reminded me of the notion that black girls’ games or the invention of play around Djing were cures for boredom in urban environments of despair. We never think that white kids DJing is a cure for their boredom. I’m thinking of the cooptation of twerking by DJs like Diplo who turns his pasttime into a major lurcative and international career where white girls play $500 to go to Bonoroo in Tennessee to sport their upside down twerking tattoos while they twerk in a handstand against a wall. Just some thoughts that came to mind.

I love their remix below for all the hints at musical blackness from gesture to tone of voice to borrowing iconic dance styles like the running man.  The creativity is not lost on me. Love the way she says do this and it will “change your life!” in ascending tonal articulations. LOL.

 

THOUGHTS FOR LATER ANALYSIS:
What if black kids had the kind of startup mindset that a Diplo has about their leisure culture? Would there be a revolution in enterpreneurship among black girls and others? Or are there structural barriers to that kind of leisure if it’s read as a waste of time when black skin is the cover or when respectability politics tells girls like these you could be doing something better with your time than playing games.

One More Video: Two white girls rushing through texts without a context
These two girls, unlike many African American girls’ play I’ve witnessed, loses the musical inflections from the original songs “sampled” in the game-songs that are mashed together in this play. Might be a great video to analyze and compare and contrast. I am interested in seeing if I can demonstrate differences in their apprehension of musical aesthetics.

Kyraocity works,
I’m out! 

Man o’ Words: Old-School Freestyle (TEDx)

This TEDx talk from an independently-organized TED event is not by a black girl though it easily reminds me of my black girlhood practicing oratory every holiday at my Uncle Don’s house in Northeast D.C. I’d recite whatever he insisted from the previous holiday from memory and he’d give me a quarter, than 50 cents, and by eight or nine a dollar. That was huge back in the late 60s, early 70s for me.

It’s a slow start or maybe you could call it a slow sell but then it turns into one of the most satisfying TED talks I’ve seen in a long while.  It embeds its idea worth spreading in its very performance. And the message is timeless created from words from the audience. Brilliant!

Kudos Professor and poet Herbert Woodward Martin!! Representin’ Dayton’s vision dating back to the days when The Phil Donahue Show taped there. Kudos!!

The Old Griot: Herbert Woodward Martin at TEDxDayton

P.S. This TEDx Talk reminds me even more of hip-hop, of freestyling in poetry slams or emceeing off the top of the dome.  I love how this performance by an elder poet, unknown to most viewers, bears the tradition young emcees, male and female. A griot transforms life with the sounds of his words. She turns something mundane and common into revelation and mystery. Here Poet Martin turns the written word into pure poetic mystery.

Spare some time and listen!

Soul Train 1978 – Hip Fluidity in Gender and Dance for Black Men

As I prepare to present on black girls and twerking at the Society for Ethnomusicology conference in Indianapolis this weekend, I am thinking about a reference I made to what was considered disco music by people who went to discos. I was too young for that back in Maryland outside DC at about age 13. I knew it as  black music for dancing that I heard on Howard University’s radio station for the most part, WHUR-FM, back in 1978.

I was thinking about the embodied gesture of booty-poppin itself – not related to hip-hop culture but just the socialized movement of the hips in black dance that I’ve known most of my life and I write about in the games black girls play. One called “Hot Dog” where girls learn to rotate and isolate their hips from their torso and I think boys learn it to from watching us and watching Soul Train and house parties and picnic dancing and such. I was an only child so I learned it from my Mama, a single parent, and from shows like Soul Train nationally or the Moonman’s dance show locally broadcast in D.C.

About a week ago. I had recently watched a Soul Train video and passed it around on my FB wall. Instead of trying to find it, I just searched “1978 Soul Train” to find the video above which serendipitously shows evidence of men expressing much more fluidity in the hips — yes booty poppin — and there being much more parity and interdependence in the dancing of the Soul Train line.

Why did I choose 1978? It was the year of the song that came to mind this morning that featured talk about “booty-poppin.” Ashford & Simpson’s “Get Up (and Do Something)”Check the last choruses of the track.

What comes to mind about the men’s dancing first is this: has our dancing changed in response to the myth of the black matriarch and the Monhiyan report from a decade earlier (1965)? 1978 was big Afros and black power, right? Sovereignty was an idea planted by Black Panthers since the 60s.  The dancers here are young people, 20 somethings, late teens. And they seem so on par with one another. There’s no female or male dominance in the display. And no objectification. And there is  sexuality and sensuality but it’s not what’s on display. It’s group and social cohesion.

What I also like about this clip is that they are promoting a common cause which I don’t have time to study today. But the notions of participatory culture are the heart and soul of black culture since Reconstruction led to Jim Crow culture.

We had few resources yes but we made do with all that. Now we have technology out the wazoo (pardon the pun) but most don’t use it to challenge their dominant narratives of sexuality, gender identity expression, masculinity or femininity in imaginative ways. Ok, I am probably exaggerating a bit but at the same time I see much more social innovation happening outside the rank-and-file of our working class and lower middle class communities if YouTube is any sign of things.

There are environmental or ecological issues to talk about but I don’t have time today. Even cognitive fitness issues and willpower to speak of but I gotsa run today. Off to Indianapolis!!

Best, K

To Own or Not to Own…My Body

Today’s word to explore through ideas and quotes is “own” — as in “I own my body” which seems fitting since October is not only Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is also Domestic Abuse Awareness Month and October 17th is National Love Your Body Day. I began to examine the definitions of ownership — the act, state or right of possessing something — in this case, over or around one’s body.

If we were talking land ownership, the following quote serves us well given the the free market economy’s encroachment on “third-world” lands.

“Liking is probably the best form of ownership, and ownership the worst form of liking.”
― José SaramagoThe Tale of the Unknown Island

But what of the bodies of the “third-world diva girls”  (cf. bell hooks) who owns and possesses their mediation when it comes to social networks and visual communication?

Owning the Looking Glass 

In this two thousand and thirteenth year of our defining our sovereignty, also the 150th anniversary of the start of the Emancipation thing in the U.S., too many individuals and groups — specifically for my purposes “black” girls/women — are still not free. Perhaps we will never be in the context of ownership when we look more closely.

In this highly public yet privatized age of ownership recognized by online social networks and platforms like FB and YouTube, we are not free despite the claims of the “make your own media,” “broadcast yourself” participatory culture. Too often, we overlook the social politics, authority and privilege at work in the circulation of female body images that in turn mirror who we think we (or who others think we should be). This complex process of mediating of self (the “I”, “me” and “we”) too often owns us in the fast-paced realities of 21st century convergence culture.

In the last two days, two images circulating around the Web hit my Facebook news feed as I have been preparing for meeting my team of undergraduate research assistants on The Black Girl YouTube Project.  It has me rethinking this notion of “ownership” of one’s body as a woman over 40 and for the future women I write about — black girls.

Miss Jackson, If You’re Nasty

I can’t understand human curiosity — controversy
Was it good for you? was I what you wanted me to be? — controversy

- Prince Rogers Nelson

Janet Jackson

The first was an image of megastar Janet Jackson owning her beautiful abs and skin, a pleasant smile, standing shirtless in front of a mirror at 47. Good black don’t crack, as they say.

With her sculpted abs and breasts exposed, the nudity of her nipples is shrouded only by the stripes of her black suspenders. Her left hand grips one side while her right hand is positioned along the “V” of  her parted zipper. It’s a subtle peek-a-boo view helping us imagine what lies below. It’s sensual not erotic (or maybe you can’t tell the difference anymore) but my concern lately is how public these images are as black girls, particularly those ages 8-15, are learning to mirror parts of these suggestive and too often explicit social realities online often as the primary means of learning their sociological imagination. But media still concerns itself way too often with unveiling female bodies.

Body Shaming and the “Face-Work” of Black Women’s Bodies?

The second image is related to my previous post in which I wrote about Erving Goffman’s “face-work” as applied to twerking.

“The image we portray of ourselves (our “face”) is constantly being negotiated, a process Goffman calls “face-work” (p. 12). And although the individual takes an active role in the presenting, preserving, and sometimes adjusting [of] her face [or 'batty-wuk' (body-work) in the case of many black girls], it is not an object of solo authorship….Face-work us a complex collaborative dance in which all participants and their every word, wink, gesture, posture, stance, glance and grunt take part” (Wesch, “YouTube and You,” 2010, p. 22).

body-shamingHere’s the image taken from PLUS Model Magazine’s October 2012 issue titled “Love My Body.” It mirrors my reality and yet perhaps I am conditioned, from the life-long body dysmorphic schisms of my own eye, not to dwell in liking this image too much. #icanownthat #icanownthatnow

The image started re-circulating via an October 1 post on the blog Simply Theresa. It’s a very empowering post that counters the body- or fat-shaming that is so easy to do in the “deep and loose” connections we call community engagement on Facebook or even YouTube (see the Wesch article above for more on this concept). Er’ybody knows how comments can send you into fight mode.

A Facebook friend I actually know who dates a good friend of mine IRL liked the blog post and image posted on Facebook, as did I. No fight here. She actually quoted from Simply Theresa’s post in her comment:

“Let’s be very clear my friends, I own my life, including my body.” Love it. Thanks.

I responded later:

While I love that quote and the idea, given the context of late capitalism’s patriarchal control over and in the bodies of girls and women from the media to governmental intrusion, structural inequities affecting our biology, it’s reception and uses even by our selves, (i.e. well being, cognitive development, gender identity expression, beauty, hair and nails, weight, dance, mobility, sex, sensuality and sexuality not to me too race, class and other intersectionalities concerning embodiment have never been an object or an act of solo authorship.

Yesterday, it was Janet Jackson “owning” her body in social media’s most public public of all times. While I do think this is beautiful and artistic, I also know the symbolic domination of media [surrounding] girls concerns me today. Black girls who suffer some of the highest rates of various forms if abuse and obesity. As I do [conduct] my Black Girl YouTube Project it’s been in my mind a lot.

 

Beyond Solo Authorship and IRL Issues

Many black and non-black women like Madonna performing into of a camera(or cameras with the invasion of mobile-casting at public events), behind a microphone, in a recording studio or on a major stage as well as those perceiving and receiving such communication, lay claim to be owning their own bodies in our highly public, ultra socially-mediate technoscape and economy. Perhaps the use of that word is not the best to convey controlling one’s image more or less to varying degrees given specific times and places.

Can we and should we– esp. women in post industrial societies — relate to the female body as something we own like an object or something that can be owned by image making machinery? Let me provide a real-world example. This is the kind of languaging one can find in online dating interactions today in, for instance, an exchange for sex from a hetero- man to a woman:

About sex. Yes I expect it. I want you to have a mildly submissive role in that I do not want you to make me earn it. I want clarity in that your pussy belongs to me.

The meaning of the text may change if the person voicing their needs is white and wealthy or black and lower-middle class, let’s say. The metaphors we transact in around our body, sex and the issues of power it raises make matters even more complicated for black girls coming of age with popular hip-hop videos and social media.

All this got me thinking about other linguistic uses of own and owning.

 

Language Shapes Thought

As a descendant of a slave “owning” empire and economy, and as a ethnographic scholar of immaterial and embodied culture and sociologies, I realize more and more that sole authorship over the self is an illusion of our ego. Paradoxically it’s the primary “thing,” the immediate means we have and use to do the biological, cognitive, intellectual, linguistic, and social transactions of being alive and living. It’s the tool we use to make our way, to organize our lives, being male and female, straight or transgendered, in being empowered and resisting not being that.

So, yes, we do possess the benefits of that work and action–the mental and physical labor, but we are not sole owners of that labor/process or nor even the sole author of the product. The best we can do these days is lay claim to the distribution these days. Or so it seems.

We simply refuse to consider that we–let me speak for myself–that I belong to no one and everyone. I think the same is true for you.  The paradox I am entertaining in this post (I am a lover of paradox), is that we own nothing about our “self” wholly and yet we must own everything as well as the voice that calls from within our body and learn to be true to that in an indifferent ecology not for us and not for any of us, per se.

 

THE CURIOUS QUESTION TO OWN:

To what do we owe the pleasure and/or the suffering of all this is the question today, and what responsibility or at least accountability do we owe young girls and their future in this socially-mediated world?

I’m just getting started in this inquiry but would love to hear your thoughts and counter-thoughts! If you like, please follow us.  I’ll be updating next week with our vlog introducing the team for the Black Girl YouTube Project.

Stay tuned!

 

“Ownership breeds slavery: with every single thing that you acquire, comes a new worry of not losing that thing.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

The Black Girl YouTube Project Begins

I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” … at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.” 
― Audre Lorde

This fall I am teaching an Anthropological Analysis course for the first time in the department of Sociology and Anthropology at Baruch College-CUNY. I decided to use this process as a working group focusing on my latest research — black girls, explicit hip-hop videos and YouTube. I recently completed a chapter for the book Remixing Change: Hip-Hop and Obama titled “YouTube, Bad Bitches and a M.I.C. (mom-in-chief): Hip-Hop’s Seduction of Girls and the Distortion of Participatory Culture” edited by my great colleagues and friends Travis Lars Goma and Erik Nielson for a forthcoming publication by Oxford University Press. 

I did so much research and data collection that I realized I had the makings of a book. So ANT4800 Anthropological Analysis seemed a perfect realm to continue my research and empower and educate undergraduate students taking a capstone course how to conduct and apply anthropology’s distinctive research strategy — ethnography — to the intersectionalities of real-world politics including domestic race and gender issues to social media publicness and privacy to the globalization of mediated identities and culture. 

 

In our 5th week of collaborative study, we begin creating our own YouTube videos as participant-observation and collecting user-generated content for what I am calling simply the Black Girl YouTube Project. With 18 female and male students from various ethnic and national backgrounds from Bangladesh to Barbados in the course, we will collect data on YouTube videos via a Google Docs form that generates a spreadsheet of our data (which we will soon share). We will also be collecting data from the relatively new YouTube Trends Map and Dashboard

We will use the collected data to analyze the field of our study and ultimately create our own ethnography or anthropological introduction to black girls on YouTube before the semester ends. Hope you’ll follow our discoveries.


SPECIFICS OUR OUR YOUTUBE STUDY

Simply put, we are exploring digital ethnography, social media, and the identity construction and socialization of adoloscent black girls ages 13-17. The participatory culture or user-generated context of YouTube is our field of study. We will examine black girls’ user-generated content (twerking videos, blogs, memes, gifs, and more) and other re-presentations and/or mediations of or about black female embodied identity including representations inferred by VEVO’s always-on explicit hip-hop videos that include immersive advertising for liquor and other products including the strip club scenes.

This collaborative study involving myself and 18 undergraduate research assistants is unique at a college like Baruch better known for collaborative work in the Zicklin School of Business within our institution. Our model of ethnographic social science comes from the previous digital ethnography of YouTube by former U.S. Professor of the Year and KSU distinguished prof Michael Wesch known for his Anthropological Introduction to YouTube uploaded July 26, 2008 that has over 1.9 million views to date. His incredible research still resonates as does similar research by social network expert Professor danah boyd whose work on teens touches significantly on matters of gender and race but still too little research exists in this realm. Just search work in sociology, anthropology and ethnomusicology and see what you find on black girls in this digitally mediated age. It’s revealing but there’s little ethnographic research relative to social media and social networks yet.

I just found a great article by Dionne Stephens and Layli Phillips titled “Freaks, Gold Diggers, Divas, and Dykes” in Sexuality and Culture 7/1 on adolescent African American women’s sexual scripts that will be very useful to educating students in the group. This is not a light subject to take on in a classroom setting. It’s complicated. 

 

NEW BODY OF RESEARCH

This is a new line of research following my previous scholarship and award-winning book on the popular offline social play of girls called The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double Dutch to Hip-Hop.  Handclapping games, cheers and double-dutch jump rope and the rhymed chants and embodied percussive play are in decay and the rise of social media online and mobile devices contributed to its decay as  African Americans are the fast-growing mobile devices users in the U.S. and yet black girls represent the demographic with the highest rates of obesity which I discovered from examining the fight to end childhood obesity around FLOTUS Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. Studying black girls online is a natural extension of my social media participation and presence since 2007.

In 2011, I was one of six finalists for Nokia’s Special Connecting People Shorty Award along with Amanda Palmer (of “The Art of Asking” TED Talk fame). We both lost to a school librarian in Iowa which speaks to the real power of participatory social media today.  But teen black girls on YouTube are “winning” on YouTube for all the wrong reasons if you asked me some days. 

BATTY-WUK AS FACE-WORK

The team of our Black Girls YouTube Project will be specifically studying twerking through first-hand personal study on YouTube rather than simply the firestorm of recent events sparked by Miley Cyrus in the blogosphere. We will track and analyze user-generated content including vlogs by or about black girls reflecting on the meanings of their symbolic, embodied behavior. Said another way, how do we understand their body work as “face-work” (following the sociologist Erving Goffman’s 1967 study). As social beings, we all do “face-work” — performing social calculations that involve evaluating situations and the context(s) of our audience(s) while also evaluating our own selves and how that self fits into a situation(s). “The image we portray of ourselves (our “face”) is constantly being negotiated, a process Goffman calls “face-work” (p. 12). And although the individual takes an active role in the presenting, preserving, and sometimes adjusting [of] her face [or 'batty-wuk' (body-work) in the case of many black girls], it is not an object of solo authorship….Face-work us a complex collaborative dance in which all participants and their every word, wink, gesture, posture, stance, glance and grunt take part” (Michael Wesch, “YouTube and You,” 2010, p. 22).

So how do we provide a richer ethnographic context to the stereotypical views of black girls in a social media vlogosphere that tends to play on 1) racial and gender stereotypes of low-class, loud and angry black females, 2) negative perceptions of social media as well as debased popular “views” or view counts that do not always reflect their perceived reality, and the influence of commercially mediated images of black female-ness by the lyrical blow jobs of VEVO music videos featuring popular rap artists from Lil Wayne to Nicki Minaj?

 

A CURIOUS CONNECTION FOR THE CURIOUS WHO QUESTION

Ultimately, we will ask:

How do we and how can we learn to understand the complex sociological dance and the “face-work” of a black girls’ life-world on YouTube and in the context-collapse of today’s socially-mediated public culture?

Transformation Isn’t an Object

Image

I remember Mr. Bartlett.  In biology class he discusses the transformation of caterpillar into butterfly.  “What’s the process that goes on inside a cocoon?” he asks.  “Has anyone ever seen a picture of the insect at the halfway point between caterpillar and butterfly?  Does anyone know what it looks like?”  No one has or does.  The next week, Mr. Bartlett finds a cocoon in the woods and brings it to the classroom.  We crowd around as he takes a razor blade and neatly slices it in two.  The cocoon looks empty.

“There’s nothing in there,” says one of the kids.

“Oh, it’s in there,” says Mr. Bartlett.  “It just doesn’t have a shape right now.  The living, organic material is spun right into the cocoon.  Caterpillar is gone; butterfly is yet to come.”  We stare in wonder.

“Real transformation,” says Mr. Bartlett, “means giving up one form before you have another.  It requires the willingness to be nothing for a while.”

From Too Much Is Not Enough, by Orson Bean, Chapter II, Page 33.

“The stories th…

“The stories that unfold in the space of a writer’s study, the objects chosen to watch over a desk, the books selected to sit on the shelves, all weave a web of echoes and reflections of meanings and affections, that lend a visitor the illusion that something of the owner of this space lives on between these walls, even if the owner is no more.”

― Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night