Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Social Justice Event - Macklemore

For my social justice event, I attended the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis concert on campus. It was really awesome to see so many participate in an event on campus. I met some new friends and saw some old friends and it was a good night. I know that Tiff attended the concert too, and here is her blog. I will try to highlight different things so that it is not too repetitive. Let me give you some background on Macklemore…

Ben Haggerty grew up in Washington state and after high school got a bachelor’s degree from Evergreen State College. After earning his degree, Haggerty went to work for a program focusing on education and cultural identity called "Gateways for Incarcerated Youth" where he facilitated music workshops. He recorded Open Your Eyes in 2000, and was known as Professor Macklemore. Once he released his full length album titled, The Language of My World 2005, he got rid of "Professor" and went simply by Macklemore. Unlike other rappers, he tries to write songs about real issues that teens are dealing with. Here are some examples of his songs and how they relate to important things that we have covered in class…
White Privilege - Macklemore
Although we studied McIntosh's article "White Privilege" and it obviously has some similarities , I feel like this song most strongly connects to Johnson's "Privilege, Power and Difference".
"“…the reality of her having to deal with racism and sexism every day is connected to the reality that I don’t. I didn't have to do anything wrong for this to be true and neither did she. But there it is just the same (Johnson, Privilege, Power and Difference, 9).”
In this song, Macklemore is talking about how it is to be a white rapper, in a world dominated by African-American rappers.  He sings the lyrics, "And we don't want to admit that this is existing so scared to acknowledge the benefits of our white privilege"
Like Johnson suggests, Macklemore agrees that we need to name what our society is, we must say the words. We must acknowledge that some people's ethnicity equal mean power in our society, to change the outlook of how people see race and see differences.
 In this article Macklemore is interviewed on his music. The author of the article, along with many fans, believe he is changing the face of Hip Hop.  If you go down to the comment section of the article, there are some negative comments of people who do not believe he should be a rapper because of his race. In this situation, being white is seen as a negative thing, and he losses power in that aspect of the music world because he does not fit into the categories that the majority of rappers do. I feel that music is music, regardless of the race of the singer. I like different kinds of foods, foods that do not necessarily come from "white" countries. Should I not eat it because "my people" did not start making the dish? No! People would think that's absurd. So although rapping and rock and roll were started by the African American culture, I think anyone who would like to try making that style of music should.
Same Love - Macklemore
macklemore same love | Tumblr
I know that Tiff did this song too, but I can't help it. It's a song extremely relevant to the time and this class.  These lyrics jump out at me in particular.
"When I was in the third grade I thought that I was gay 'cause I could draw, my uncle was (gay), and I kept my room straight I told my mom tears rushing down my face. She's like "Ben you've loved girls since before pre-k tripping, " Yeah, I guess she had a point, didn't she? Bunch of stereotypes all in my head. I remember doing the math like, "Yeah, I'm good at little league"a preconceived idea of what it all meant for those that liked the same sex"
This reminds me of "Safe Spaces" and the videos we watched in class, as well as the discussion we had that week. We are all afraid to talk about it and ask questions, because it's so controversial or so foreign and we do not want to offend anyone. But it is important to be understanding and thoughtful about this topic. As Johnson would say, we must say the words. We have to get these stereotypes out of our society and we need to realize is that it is not a "choice" but a feeling. And that is what Macklemore protests in this song.
This MTV article discusses how rappers, like Macklemore and Jay-Z are bringing awareness and less homophobia to the Rapping world. This is excellent to see that celebrities who people look up to are speaking up and out, and stopping the wrongs of rappers in the past by creating a new standard of what is acceptable and right.
Thrift Shop - Macklemore
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This is probably Macklemore's most famous song. Although it is seen as a "fun" song, I feel that people have a special connection to it.
This song is about shopping at a thrift shop. Some of the lyrics are about how paying for a brand is ridiculous. It goes on to say that if you're paying a lot of money to impress other people, you're really not. This reminds me of  Christensen's "Unlearning the Myths that Bind us" and Orenstein's "Cinderella Ate my Daughter". Consumerism is a big problem in the United States. In schools, there's a war on who has the latest and greatest. Girls in particular seem to expect more, they believe that being pretty and fashionable will secure their future, although it probably won't. We need to break this cycle of consumerism and place importance on what is really important - being a well rounded, social aware person who sees beyond the exterior of others. When we think of thrift shops, we typically think that poor people have to shop there, and it has a negative image. When I was younger, my parents did not have extra money for clothing. My mom would go to the thrift store in our area and pick up clothing for our family. I was so embarrassed and I felt that everyone knew and made fun of me. Looking back, I know realize many of my friends were in similar situations, and they were not my friends for my clothing, but for my personality. It's nice that a star is rapping about things that everyone can relate to. It makes teens more comfortable in their own skin. Plus - recycling clothing and goods is good for our environment! :) Here is a link to show how goodwill sales have improved!
Macklemore is an advocate for societal change, and I believe it is in a good directions. He stands up for really great causes such as sobriety and marriage equality. He makes teens think about their choices and he tries to break down the wall against white rappers. I am happy I attended the event, as I had not been a fan beforehand.


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