Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Commercial vs Non commercial

Whats going on followers I am coming through with a fresh topic straight from my dome.

So two days ago I was conversing with a friend about an activity we share which is break dancing. I expressed my view about movies such as You Got Served and Step Up and how the commercialization of break dancing through movies has had an overall positive effect on breaking because it has exposed others to the art. On the contrary, my friend retaliated by saying that commercialization has a detrimental effect on breaking. He elaborated by illustrating different ways that break dancing's rawness is dissipating as a result of commercialization. Primarily he said that due to the portrayal of breaking in these films everybody thinks that breaking is consists of just spinning on your head. In addition he mentioned that the art is not preserved in its original nature when it is commercialized. He also articulated that through commercialization people forget about the history and the foundation of breaking.

Upon further discussion, I came to the realization that it is a double edged sword. Commercialization has its pros and cons indeed. Although commercialization can introduce the world to a genre or form of art (like breaking) that is scarcely known, it can have significant disadvantages. The main disadvantages emanate from the market values such as egotism, glamorization, sex, violence, pleasure, dishonesty, and/or exaggeration. While break dancing is being exploited by the media the purity and essence of the art form is being tainted! Non market values such as love, sacrifice, authenticity, camaraderie, compassion, and most importantly integrity are being replaced by market values. Well what does this all mean in terms of breaking being commercialized. This means that commercialization can play a positive role in the evolution of break dancing because it will expose the world to the brilliant art of break dancing and other cultures will cause it to expand by infusing their own elements into breaking. If it wasn't for "Beat Street" or "Wild Style' breaking would not have reached the next level.

However, here is a caveat: if "breaking" does not limit commercialization it will become difficult to stay true to the art and preserve its genuineness. Shows like So You Think You Can Dance and America's Best Dance Crew have brought breaking to the forefront so the world can see the beautiful form of expression that began in the urban areas of New York City and then disseminated around the globe. But they have also distorted the authenticity of the art form by omitting the original elements such as toprocking, six step, and beat rocking. These elements are superseded by the "flashy" moves like airflares and flips. Whenever the media takes control of an art like visual art, dance, music, or poetry it tends to distort it and make it all about 'shock value" and focus on the "ooohhs and aaahhs" rather than staying true to the art. Media does allow the art of breaking to grow and evolve; we all know that if something doesn't grow then it will die. Moreover commercialization gives bboys an opportunity to earn a sustainable income which would otherwise not be possible. On one hand its a positive thing for breaking but it also has the potential to destroy the art's true nature. Ultimately, love, sacrifice, camaraderie, and authenticity are forces that must trump egotism, glamorization, dishonesty, pleasure and sex if the art is to be preserved.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beyond Race

Hey there guys Im back again with my little thoughts hehe! Read below to get into the mind of Alex

This past weekend I visited my cousin at her college in Connecticut where she is doing summer research. There I met my cousin's roomate's boyfriend. When my cousin first introduced me to him, he appeared to be genuinely interested in who I was; he seemed outgoing and open minded. My intuition led me right, as I got to know him I discovered that is his ethnicity was a mixture of European countries. During our conversation he told me that his mom had just earned her PHD in architecture from Brown University.

We exchanged thoughts, ideas, and interests; I eventually found out we had a lot in common. He liked basketball, rap, and urban culture. We even shared favorite books. Despite our difference in racial background and possibly social class we were able to reach common ground!

I want to illustrate this point with hopes of demonstrating that we can connect with people with whom we never imagined ourselves connecting. I say this because while I am an open minded individual for the longest time I thought the deepest connections I could make were only within my race.

Meeting different people in various circles has allowed me to broaden my social horizons. Although I have love for my ethnicity I have been enlightened by the relationships I have built with people of varying racial and socio-economic backgrounds. These experiences have been insightful and have made me a better individual! I am grateful to the creator for these experiences.

Dont Judge a book by its cover 2

In some scenarios we tend to judge people by the school they attend or their particular profession. For example you may see a prostitute offering you her service who may seem like she enjoys selling her body. Well the true matter of the fact is that her first sexual encounter was when she was abused as a young girl and she perpetuates the vicious cycle through frivolous sexual contact. As a result of her previous sexual abuse her self esteem is low and she continues to allow herself to be abused because it is the only way she knows how to deal with this traumatic experience. In another very different but less devastating scenario there may be somebody who attends Harvard and appears to be very intelligent. The real story is that he is a "C" student in high school with mediocre SATS who's father and grandfather went to the same school. Since he was a legacy, the admissions committed gave him a conditional acceptance.

As you can see, looks can be quite deceiving whether its at a superficial level like what somebody's profession is or at a profound level like why a woman chooses to sell her body. Life is very ironic like that I guess. Sometimes we as humans classify and generalize way beyond what is ordained, we never know who somebody really is nor what they have been through, so let us read a couple of pages before we judge a book by its cover.

Dont judge a book by its cover 1

In life there is one fatal mistake that most of us make and that is judging a book by its cover. Assumptions and preconceived notions can consume our thoughts when we first meet new people. However, those thoughts can be challenged. I must admit abstaining from preconceived notions is extremely difficult especially within a society that puts labels on everybody. These social classifications can inhibit our interpersonal relationships. What you will find is that preconceived notions are usually false perceptions of individuals.

A real life scenario of falsely judging a book by its cover is somebody who has tattoos, wears his pants below his waist, and works at a local Bodega but is perceived to be a criminal. This young man actually turns out to be a lawyer. Then there is a scenario of a woman who dresses appropriately (in a blouse an dress pants) and whose daytime profession is actually drug dealing. Here we see that one's apparel can be quite misleading in regards to judging one's character. Another common example regarding clothing is a girl who dresses provocatively and is perceived to be promiscuous but is actually a virgin.

Another feature of an individual that can be misleading is somebody's place of residence. For instance let's say you meet an older white male who is part of a country club, wears brand name clothing, and speaks with a refined suburban accent. At first glance it may seem like he may be a Westchester County resident or reside in Greenwich Connecticut but he is actually a resident from inner city Philadelphia. On the contrary there may be a young black male who speaks in slang rather than proper English, wears plain clothing, hangs out in a Bronx park where he plays basketball during his leisurely time. This guy may appear to be from the Bronx but actually lives in Bronxville, New York.