Transnational Music

Music is a big part of identity, and is used everywhere by almost all people as a way of expressing themselves. Whether that be through listening to it, or making it, people can all find some use for it. Different genres of music are often adapted by people of different cultures, though, if the right steps aren’t taken, this can have disastrous results. Three main concepts which demonstrate this concept are:

Hybridisation – The process by which a cultural element blends into another culture by modifying the element to fit cultural norms (Bell, 2019).

Cultural Appropriation – the ways people adopt or adapt an aspect of another’s culture and make it their own (Heyd, 2003; Hladki, 1994). Appropriation can become an issue when people gain from using the culture whilst condemning or shaming it.

Cultural Appreciation – Appreciation is the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something (Oxford Dictionary). Therefore, Cultural Appreciation is the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of a culture.

Rap and Hip-Hop music are typically-Black genres of music which acts as an expression of identity. Rap Music often focuses on crime, sex, inequality and racism, as well as the daily lives of African-American teens, for example, the group N.W.A released their first studio album and song of the same name, Straight Outta Compton, in 1988, which deals with violence, particularly between rival gangs, especially the Bloods and Crips. The group rap about what they had to do to make it on the streets of California, as poor black teens in the 80’s. N.W.A and other groups developed rap as a way of expressing themselves and used it as “a process of collective self-definition” (Krims, 2019).

Cultural Appropriation is not an issue unless that which is being adopted is portrayed incorrectly or not appreciated. Cultural Appropriation should be done so with the permission from those who developed and created or have a claim to ownership of that which is being adopted, and not harm, disrespect or portray something incorrectly. For example, when creating rap music, people should avoid creating harmful representations.

In 2013, Miley Cyrus, who previously had a young, innocent persona, due to her role as Hannah Montana, released ’23’, a rap song which featured lyrics and themes of a much more mature nature, featuring vandalism, alcohol, and sex heavily. However, a few years later “She began to dislike the materialistic nature of hip-hop and its graphic sexual descriptions” (Mason, 2018). Cyrus denounced Rap music for its vulgarity, condemning the genre after it brought her success. In this instance, Cyrus’s condemning of Black Music after she used the culture to become mainstream and successful financially is an example of Cultural Appropriation rather than Appreciation.

Cultural Appropriation becomes an issue when people fail to recognise where that thing came from and respect its roots without defaming it. As a largely-Black genre of music, created as a form of Black identity, people of other ethnicities need to remain respectful and recognise that the elements they take from Rap do make up a large part of African-American identity, so to deface or condemn can be harmful, and should instead recognise and appreciate the style of music and where it came from.


Get Smart (2008)

Get Smart (2008) is a fun and exciting adaptation of the 1965 series of the same name, which manages to take everything that’s fun and enjoyable from the original and modernises it. The movie focuses on newly-promoted Agent Maxwell Smart (an instantly likeable, bumbling, clumsy parody of James Bond), and his sophisticated, competent partner, Agent 99, who work for CONTROL, as they work to prevent the evil organisation KAOS from detonating a bomb in Los Angeles.

A few key changes to the film help to differentiate it from the tv series, such as the changing the role of Agent 99 from an infatuated yet competent sidekick, to a competent spy who refuses to work with Max due to his inexperience, however, slowly, she begins to like Max, despite his clumsy and foolish nature. The addition of Agent 23 (played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) as well as the Chief (Alan Arkin) are extremely funny additions to the cast, providing plenty of dry humour as well as some touching and heartfelt scenes, and adding an interesting dynamic to Max and 99.

This movie changes just enough to modernise itself, whilst remaining faithful to the original, resulting in an extremely enjoyable watch. The film is a good watch for the whole family, with humour that people of all ages can enjoy, and is child-friendly.

Though it doesn’t offer the most thought-provoking storyline, it pays homage to the original series extremely well, whilst changing itself up just enough to suit a modern audience. I give this film a 7/10.

This film was made in Hollywood by Warner Bros. with filming taking place in Los Angeles. The film features a strong cast of Hollywood Actors such as Steve Carrell, Anne Hathaway, Alan Arkin and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who all help to sell this film.

The film is intended for American families, with parents who grew up watching the original series, with young children, who can all sit down and watch a movie together.

To fully understand the movie, one must have seen the original series and understood all the jokes and gimmicks the series uses. For example, in the final act of the film, Max steals a Sunbeam Tiger/Alpine and drives it to the Chief and 99’s location. He then calls them from his “ShoePhone”. Both are frequently used by Max in the original series, and their inclusion in the film provides a fun easter egg for fans of the original series.

I believe this reflects the Cultural Proximation Theory, as this is a remake of the original which many Americans grew up watching, and they would prefer to watch a remake of something they’re familiar and have fond memories of, rather than submit themselves to potential disappointment, by watching something from another part of the world. The film stars are also big names in American culture, whose works many Americans enjoy and the humour is a similar style to that which they are familiar with.


TV SHOW (me more)

For the past couple of months, I have been using my parent’s Netflix Account, binging tv shows late at night when everyone goes to bed. I’ve also watched Television since I was a child and so far, I have watched a vast array of shows including:

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine (5ish times)
  • Arrested Development
  • Big Mouth
  • The Inbetweeners
  • Gotham
  • Disenchantment
  • Young Justice (3 times)
  • Teen Titans Go!
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Justice League Unlimited
  • Batman the Brave and the Bold
  • Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
  • Batman 1966
  • Modern Family
  • Friends
  • NCIS
  • Arrow
  • Star Trek
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (twice)
  • And much more.

Most of these TV shows originate from the United States, and are available in multiple different countries. The amount of American shows and movies that are available online vastly outweighs all other countries amount, showing just how influential America is when it comes to the media.

According to Odyssey, there are multiple reasons a TV show succeeds (Dotson, 2016), including:

  1. A good television show starts with good characters.
  2. They contain a dynamic friend group.
  3. They make you feel like a connected member.
  4. You fight for the hero and support their development.
  5. You see their growth and encourage their maturing.
  6. You can quote and relate them to every situation.

Though these shows vary in terms of content, story lines, characters and problems faced, they all repeat these key steps, resulting in a captivating and enjoyable experience which enchants the audience and evokes a wider range of emotions.