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Text Review – HNDRXX by Future

HNDRXX is the sixth studio album by American musician Future. It was released on February 24th, 2017. After going on a year-long hiatus from releasing a solo album or mixtape (which was significantly long from the man who released eight solo projects in 2 years), Future returned on February 17th, 2017 and released his self-titled album FUTURE, and released HNDRXX the following week

Future is a hot topic in pop culture and has had his fair share of controversy, mostly based on how his fiancee Ciara broke up with him, and how he became addicted to drugs and became a womanizer instead of properly healing. This toxic masculinity became a part of his persona, which helped propel him to mainstream fame.

FUTURE aligned with the rest of Future’s catalogue and was rap-heavy with familiar topics from him such as his life as a criminal before becoming famous, taking and selling drugs, and a LOT of details about his misogynistic lifestyle. This album however was one of his strongest, and had a huge impact on both the rap community and music community in general. Fans and haters alike were buzzing about how strongly he returned. About 5 days after the release of FUTURE, he then announces that he is releasing another album titled HNDRXX in 2 days through an interview where he states that he is “opening up and letting it all out” on this album.

HNDRXX did not steer away from this statement, as we see Future decide to take a path that is not common for rappers, or for Black men in general; showing vulnerability. Future uses pop and R&B-heavy instrumentals to express his feelings and his struggles with his own identity. He opens up to the world about how that break-up combined with his past and his current fame has turned him into the monster that he is, and then ends off the album with him having to live with this identity, and then choosing to bittersweetly embrace it. 

This album is nothing short of a masterpiece in my opinion and critics alike. All the aspects around its release, like releasing your biggest album a week before and then stating it is a prequel, and then the content of the album itself helped cement it as one of the biggest hip hop moments of the decade. Future wants the world to see life from his perspective, and he does a great job at this by showing the listener his struggles and taking pride in the fact that he is human, a fact that a lot of celebrities try to dismiss from their persona. 

Text Review Assignment

In the horror/thriller film 10 Cloverfield Lane, all identity, power and injustice issues are present. This hard- to-watch movie about probable kidnapping and impending revelation of an alien race includes a complex delivery of a power structure many do not have the guts to view. Main character Michelle becomes “saved”, according to Howard (Michelles highly likely kidnapper), from an impending attack on the world as we know it. Michelle becomes held in a cell as she wonders for a period of days and even weeks if she is actually being kept safe, or if she has been successfully kidnapped. To preface, I believe that each of issues that will be explained can refer back to the idea of the Subaltern being placed on the woman by man. Consider these issues brought up and self-asses.

To better split up the explanation of these issues portrayed in the film, I am going to give each section a header with said issue:

Identity – An idea that I believe is innately tied in with the idea of naming and oppressing a Subaltern. A belief of identity (whether this is known consciously or sub-consciously). In this movie, it is evident that the woman is viewed by the man as “needing to be saved”. Later in the movie, they are playing charades with the word being “woman” and all Howard can think of is words like ‘girl’, ‘Princess’ and such as he is looking right at Michelle.

Power – In this movie, verbal (screaming), physical (throwing around and shooting of guns) is used to put this woman in her place from the mans perspective. There is also an operative manner to this power as he is threatening her about how she must stay.

Injustice –  As Michelle realizes that Howard is definitely kidnapping her, Howard begins to increase his tacticts. Expressing to her how they will be “family” and even using force such as telling her he will throw her in human flesh eating acid!

This movie brings the viewer into an intimate position with situation at hand. As Michelle is wondering about getting kidnapped, we are as well; even when we see it unravel before our eyes…

Text Review – Glory Road (N. Gorbach)

The text I decided to write about is the movie Glory Road. This is a historical movie about the Texas Western basketball team that went on an incredible journey to win its first and only NCAA National Championship. The movie was set during the 1960s when there was still great tension between Whites and African Americans. Throughout the movie, different scenes show the injustice and inter-cultural relationships surrounding racial issues.

The reason this movie is applicable to write about is because this basketball team was the first to team to have an all-African American starting five. The movie does a great job showing the racial injustice that was going on. Teams would boo and throw popcorn and drinks at the players as they came out of the tunnel. They would arrive back to their hotels with their clothes messed with and have the words “Negros” painted in red coloring on their walls. One player was assaulted in a bathroom by a couple other white men. They were treated poorly and looked at different just because of their skin, it did not matter if they were good at basketball. The beginning of the movie showed the racial tension among the African American and Caucasian teammates. However, throughout the movie they become brothers and learn of each other’s cultures and the racial tension was no longer there.

The scene below shows how one African American player “Bobby Jo” felt about being an African American playing basketball in what was perceived at the time to be a “White Man’s Game.” He described as being a “Negro token who would just sit at the end of the bench.” However, Don Haskins, the coach described to him how he did not see color and only saw “quick and skill.” He was a progressive coach who would put the best players on the court regardless of color and his own reputation being questioned.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZZS2IwzMFU

This last scene portrays the coach giving a final pep talk to his team before the National Championship. He describes what other coaches think of when they talk about winning teams and what the players have heard the entire life. He tells the players he is only playing the African American players in the final game to put a stop to the racial injustice they have been playing against their entire life. This moment is when they make history and become the first team to ever have all- African Americans in their starting lineup. While the white players are devastated, they realize that this game is bigger than just basketball, they understand its their fellow teammates livelihoods at stake, and this is the perfect opportunity to change the narrative.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-u8aMoDLbI

Overall, this movie should be a must watch for everyone! It shows the racial divide in America but shows how people can overcome this injustice through sports and through one common goal, the goal to win.

 

 

Text Review – Molly’s Game

Molly’s Game is a crime drama movie which shows gender roles and sexism, and is based on a memoir book. The main character used to work for a guy who was mean and controlling so she decided to start hosting her own poker games with the men she met while hosting them for him. She became very successful and lived a glamorous life until high clients weren’t able to pay up the money they were gambling and everything started falling apart until the FBI stormed her place in the middle of the night.

Molly was always putting up with rich men making inappropriate comments towards her and not taking her seriously because she was a woman even though she ran the world’s most exclusive game to join. The men took advantage of her by buying in too much even when they knew they couldn’t pay it, and I think if it were a man they would not disrespect him or screw him over as much. She was a kind woman who got pushed around by the power and success of these men who were used to getting everything they wanted. The sexism here was obvious and anybody watching would know the male dominance was rooted in all of them ganging up unknowingly to make her feel less than her worth. 

In our class, we learned about the Master Slave Dialect and that comes into play with this movie. The men were rich and bought themselves into this game or weaseled their way in from knowing the right people. “Now, ‘to recognize’ him thus is ‘to recognize’ him as his Master and to recognize himself and to be recognized as the Master’s Slave” (Hegal, 8). Molly realized how she was being treated and it was clear when she was caught. She had the opportunity to exploit all the famous athletes, businessmen, and Russian mobs but she decided to protect them rather than have it help her case. 

From what you’ve learned in my Text Review, how do you think strong women entrepreneurs can stand up to the long history of male dominated business relationships? Does this movie intrigue you and for what reason? The sexism and learning opportunity, the successful game she created before being taken down, or the way she chose to take the Slave role when not giving up names in court?

Text Review – A Look Into Othering and Identity in “Pocahontas”

Disney’s Pocahontas is yet another classic tale of star-crossed lovers. Our two main characters are Pocahontas, a young Powhatan woman, and John Smith, an Anglo-Saxon man settling upon the new America. The two identify with groups that are seen as opposites to each other and have inverse motives. The movie harps heavily on themes of othering and identity through the two’s struggle to be together, making this children’s film suitable for any age with its bold message.

               In the movie, the song Savages is sung after John Smith is captured as prisoner by the Powhatans and is performed by both groups. While preparing for war with each other, the settlers sing about how the Powhatans are “savages,” and “barely even human.” Once this verse is over, the scene transfers to the Powhatans singing the same lyrics of “they’re different from us which means they can’t be trusted.” Both sides take part in othering, and for the same reasons. The Powhatans and settlers diminish each other to dangerous, heartless animals who cannot be trusted. While the singing of violence and hatred continues though, Pocahontas sings a counterpart about her hopes for peace and prosperity between the two groups. She is able to see through their differences and is an advocate for peace through the whole thing, to which she is always ignored for being young.

Original Pocahontas Actress Responds To The Movie's Controversial 'Savages'  Song - CINEMABLEND

The reason for this war is directly caused by their uncontrollable differences. The colonist’s leader states multiple times throughout the movie sentiments like “that’s what you get when races are diverse,” and inversely by the leaders of the Powhatans saying “they’re different from us which means they can’t be trusted.” Both sides were guilty of marginalizing each other which led to war and conflict.

While the Powhatans and colonists had super charged opinions of each other, Pocahontas and John Smith did not. They both saw through each other’s differences and saw the human inside unlike the rest of the members of their groups. The two wanted to be together but knew that they could not betray their own people, and so throughout the film we see the two struggles with their identity. They want to love each other but know that they must be loyal to their families.

Irene Bedard is Pocahontas Animated with John Smith 8 x 10 Inch Photo at  Amazon's Entertainment Collectibles Store

The two main characters go through huge identity crisis during the story while their peers other their lover’s types. Pocahontas and John Smith want to stay together because they know that their leaders’ thoughts on the other are unjustified and untrue. Pocahontas is a great story of two people struggling to stay with their perceived identities and overcoming othering of their peers. The themes of identity and othering are always on the forefront and leave viewers of all ages thinking about their enemies and themselves.

 

Text Review – Battle of Algiers (A. Djouadi)

For a while, the world seemed to be divided between the colonizer and colonized. The Battle of Algiers Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo and released in 1967 is a film dedicated to exploring the relationship between the colonized Algerians and colonizing force of France. The film chronicles the missions led by Algerian guerilla fighters against the French population living among them. Despite the Algerian and French populations living within the same city, Algiers, the difference between their conditions is stark. French population can move freely, clad in their Western clothing and driving their expensive cars while the Algerian population is faced with poverty and checkpoint after checkpoint, making them foreigners in their own city. The differences between the French and Algerian population is a major theme in the film and drives the story forwardThe Battle of Algiers (1966) Movie Poster – My Hot Posters

           The guerilla fighters consist of women and men carrying out missions for the FLN (Algerian Liberation Front) in an effort to break the French and expel them from their city and country. One of the most profound aspects of this film is its ability to make the viewer constantly question their idea of justice and how far they’re willing to go. The guerilla fighters often harmed “innocent” people that were a part of the French population but it’s up to the viewer to decide if it was justified or not. Justice is often not black and white as we’ve seen in past literature and films and this film, in particular, continues to build our understanding of justice. 

           Identity is a major theme of this movie, but so is the fluidity of culture. The women in this movie are often seen oscillating between wearing their traditional Algerian clothing and French clothing to blend in. The women are treated very differently by the occupying force based on how they are dressed. This ability to move between “Eastern” and “Western” urges the viewer to question whether the cultures are separated by a hardline or a more fluid barrier. Bhabha’s analysis of culture and the clash of cultures adds on another layer of complexity and understanding.The Battle of Algiers (1966) | BFI

           As outsiders, our sympathies usually lie with the underdogs of the situation, but these underdogs are by no means saints. The Battle of Algiers urges us to question our sympathies and our notion of justice. 

Text Review Glee Season 2- Maggie McCarter

The TV series Glee is a show I would recommend. This show aired from 2009-2015 and portrays a great deal of concepts that we have covered in this class and was one of the first shows to do so in its time. The entire series focuses on a high school show choir called The New Directions and how each individual member learns to navigate high school. You see characters from different ethnicities, religious affiliations, sexual identities, and economic statuses being represented in the show as well.

Season 2 in my opinion, portrays the concepts we have learned the most. During season 2, we see a character named Kurt come out as gay. This leads to the New Directions fighting masculine expectations to look out for their team member and friend. In the high school where the characters attend, belonging to the LGBTQ+ community is not talked about and is seen as abnormal. Kurt is definitely “Othered” for coming out as gay. He is bullied and is even threatened for his sexuality. It is quite clear that the other community members think of his sexuality as foreign as he is the only openly gay kid at his school and is voted prom queen as a humiliating school prank.

There is also a great deal of power dynamics that are portrayed during this season as well. The members of the football team have the most power at the school because of their popularity. The glee club members are often bullied by the football players and receive more school funding and often have to get permission from the football team to use school resources. This reminds me of the Master-Slave dialect because the glee club members are rendered powerless at their school due to their lack of popularity. Overall, this show does a great job at challenging systemic injustices within our school systems!

Text Review – Grey’s Anatomy Season 17

Grey’s Anatomy is a fictional TV show depicting the social and hospital lives of doctors while addressing societal issues. In season 17 of Grey’s Anatomy, the writers tackle the COVID-19 pandemic as it applies to the doctors, hospital, and patient populations featured in the show. Grey’s Anatomy has a historical past of approaching social justice issues and inequalities by writing them into the storyline of the doctors and the patients as they relate to health outcomes. In season 17, many of the patients and physicians on the show contract COVID and their experience with the virus and the struggles it presents in their lives represent the struggles many face in the real world.

The show showcases injustices that occur within healthcare and as a result of the virus. In the episode ‘Sorry Doesn’t Always Make it Right,’ one of the wealthy physicians volunteers in a testing tent and offers his credit card to pay for hotels for patients who test positive but live in group homes or are homeless. Although this seems generous, one of the interns informs him that this isn’t helpful to marginalized groups because they will have no where to go after their quarantine and his ability to pay full price for rooms represents his privilege in comparison to charity groups who were bargaining for cheaper rates in order to help these people. Here, issues of inequality are addressed – patients don’t have access to the social tools they need. Privilege in relation to power is also explored and creates a conversation about minority groups, the care they receive, and how outsiders view them. This very much relates to the concept of ‘other’ from our course. The show also addresses issues of racial injustice throughout the season based on police brutality and the shooting of a black man. This sparks a conversation amongst the doctors and forces them to question the system that affects their patients. The idea of inequality intersects as it explores race in relation to COVID and police brutality, showcasing differences between black and white patients and their outcomes.

The writers want us to check our own privilege and ask ourselves about our own acts: are they truly understanding of and helping fix the injustices that others face? They also prompt us to explore how injustices in social aspects of society impact areas of patient care and patient identity?

Text Review – Mulan

For this assignment, I decided to explore the film Mulan. This classic Disney movie takes place during the Han Dynasty in China, where the Chinese military is holding a draft in response to the Hun invasion. Under Han’s patriarchal rule, only men were fit to serve in the military. However, the only man in Mulan’s family was her ill father. In order to protect her father from being drafted, Mulan disguises herself as a man and goes off to train in the army.  Mulan risked a lot for her father, especially her life. If she was caught in war as a woman, that meant death.

Although the plot of this Disney love story doesn’t explicitly reveal a feminist stance, Mulans character highlights a heroic woman overcoming the social norms in her society. Throughout the film, the characters made obvious remarks deprecating the ability of women to help build an understanding of these gender roles during that time. Men were seen as stronger, more brave, and able individuals in terms of fighting, while women were seen as completely incapable of anything in this field. 

This movie hides gender inequality by conveying underlying messages of women inaptitude. Many of the songs in this movie reinforce female gender roles. One example is in the beginning of the movie when the song Bring Honor to Us All played. The lyrics of the song describe what it means to be an ideal woman in China. It contains lyrics that reveal that a men’s value if fighting while a women’s is reproduction. 

Mulan broke the gender roles in this film by not only proving that women have the same capability as the men do in the film, but by also exceeding the expectation by saving the emperor and the city from the invaders. Mulan was no longer incentivised by her father, rather for herself, to prove that she was more than just a housewife. 

Text Review: Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop

Counting on Grace: Winthrop, Elizabeth: 9780553487831: Amazon.com: Books

In the novel Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop, Grace is a 12-year-old girl who must drop out of school to work as a doffer in the mill where her mother works, replacing bobbins when they become full. Grace’s friend Arthur desperately wants to leave the mill, and the two write to the Child Labor Board about the factory conditions they work in. Lewis Hine, a photojournalist, is sent to document the children and befriends Grace. While the writing style is geared towards younger readers, perhaps around middle school age, the themes of the novel fit well with our course concepts. Grace and many other children she knows are from immigrant families and are forced to work dangerous factory jobs to survive. The novel is centered around the depiction of immigrants and children as subaltern. They are forced into dangerous working conditions with no voice or power to improve those conditions. The novel is heartbreaking and eye opening. While child labor exploitation is not an issue we think about in the US very often, it is still a common practice across the world. This injustice is something no children should have to face, and Grace’s story is a compelling argument for why children and adults alike should not have to turn to risky and grueling labor with meager wages to survive. The narration from the viewpoint of a child reminds me of the beginning of Persepolis as young Marji attempts to make sense of the world around her. I think Winthrop sought to inspire conversation in a younger audience about what just labor laws are, how they can come about, and how those in a position of power can use their privilege to help others who need it, such as Lewis Hines using his photojournalism influence to spread the story of the mill and Miss Lesley, Grace’s teacher, using her influence to encourage Grace and Arthur to contact the Child Labor Board. Overall, the novel is full of hope and does a phenomenal job of weaving Grace’s fictional tale with the historical component of child and immigrant labor exploitation in the United States.