Criticism Project

Music videos are an art form that many people take for granted, as they usually accompany an artist’s album rollout process and therefore are seen as an afterthought instead of a meticulously crafted form of expression. Some viewers just see them as pleasing visuals to a certain song, but others may be able to look deeper into the meaning and why the choices made in a video’s construction work with that specific song. Depending on a certain artist’s attention to detail and message he or she is attempting to relay to the public, music videos are able to portray an idea in a way that enhances the song it features. Rap music, specifically, has had a rough history with music videos. When many people think of rap music videos, they immediately think of drugs, sex, women, and money being flaunted across the screen, with a complete lack of substance. On the other hand, many music videos in modern rap music actually allow the audience to see a glimpse into the harsh realities that rappers face, and address issues such as activism and social justice. By using deconstruction, we can understand the choices behind these two contrasting visuals, where one is glamorizing the lives of rappers while the other is revealing the truth behind the facade. However, while it may seem on the surface that the socially aware videos are doing more to address a problem in society, the more crass videos say just as much about the problems of society by keeping silent on the issues themselves. In this criticism, we will analyze and deconstruct Childish Gambino’s video for “This is America,” Kendrick Lamar’s video for “Alright,” JAY-Z’s video for “The Story of O.J.,” which all have deep ties to the subjects of race relations in America, and the general discrepancies in how people of color are viewed and treated in a country that prides itself for being equal and accepting of all. All three of these videos share the pursuit of change, while revealing the hidden power hierarchies that are instituted in the current day.

 

The flawed relationship between what we see and what it actually means is extremely apparent in Childish Gambino’s video for “This is America.” The video displays the paradoxical realities of living as a person of color in America and, under the surface, shows how the media hides much of what is going on in black culture by glossing over key elements. The video begins with Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) dancing alone, approaching a black man who has a bag over his head. When the line “This is America” is spoken, Glover fires the gun at the man, killing him. The man is dragged away like garbage, while the gun is covered in a red towel. Even this first scene can be deconstructed, as the rhetorical choices here are deeper than what the audience initially sees. When diving into the symbolism, it can be argued that Glover is creating a narrative about black-on-black violence, and how the government would rather save its precious gun laws than to stop this violence from occurring. Glover shows the illogical aspect of this situation perfectly, as the man he shoots doesn’t even get the courtesy of being seen as anything more than an anonymous body, due to the bag over his head. This can also be related to how the media will cover stories where they barely feature the victim involved, if he or she is a person of color.

 

The next scene in the video that we will deconstruct is when Glover is dancing with uniformed school children behind him. They all share the same wide smiles, seemingly unfazed by any problems going on in the world. This is what Glover wants us to focus on, because that is what the mainstream media focuses on. In the background, however, chaos ensues. Behind the dancing children are riots, cars on fire, and cops chasing criminals. If we analyze this deeper, we can see a clear juxtaposition of how the media operates. Glover’s choice here insinuates that society doesn’t want to focus on the negative aspects, and choose not to document this mayhem. This in turn leads the public who aren’t exposed to discrimination and violence to believe everything is going well, because they have no reason to believe otherwise. Glover makes it a point to show that society ignores this reality with a short scene of teenagers glued to their cellphones while all the mayhem is occurring.

 

Donald Glover’s “This is America” deconstructs the belief that America is great just the way it is, and highlights real problems that need to be solved before we can actually progress as a society. With all the attention the video has gotten, Glover has opened up the minds of people who once may have been numb to what is really going on, and therefore succeeds in his attempt to completely reshape the idea of his country. While the video is extremely blunt and controversial, Donald Glover subtly gets a message across that wouldn’t be able to be heard in any other form. So much of the video’s depth is hidden in plain sight, which makes deconstructing it so impactful and positive to the pursuit of change.

 

The next video we will analyze is Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright.” This video specifically highlights police brutality against people of color, which is yet another issue that our society is still up against. Much of the video is based in Oakland, which is notorious for resistance between the police and people of color. The first scene from the video to deconstruct is towards the beginning, where Kendrick and his friends are riding in an old car, which is being carried by policemen. On the surface it may seem like Kendrick is being carried like a king, but when looking deeper it can be argued that actually, the imagery is alluding to the police being the people that will carry Kendrick to his grave. The car symbolizes a casket, and one of the officers that acts as a pallbearer is actually the one that fires at Lamar at the end of the video, killing him. This choice is haunting and sets up the video for more darkness along the way. The choice to overlay the entire video in black and white can be deconstructed to depict white and black races, but also and more importantly, the bleakness of the subject matter shown in the video. While the song is about Kendrick accepting depression and knowing in the end he will be “alright,” the fact of the matter is that there is a lot for Kendrick to be worried about.

 

The next aspect of the video to highlight are the scenes of Kendrick floating in the air throughout the video. The only time he isn’t floating is during scenes where he is on the ground with a large group of friends. In deconstructing this juxtaposition, it becomes clear that Kendrick uses this imagery to show that while he accepts that he is larger than life at this point in his career, he isn’t untouchable. He still remembers and values his upbringing and the reality that he is still connected to his roots in the streets. This deconstruction is valuable because Kendrick doesn’t want himself to appear as royalty, and therefore includes just enough glamour in his act to acknowledge how far he’s come without neglecting the progress that needs to be made in his community.

 

The final scene to be highlighted is at the end of the video, where Kendrick is standing on the top of a light pole, seemingly the king of the world. Out of nowhere, a policeman shoots Lamar down, causing him to fall to the concrete. On the surface, it is obviously a nod to police brutality, but when deconstructing the scene, it becomes clear that there is more. It shows that even Kendrick Lamar, one of the most prominent stars in modern music, is still subjected to the effects of police brutality. If Kendrick is able to be shot and killed so carelessly, is anybody safe? That is the message Kendrick is trying to make, and he does this excellently. While the song itself seems to be about accepting pain and knowing everything will be okay, the video heightens this to an extreme. Only through deconstruction we can see that what appears to be a video about Kendrick being a king is actually more about him coming to terms with the fact that fame and success doesn’t make him immune to the problems people of color suffer in their neighborhoods.

 

The final video to deconstruct is JAY-Z’s video for “The Story of O.J.” This video is entirely a cartoon, reminiscent of old Mickey Mouse cartoons. On the surface, the characters in the video appear to be fun looking cartoon characters, but by deconstructing the art here, we can see that many of the caricatures are based off of racist imagery from a pre-tolerant America. We can also relate this to Disney’s history of racism, and how JAY-Z doesn’t want the memory of that to be forgotten. If we dig deeper, JAY-Z’s choices here are intentionally saying that it doesn’t matter how successful a person of color is in America, as there is a limit to the representation they can have. He uses the character of O.J. Simpson not to show how positive the imagery is, but instead because O.J. liked to pretend his race didn’t affect him. JAY-Z is obviously not a fan of this sentiment, as he mocks O.J. in the video for denying his own heritage.

 

The video becomes a mini history lesson in itself, but without deconstructing it, the audience may see it as just a fun cartoon. One interesting aspect to deconstruct are the differences in character choice. Some of the characters look like minstrels, which is JAY-Z’s way of labeling the “faux” people. We can see this because the character design adheres to the stereotypes of people of color. On the other hand, the “real” people are drawn like black panthers, to show that the fight for equality must continue on. JAY-Z makes it clear to point out that while they share their differences, they are all the same and need to be on the same page about this. The entire video, when deconstructed, is aimed to show that people of color should not strive to enter white society or be so attracted to it, because social status does not mean one is allowed to forget where they came from. Due to its ties to Disney’s history of racism, it also generalizes America’s history of racism and makes a point to push for change. By deconstructing this video, we are able to see that JAY-Z isn’t falling for the lie that racism has been eradicated, and therefore holds a mirror up to society to show this.

 

Music videos are powerful tools in expressing ideas that a song may have trouble doing alone. Rap music in itself has always had ties to activism and social justice, but only in deconstructing its videos are we able to see how much is really left unsaid and unheard for people of color. Through Childish Gambino’s video which highlights the media’s lack of addressing real situations the black community faces, Kendrick Lamar’s video which paints police brutality in an incredibly haunting way, and JAY-Z’s video which shows that America’s institutionalized racism is still alive in many ways today, rap music clearly has a lot to criticize in today’s culture. So much is bubbling under the surface and by taking things at face value, society will never wake up. They need to deconstruct the messages rappers are sending out, in order to truly understand the hierarchies that are still in place, disabling real progress to be made.

Blog Post 5

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/06/caitlyn-jenner-bruce-cover-annie-leibovitz

While transgenderism has been in the public eye for quite some time, no one rhetorical artifact has as much weight as when Caitlin Jenner came out as transgender in 2015. It shocked the world, but in the best way possible. It opened up the eyes of society and bridged a gap that was extremely hostile beforehand. Queer theory is involved here, as it allows the “underground” culture to rise to the forefront of people’s minds. While the rights for gay and lesbian individuals have been pushed to the spotlight in the past few decades, the push for transgender rights really shifted when Caitlin came out. It showed the world that gender wasn’t something to neglect, and instead something to celebrate and explore deeply.

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Because queer theory revolves around the fact that gender is fluid, and one may feel a certain way for part of his or her life and then alter this perception, Caitlin’s transition makes perfect sense. It validates the theory, as she told Vanity Fair that “I’m not doing this to be interesting. I’m doing this to live.” This point is important because it breaks down the core of what queer theory argues. Sure, there is a performance aspect to it, but the performance is to display how incorrect society has framed people who feel/felt unheard. By Caitlin Jenner, a former olympian and reality tv star, coming out and telling the world that she felt uncomfortable in the body she was born in, it validates the feelings of people in the entire country who relate to her struggle. It also opens up queer theory to the general public, a public that may have dismissed transgenderism initially, due to not having any personal connection or awareness of the topic itself.

 

Another aspect of this rhetorical act to look at is hiding in plain sight, the fact that Caitlin chose to spell her name with a “C” instead of a “K,” like the rest of her family does. This choice speaks a lot on individualism, and Caitlin’s decision to align herself with something new. It is a redefinition of a sort, as she could have picked a name that didn’t sound similar to a “K” name, but she is showing a sense of willingness to align herself with what she feels closest with, while putting a spin on it. While the general public initially wasn’t sure how to react to Caitlin’s news, her decision clearly stirred the pot and allowed many people to question how they felt about the subject. While transgenderism and the LGBTQA movement are not fully respected or understood yet in today’s society, the progression of it is what will make it a success. Queer theory allows for a new reading of the world, and Caitlin Jenner’s transition signifies the beginning of this new interpretation of how gender and identities function in the world.

 

Article Review

Ever since video games started becoming more complex and much more realistic, violence in video games depicting realistic situations has been a big problem. This issue is more relevant now than it ever has been, due to the rise of mass shootings in today’s society. Many newspapers, websites, and television stations have reported that children who play video games that portray violence are likely to have thoughts of doing what the video games show. The news, parents, and many senators and other government officials believe that violent video games cause children to think in a more violent way. Karen Sternheimer’s journal article, “Do Video Games Kill?” poses this question while analyzing much of what the media and government policies are actually targeting when this statement is made.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/41802732

Sternheimer begins her article by discussing the video game Doom, released in 1993. It was one of the most popular shooters of its time, and therefore faced extreme amounts of controversy after multiple school shooters from the 1990s were linked with loving Doom. While this seems shocking at first, Sternheimer notes that “in the ten years following Doom’s release, homicide arrest rates fell by 77 percent among juveniles” (Sternheimer, 13). This introduces the author’s unbiased approach to the topic. Sternheimer continues to discuss the concept of “folk devils,” which are essentially groups coined by politicians to enact fear or worry to the general public. Violent video games in the early 2000s entered the list of “folk devils,” which spearheaded societal outcry. Early news articles about the dangers of violent video games refused to mention the shooter’s behavioral patterns, instead “suggesting that video games are a central cause” (15). Sternheimer shifts the focus to the media and how “young people are seen as passive media consumers, uniquely and uniformly vulnerable to media messages” (16). She argues that the media decontextualizes violence, disregarding outside factors from each individual’s life. Sternheimer’s main point is that violent video games should not be linked directly to violence in the youth, because so many factors apply to this broad statement. She states this by at first showing why society would believe the video games are linked to violence (due to media propaganda and generalizations), but then breaking down the background of where this argument came from in the first place. This is an excellent use of rhetoric methodology, specifically deconstruction.

 

Karen Sternheimer is a master of deconstruction. Almost every piece in her article can be argued to be using a form of deconstruction, based on the way she interprets information initially, and then flips it on its head to show what is behind the surface. For example, when discussing politicians who present legislation to focus on the effects of the media, Sternheimer argues that the general public sees this as a positive proposition. However, what Sternheimer points out through deconstruction is that this is propaganda in itself. The politicians presenting the legislation would rather make themselves seem like they want to protect the youth rather than tackle the real implications of violence. This reveals the ugly truth behind much of what is spewed on the media. While it may seem unbiased, there is almost always a string of persuasion aimed at a specific audience. Another example of this is when Sternheimer explains how the typical shooter is described. She claims that the media would portray convicted shooters as normal people who happened to play a lot of video games, which caused erratic tendencies. Sternheimer deconstructs this, by elaborating that the media’s ploy here is to decontextualize the violence. Instead of listing all the possibilities for someone to be violent (family violence, poverty, living situation), the media instead focuses on what is topical. This reveals that many times, a certain agenda is pushed regardless of if it is fully factual. According to Sternheimer, “news reports do not always use academic sources to assess the conclusiveness of media effects research” (15), but instead bring on less educated analysts who are better at stirring the pot and creating drama for the masses. While an ugly and unfair thing to do, without deconstructing the reasoning behind the withholding of information, we would all be blinded. Even the title “school shooter” is something Sternheimer chooses to deconstruct. The title puts an inconsistent label on all people who commit a crime of this weight, according to Sternheimer. It “constructs the white, middle-class shooters as victims of the power of video games, rather than fully culpable criminals” (17). This reveals the bleakness of crime, in a sense that people who were essentially destined to be criminals will do so, yet it has barely anything to do with the violence in their video games.  It is hard to argue this after Sternheimer’s deconstruction, because if he were wrong it would mean every child in America would be brainwashed to commit a terrible crime. The last aspect of Sternheimer’s method to mention is the concept of the “good” neighborhood. She analyzes how the media will always mention if a criminal came from a “good” neighborhood, because the audience should believe that is abnormal. Sternheimer disagrees by explaining that anyone, regardless of where they live, can have violent tendencies due to multiple other sources. Through Sternheimer’s methodology, it becomes obvious at the end of his article that there is a lot more to the violent video games debate than the media leads on.

This article shows how a concept that is so ingrained in the public’s head could actually be completely misperceived, all thanks to the language of the media. Some of Sternheimer’s points are able to shift public perception, like how a criminal from a “good” neighborhood shouldn’t be glorified any more than one from a “bad” neighborhood, and how the title “school shooter” puts all criminals into a box. This works because it does not judge the audience for seeing things a certain way beforehand, because that is what the media’s intentions are. Instead, through deconstruction, Sternheimer is able to open up these topics and elaborate on them to make them less dumbed down. At times, she seems a little too unbiased which creates a slight hole in the article. Because she wants to tell both sides, it is hard to determine where her truth lies. Overall, Sternheimer does an excellent job at criticising a national debate and flipping it on its head.

 

Blog Post 3 – Kanye West on SNL

Renowned rapper and fashion icon Kanye West is known for being bold and making statements that go against what the majority of society believes, but his most recent actions call for a deep analysis of the fantasy theme involved with his actions. Over the past few months, West has publicly announced his support for President Donald Trump, causing immense backlash from not only society, but his loyal fans. This has been bubbling up, and hit a breaking point when West performed on SNL a week ago. He ended his performance with a long speech about following one’s heart, but used the “Make America Great Again” hat as a tool to demonstrate this point. One could argue that his speech which centered around “trying love” has a dark hidden motive, which is to follow his political beliefs. It seems as if Kanye is unaware of this hidden motive himself, which is causing him to be blind to the constant hatred against him.

 

The achievement behind Kanye’s vision is that he was able to make a point on national television and explain to the world why he makes the decisions that he does. He does this by explaining that without the hat on, he is “controlled” by everyone around him, but with the hat, he feels like a superhero. He compares the hat to his “superman cape.” However, with this comes more distortion and deflection than he may have intended. The general consensus is not that Kanye is “free,” but actually that he is in need of actual facts, not a feeling. Kanye has a loyal following, and his statements only work because of this. Those who still support him are in a sense following a man who they feel is being bullied for being himself. Unfortunately, he has lost many fans because of this, some even going to lengths of burning his CDs, shoes, and clothing. The circulation of his statement has certainly divided many, spawning countless arguments online about his mental health and if he is forgetting his roots. However, along with that, this argument only strengthens the fact that Kanye is being himself, even if his “self” has seemed to take a 180.

 

The reason this situation is so intriguing is because in the past, Kanye has been known to support where he came from. In an infamous charity telethon in 2005, Kanye said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” disregarding the teleprompter. This is just one example of Kanye’s countless political statements on race issues. Because of this, his audience in 2018 is in shambles. West is challenging all cultural norms by supporting a man who, back in 2005, he would’ve claimed “doesn’t care about black people,” which is extremely alarming to fans of his who thought he was on their side.

 

The fantasy theme involved here is the fact that Kanye can’t acknowledge a clear problem that our country is facing. He disregards Trump’s past rhetoric in regards to race issues, and therefore keeps Trump supporters exactly where they are, giving them more power to believe that Trump isn’t all that bad. This fantasy theme also gives the younger generation of Kanye fans a reason to support Trump, just because Kanye does. One cannot knock Kanye for speaking his mind, but the chain reaction of him doing so can lead to consequences even he may not have intended. Evaluating this fantasy theme and the history behind it doesn’t necessarily clarify why or how this change in Kanye’s demeanor happened, but it allows the audience of this situation to see that it can’t just be brushed off. While he is speaking his mind and allowed to do so, his rhetorical vision has the ability to impact people in a way that needs to be analyzed and thought about, before making rushed decisions just because of his stature in society.

 

Blog Post 2 – Supreme x Louis Vuitton Collaboration Runway Show

Kenneth Burke was a man that saw drama everywhere, with rhetoric weaving itself into every aspect of people’s realities. Therefore, anything can be considered a rhetorical act such as fashion, music, film, and sports, among others. In this blog, we will be using Burke’s Dramatastic Pentad to examine the collaboration between two seemingly opposite fashion companies, Supreme and Louis Vuitton, who pushed the boundaries of fashion when they came together for a joint runway show in 2017. It is important to examine Supreme’s collaboration with Louis Vuitton because it is a narrative that shows how perception can be flipped on its head in a world where high fashion houses had initially mocked streetwear for being tacky.

For background, it is important to understand the two clothing brands, Supreme and Louis Vuitton. Founded in 1994 in New York, Supreme was a local skateboard shop that turned into a global streetwear brand, gaining popularity year by year thanks to co-signs by rappers and celebrities.

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At this point, Supreme is undoubtedly the face of streetwear and wearing Supreme today is a bold statement to show off to the world. Consumers across the world line up for hours to get their hands on rare pieces from Supreme, which only release once in limited quantities.

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Louis Vuitton, on the other hand, is a world-renowned fashion house that is synonymous with luxury and tastefulness. While flashy, Louis Vuitton’s signature monogram is recognizable across the globe and the company goes to great lengths to ensure their product isn’t ripped off by other companies. In fact, back in 2000, Supreme sold a skateboard deck with a design that imitated Louis Vuitton’s monogram design and was subsequently sent a lawsuit demanding the deck to be scrapped.

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For Louis Vuitton and Supreme to work together 17 years later after this incident is what makes this rhetorical act so amusing. It shows that the perception of fashion today has completely changed, and what once was an underground subculture of fashion, looked down upon by the fashion industry, has now bled into high fashion and is no longer a joke.

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Burke believed all reality is drama, as well as the fact that rhetoric is fueled by the negative. The Supreme x LV collaboration demonstrates these points, as this was the biggest curveball in both Supreme and LV’s history, turning the negative viewpoints the two brands (and followers of the brands) had of each other upside down. We can use Burke’s Dramatastic Pentad to analyze this act.

The act of this runway show is the acknowledgment that fashion is viewed differently now in the age of social media. Louis Vuitton must have recognized this a few years ago, and in turn brought Supreme onboard to show that their brand will continue to break barriers in fashion. Both LV and Supreme realized that their brands are at the top of their respective divisions of fashion, and wanted to prove that the two are not so different after all. The scene of the show was the followers of both brands who were looking for something different, as well as the runway show itself. For Supreme to be a part of an actual runway show is an accomplishment alone, but to be center stage on LV’s runway is truly a testament to how revolutionary the brand is. Without the support from the consumers, neither Supreme nor LV would have been able to pull off a collaboration that sold out worldwide (and subsequently resold for double, triple, and sometimes quadruple the already expensive retail pricing). The agency, in this case, is actually Louis Vuitton, not Supreme. The how is actually more important here. When watching the runway show, the models aren’t completely covered in the collaboration clothing. Models come out one by one, wearing mostly Louis Vuitton exclusive product with one accessory or article of clothing from the Supreme x LV collection. They most likely did this to show that LV is still staying true to its roots while allowing for an aspect of creativity from Supreme. The purpose for this act is the most important piece of the pentad. Louis Vuitton, along with other European high fashion houses, have been known to mock streetwear culture for being unfashionable, lazy, and downright tacky. However, over the years, the praise of streetwear by Kanye West and Virgil Abloh has forced high fashion to reevaluate. Louis Vuitton embraced the trend and decided to merge streetwear with quality materials, altering the perception of what fashion can be. Style is style, no matter who the designer is, and this collaboration definitely opened the eyes of the entire industry. It can be seen with brands like Balenciaga, Helmut Lang, and Prada bridging the gap between luxury and street style and it can only go up from here.

This analysis revealed how impactful a collaboration between two opposite ends of an industry can be. It proves that the perception of fashion, which once was black and white, actually has a grey area that can be shifted one way to another. A question that surfaces from this, however, is how long this will last. Does this rhetorical act create the shift necessary to truly flip perception, or is it just a speed bump that will take us back to where we were beforehand?

 

Blog Post 1

Childish Gambino’s polarizing music video for “This is America” is an excellent example of a rhetorical act. This video displays the paradoxical realities of living as a person of color in America. Many would argue this is one of the most important rhetorical artifacts in recent memory, because its narrative elements are able to bridge a gap and show the general public aspects of our society that have been building up for many years.

 

The music video includes an incredible amount of symbolism weaved throughout. For example, the video begins with Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) dancing alone, approaching a black man who has a bag over his head. He pulls out a gun, and when the line “This is America” is spoken, Glover fires at the man. The man falls and is dragged away like garbage, while the gun is carefully covered in a red towel, given more respect than the human being killed by it. This can be interpreted as a dialogue about black on black violence, and how society pays little attention to situations like this, yet continue to protect our gun rights as if the conversation shouldn’t even be had.

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The next moment in the video that deserves to be highlighted is when Glover begins to dance again, this time with school children dressed in uniforms behind him. They all have wide smiles on their faces, as if they have absolutely nothing to worry about. The contrast comes in when the viewer notices what is occurring in the background of the video. Behind the happiness, there is a large amount of violence. Cars on fire, police chasing criminals, and general chaos takes place behind the joyous facade. This is a clear juxtaposition of how the media attempts to portray black society and black art while hiding what is really going on under the surface. This contrast is also geared towards the crowd that believe they support the art that people of color make, yet are not fully supportive because they choose to ignore the struggles and hardships that come with being racially discriminated.

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Two narrative elements that shine in this video are naturalization and the rhetorical ecologies in place.  The glamourization of the light mixed with the disturbingness of the dark is obvious more in this video than most, and the amount of historical “nodes” or connection points that have been added up to create this video’s rhetorical ecology is impressive. 

The naturalization used in the video is extremely important to bring up. From the beginning of the video with Glover dancing jubilantly before shooting the bagged man, to him continuing this dance into a church choir and then shooting them, the disconnect between light and dark is intentional. This narrative element is used not to distract, but to contrast. It is used to allow perception instead of hiding it from the audience. According to Santos Ramos’ article about “Building a Culture of Solidarity,” he argues that “race is not something that is culturally constructed, or that is understood differently within different cultural frameworks. It is a perspective that assumes race literally is culture.” Ramos is correct in this statement, and Glover paints this perfectly, by attempting to break a perspective that many people, in a somewhat blinded way, have held onto for their lives. The naturalization present here sadly proves that the issues displayed in the video are normalized to a point where the majority of the audience can be numb to it at this point. The second narrative element in play here is the idea of rhetorical ecology. We can look at Glover’s dancing as resembling Jim Crow, his pants being tied to the Confederate Army, and the state of black on black violence in America as different pieces that add up to an entire image. It seems as if all relevant moments in black culture are combined in a genius way to come together in this video. The video doesn’t explicitly state the meaning behind it, but instead allows the audience’s social element to take charge, using the entire network of information they have been fed to create a perception that what they’ve been told is happening in society is only half the story.

This analysis revealed that society, as a whole, is numb to what is really going on. The amount of violence we are subjected to every day has gotten to our heads, and Glover uses rhetorical elements in his juxtaposition to keep us engaged with happiness while destruction is occurring in the background. The big question that is left to be answered is where to go from here, and how can old perceptions be redirected as a result of this video being available to the general public?