This was not the first time watching this documentary but I can say the second time around was much clearer. This fight against the government and treatment for people with the virus is a long ongoing process. The activism that ACT UP did was a trendsetter. Many activist followed their style of protest, propaganda and activism. The idea of making sure your message is heard all across the country. The most obscene act I have to say would be carrying the dead body around in a form of protest.
The subject of hyper-masculinity in African-American males shines in “Moonlight”. The film follows the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles with his identity and sexuality in the ghettos of Miami. The main character, Chiron, faces the crisis of being a homosexual black male. To further add, the lifestyle of where he lives places him at a disadvantage. From a young age, black men are taught to be “tough”, “cold”, and “hostile”. Anything that doesn’t fit the criteria of being “gangster” or “hard” leads one to the idea of homosexuality. But why is being homosexual a sign of being weak? If showing emotion and being expressive means you’re not “masculine”, how does this affect our relationships with others, also ourselves? What does it mean to be a “man”? What does it mean to be “homosexual”? Why are categorical definitions given to each term? In the film, not being hyper-masculine caused Chiron to be bullied. Why are children teased for this behavior? For being silent? For being “soft”? For not being being so aggressive in all they do? I believe teaching our boys to shy away from showing emotions and being transparent about their feelings leads to a life full of faulty relationships and identity issues. Navigating our boys to believe they should lack empathy eventually builds up feelings of desolation and sorrow. “Moonlight” delivers the topic of hyper-masculinity in a way that shows all, no sugarcoating.
My favorite part of this short reading was Spigel addressing the changes to living space that televisions brought to homes. Spigel asserted that pianos were replaced by televisions and televisions became the center of home entertainment. She indicated that children gradually became disinterested in arts and music. This most interested me because becoming less intrigued in arts and music leads me to the concept of damaging creativity and inventiveness. Most American families today own more television sets than pianos. Does this mean children now compared to children in the past (before television was created) are less imaginative and artistic? I can argue that because of the advancement of technology, individuals have access to a number of different music and art computer softwares that allow one to be creative. Also certain television programs such as “Brain Games” and “America’s Got Talent” help foster creativity and promote the arts in ways viewers are influenced/motivated. I don’t believe television has sabotaged ones ability to follow music and the arts. Perhaps when television first emerged because programming restrictions. But this day in age, where there are certain channels dedicated to music and the arts, I feel individuals have the ability to foster their creativity if wanted.
During World War II, thousands of women were needed to fill industrial site positions while men went away to fight. Women were assigned to build ships, bombs, planes, etc. These same job responsibilities were once considered of befitting a man, therefore women in this workforce became a controversial topic of discussion. Women were stereotyped to be weak and only concerned about breaking a nail. It was difficult for women to become fully accepted in this lifestyle since being a stay-at-home mom was the habitual norm. Even today, society doesn’t believe women are built for a job considered of befitting a man, i.e construction or crane and tower operation. Extremely physical and heavy lifting type of work is deemed nontraditional for women. But this is unfair. While it is considered dangerous, why are women deemed incapable of these things? Jobs seem to be gender specific due to suitability, rather than gender. Your sex should not matter. Women should not be teased for working industrial positions.
I see why Moonlight won an Oscar. Barry Jenkins did an amazing job directing the film, from camera angles, the plot and the transition from childhood to adulthood. The young men in the film played their roles to the teeth. The movie had an old vintage color scheme to it which set the tone and mood of the film. The colors yellow, blue, and pink stood out the most. At first I thought the movie took place in California because most old school movies like Friday took place there. Some African Americans have a long history of struggling with poverty, drugs and living in unsafe urban neighborhoods. In the beginning of Moonlight, the young boy was running from classmates that were bullying him. Throughout the film, Little continue to battle being treated as something less than he is, from his mother as well. From the moment he ran to the abandon apartment, a light bulb clicked that there is something going on in this boys life. Us, the viewers did not know his mother was a drug addict until he went home after being with Terrance and she yelled at him. In High school Little still faced being mistreated by other males. It was not until he became a muscular man after being incarcerated that he was able to stand up for his self. The women in the film was his closure and of course the young man that kissed him played a huge role in finding his identity.
This reading specifically resonated with me due to my ethnic background. I’m not Mexican, however I am of Hispanic descent. In 1943, an attack against Mexican-Americans wearing zoot suits erupted in Los Angeles. These altercations between sailors/law enforcement and Mexican-Americans were sparked by racism. After reading the article and being aware of the aggressive outbreaks the LAPD refused to assist the race affected with, I was furious. The LAPD has a history of being corrupt; it’s known world wide. But how can majority of an entire police department be placed on the streets WITH GUNS to protect and to serve? How can we learn to trust these authoritative individuals with our lives when most of them have racism pretty much embedded in them? What has changed about police brutality, or ignorance, in America? It is the bane of our existence. Rodney King. Sandra Bland. Michael Brown. Trayvon Smith. Edgar Arzate. Eric Garner. How many more lives have to be terrorized and/or lost for the law to change?
As a fan of Beyoncé myself, I found Bell Hook’s argument in relation to Beyoncé’s Lemonade video incredibly interesting. Hook’s explains that though she acknowledges that the video constructs an image of a “powerfully symbolic black female sisterhood” she ultimately believes that the video is in a way promoting the idea of violence as sexy. In my personal opinion, there is something incredibly powerful in the anger that is portrayed through these women that could be seen as violence. Though I do agree with Hook’s claim that women will not seize power, create self-love, and build self-esteem through the act of violence, I feel that there is a form of authority in women deciding to inflict violence. Wade Davis’s comment, which explains that Beyoncé’s lyrics in Hold Up; “I’m too perfect to ever feel this worthless” articulates what both Beyoncé and Hooks aim to understand, and that is the concept behind the Lemonade album to find humanity, on the journey of self love. In my opinion that is what both women try to promote. The idea of learning to live and accept yourself no matter what that may mean is a message both these women encourage. I agree with many of the commenters in the article that explain Beyoncé’s use of anger reminds us that the feeling is essential in our journeys to self realization. As a commenter states, “Black feminism should be celebrating one woman’s work to portray her journey and her experience through her voice, her music, and her vision as a filmmaker.”