Produced by cosmetics company Hindustan Unilever, “Fair and Lovely” is a skin-lightening cream that dominates the Indian market. This ad is part of a campaign that portrays women with dark complexions who suddenly find romance and glamorous careers after using the “Fair and Lovely” whitening cream. Due to controversy, Hindustan Unilever had to pull these ads from Indian media in 2007.
Gente-fied is a web series that focuses on the experiences of the Boyle Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles as it grapples with the effects of gentrification. The series follows a range of mostly Mexican American characters as they negotiate neighborhood change. The series’ trailer introduces some of these residents, hinting at their complicated identities, and some of the cultural, generational, and class conflicts that gentrification can bring.
The reality television series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo premiered on TLC in 2012. The show follows the life of a seven-year-old child beauty pageant participant -- Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson -- along with her mother June Shannon, father Mike Thompson, and her three older sisters. Filmed in the family's rural hometown of McIntyre, Georgia, the show has been a huge success with American audiences. In this clip, "Mamma" June is making Alana's favorite recipe: sketti (i.e. spaghetti) with ketchup and butter sauce. The popularity of Honey Boo Boo raises important questions about media’s depictions of class, race and family life in modern America.
This video shows a group of young African American kids, aged 6 to 13, from Ferguson, MO speaking candidly and sarcastically about the issues in their community in light of the 2014 Ferguson, MO riots and ongoing tension between the mostly black community and the mostly white law enforcement, ignited over the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. After shoplifting from a convenience store, Brown was walking with his friend when they were stopped by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, who had been notified of the robbery. An altercation ensued, and Wilson fatally shot the unarmed teenager. This incident spotlighted ongoing, systemic racial profiling and racial discrimination in Ferguson, and prompted larger conversations about stop and frisk laws around the nation. In the video, the kids all wear t-shirts that say, “Racism is not over. But I’m over racism,” and highlight the ignorance that white people often have over the topic of racism, using phrases such as, “Is racism still a thing?” The kids answer, “Just because Beyonce is on your playlist, and you voted for Obama, it doesn’t mean our generation has seen the end of racist drama.” The kids go on to present statistics about systemic racial discrimination, such as stop-and-frisk policies and job discrimination. This video, from the activist site fckh8.com, uses kids and a lighthearted tone to contrast with the heavy subject matter. In doing so, the video exposes and pokes fun at the racial issues, particularly between whites and blacks, and America’s lack of acknowledgement over issues that clearly still exist. At the end, a white man comes on screen and says that the first step to combatting racism is acknowledging it.
The following clip comes from the Black Tree TV production that drew from a 2007 BET special that explored a number of issues surrounding the intersections between rap and hip hop, African American culture, and the broader American society. This section focuses on how black culture is presented to white culture in and through hip hop culture. Contributors bring to the table a number of interesting arguments, but they all agree that interpreting black culture only through hip hop is inaccurate and problematic.