Down for Life is a 2010 feature film directed by Alan Jacobs. The film follows Rascal, a Latina high school student enmeshed in Los Angeles gang life. The central conflict in the story concerns Rascal's future. As a gifted writer, Rascal has opportunities to leave Los Angeles but her neighborhood friends are pressuring her to stay. In the trailer, we see clips of Rascal in fights, being pursued by police, being chastised by her teachers not to squander her opportunities, and being threatened by fellow gang members not to leave. The connection to earlier films about young people of color struggling through poverty are made clear by titles that read, "A cross between Precious...and Boyz in the Hood." Rascal and her friends use the phrase "down for life" in multiple different contexts throughout the trailer: to affirm their friendships, the commitment to the gang, their lives in the neighborhood, and an inflexible set of values.
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 2 minute 30 second spot highlights fathers from four different kinds of families as part of Honey Maid’s “This is Wholesome” campaign. The campaign emphasizes similarities between a range of family configurations, including families with two dads, single fathers, or fathers who have to travel or be away for long periods of time for work, showing how these seemingly “abnormal” families are also “normal” and “wholesome.” For example, the third family shown features a tattooed musician father saying, “people do think that we’re so different. But we actually have a pretty regular life in a lot of ways.”
This ad is part of Levi Strauss’s “Go Forth” campaign, launched in July 2012. With a black and white image, it depicts a man with a shovel across his shoulders, gazing off into the distance. He looks as if he is taking a break from hard physical labor. The image is overlaid with text: "Everybody's work is equally important."
This commercial takes place in the town of Braddock, PA (a suburb of Pittsburgh). The town, which grew in the mid-20th century around the steel industry, faced tremendous economic hardship after the 2008 US financial collapse. Braddock received media attention in 2009 when the town’s mayor went on the Colbert Report and questioned the impact of the federal government’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on towns like Braddock. Levi Strauss & Company, the jeans manufacturer, donated more than $1 million to Braddock, and cast residents in commercials for Levi’s. Print ads and billboards accompanied the TV ad, using phrases such as “We are all workers” and “Ready to work.”