In the next couple posts, I want to explain why I think its important for me to watch these awards to become an informed educator. I also want to make a call out to parents to be aware of these awards and discuss the complexity of how to take apart the images in these awards.
The award show is an intense production of lights, sound, special effects that is done in front of a live (selected) audience stocked full of celebrities past and present. The awards are for current videos and music. Between award presentations and are performances of current songs. The awards are hosted by a celeb. This year it was Miley. She had many, many outfit changes.
What does it do?
It shines a huge spotlight on highly talented but highly "produced" celebrities of our day. Or I should say of my students' day. What I mean by highly produced is that for the most part, the musicians involved are backed by the machinery of Hollywood: business managers, agents, producers, choreographers, directors, make up artists, costume designers. Teams of people behind the scenes help support these careers. They are often invisible. Of course, individual voices and values of the artists do get through this machinery and these voices and values have the potential to shape the voice and values of my students. Many of my students can cite very specific information about Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Bruno Mars, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
That's why I watch.
I want to know what my students are watching and who they are listening to even if its not music I like or necessarily approve of or even if I wish they took all their energy of knowing of every bio fact about Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian and knew about the historical roots of all the Canadian political parties. (sigh)
In a recent Pop Culture on panel on CBC's radio program Q, the panel discussed why we want to discuss celebrity break ups. One of the panelist referred to celebrities as our modern day fairy tales. Their stories, their lives, their emotions are played out in public in a way that we are on same jounrey without having to live through the emotion and consequence of it all. But what are my students learning? Are they aware of what they are learning? In my class, I want my students to leave feeling empowered and aware about how their media consumption shapes their values, ideas, self esteem and goals in life.