Does Beyoncé Matter?

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In short, yes. As I write Her name my Word document corrects me when I leave out the accent over the ‘e’ which really proves my point that Beyoncé matters. The release of her sixth studio album, Lemonade, shows how much She is capable of with the ability to take a step up and change the face of the music industry today through the worldwide epidemic visual album aired on HBO. The visual album not only creates a storyline, displays Her vocal talent through a number of genres and styles, but embraces and celebrates her race, culture and gender aiming to empower black women to feel the beauty, intelligence and power they’ve always held through Her music.

The amount of power Beyoncé holds is crazy. Her ability, shown through the release of Lemonade, to manipulate an audience is so great that She had thousands of fans turn on husband Jay Z and alleged “Becky with the good hair” Rachel Roy. Not only them but also celebrity homemaker and chef Rachael Ray who had nothing to do with the matter and was only attacked because of her similar name to Rachel Roy.

Whether this move was a publicity stunt to appear furious at Jay-Zare throughout most of the album or not, Queen Bey has a hold on the public and knows exactly how to manipulate dominate them. In 2013, Beyoncé dropped a self-titled visual album with no notice, no publicity rounds, no interviews yet the album sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide in a matter of days. Of the first 24 hours, making it a Tidal exclusive (aka the streaming site owned by Jay-Z), and if fans wanted to be a part of and participate the cultural phenomenon and remain relevant to the conversation, they pay Her, more or less, directly.

Fans make gifs, memes, tweets, pay for albums, create fan theories, send abusive tweets all in the name of Beyoncé. Beyoncé and Lemonade are now a worldwide conversation, whether they be appreciative or inspired, Bey resonates with fans on all levels. With all of this relevance, influence, and artistic creativity, why was Lemonade not the Best album winner at the Grammy’s? Changing the music industry continuously throughout Her long-standing career and creating new ways to imprint her influence through Her most recent album was not enough. So much so that the winner, Adele, thanked Beyoncé for her presence and brilliance in the music industry and rightly dedicated her award to Her. Even though Beyoncé has mastered Her power to manipulate Her audience still has a few hoops to go through have the board under Her thumb which may be difficult as these hoops may go beyond Beyoncé as an individual but Beyoncé as a brand.

All in all, Beyoncé says jump and the Beyhive says how high?


References:

Fairclough, K. (2016). Why Beyoncé matters. [online] The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/why-beyonce-matters-58542 [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].

Hunt, E. (2016). Beyoncé’s Lemonade album explained, from beginner to ‘Beyhive’. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/apr/29/beyonce-lemonade-jay-z-explainer [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].

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Interpret This!

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In the image depicted there is a gradient light pink background and then in the centre a sleek high-heeled open-toe shoe of the same shade of pink with an old, tattered and dirty high-top Converse sneaker cramped inside. In the bottom, left corner of the image is a small white 4 compartment shoe cabinet as shown in the text beside it and the text: “Need space? HEMNES” and in the right bottom corner is the IKEA logo.

With the context of the IKEA logo and the cabinet, it’s clear that this is an advertisement for a show cabinet. The converse inside the high-heel is most likely to signify that the owner of the shoes had no other place to fit their shoes other than inside other shoes. Additionally, persuading the viewer of the image to buy the shoe cabinet as it’s an eyesore to see a sleek new beautifully pink shoe being ruined by an old, tattered, dirty sneaker.

This is not the only way the image can be read, however. An individual’s interpretation is reliant on the person’s experiences and knowledge. Knowing that IKEA is a furniture and home accessory department store gives context to the person and therefore clearly alludes to the fact that the real message the image is trying to display is an advertisement for a shoe cabinet. However, if the person did not know what IKEA was or if the bottom section was cut off altogether, the connotations of the image are much more ambiguous.

Potentially you could see the image as an advertisement for the shoe. The high-heel looking beautiful on the outside but feels like your favourite pair of sneakers when you wear it. Signifying the comfort of sneakers inside a shoe known to be very uncomfortable that all wearers of high heels would know first-hand and therefore seen as a selling-point for this shoe.

Additionally, as a queer woman, the first thing that came to my mind was the shoes acting as a metaphor for my own butch or tomboy tendencies and having them cramped inside a very feminine shoe in order to fit within a heteronormative society. That interpretation is only brought on by my own knowledge and experiences and I’m sure I’m not alone with that interpretation but I could be as alternatively the image could be seen as just a pair of mismatched shoes.

Images are always up for interpretation and the message someone expresses is not always the message someone receives.


References:

Chandler, D. (2014). Semiotics for Beginners: Denotation, Connotation and Myth. [online] Visual-memory.co.uk. Available at: http://visual-memory.co.uk/daniel/Documents/S4B/sem06.html [Accessed 23 Mar. 2017].

This Content is Unavailable in Your Location

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Australians are of the left in the dirt when it comes to TV shows from overseas. Media is rapidly making the transition from the television to online and Aus is not up to par when trying to keep up. Which is why so many of us are turning to piracy and illegal streaming and downloading.

Last year, Australians landed the top spot when it came to pirating the premiere of Game of Thrones season six. Why? It was aired at the same time as the US on Foxtel. That’s the soonest anyone could see this content, so why did so many opt for piracy? Foxtel also discounted access to its GoT package to $30 a month for new customers so a discount obviously wasn’t enough to lure the fans in so what is?

When an audience used to sit around and watch a tiny TV screen all in one spot at one time it was the height of luxury. Viewing entertainment brought to your very own home? What’s not to love? But now the norm when watching a television show you enjoy, is to invest yourself. Watching content isn’t restricted to a television screen, you can view content anywhere at any time on your phone or your laptop and often even then you are also multitasking. Distracted and active viewing is the way to go in today’s media watching habits, why stick to one format of media when you can expose yourself to so much content all at once.

As an audience, we now invest ourselves completely into the content we enjoy. We join fandoms online where the actors are live-tweeting episodes, other members of the fandom are sharing gifs, memes fan theories and storylines and often spoilers for those who haven’t seen the latest episode yet. Foxtel airing the episode the same time as the US helps no one. People have jobs they are at that job at 11 am which is when Foxtel chose to air the episode which in the theory that people want to watch content as soon as they can is fine but ‘as soon as they can’ may not be the same time as the US.

So in the height of premium television, binge-watching and re-watching tv shows, how do we take the appeal of on-demand viewing that illegal downloading supplies and apply that into a legal viewing experience?


References:

Turnbull, S ‘Imagining the Audience’ p 59-72 in Cunningham, S and Turnbull, S (eds) (2014) The Media and Communications in Australia, 4th Edition. Allen and Unwin.

Dudley-Nicholson, J. (2016). Australians top Game of Thrones downloads worldwide. [online] news.com. Available at: http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/piracy/australians-top-game-of-thrones-downloads-worldwide/news-story/0aa183ea9eb21b5bafef431a057a31d3 [Accessed 16 Apr. 2017].