BCM 111

First Things First I’m The Realest

Cultural appropriation VS cultural appreciation is a pretty fine line in today’s era of ever-evolving music and media, especially with the amount of nonconformity and variance of genres around the world. Music is a quintessentially nonrepresentational medium so how do we, as individuals, define what can be classed as appropriating? 

Cultural appropriation is nothing new to the music industry. For years, people of varying descent have been accused of misrepresenting the art-forms of different cultural groups and attempting to make them their own. Whether it’s Beyonce dressing as a Hindi woman or Iggy Azalea utilising the hip hop genre to gain in her career whilst contributing nothing to the African- American movement, cultural appropriation is a transnational issue that has been around since the early 20th century.  African-American music has been judged and stereotyped since its beginnings. While this level of criticism has always existed, there has also been a level of attraction to the culture surrounding, found in white American listeners. This is recognised to be extremely challenging and problematic, especially when it comes to modern-day music. Recalling the mention of Australian-born rapper Iggy Azalea, the ideoscopes and ethnoscopes (Turnbull, 2019) surrounding her tend to point towards the appropriation of African-American culture. Eberhardt (2015, p 1) recognises this when stating “it is the appropriation of language, along with discourses of race and the content of her music, in which she subscribes to stereotyped notions of blackness”. This is a particularly rich example of a white dominance that views cultural resources as ripe for the picking. Iggy Azalea as a rapper has ‘glocalised’ (Turnbull, 2019) hip-hop in Australia, but has done so in a way that does not give back to the true meaning of the genre. 

Turnbull S, 2019, Lecture 3, ‘Global Music’, University of Wollongong,

In contrast, Paul Simon’s album ‘Graceland’ acts as a catalyst for the appreciation of cultural difference. Studying the underlying factors of Azalea’s music, we can see the difference between the two.  Authenticity.  Graceland was largely critiqued for ‘exploiting ‘ South African folk music in order to potentially further his Simon’s career. However, Simon was interested in the sounds of South African music and took the time to educate himself on the cultural differences. Even South African tribal leaders and certain musicians took the chance to celebrate this and saw it as an opportunity for the world to hear this music due to the respect that was shown in the process.  A quote from Simon states “Culture flows like water, It isn’t something that can just be cut off.” (Taylor, 2014 p 23) Simon understands that his “culture” isn’t his to own: it is intellectual property of the Southern African musical genre. 

Taylor, T, 2014, p23 ‘Global Pop: World Music, World Markets, Routledge, NY

We can see the problems that arise when it comes to transnational media flows and the challenges that accompany them. However, one thing will always be certain:  authenticity is will always be a pure force driving a musical genre. It is constructed as outside the purview of such ideas as appropriation. However, cultural forms are open to the construction of impurity when they are not respecting or valuing this work, or even worse, claiming this culture as their own.

BCM 111


Quentin Tarantino’s newest thriller opens it’s viewers up to a world that to it’s younger viewers is brand new but to some is a wave hello to a past time. Made in Hollywood, Tarantino creates an engrossing, kaleidoscopic, detailed nostalgic collage of a film, an epic tale of backlot Hollywood in 1969, which allows him to pile on all his obsessions. This also gives viewers a peak into ideologies of homogenisation/hybridisation, cultural proximity as well as the divide between the Global North and South. The question I asked myself before witnessing what this cinematic throwback is: will I be able to relate to events that didn’t happen in my time or country? The answer: Of course. Tarantino brings the 1960s Los Angeles to life with great detail so that we, at no matter what age or knowledge of the Manson family or 60s stars, can sense the spirit of what was at stake. Tarantino’s utilisation of modern stars such as Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, Mark Moh as Bruce Lee and Leonardo DiCaprio as a struggling Western star dabbling in Italian film gives a new take on Hollywood while interspersing cultures and lifestyle to suit a global audience. 

Cultural Homogenisation/Hybridisation is an ideology which categorises films in the way in which they reach audiences. Homogenisation of culture refers to a one-way flow from richer to developing countries. Once upon a time in…Hollywood seems to take the opposite approach and utilises hybridisation through Italian film and Chinese culture interspersed in the film. ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ or ‘Euro Westerns’ are showcased which actually contributed greatly to the film industry in that time. More than five hundred Italian Western films were produced between 1962 and 1980, the time period showcased in OAAIH. Tarantino’s use of this different film culture in his primarily American feature parallels the idea that the ‘genre’s use of urgency and violence held a fascination amongst audiences around the world in the 60s’ (Fisher, 2011 p3) Tarantino therefore cleverly intersperses this historical time stop in our film history through the “de-westernisation of Western ideas” (Allen, 2010)

Fisher, A 2011,, Pearson Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.Radical Frontiers in the Spaghetti Western: Politics, Violence and Popular Italian Cinem, p3, London

Allen, C. (2019). BCM111, Lecture 3, Topic 3, Global Film  [PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved from Univerisyt of Wollongong Moodle web site:

Quentin Tarantino delves into the Global North and South divide in his use of Chinese cinema and actors. The Global North/South divide is a line that divides the wealthy developed countries and developing areas. China falls under the south divide whilst America is one of the largest industries in the world for filmmaking. Tarantino intersperses the story of Bruce Lee and his motion pictures to educate the audience of a different culture therefore opening the film up to a relationship between different continents and blurring this imaginary line. Iwabuchi  (2002, p 23) touches on this idea of a transnational media flow in Asian movie culture in the sense that  the “emergence of Asian media practises since the 1980s reflect the fact that industries and cultural forms are playing a substantial roll in global cultural flows”. Tarantino is no rookie when it comes to this interspersion of Asian culture, Kill Bill for example. Tarantino has been utilising the growing Japanese and Chinese film movement since the 1980s and 90s, opening up audiences around the globe. Finally it is important to recognises that media is not only just made in America, Zhao (2007, p 145) stating that while America “has not homogenised the world, it has diffused a series of cultural formats in it’s industry”.

Iwabuch, K, 2002, Recentering Globalization, Popular culture and Japanese transnationalism, Duke University Press, London.

Zhao, Y, 2007, Global Communications: Toward a Transcultural Political Economy, p143, USA

BCM 111

Confessions Of A Square-Eyed Generation

Media Grows and Culture Flows

TV. The box. The tube. We love television but do we think about how TV connects us around the world at a global scale and how it shapes us as individuals? Before the introduction of Australian TV in 1956, we were unenlightened to the power of globalised media and how cultural capitals can influence our viewing habits and view of the world in general. Television has grown over the past 20 years and can’t easily be defined anymore. With all of the options available to the average person, from Foxtel to Netflix, TV is a gargantuan force that intertwines generations of people at a transnational range. The movement from traditional local life to modern interaction with mass media has “produced identities that are already multilayered with elements that are very local, regional, and national” (Straubhaar 2014, p 77). Specifically, the way in which we consume TV and the options available to us create a flow of cultural interactions. Think about the last show you watched. For me, it was Euphoria. A show based in the US, but it’s cultural identity and influences such as lifestyle, age and relatable gender images make it a global success, thus improving communication across cultures and sparking a conversation. Euphoria provides a sense of escapism while still maintaining a grip on reality and common issues amongst it’s audience. 

Straubhaar, Joseph, D. ‘Choosing National TV: Cultural Capital, Language and Cultural Proximity in Brazil’ in The Impact of International Television: A Paradigm Shift, edited by Michael G. Elasmar, Oxford: Routledge, 2014, pp. 77-110

Media on the Move!

So where does the TV we love come from? Surprisingly so many countries still import much of their programming, it no longer primarily coming in a one-way flow from the US. For example, the Dominican Republic is now importing genres, such as comedies, variety shows, and news from Mexico, a dominant producer for the Latin American cultural linguistic market, capitalising on the cultural proximity and language similarity. This ideology of global flows is so apparent and tells us so much about the world we live in today, especially within pop culture phenomenas. One success that I cottoned on to was Black Mirror, a British show that has flowed through cultures to become an international success. Black Mirror utilises it’s start-studded cast and cultural zane to entice it’s viewers worldwide. The show’s ability to form a new plot every episode, in a new country and even in a different language has all contributed to it’s fanfare. Although this show is primarily English, the episodes with linguistic differences are capitalised on to reach more people and become global sensations. Black Mirror also overcomes being too culturally jarring through the use of a different time and lifestyle with it’s Sci-Fi feel transporting people to a new place and time. Bielby (2005, p 38) reinforces this theory when stating that a “culturally diverse media presence allows a wider variety for flow amongst the world’s television viewers” Thus, flow can benefit the average individual due to the increased hybridity of programming and what we can now experience through all of the platforms available. However it’s does challenge the world due to the nature of the unknown and the vast differences in religion and values it may present.

Bielby, D 2005, ‘ Television in the Global Market’ ‘Global TV: Exporting Television and Culture in the World Market’, viewed 15/8/2019, p 37