There’s Something About Beyoncé…

I have to begin this weeks blog with a disclaimer. I’ve always thought of Beyoncé as overrated. But I am also (somewhat) proud to say that after listening to her Lemonade’ album on repeat for the last few days, I have been converted. Her catchy songs and distinguishable persona make her almost an enigma, someone to be idolised.

Given this, when posing the question ‘Does Beyoncé matter?’, perhaps it shouldn’t be a question of does Beyoncé matter, but rather why Beyoncé matters. For this, I’m going to focus on her 2016 visual album ‘Lemonade‘.

Queen Bey’s 2016 musical offering has been often praised for its approach to tackling some of the biggest issues within society; feminism and race.

Beyoncé has certainly tackled the issue of feminism in her music prior to ‘Lemonade’, but in the 2016 album, her portrayal of feminism becomes more about the female identity and the ways in which women are represented rather than being a feminist in the general sense. On ‘Hold Up’  Beyoncé repeats the lyric “jealous or crazy” before she eventually decides ” More like being walked all over lately, walked all over lately, I’d rather be crazy”. This anger is something that is rarely expressed by women across all walks of life, usually for fear of being labelled as ‘crazy’ or ‘hysterical’. Because of Beyoncé’s position of power in the music industry, her addressing of such an issue in regards to feminism makes her audience stand up and pay attention. 

hold up

When her addressing of feminist issues is paired with racial themes, ‘Lemonade’ becomes almost targeted to Beyoncé’s black, female audience. The lead single ‘Formation shows Beyoncé’s embracement of her racial identity whilst singing “I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils” along with other racially themed lyrics. All of this is an example of Beyoncé using her platform for good, by bringing attention  to issues and ideas that matter to society on global scale, starting a much needed conversation.

formation gif

In a more industrial sense, Beyoncé continually ‘breaks the rules’. ‘Lemonade’ was not her first outing with a ‘surprise’ release, with 2013’s ‘Beyonce’ (again, complete with full accompanying visuals) breaking iTunes records within 3 days.

hair flip .gif

Following in Beyoncé’s footsteps, other artists such as Rihanna, Drake and Kendrick Lamar have also released albums without any promotion. Whilst ‘Lemonade’ didn’t have the full benefit of ‘surprise’ due to it being announced by HBO a week prior to its airing, it was still ground-breaking for the industry. Beyoncé initially released the album as a ‘Tidal’ exclusive for 24 hours, something which is not generally done by artists. As well as this, she debuted the visual aspect of the album in an hour long broadcast on cable network HBO, bypassing the generic routes of YouTube or MTV

Ultimately, Beyoncé’s importance to not only the music industry but society as a whole, lies in her choice to unapologetically always be herself and stand up for what she believes in. So in response to my initial question, yes, Beyoncé does matter and we should all take notice.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

 

 

It’s Not All Black and White

Donald Trump. The American President’s persona is certainly one which has quickly become a favourite of global media. Everything from magazines to websites to news broadcasts seem to love ‘sending up’ Trump’s somewhat obnoxious personality. Some are more political than others, leaving room for differing interpretations.

trump new yorker
The New Yorker’s upcoming cover by Barry Bliss featuring Donald Trump.

The above image shows the upcoming March 26 cover of the commentary magazine ‘The New Yorker’. On the surface, the cover looks to portray a stark naked Trump addressing what is implied to be the media. These observations are the denotations of the image; what is seen by everyone, no matter their background knowledge.

Whilst all of this is true, there can always be a deeper meaning uncovered when one looks a little more critically.

A few questions can be asked of this cover. Why is Trump naked? Why the extreme size difference between the media and Trump? What has Trump done to warrant such an event? The answers of these questions leads us to make connotations or the evoked meaning. Connotations of an image can be different for each person and generally depend on a person’s knowledge of the topic in question. In this circumstance, there can be multiple interpretations and answers to our questions.

Why is Trump naked? This could mean any number of things. It could be a comment on his previous status as a reality star, implying that this status makes him vulnerable to the media’s all-knowing eye. It could also imply that he feels he has nothing to hide, however the covering of his ‘private parts’ indicates that even he has privacy limitations. Ultimately, there is no one definite reason as to why Trump is naked.

Why the extreme size difference between the media and Trump? It’s no secret that Trump is a larger than life person. Perhaps his large size against that of the media is a representation of how he values himself over others and places himself higher, in order to feel superior.

What has Trump done to warrant such an event? The short answer to this question is any number of things. In the current political climate, the most obvious answers would be the push for changes to the gun laws or his new tariff laws.

Whilst all of these might seem obvious to some, in order to interpret the image in any of these ways, it is necessary to have background knowledge of other topics such as American politics and Trump’s history. Ultimately, interpretations, particularly of images, aren’t always black and white and we should always allow for a different point of view.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

 

 

 

You Can’t Put A Price On (Meeting) Fame

Today, audiences are interacting with the media they consume in new ways, with advancing technologies and an ever-changing social media network making it easier than ever to get ‘up close and personal’ with our favourite content creators.

In my introductions post, I talked about my love for YouTube and music. Typically, these are both forms of media which are consumed by audiences through screens or devices such as smart phones and radios. Just because this is the typical way for them to be consumed, doesn’t mean it’s the only way. And no, I’m not talking about concerts, I’m talking about the exclusive of having a meet-and-greetSure, concerts and the like are a fun way to interact with your favourite media personalities in an impersonal way, but being given the chance to actually meet them puts you just a step above the rest of their audience, even for a limited time.

I’ve been lucky enough to be given the chance to meet multiple of my favourite media personalities, and speaking from experience, it’s surreal. In 2016, I won the opportunity to go to the Today Show studios in Sydney to see Troye Sivan (my ALL time favourite YouTuber/Singer/Person in general) perform live as well as a (surprise) meet and greet.

I remember waking up at 2am to get to the studio by 3.30 and still not quite believing that it was really happening. It wasn’t until he arrived that it sunk in that one of my greatest role models was metres away from me. When it came my turn to ‘greet’ him, I was a bit of a mess and don’t really remember the encounter, but I do have the picture to prove it, so I know it happened.

Troye Sivan
The physical proof that yes, I did meet Troye

Meeting Troye wasn’t the only positive outcome of that day. I met some of my closest friends, some of which live in different states, but who I still keep in contact with to this day, all because of our shared love for Troye Sivan. I think that’s the real power of ‘meet and greets’. It’s not the meeting the celebrity, but rather the chance you are given to interact and bond with other people who are there because they share a love for the same person you do. We have all been a part of their digital audience, but now it has become physical audience. These friendships seem to last beyond distance, time and age, the real positive of being a part of a media audience.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

Introductions

You know those people that always say “It’s so hard to write/talk/post about yourself”? Yeah, they really weren’t joking. But that’s what I’ve signed up to do, so here we go…

Hi! My name’s Jessica (but literally everyone calls me Jess) Oehm and I am a first year student at the University of Wollongong studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications/Bachelor of Arts. Nice to meet you!

Rather than spend 300 words telling you where I grew up (Wagga Wagga – born and raised) and what school I went to (Kooringal High School), I thought I’d introduce you to 3 key things that are essential to the ‘Jess Oehm Starter Pack’. Let’s get started:

Starter Pack
All the essentials required to be me

1. Performing Arts + Music

I’ve always been involved in performing in some way since I was 5 and to say I love being on stage would be an understatement. I took drama classes for 10 years through primary school and high school, performing in small productions with other kids. When I went to high school, I quickly got involved in the annual musicals, and that’s when my love of performing extended to music. I acted and sung in every musical from year 7 to 12, as well as performing solo and in ensembles for other school functions. Music has always been an ‘escape’ for me, and being able to perform both music and theatre for other people is just an extension of my love for it.

2. YouTube

I believe YouTube and YouTubers go through phases, and my interest in them has been no different. I’ve always watched YouTube in some way, however the actual YouTubers I watch are constantly changing. I’ve had (and continue to have) a Troye Sivan phase, I once binge watched every Tyler Oakley, Zoella and Connor Franta video and I am still deeply invested in the Dan and Phil ‘Phandom’ (including spending over $200 on meeting them – totally worth it). As well as these guys, I’ve watched my fair share of Vine compilations, music videos and fan theory videos. If you ever wanted to find me, your best bet would be that I’m holed up somewhere wasting hours on YouTube (what can ya do?)

3. My Phone

At a year 12 function, I was voted ‘Most likely to walk into a wall whilst texting’ and believe me, that is not an understatement. Whilst I may not always be texting, it is very rare to find me anywhere without my phone, and I am constantly snapchatting, instagramming and facebooking. Some may call me ‘anti-social’ but I just tell them I am being social, just not with you. In the new technological age we live in, I think it’s important to always be connected to the broader, online world (which is part of the reason I chose my degree – but that’s another post) and my phone is the easiest way to stay connected, hence why it’s always with me.

 

So there you have it. That’s me in a nutshell. I’m sure you’ll continue to learn more about me in later posts, but for now, that’s everything you need to know to understand me.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x