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Entertainment

The JUST Entertainment section examines the multitude of ways in which entertainment media track, catalyze and incite social change – we comb through diverse forms of Entertainment to illuminate existing social attitudes and identifying opportunities to drive positive change.

Kris SlavaJack Stern

Entertainment

Monday
Mar122012

Saving Faces

Monday
Mar122012

Sheryl WuDunn - Half the Sky

Wednesday
Feb082012

Female Directors With a Mission

Kris Slava
Februrary, 2012

It's ironic that a recent study discovered that since Katheryn Bigelow won the Oscar for Best Director, the percentage of major films by women directors has actually decreased – from seven to five percent. 

Even if you did believe that men make better films than women, it seems patently impossible that men are on average twenty times better at making films than women, as these statistics suggest. The most likely explanation is that there is a highly impenetrable celluloid ceiling, and that is sad.

This study hit the media just as we were researching several very interesting and socially conscious films by women directors that have caught media attention lately.

Never Sorry, Alison Klayman’s  first documentary is about Ai Weiwei’s confrontation with the authorities and how his art and immediately caught national media attention. Ai Weiwei premiered on January 24 at Sundance.  

Pariah, now in wide release, is director Dee Rees’ story of Alike, a Bronx teen struggling to find her sexual identity. A coming of age story in which the heroine is a lesbian. The story is made movingly specific by Rees’ screenplay and a breakout performance in the lead role by actress Adepero Oduye. 

We can only speculate that Angelina Jolie did not face the same obstacles that some other female directors face in making her first film Blood and Honey, a turbulent love story set against the charged backdrop of the Bosnian war. 

It seems very likely we are only seeing half the picture.

Sunday
Jan292012

Dee Rees' 'Pariah' And Hollywood's Inability To Include Black Americans

Kia Makarechi
The Huffington Post, January 9, 2012

For all the talk of "liberal Hollywood," diversity is not among the movie industry's strengths.

Dee Rees, the director of "Pariah," a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story that focuses on a black lesbian's experiences coming out in New York City, knows the story too well. In an interview with Colorlines, the writer-director said those very words ("black," "lesbian," "coming of age") were often enough to immediately stop film studios and backers from participating. Read more...

Thursday
Jan262012

Number of Female Directors in Hollywood Has Halved Since 1998

NME, January 25, 2012

The number of female directors working in Hollywood has halved since 1998, a new study has shown.

The Celluloid Ceiling study analysed the amount of females working for the top 250 grossing movies in the US. The latest findings show that women made up only 5% of directors during 2011. Read more...

Wednesday
Jan252012

Ai Weiwei: The Evolution of a Dissident

Allison Klayman
Jan. 22, 2012

I have always believed that the story of the dissident artist Ai Weiwei is not about how censorship stifles creativity, but rather how one artist is able to work around such obstacles.  It’s not about the system crushing individual expression, but about the power of an individual in the face of forces greater than himself. One thing is clear — Ai Weiwei’s story could not be possible without the Internet. We cannot imagine an Ai Weiwei without the megaphone of blogs and Twitter, without the ability to communicate instantaneously and connect to like-minded netizens around China and the globe. Read more…

Tuesday
Jan242012

'Angelina Jolie touched our souls'-Bosnian Rape Victims Have Their Say 

   A year after it was banned from filming, a private screening of Jolie's In the Land of Blood and Honey wins praise from women victims of the 1991-95 Bosnia war for illuminating their plight.  "I first vomited, from the sheer force of my suffering," Enisa Salcinovicsays of her initial reaction to In the Land of Blood and Honey, Angelina Jolie's directorial debut feature film about the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

…The film portrays a romance between Danijel (Goran Kostić), a Serb man, and Ajla (Zana Marjanović), a Bosniak Muslim woman, which blossoms as the last nails are being hammered into Yugoslavia's coffin. Read more...

Tuesday
Jan242012

Blood and Honey

Thursday
Jan052012

Music For Social Change

Kris Slava
December 2011

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year is The Protestor.  Music has always gone hand in hand with protest and social change, and this continued to be true in 2011. 

Across the Middle East, rap music took on the anthemic role that folk and gospel music once filled in America. Middle Eastern rappers became the “wind and the sails” of the Arab Spring in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain and East Jerusalem, as identified in an NBC news report below. 

The governments being criticized clearly realized the power rap artists were wielding – many were censored, beaten and/or imprisoned.  But rap is also the common language of social networking youth, and in countries where most of the population is under 30, it made the music particularly hard for the authorities to effectively suppress. 

Given these trends it’s surprising that no single song has arisen as the emotional focus for the Occupy movement. Certainly music played a big part, and several anthems have been suggested -- Bang My Drum; The Many, Not The Few; OWS Rap Anthem to name a few. 

Yet thus far no one song has caught on. Maybe this is partially because Occupy itself is so diverse and has no clearly articulated mission or goal.  Maybe it’s because of the way the Occupy protestors consume music, alone, through headphones. But in this post-encampment period  the lack of a single, unifying anthem is emblematic of the difficulty Occupy will face in become a concrete, ongoing force for political change.

Thursday
Dec292011

7 Occupy Wall Street Anthems

THE WEEK, Deember 5, 2011

Protest movements have long been accompanied by song — take the gospel music of the Civil Rights uprisings or the folk ballads of the Vietnam era. As Occupy Wall Street heads into winter, critics have begun to wonder: Where's the Occupy anthem? Here, a look at the contemporary musicians and the legendary folk stars who are stepping up to the plate with original songs inspired by the movement's message. See the slide show

Sunday
Dec182011

The RAP of Occupy - How Music and Poetry Spread the Message 

by Paolino Accola

It’s d beat of d street against the d greed of d fat cat elite
It’s d call of d many against d rule of glut, conceit and money…

Along with drum beating and slogan chanting, hip-hop gigs have been the soundtrack of Occupywallstreet and other similar movements since their very start. And it is to be expected that rapping will again form the background of protests when today, 17 December, demonstrators inaugurate a new phase of street action. Not because hip-hop happens to be the favourite music genre of the crowds who for many weeks, since the end of the summer, have taken over Zuccotti Park in New York and other public spaces in countless cities over America and across the five continents. But because rapping was born as a voice against injustice and — even while turning into a multibillion dollar industry– it has evolved into a folk art spanning the globe and taking root among communities engaged in civil rights crusades and socio-political activity. Read more...

Friday
Dec162011

Like social movements in the past, music a big part of Occupy Wall Street

The Telegarm, November 14, 2011

Music and musicians are woven into the fabric of the Occupy Wall Street protest, much as they were in movements, confrontations and protests of the past, from the American Revolution to slavery to the Civil War, suffrage movement, labour movement, civil rights movement and Vietnam War. But no defining anthem such as “We Shall Overcome” or “Which Side Are You On” has emerged for the protesters who have taken on corporate America. Read More...

Friday
Dec162011

How Rap Music Fueled the Arab Spring Uprisings

Karl Bostic
NBC News, September 15, 2011

When 20-year-old Tunisian rapper Hamada Ben Amor — known as "El General" — attacked President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a song he posted online late last year it captured the imagination of a population hooked on Facebook and fed-up with injustice.

The same infectious brand of rap, revolution, and patriotism was evident in Cairo as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office after decades of rule and also amongst Palestinians in the West Bank, who face different challenges in staging their own "thawra" — or revolution. Read more...

Tuesday
Dec062011

Mirror, Mirror

Kris Slava
November, 2011

The coincidence of police confrontations across the country with the breakup of Kim Kardashian’s  faux marriage is a moment that begs to be seized.  As Occupy Wall Street pauses to reconfigure itself, we at  JUST Entertainment will take advantage to reflect briefly on what OWS may say about the broader culture. 

In an overall positive editorial, Bloomberg.com notes that OWS “...appear[s] to have no unified agenda and plenty of complaints”.  And yet Bloomberg.com, Adam Hartung at Forbes.com, and Nicholas Kristof at NYTimes.com all agree that whatever happens next, OWS has changed the national agenda in a way that is significant -- and seemingly broader and more fundamental than the shift caused by the more agenda-driven Tea Party. 

So what does the sudden appearance of Occupy Wall Street and its spread across the country say about entertainment media in the US? Because its critique remains so broad, the fact that OWS is all complaint and no agenda may actually make it a better mirror to than if the protestors were espousing a specific program of reforms.    

There are few of us who haven’t felt and seen the impact of the Great Recession.  Even if the bankers are behind it, is it in some way our own fault?  Have we as a nation collectively created a culture that is skewed toward superficiality and greed?  And whether or not that is true, is this, for our country an opportunity to get back to certain basics, such as community and charity and good character?  Is this perhaps a ‘teachable moment’? 

Sunday
Nov272011

Occupy Musicians Record an Album in Support of the Occupy Movement

Danielle Perry 
November 25, 2011

Just days after the official launch of Occupy Musicians — an online petition for musicians in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement to sign in support — it has been announced that some of those artists will be putting together an album to raise money on behalf of Occupy protestors. Read more...