Sunday, March 30, 2014

Blog 10: Grazing in the Grass

This past week of school I noticed a trend through most of my classes. Three out of four classes have had elements of discussion based on the global level. In Music Theory II we discussed the different forms of the augmented sixth chord (please excuse the following musical jargon) whether it be the German, Italian, or French sixth. In History of Jazz we discussed the growth of Jazz as world music. I even gave a presentation on the great South African artist Hugh Masekela! Finally, in this class we dealt with marketing on a global level. Coincidentally, Africa ended up being the most talked about global region. There was a short video on Coca-Cola's level of involvement in African culture. The question that ended up presenting itself was whether or not it was ethical for Coca-Cola to be influencing African culture the way it has been? This is what I would like to focus on.

First I want to provide a little background on Hugh Masekela. Growing up in apartheid South Africa, Hugh was exposed from an early age to the effects of foreign influence on a different culture. What I mean by this is the whole idea of a central government developed by the imperialist-capitalist society that I am a part of, but more on that later. After he left South Africa, he began to hone his playing style by incorporating African elements with traditional Jazz styles. Throughout his following career, Hugh dedicated much of his work to representing the rich culture of Africa outside of the standard western interpretation. Now we can start to investigate the initial question.

Personally, I have gone through quite a transformation this year where I actually care about what my society does. This is why I believe that it is unethical for interference in Africa. This continent and its many culture's have been bastardized and destroyed by western thought. The continent is ravaged by political upheaval and starvation because of western imperialism. Why do African's need business? Why should they care about stocks? Why is there an idea of social structure and class? As a culture, the western world forced its ideas on a group of people and forced them to believe that their culture was inferior. That is why what Hugh Masekela does is so important. He uses his music to express the greatness of his people. He refers to this as Heritage Restoration. Ultimately, I think that small, local communities with small, local economies are far superior to a globalized capitalist economy. As much as I love a good Coke, they are part of the problem like the entire business world.

Perhaps I am too bright eyed, but being a part of a subsistence economy sounds like the way to go. Maybe we just need to go grazing in the grass for a little bit and see that the world is enough for us.

Hugh Masekela Prezi

(All sources used in this Prezi I made are used in this post. Enjoy!)

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