Recently, Beyonce caused quite the stir with the release of her 'formation' video and subsequent performance on some large US event (superbowl?). Now I won't get into the racial themes this video and performance sparked, I am an nzungu (white person), and this is not my place. Plus, there's plenty of that conversation to go around, so if you're interested, read here and here.
What I do want to talk about in the light of the controverse around Beyonce's video and performance is modern culture's use of pop starts/pop culture to indoctrinate, brainwash and spread propaganda.
Sounds a bit heavy? Let me break ik down for you.
CommoditiesFirst of all, Beyonce is not a person, she is a product, a billboard, a puppet at best. The product that is Beyonce is owned by large corporations, who aside from Beyonce's records, have other things to sell. And those things are obviously not Black empowerment, but we'll get to that.
These corporations want to make money. So what do they do?
They find a trending hashtag on Twitter that says #blacklivesmatter and know this causes quite the commotion on social media.
So, they use black empowerment related imagery and thematics to brand and market their product, Beyonce. Very ingenious, as whichever the way the pendulum swings, it will be talked about, extensively (see, even I am doing it). Talked about products create viral content, generate sales and increase the bottom line. Kaching!
But this isn't where it ends. If only.
Earwurms, science and the brainScience has made huge leaps in brain research, figuring out what makes tunes catchy, how exactly to repeat and alternate to make things 'work'. So now we have recipes for writing songs that stick in our brain, even if we'd rather not.
We also know that repeated messages in the brain will alter behaviour; eg mantras and affirmations. Psy studies confirm this over and again.
By entering a catchy tune into the brain, something the 'carrier' can't get rid of easily and ends up constantly repeating, we can alter a person's mindset. Influence them and make them veer towards certain modes of behaviour.
TacticsEnter the Beyonce song and performance:
First, you make a product that will surely be talked about, watched and rewatched on youtube, enough to stick into peoples heads. You scatter it with seemingly activist catch-phrases such as "I like my nose with Jackson Five nostrils", just enough to grab people's attention. You bombard them with controversial, "activist" imagery.
But your main message isn't activist.
It's never activist if the bottom line is all that matters. Activism doesn't pay. Controversy does. Consumerism does.
some lines from "Formation""Y'all haters corny with that Illuminati mess" - don't question the Status quo
"I'm so possessive so I rock his Roc necklaces" - consumerism
"Earned all this money but they never take the country out me" - throw in some patriotism so y'all Americans stay convinced of your Grand Nation (chuckles)
"I see it, I want it, I stunt, yellow-bone it
I dream it, I work hard, I grind 'til I own it" - all is well if you work hard and keep your head down and keep buying them useless things.
Okay, ladies, now let's get in formation, cause I slay
Prove to me you got some coordination, cause I slay
Slay trick, or you get eliminated"- almost militaristic, isn't it. Military isn't about anarchy, it's about following rules of the hierarchy, exactly the opposite of activism... or you get eliminated!
I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making" - because all we really should aspire to is money and dominion.