Updated on 10.4.2020 to include information on Prop 24 in California.
I watched The Social Dilemma this weekend and you should, too. Basically, the film is a documentary in which tech industry whistleblowers reveal to us just how much tech companies are manipulating us, with a weird scripted narrative interwoven throughout, in which Vincent Kartheiser is creepy as ever. In general, we are all probably aware that our every move on social media and the internet is being watched, because we'll talk about something and suddenly get blasted with ads for that thing. The other day, I was literally watching a video in a copywriting course I'm taking, and an hour or so later during my next IG pop-in, I was seeing an ad for the company that was mentioned in the course. I had never even heard of this company or product until the course used one of their ads as an example. But I don't think any of us are surprised anymore to be "mysteriously" targeted with ads related to some obscure or random thing we may have just talked about with someone. So, here are 3 big takeaways I got from this film.
I've seen a lot of people get upset over this film recently, and say the filmmakers exploited children and made child pornography. It all started when Netflix released a piece of promo for the film that showed the young stars of the film in provocative dance positions. At first, knowing nothing of the film, I thought it was a bad poster for a tasteless cheerleading movie. So, I mostly ignored the whole thing, because I thought, I'm not watching a movie that exploits children. Isn't that what "Dance Moms" is? (I don't know, I've never seen it) Then someone shared an article that was titled "We Watched Netflix's 'Cuties' So You Don't Have To" and they were asking their friends and followers to sign a petition to have it removed from Netflix. That's when I decided I needed to watch it, because I'm not letting anyone make judgments for me.
I finally watched Black is King on Disney+ and it has got to be one of the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever seen. Following my recent post on screen time for my kid, I decided to turn the screen on. But, when I turn the screen on, I want to surround my son with art and inspiration. Black is King is everything glorious and large you'd expect from Beyonce, but more than a 90 minute Beyonce music video (which is basically what this film is, and every minute is worth it), this is a celebration of culture, history, and the beautiful and powerful tomorrow that still lies ahead. SPOILER ALERT: There's a lot I love about this and don't want to spoil too much, but I think one of my favorite things in this piece of art is seeing Beyonce and Kelly Rowland's friendship and sisterhood still growing strong.
Watching this has further inspired me to dig deeper into my ancestral history, because I'd like to see Chinese and Asian cultures celebrated and empowered this way. I've been thinking a lot about how one big misconception of Asian culture is that we are a submissive culture, especially the women. It's time to tell the truth, to show the world the truth. There's not much else to say on this, because you need to witness and experience it for yourself. So, go watch it. And then re-watch it. We all need more of this kind of magic to rain down on us.
Last week I had the privilege of being invited to a screening of a documentary feature called United Skates, which is now available to watch on HBO. I actually didn't pay attention to what exactly I was being invited to screen, but the friend that invited me knew I would be interested so I went, and I am so glad that I did. United Skates is an inspiring film about community, and a harsh reminder of the racism and marginalization of people of color in our country, especially that of the Black community. United Skates takes us into the world of roller skating in a way I am sure many of us have never known or experienced, and I can't believe that that is the case, because not only is it so fun and vibrant a culture, but this aspect of roller skating brings together everything we all want in a community--fun and safe spaces for families to come together, to be able to dance and express ourselves, and inspire one another.