Film, music, and visual arts have all evolved throughout time. If we critically analyze media from a certain time period we can learn a lot about what the culture was like, what they valued, how they treated one another, and what the controversies of the time were. The power of media cannot be denied.

The power of media has influenced mainstream society and has often been the deciding factor on local and international policies. One of the most powerful reasons why segregation and the Vietnam War were fought against and stopped was because of the power of media. The horrible images people across the nation saw on their newly invented television sets were a new experience for a whole generation. There was a generation that had never experienced life with a television set. Just as there is a generation of us that did not grow up with facebook and cell phones during our middle and high school years.

I give thanks to have grown up during the so-called “Golden Era” of Hip-Hop. Tupac and Biggie were definitely huge influences for me growing up. Queen Latifah, TLC, Aaliyah made me proud to be a girl of color. Being Latina, born and raised in S.F, CA to immigrant parents, the struggle of African Americans in the United States was what I could most relate to. And Hip-Hop music during the late 80’s and early 90’s was all about “power to the people”. This is the power of media among a mixed nation.

Many people doubted the legitimacy and power of Hip-Hop when it first broke into the mainstream media, but it became an international art form that has crossed boundaries, transcended stereotypes, and bridged cultures. It has also become exploited, commercialized, and brainwashed as the powers that be observed the powerful unifying effect that Hip-Hop was having on a whole generation of youth growing up in the most diverse society ever.

The power of media has been used against us. Part of the poison we deal with now-a-days is not only environmental, but also mental, emotional, and spiritual. Media has a profound effect on our mentality about reality as well as our feelings about people and things outside of our comfort zone.

But art and media are tools we can also use. We can use the power of film, music, photography, paintings, etc. to break down stereotypes and cultivate a culture of love for diversity, justice, equality, and compassion. We are the 99%. We are not the minority. We are a beautiful mixed nation!

 

Kaira Portillo

Kaira Portillo

Kaira Portillo-Espinoza was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. She is grateful for having grown up around such a wide spectrum of diversity, which makes the Bay Area the unique place it is. Her first published book, Poems About This Roller-Coaster Ride Called Life, is a collection of poems she wrote throughout high school and college and explores issues of injustice, resistance, sexuality, and empowerment. See more articles by this author >