Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Music that Matters Just Like I Do

Hello and welcome to my action project for my civic term course, Music That Matters. In this course, we are learning about music that has made an impact and how to analyze it. We have had three amazing field experience guests. Faiz Razi, Conan Neutron, Fransisco Ramirez. These guests are all active in the music community and talked to us about the music that matters to them. For this action project, we were asked to create a proposal for My Block, My Hood, My City's newest project that asks "How can you make a positive impact on your neighborhood?" I hope you enjoy this action project.

Hello, my name is Tymony and I live in the Beverly neighborhood in Chicago. If you are not familiar, Beverly is a neighborhood on the far south side of Chicago near Roseland. The racial makeup of my community is imbalanced and while some people can just ignore this fact, I notice it every day. Before Covid-19 I would take the Metra train home from school almost every day. Sometimes I would get off at 111th which is closer to Morgan Park, a majority-black part of Beverly. Mostly, I would get off at 107th and the difference of people is astounding. From who walks to their destination vs who drives to who has a shiny briefcase vs a tattered tote bag. I would walk home next to white men who seemed to fear me more than I did them. It is a familiar feeling for people of color, the stares that sear through your skin or watching people almost run across the street just to avoid you. As time moved on I've learned to try to shrink down and blend in just to make it through the walk home.

I was a bit nervous to begin a project that would disrupt this invisible way of life that I had adapted to, so when Faiz Razi joined our Zoom class I asked "... do you ever feel out of place when making and installation in a place that is mostly white?'' He smiled, laughed, and said, "of course, whenever I even have a conversation with white folks it feels performative." This stuck out to me more than anything an FE guest has said before and that's because he put into words the feeling of "other" that I had tried for so long to suppress and make invisible. But I literally cannot make my skin invisible. So, with those words, I decided to put my installation in two places one on 107th street and one on 111th street.

This video is a sample of what it would be like to experience my installation once you get off at either train stop. The remixes that I made portray blackness in a way that cannot be ignored. The entire point of this installation is exclusivity. When most people hear the word exclusivity they think of it as a negative thing. However in this case I am using exclusivity to create a community. What my neighborhood desperately needs is racial diversity and diversity in thought. My installation will benefit the community by offering a new way of thinking for some and fostering a feeling of belonging for others.


I used Tinkercad to make a mockup of the giant boombox that will be placed at the 111th and 107th street Metra Stations. The real version is meant to be colorful, vibrant, and eye-catching. 

For the remixes, I decided to use two topics that I am very familiar with. Being a woman and being Black.

The first remix, The Black People Mix, uses clips from Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole, James Brown, and N.W.A. I used repetition and stubbornness to highlight some parts of each song. The Black People Mix is intentionally more ambiguous than The Black Woman Mix and is up to interpretation by the listener. I decided to go with ambiguity because it allows a listener to be more engaged by using their own thoughts rather than having an idea pushed into your lap. TBPM has a rhythmic tempo that is unique because of the mixing of different songs from different genres. Today's popular music is very formulaic and predictable, both of the mixes are the opposite. When you listen for the first time it is meant to be very difficult to predict the next note or word coming. 

The second remix, The Black Woman Mix, uses clips from the news, Queen Latifah, Beyonce,
Noname, The Woman's March and Betty Wright. I used quiet and space in this peace to accentuate
the pain that is constant but was extreme in June and July of 2020. In fact, the Noname clip was a
response to the erasure of the Say Her Name movement. I decided to be more intentional with the
message of this peace because all women are often forced into compliance and silence. We are often forced to be the submissive ones to take on and listen to the world's problems when many dismiss our problems. TBWM isn't as strict as The Black People Mix when it comes to tempo. Because of the extreme contrast of genres in this mix, the tempo changes drastically from the beginning to the end.

This installation is meant to Teach, Inspire, and Ignite here's how it will do this.
My installation will teach people to listen, each time they hear the mixes on the way to their destination
I hope that they will listen for something different.
By fostering a community this installation will inspire and ignite people to engage
with our neighborhood more.
Hopefully, with this installation, the people of color in Beverly will be
empowered to be comfortable to live life without worrying about stares or people avoiding them.

All in all, I would love to make this installation a reality. I truly believe that this installation could make a big impact in my neighborhood. I enjoyed working on this project, I was able to try something I've never done before (music mixing) and combine it with something I really love (video editing). 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Music that Matters Just Like I Do

Hello and welcome to my action project for my civic term course, Music That Matters. In this course, we are learning about music that has ma...