Popular Culture

Kim Kardashian’s Safety Concerns: Dangerous Hypervisibility

English: Kim Kardashian at the 2009 Tribeca Fi...

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

During last Sunday’s episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kim Kardashian expressed a disquieting fear she wrestles with daily after being held hostage and robbed in Paris in 2016, where her engagement ring from her husband Kanye West and other jewelry, totaling $9.5 million, were stolen. However, as much as she shouldn’t have to face such fear, her security concerns were preventable and are products of her hypervisibility. Kardashian has primarily depended on this hypervisibility for her fame. What happens, though, when one’s celebrity is based on an almost ever-present camera, it permits marauders to violate—at least potentially—his or her body and intrude on his or her personal space. Unfortunately, for Kim Kardashian, people with malevolent intentions could do her great harm if she does not make serious changes.   

Kim Kardashian’s Recognition of Safety Concerns  

Understanding this reality now, Kim Kardashian revealed on Sunday’s episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians that she’s no longer “hungry” for media attention and no longer wishes to “be in the mix the way that I used to.” Her ingenious entrepreneurship—creating a compelling desire for millions to follow her every move and her every thought—leading to millions of dollars and millions of followers has come at a great cost: unsettling anxiety, restlessness about not if another threat to her and her belongings will emerge but when it will. Although people will look at her and simply say, “Oh well, you have it all and shouldn’t have gotten yourself into this situation,” she does not deserve to live in fear.

Yes, for years, she unknowingly exposed herself exposed to such victimization. As an American, however, she has the right to conduct her business through social media platforms without making it acceptable for criminals to exploit her. People should have compassion for anyone who has been robbed and experienced fear that they would be harmed, including raped, by dastards. Even those with far less visibility as Kardashian are targeted by criminals for execrable purposes. We all, therefore, need to think deeply about what happened to Kim.

Kim Kardashian at the Seventh Annual Hollywood...

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Lessons to Learn from Kim Kardashian’s Robbery: Use Social Media Wisely  

When one invites the world into his or her home and life daily through social media platforms, he or she must understand how vulnerable to attack this makes him or her. Using social media platforms as dominant marketing tools and means of conducting one’s business is fine; however, he or she must be selective about how much private information to share. Celebrity or not, people don’t need to know where you are all of the time and everything you have in your home or with you.

Kim Kardashian seemed not to consider how dangerous her open diary-style use of social media is. The post-robbery anxiety she’s experiencing a year later helps us all to comprehend how vital it is to adopt safe and smart practices while using social media. When one is finding more and more success through such transparency as Kim extended to followers, this transparency can become seductive, leading to excesses that impair quality judgment. If you’re not careful, therefore, your misguided longing for ever-growing success can land you right into the lap of a rapist, thief, and/or some other type of unwanted criminal.  

Thankfully, it appears, Kim has learned her lesson and will be implementing better social media practices.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Summer 2014 Will Be Remembered by Pharrell’s “Happy”

Pharrell Williams "Happy"

(Photo Credit: Digital Spy)

When we look back 20 years from now, we will define Summer 2014 by Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.” “Happy” is the hit track from Williams’ second album, Girl (2014), and the Despicable Me 2 (2013) soundtrack.  The song calls each individual to love being who he or she really is.  It’s becoming increasingly more lucid where we are right now in the postmodern epoch is a time when too many individuals suffer from psychic fragmentation.  Too many people have become so focused on being what others want them to be that they don’t even know who they really are any longer—it’s possible they never even gave themselves a chance to learn who they really are. With the release of “Happy,” Williams offers a valuable counter-narrative to the dominant American narrative that says who you really are isn’t good enough, and to be good enough you need to be someone you aren’t.

The challenge to the status quo “Happy” presents begins with the song’s ingenious author, Pharrell Williams.  Although we’re living in a time when people highly embrace flashy phenomena they hope will make them standout, Williams finds peace in simple elegance.  He knows how to make simple clothing, clothing that’s not flashy, refreshingly elegant.  When we see Mr. Williams, we’re witnessing a human being who has been liberated from the postmodern impulse to be someone he’s not.  “Happy” has given us an opportunity to experience the true substance that composes Pharrell.  Through his amazingly successful song, music fans are provided with a powerful alternative to the prevalent fear countless individuals have about loving who they truly are.

“Happy” has been #1 on the Billboard Top 100 and #1 on music charts in 19 countries.  Even with this song’s great success and wide popularity, it does not seem to have had any meaningful impact on changing America’s fascination with the superficial over the substantial.  One of the primary reasons for this could be how distracted we can get with hot beats that make us dance.  Unfortunately, we too often don’t want to reflect on why these beats make us want to dance in the first place. If we would engage more closely with the positive messages of “Happy,” it’s possible for us to move closer to understanding the value of diversity, and we might even start cherishing diversity.  This will require us to move past the hot beats and the dancing those beats promote and develop into a more reflective people.  Critical reflection enable us to see how Pharrell’s song can be employed as a vehicle to engender a massive wave of camaraderie and harmony among sundry people across the nation and globe who are presently divided.

For the real power of the song to be unleashed, it will take intellectuals, scholars, activists, community leaders, religious leaders, politicians, teachers, and many others to muster the courage to host nationwide forums, lectures, debates, and etc. where substantive discourse can take place about the song and how its messages can be used to instigate change in America and across the world.

Music has the ability to transform lives, to transform nations.

Even though Williams’ song may not produce the type of critical discourse across the nation and globe it merits, the song’s staying power will give us an opportunity to heed its vital messages even 20 years from now.  When we take a moment to envision a nation and world that mirrors the one offered by the music video for “Happy,” we begin to acknowledge how priceless the song is.  The song helps us to realize that our differences should unite us instead of divide us.  “Happy” seems to suggest that our differences shouldn’t cause us to lose sight of our universal longing for happiness.

History will inevitably mark Summer 2014 as a watershed moment in world history when “Happy” caused people to think seriously about the importance of simply being themselves.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Haves and the Have Nots’ Post-Accident Benny

Tyler Lepley

(Photo Credit: Kontrol Magazine)

Benjamin “Benny” Young (Tyler Lepley) is emerging as a more interesting and complex character since the accident he was involved in that landed him in the hospital.  Fans of Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots are witnessing a Benny who seems to have greater zeal than he had before the accident.  When he speaks now, he does not have any reservations.  Before the accident, Benny wouldn’t use profanity around Hannah Young (Crystal R. Fox), his mother, but now he says exactly what he wants to say—with little to no regret.  Hannah is even surprised by how blunt Benny is now. She frequently has to look at him and tell him that he needs to calm down.  It will be interesting to see if we’re about to see the full manifestation of his spunk, a spunk that shares deep affinities to Candace Young’s (Tika Sumpter), his sister.

Benny, the Uniter

Benny appears to be making a stronger effort to bring Candace and Hannah closer together.  One of his chief failures (thus far) in attempting to eviscerate the barriers that exist between Candace and Hannah is the omission of a challenge for Hannah to employ the powerful faith she has in God to help her to have a true willingness to close the gulf between her and her daughter.  Benny has heard his mother talk about God all of his life, and he seems to have grown a little tired of hearing her speak about God, especially when they continue to experience the struggle of surviving with very limited financial resources.

Benny’s Potential Danger

Although Benny’s new passion is refreshing, he has to be careful about seeking revenge on Quincy (Medina Islam), Candace’s baby daddy.  From what we know right now, it appears that Quincy murdered his baby.  If Quincy will murder a baby, then you know he doesn’t mind killing Benny. Benny, therefore, shouldn’t allow his anger to metastasize into wrath.  It’s clear that Quincy doesn’t mind going to prison, and Benny shouldn’t let him lead him on a path that leads to prison, the hospital or the grave.  Hopefully, Candace and Hannah will be able to communicate to him the importance of remaining calm and logical.  While it may seem to be the right thing to go after Quincy for murdering Candace’s baby (and for whatever he did to her before he went to prison), Benny is a good man and has much more to lose than Quincy does.  If Benny elects to take the law into his own hands, he could do more harm than good.

Conclusion

On July 22, 2014, fans of the show will have an opportunity to see if Benny will make tragic mistakes. Unchecked rage often leads to destruction.  Benny has to understand that Quincy is Satan in the flesh, and all Quincy comes to do is steal, kill and destroy.  Will Benny pass this test of his faith?  We learn the answer to this question on the next episode of Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison