Be honest, frank and fearless and get some grasp of the real values of life — W.E.B Du bois
The dominance of the Kardashian family within popular culture represents the fruit of cultural decline, with popular culture being defined by superficially, homogeneity and the allure of instant gratification. The inferiority and deceptiveness of these pursuits are highlighted when contrasted with the ideals of depth, authenticity and patience. When we subscribe to the dictates of popular culture, we plant our self-esteem in unsustainable soil. A redirection must occur, an inward revolution must take place. To echo the words of J.Cole:
What good is taking over, when we know what you got’ do, the only real revolution happens right inside of you…I know you desperate for a change… But the only real change come from inside.
In ‘Confessions of a bad feminist’, the writer and professor Roxanne Gay speaks on how her enjoyment of “thuggish rap” music, which is laden with misogyny and machismo is in outright opposition to her values. In her talk, she captures with great earnestness the difficulty that arises when we try to live our lives in alignment with supremely worthwhile values, with the lamentation of “Why must it be so catchy? Its hard to make the better choice, and it is so easy to justify a lesser one.”
It is our civic duty to change what is considered mainstream, we must force the media gaze onto the individuals and organisations that encourage the cultivation of character, virtue and emotional intelligence. Popular culture must attend to the holistic progress of humanity. The charge provided by James Baldwin pierces with the call to “take off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within”. If we can strive for this, then ideas and actions that were previously out of our reach will now be available, if we are willing to question our assumptions then new unknown terrains of understanding will be within our grasp.