Consumerism: Music Video and Images Essay

Submitted By MPallante
Words: 1391
Pages: 6

Mackenzie Pallante

Dr. Ferszt

Writing 100

July 9, 2014

Visual Analysis According to the Purdue Online Writing Lab the goal of visual analysis is “The goal of any rhetorical analysis is to demonstrate your understanding of how the piece communicates its messages and meanings. One way of looking at this process is that you are breaking the piece down into parts.” This type of analysis can be applied to many different types of media. An example of this can be seen in Suzanne Marie Enck and Blake A. McDaniel’s analysis of Eminem and Rihanna’s hit song “Love the Way You Lie” where the pair states that it is as follows; “A lamentation on the anguish that accompanies a relationship turned violent, Eminem’s rap narrates one man’s romanticized journey of passion, love, distrust, anger, violence, shame, remorse, and vengeance.” This is just one side of the argument regarding Eminem’s video because when studying and applying visual analysis any point of view is welcome.
The first thought that came to mind while watching Lauryn Hill’s video on consumerism was “Wow” personally I was shocked and a bit alarmed by the images and words that were being spewed across the screen. Being that this is Hill’s first single after being released from federal prison for tax evasion (Casey), the anger and sternness of her voice makes complete sense. While on trial for her crimes Hill talked of her slave ancestors and how they worked hard and were set free so that she did not have to be. Then blaming the way that governments, society, and the economy is run for why the world is the way it is. (Citation) In his synopsis of the lyric video Casey writes; “The Huffington Post remarked about the 8-time Grammy winner’s first music video in more than ten years saying, it 'features a whirlwind of visceral images that whiz by with every ferocious word she utters.' Her husky voice never sounded more powerful. This is a rap that smacks you in the face. The video also provides bold subtitles in block letters of color, which are similar stylistically to 60’s and 70’s anti-war movement posters.” This is significant because this style of music is also closely related to that of the anti-war and civil rights music of the 60’s. Not so much stylistically but as far as the message that is trying to be conveyed to the public it is a very similar idea.
There are two African American women working on a front porch washing clothes in tubs. The women appear to be doing hard labor and they look very beat up. This is an old image and there is strain on their faces. This particular image only occurs once but the images of colored people working hard for others, the idea of slavery occurs numerous times throughout the video. The words “synthetic hope, life spent walking on a tight rope” appear at the same time as the image. The image reminds me of a story I read in middle school called Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry (do I need to cite anything because all written about the book is from memory) about an African American family growing up in the south. To me the image along with the words it appears with “false hope” make me think that it is conveying the message that when slaves were freed the African Americans were led to believe that they would be treated equivalent to the white people though that was not the case and they kept being put under the impression that things would get better in time though they would not, until things started to change eventually in the 1960’s. I discovered that in the early 20th century black women in the south were still practically slaves for those around them and racism was very prominent. More specifically during the great depression issues got worse and there was much lynching and many were tarred and feathered. This is contrary to popular belief that the times had changed and all people had their rights. This image connects to consumerism by showing the viewer that people had false perceptions and the people that were being serviced by them