Trust me on this one: all types of new exist under the sun. Don’t get it twisted, and don’t let them tell you otherwise.
In the world of Arts & Entertainment, not everyone can remain relevant forever. The entertainment world is ripe with reinventions and interventions. And yes, Mr. Warhol, here we are, in the future. And yes, everyone in the world will be famous for fifteen minutes. Whether you were aware of it or not, we were all famous for a little over (or was it under?) fifteen minutes last night, albeit coined as and consequentially bunched together awkwardly as Millennials. Yup, that’s us: Millennials, Echo Boomers, children of those crazy Baby Boomers. So what does this all mean for the world of Arts & Entertainment? The so-called scholars would have you believe that a clear divide exists between audiences and artists, curators and common fans. They missed the boat. That ship has sailed. Insert whatever nautical idiom you’d like, so long as it pertains to the board and institutions the world over failing to realize that the lines are blurring all the time. They touched on DIY spaces, they all but dismissed the possibility of pop-up galleries expanding beyond the loop and they never even got into impromptu shows. The fact that this movement is being led by coming of age millennial peers, not any “demographic” should have set off some light bulbs. It didn’t, which is why #TheDialogue was the disappointment it turned out to be. But I, as an admitted Millennial, am here to let you know that it’s going to be okay. We have our own thing going on that they know nothing about…yet. But let’s make one thing clear: once they find out about it, it will become a watered down version of immersion. It always does.
Which brings us to the star of last night’s Dialogue and the YouTube generation’s sensation, Hennessy Youngman. The world has changed, and everyone is playing catch up trying to make themselves into things that they are not in order to make that dirty dollar. But the dollars add up until they make perfect sense to the masses. On the flip side, we have a character created by Jayson Musson who seems to just get it (or is he intentionally this blissfully naive?). As Youngman, Musson takes us through the journey of his YouTube series, Art Thoughtz, acknowledging our generation’s strong points and tendencies as welcoming, progressive, technologically advanced beings. He is aware of and living in this “new community that is forming where racial identity is slipping.” Acknowledging his West Indian and Jamaican roots, he identifies with this Millennial generation that is chock full of racial welcoming, filled to the brim with social and economic consciousness, spilling over with the opposite of ignorance and teetering on the brink of creating permanent change. Trying to understand us is an exercise in futility of sorts, maybe because this country’s societies, class systems and elitist viewpoints have stunted the growth of the people’s mind’s eye. Well, we can see clearly now.
We are the first generation to be fully raised by technology. We’ve seen its progression, and we’ve noticed its downfalls.
You’ve got to have character to make it in this world. Strong character. Everyone you come into contact with will notice. Good character, bad character, it’ll be clear as day. No need for fancy marketing schemes with the likes of Don Draper and Co. guiding your character to a healthy public image, because when you’re dope, the people will know, and they’ll spread the word for you. I promise you they will. No need to hustle and bustle trying to desperately convince an entire generation to believe that what you say is true. Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs here in Chicago said it nicely, “Just be you, and be the best at it.”
We are the ones who set the trends. We have albums way before they’re released. We see movies long before they hit the actual big screen. We know of underground artists as just that: underground. It is not until museums or the mainstream institutions get a hold of them that they become well-known and their grassroots goodness goes bye-bye.
Everyone wants to be included though. Everyone wants to feel that they’re hip, that they’re in on what’s happening. So what’s happening guys and gals?