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1 Lecture 9: What’s a crossover butt? Professor Daniel Bernardi / Professor Michelle Martinez.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Lecture 9: What’s a crossover butt? Professor Daniel Bernardi / Professor Michelle Martinez."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Lecture 9: What’s a crossover butt? Professor Daniel Bernardi / Professor Michelle Martinez

2 2 In the last lecture… Scene from Westside Story (Robbins & Wise, 1961)Westside StoryRobbinsWise The Politics of Space - Urban Latinos Drawing the Line -“A Place for Us” West Side Story (1961)

3 3 In this Lecture… Crossover Theory Selena and Selena Jennifer Lopez’s Cross-over Appeal You can pause the lecture at any point, click on one of the hyperlinks (text that is underlined) to visit a site or view a clip, and then return to the same point in the lecture when you’re ready. SelenaJ-LoJ-Lo as Selena

4 4 Crossover Theory Lecture 9: Part 1

5 5 What is a crossover? Star’s Popularity Crosses: –Markets –Nations –Demographics Jennifer Lopez –TV, Movies, Music, Fashion –U.S.A, Europe, Latin America –Puerto Rican, African American, Latino/a, European Americans Youth, Twenties and Thirties, etc.

6 6 Some crossovers? Star’s Popularity Crosses Demographics –Paula Abdul: Dancer & Cheerleader, Pop Music Star, Television Star, Fashion Star Star’s Popularity Crosses Nations –Jackie Chan: Hong Kong & U.S.A. Star’s Popularity Crosses Demographics –Shack: Sports Fans, Kids, Rap Music Fans

7 7 Mainstream Market: Multimedia Nation: U.S.A & English- Speaking Demographics: European American, Young, Male and Female Disposable Income Interest in Fads and Trends

8 8 Downstream Market: One Medium (music, TV, etc.) Nation: One Nation Demographics: “Subculture” Latino, Black, etc. Punk, Country, etc. Suggested Supplemental Reading: Subculture: The Meaning of Style by Dick HebdigeSubculture: The Meaning of Style Dick Hebdige

9 9 Swimming Upstream Market: More and More Popular Mediums Nation: Global Appeal Demographics: Mainstream European American Market – Largest Percent of Disposable Income Maintain “Subcultures” Accusations of Selling Out –Authenticity Vs Wide Appeal

10 10 The Politics of Selling Out

11 11 “Ethnic” Implications How do ethnic stars crossover? –From Elvis to Michael Jackson Cut Cultural Signifiers for Those Acceptable to Mainstream / European American Market –Straightening Hair –“Eye” Surgery –Toning Down Accent Maintain “Ethnic” Sex Appeal Elvis Presley Michael Jackson

12 12 Ideological Costs Star Earns Greater Popularity and Profit Diverse Audiences Experience Star Cultural Factors are “Assimilated” Sell Out Stereotype Ideological Result: Whitewashing

13 13 Some Crossover Stars Transcend Whitewashing Paul Robeson (1889 – 1976) –Born to a Former Slave –Educated (Law Degree) –Music and Movies Mohammed Ali ( ) –Born Cassius Clay –Anti-War Protestor –Sports, Music, Movies Paul Robeson Mohammed Ali

14 14 The Big Point There are ideological implications for the “Ethnic” star in crossing over markets, nations and communities/cultures. To sell to the mainstream – to European American audiences w/ lots of disposable income – the star must become whitewashed, forgoing a great deal of cultural specificity, while at the same time maintaining their “exotic” appeal (e.g., stereotype). Some stars manage to transcend the whitewashing effect. Our concern, of course, is whether Selena or Jennifer Lopez do?

15 15 Selena and Selena (1997) Lecture 9: Part 2 Selena J-LoJ-Lo as Selena

16 16 Short Selena Bio Lake Jackson, Texas on April 16, 1971 Father Created Band Feature Daughter at Age 9: Selena and The Guys Lived Poor Until Career Took off in 1986 Tejano Music Star / Fashion –Performed in Spanish Process of Crossing Over –Recorded in English Shot Dead at Age 23 (Yolanda Saldivar )

17 17 Selena’s Success Revealed Latino/a Market Hinted at Crossover Appeal –Music and Fashion –Mexican and Puerto Rican (Latino) –Spanish and English –Music and Fashion –Films and Media –Appeal Hinged on Sexuality Crossover Process Suggests Commitment to Roots and Ethnicity

18 18 Selena Read 1995 Houston Chronicle news story, Singer Selena shot to death, by ARMANDO VILLAFRANCA, PATTY REINERT

19 19 The Latinized American Dream “Unlike most Latino youths, who get killed after a drug deal has gone sour or a bullet surprisingly arrives with their name on it, Selena has passed on to sainthood: not only for dying young, but for dying on the way to another, better place; the immigrant fantasies of the seamless plot known as the American Dream.” – Frances Negrón-Muntaner

20 20 The Big Point Selena the music star revealed the profitability of the Latino/a market and the potential of the mainstream market to accept Latina stardom. This is the American Dream. In many ways, she facilitated the Latino craze of the late 1990s (e.g., Ricky Martin, etc.). Yet she seemingly maintained a commitment to her Tejano roots, language and culture. We will never know if her crossover appeal would have resulted in whitewashing or, like Paul Robeson and Mohammed Ali, something much greater.

21 21 Selena Credits Released in 1997 Directed by Gregory Nava Gregory Nava Stars Jennifer Lopez as Selena and Edward James Olmos as her Father Jennifer Lopez Edward James Olmos

22 22 Plot Summary “Selena tells the story of Latin Queen Selena Quintanilla-Perez, who was the most popular Latin Singer at the time of her tragic death at the age of only 23 years in The film tells the story of the singer as she is accidentally discovered by her own father at the age of 10. Her life story takes off when Jennifer Lopez accurately portrays Selena through her unforgettable concerts, her family struggles, and her secret marriage to her guitarist Chris Perez.” Summary written by AnnonymousAnnonymous

23 23 Jennifer Lopez as Selena Suggests Latina Star (crossover) Minor Protest Among Chicanos Lopez in Process of Crossing Over –Film Secured that Process Talent: Sing, Dance and Perform Similar “Latina” Body Types

24 24 Latina Bodies “Jennifer Lopez's close identification with Selena seemed not only based on their parallel crossover successes, but on a common experience of having a similar build, a body generally considered abject by American standards of beauty and propriety.” – Frances Negrón-Muntaner

25 25 Butt… “Although race was hardly mentioned in this debate over curves and rear ends, for any Caribbean interlocutor, references to this part of the human anatomy are often a way of speaking about Africa in(side) America… And despite the fact that Selena was Chicana, an ethnicity not associated in the Caribbean popular imagination with big butts, size was definitely curvy. ‘Jennifer has the same measurements Selena had,’ said Julle Kamlrez, Selena's seamstress. In fact, Selena's butt was, from a Puerto Rican perspective, one of the elements that made her not specifically Chicana, but ‘Latina’.” – Frances Negrón-Muntaner

26 26 Why the Butt? Our concern is the degree to which Selena the film situated Jennifer Lopez as a crossover star based on her Latina “qualities” in relation to the singer, Selena. The film sits between two crossover Latinas: one that was on the verge of maintaining cultural diversity and another that, I will argue later, sold it out. The cause – and thus the evidence for the sellout – seems to center on the increasing and later decreasing of Jennifer Lopez’s butt, the sign of the butt in Puerto Rican culture, and the obsession with her body in the popular press (and among filmmakers).

27 27 Jennifer Lopez’s Crossover Appeal? Lecture 9: Part 3

28 28 Jennifer’s Butt

29 29 Where’s the butt?

30 30 Class Discuss: Is she a sellout?

31 31 End of Lecture 9 End of Lecture 9 Next Lecture: Who are the “reel” aliens?


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