Pop Culture as a Powerful Force for Narrative Change

January 23, 2017  |  Activism

This piece was originally published in Change Agent, the biannual publication of the Communications Network.  We all tell ourselves stories. There’s a story of how each workday goes—psychologists call these behavioral scripts—and there are larger narratives we tell ourselves about our lives in general. There’s even a subfield of psychoanalysis called narrative therapy that encourages patients…

Page Not Found? Redirect to Sundance 2017

January 20, 2017  |  Film Festivals

Last year’s Sundance was noteworthy for several reasons: streaming services Netflix and Amazon were the highest purchasers, cementing their place among traditional studios; Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation became the biggest sale of Sundance history; and sleeper film Manchester by the Sea is now poised for Oscar success. This year, Sundance is going in…

The Revolution Is Not Yet Televised

January 18, 2017  |  Activism

On January 3, 2017, the 115th Congress was sworn in. While fourteen women won seats, 14 women also exited, leaving the total number of women in Congress at 104. This means that while women comprise more than 50 percent of the American population, they make up less than 20 percent of Congress’s 535 members. On…

Why Atlanta and Insecure Capture The Black Millennial Experience

January 10, 2017  |  Television

Atlanta and Insecure are arguably two of the best new shows on television. For me and many of my friends, these shows have filled an unconscious void. They have filled a void that we couldn’t define or even know was missing. Created by the stars of the programs, Atlanta and Insecure demonstrate an authenticity of…

‘Tis the Season for Seasonal Workers

December 22, 2016

In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, loyal employee Bob Cratchit asks his boss, Ebenezer Scrooge, for Christmas day off to spend with his family. Scrooge, a wealthy, greedy man, begrudgingly agrees to Cratchit’s request, yet doesn’t believe that his business should have to suffer while Bob takes a holiday, despite his strong work ethic, tolerance…

Donald Trump and His Death Eaters

December 9, 2016  |  Monthly Media Roundup

After nearly every US presidential election, we watched as soon-to-be presidents announced their nominations for Cabinet positions with relatively little fanfare. The media dutifully covered the biographies of these typical career bureaucrats and broadcast the minority party’s polite dissent, if there even was any. Enter 2016, the year of the most expensive and dramatic Rose…

To Tackle Tough Topics Like Mental Health, Turn to Comedy

December 1, 2016  |  Television

Mental illness is no laughing matter, but addressing mental health issues through the lens of comedy can motivate people to take them seriously. For advocates working to improve America’s woefully inadequate mental health system, that means more visibility for the issues they’re trying to address.   Comedy allows audiences to relate to topics that usually…

Disclaimer: No Bees Were Involved in the Making of This Show

November 21, 2016  |  Activism

In early October, and for the first time in American history, bees were added to the federal list of endangered species. This is a serious problem, because our lives depend on theirs. You might not think about the critical role of bees when you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner next week, but bee-lieve it or…

Unmaking a Murderer: Proving the Power of Pop Culture

November 15, 2016

We’re talking of course about Making a Murderer. The Netflix mega-hit captured the country’s attention earlier this year, and had a direct impact on two attorneys who succeeded in getting the conviction of one of the series’ subjects overturned. Just yesterday, a federal judge ordered the release of Brendan Dassey. His attorneys – Steve Drizin…

Binge-Watching for Change

November 3, 2016  |  Activism

Last weekend was a lost weekend for me, but not an intentional hide-out from the relentless noise of the upcoming election. It’s because I fell into a deeply satisfying binge-watch that reminded me how much good people can accomplish when they are righting a wrong or getting out to vote, and how this is what…