It’s no doubt that mass media permeates our culture, through TV shows, music, podcasts, movies and the like. But do we truly understand the effect that media has on our everyday lives, and the power it holds to shape us, or harm us?
“Media is always trying to establish some type of influence or power over your life,” said Ismail Al-Amin, executive director of Keepers of the Art, which is hosting its inaugural Muse Media Education Film Festival, Aug. 14 through 16. The festival should help us as a community better grasp and understand the media we consume on a daily basis.
“We’re going to examine the stories the media tells us about race, gender, class and commercialization,” said Al-Amin, who adds that media influence begins at a young age.
“Children now see about 8,000 murders by the end of elementary school, and about 200,000 violent acts by the age of 18,” said Michael Morgan, who’s quoted in the documentary “The Mean World Syndrome,” produced by the Media Education Foundation. He adds, “From movies to television shows to video games to children’s programs to 24-hour news channels, aggression is now routine, everyday, formulaic, a staple industrial ingredient.”
This free film festival will feature 20 documentaries over three days, and challenge such notions as masculinity, portrayals of violence, pop music, sports and race relations, among other vital social topics.
For example, “White Like Me – Race, Racism, & White Privilege in America,” offers a look at how white privilege has shaped personal attitudes, U.S. political culture, and government policy over time. “The Furious Force of Rhymes” explores hip-hop music as a form of global protest. (Click here for the full schedule)
The event will kick off Aug. 14, 7 p.m., at the Akron Art Museum. Roughly 18 documentaries will be shown at various downtown venues: the Akron-Summit County Public Library, Summit Artspace, the Akron Art Museum and the newly opened Nightlight cinema. The festival itself is free, and the three-day event will culminate with an Aug. 16 concert by Sa-Roc, 9 p.m. at Summit Artspace (with a $5 admission).
Although Keepers of Art has historically focused on hip-hop education, the media festival is a logical progression in the group’s mission, especially given the prominence of hip-hop music in today’s popular culture.
The festival is made possible by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Media Education Foundation. The Media Education Foundation produces and distributes documentary films and other educational resources to inspire critical thinking about the social, political, and cultural impact of American mass media.