From Nationalisms to Transnationalisms

The Processes: From Nationalisms to Transnationalisms by Jesus Martin-Barbero

It is clearly evident that through the technological advances and developments in our world today that there is the constant meshing of cultures and influences. In today’s society, we have already seemed to adapt on the new ideas and traditions that used to seem foreign to us back then. Having media being a very powerful force now, the “social distinctions” between differences in culture and diversities do not hinder the littlest of traditions from spreading far out.
With the large influence of television and the internet, we can say that the people are now more open-minded in the diversities and differences in culture. The ethnocentric point of view seems to be less rampant in many countries, and it seems that different cultures have provided people a general appreciation of what can be something foreign and exotic.
In music today, we see the vast genres that have rooted from many cultures in specific. Take for example, Tejano music, which is a Mexican and Spanish influenced type of music which originated in the Latino communities in Texas. From its beginnings in the 1900s, this type of music which seems to hold the greatest influence from Mexico is fused with American blues, jazz and dance. Another example, is rap and hip-hop. The hip-hop subculture has pretty much been one of the biggest types of music that originated in New York in the 1970s, and its growing culture has indeed penetrated the mainstream. Fusing it together with rap, disco, dance, funk music, and some soul and R&B, hip-hop has been able to mix with a lot of genres, which spread out all over the world.

The powerful influence of the media has brought forth the cultivation of these different genres to capture the audiences from all over the world, drawing supporters and fans. The trends and cultures have all escalated from small groups to various and larger groups outside their zones. Even portrayals of different people from different cultures seem to bring no harm in sharing the idea of celebrating the differences in culture and presenting it together. One of the first examples of this is the life adaptation of the late Tejano singer, Selena, who was already breaking into the American market when she is murdered by the president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar. Many people know of Jennifer Lopez to be the actress to portray Selena, but looking at Lopez’ roots, she is a Puerto Rican-American. It sparked a bit of controversy when Lopez portrayed Selena, especially when she is not of Mexican descent and lineage. With the movie and the audiences take on her performance, fans and viewers alike were able to accept and appreciate the film regardless of its characters. The same event happened in 2005’s Memoirs of a Geisha, where all three actresses, Zi Yin Zhang, Gong Li, and Michelle Yeoh, who portrayed Japanese women (geishas) in the film were not Japanese, but of Chinese descent.

In rap music, the same trend has occurred with the fusion of different genres altogether. In the Latin American region, traces of rap and hip-hop are heavily seen on many types of latin music like reggaeton, which constitutes Spanish and Jamaican rap verses and songs. Artists like Sean Paul, and Daddy are among those artists who produce this music. Also, in the East, Asians have also incorporated the rap and hip-hop trends in their music, with touches of their local languages. From the music, the people are able to join in with the Afro-American styles of fashion and lifestyle, which are evident in the groups and artists in the music scene today.

Even in the Philippines, the types of music incorporated by many artists are also rooted from Western pop, hip-hop, R&B and soul. This current trend has grown so much in our culture that we already consider these foreign acts to be huge influences in our music and arts.

This phenomenon that media has brought out brings together transnationalism at many points, where audiences are able to grasp and identify themselves with the different trends and cultures. Furthermore, these people who are exposed to new cultural influences see ways of incorporating these influences to their own, which brings together a fusion of cultures and nations.

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