Music Videos Are the New Lectures

People tend to dread fulfilling the ethnic studies requirement; however, what if I told you that you could check it off by watching Beyoncé’s “Lemonade”?

Beyoncé at the Super Bowl L Halftime Show.  Her performance was very controversial, while still having a message of Black empowerment.

African American 156: Black Music and American Cultural History was the most interesting class I took during my two years as a Badger.  Every class we would analyze Black music, and music videos, throughout history and tie them to the social and political climate of the times.  By doing this we were able to see how the music of the time did have an influence on social movements: from the Black Panthers to Black Live Matter.

Professor Alexander Shashko, was very educated in both music and history, and was able to tie in a large variety of music: hip-hop, rock, blues, funk, disco, and even country.  The way he taught was very refreshing, and there was never a boring day in class.  Majority of the class was just watching music videos, so I never felt the need to skip.  Especially when he played “Lemonade” for the entire class. I marked my calendar.  

If you are looking to complete the ethnic studies requirement and love learning about music or social movement, I highly recommend taking this course.  While this was a three-credit course, there was usually little to no homework, and the final is to make a movie soundtrack.  I was never worried about this course, which made me absorb the information and not just memorize it for a test.  However, due to the large size (approximately 300 students) there was a mandatory discussion section.  This class is available in the fall, and you can learn more here.

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