New Explorations of Girls’ Media Culture
10 Role Models and Drama Queens: African Films and the Formation of Good Women Sandra Grady 189
ten Role Models and Drama Queens: African Films and the Formation of Good Women Sandra Grady In the living rooms of most Somali Bantu apartments in the United States, the television demands primary attention. Sitting as it generally does in an entertainment center cluttered with stereo consoles and speakers, a DVD player, videocassette recorder, an assortment of videotapes, DVDs, music CDs, and often other televisions, it serves to focus the attention of most individuals who enter the room. The rest of the living space is highly decorated with vibrant African textiles, creating a profound sense of withdrawal from the surrounding American envi- ronment. The overcrowded entertainment center, however, provides a stunning contrast to the predominant African décor, a contrast made even more dramatic when the television (or multiple televisions) remain switched on continuously, broadcasting the sounds of U.S. programs over those of family gatherings in the otherwise African space. For Somali Bantu refugees, the entertainment center provides an important new element of family life in resettlement, opportunities for family recreation and self-presentation. The increased consumption of media by Somali Bantu refugees is an ele- ment of wider forces affecting most culture groups across the globe at the turn of this century. According to Arjun Appadurai, two defining characteristics of the postmodern world are the vastly increased scale of human migration across the globe and the abundance of electronic media options for consumption. These two forces are particularly important, he argues, because they influence the social imagination and, consequently, shape...
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