Object 3 : Strawberry Blond by Mitski

June 1, 2021

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Mitski Miyawaki is a musical artist who writes music about her struggles with mental illness and being a mixed raced person of colour. An example of one of her most popular songs about the latter topic is Strawberry Blond, released on August 1st, 2013. This song illustrates the struggles of being in an interracial relationship with significant cultural differences.

Mitski wrote this song about the struggles of being a person of colour in a society that praises beauty according to Western beauty standards and condemns anything that falls outside of this standard. Her lyrics have been interpreted by white listeners who change the narrative in favour of their experiences as a white person multiple times. Strawberry Blond has become subject to the same fate. While songs going viral have great benefits for the original artists, the loss of this particular song’s meaning was not worth its virality, as it can be seen as a white audience speaking over the struggles of people of colour. The challenge that this brings to the dissemination/communication of knowledge is the fact that this song gained its popularity through a false narrative that speaks over the original meaning.

This object enriches this exhibition because it illustrates the issues raised in a context that would usually be considered a step forward in the dissemination/communication of knowledge. Of course, fans are completely free to interpret the meanings of songs they like; however, an issue arises when it actively dismisses specific issues the artist struggles with.

Knowing the meaning/story could be dismissed in this manner hinders artists from sharing their work, therefore raising another issue in the dissemination/communication of knowledge.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Keziah, @daumkeziah. “PROM Pic.twitter.com/gsJ0LtsCmP.” Twitter, April 22, 2018. https://twitter.com/daumkeziah/status/988115815068139520.

MacGregor, Neil. “A History of the World in 100 Objects, Mass Production, Mass Persuasion (1780 – 1914 AD), Hokusai’s The Great Wave.” BBC Radio 4. BBC, October 14, 2010. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00v72n6.

Mitski. “Strawberry Blond.” Spotify, August 1, 2013. https://open.spotify.com/track/3eGsNpXzcb1BDkfSJI54NY?si=763fbf7b6b224e1b.

Shanghaiist.com. “American Girl Wears Qipao to Prom, Gets Accused of ‘Cultural Appropriation’.” Medium. Shanghaiist, May 1, 2018. https://medium.com/shanghaiist/american-girl-wears-qipao-to-prom-gets-accused-of- cultural-appropriation-891f5dfd97d2.

Stonard, John-Paul. “Hokusai: The Great Wave That Swept the World.” The Guardian. Guardian News anD Media, May 19, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/may/19/hokusai-japanese-artist-late- blossoming-great-wave-mount-fuji

Wong, Lina. “Gatekeeping Mitski .” Unpublished. Unpublished Magazine, March 11, 2021. https://www.unpublishedzine.com/music-1/gatekeeping-mitskinbsp.

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Object 3 : Strawberry Blond by Mitski