“Remember that music video I showed you guys the first class?” asked Professor Josh Kun in my Communications 307 class, titled “Sound Clash: Popular Music and American Culture”. He was referring to a music video by up-and-coming artist, 16 year old Becky G, an immensely talented, and remarkably wise beyond her years, pop and rap artist, who, as Professor Kun mentioned during this first class, embodies many of the themes we were to explore throughout the course. Not to mention the fact that her video, “Becky from the Block” was his favorite track of the summer, and soon came to be my, along with many of my fellow students’, favorite track of the semester.
“Becky from the Block” has reached over 7 million views on YouTube, Becky herself has become something of a teen sensation as her urban pop beats have caught the attention of all ages, and, on top of all this, she has recently been added to the prestigious lineup of CoverGirl spokeswomen. She may be the coolest 16 year old to ever hit the American pop charts, way cooler than I could have ever been at 16, and so it was no surprise that when Professor Kun mentioned in class on Tuesday that Becky herself was coming to our class as a guest speaker that coming Thursday, that the entire class, still waiting for the early morning caffeine to kick-in at our 9:30am lecture, became alive with excitement, as if it was 9:30pm on a Friday night, concert-hopping in Hollywood.
Thursday arrived and the class was abuzz with anticipation. We waited for the arrival of Becky G; I sat in the second row as usual with the other usual second row sitters. In front of me was seating reserved for, we assumed and turned out to assume correctly, Becky’s family. I talked with a few of the others sitting next to me, until I turned my glance to the right and I saw Professor Kun walking in with the 4’11” Becky G, followed by her mother, father, and two of her cousins. What was a class humming with chatter became a combination of low whispers and interested observing; this is what USC Annenberg students call “school”. We study these artists, write papers on them, hold discussions about their functions in popular culture during lecture, and now we have the opportunity to communicate with them first-hand, to experience their personalities and hear their stories in a first-hand manner.
I am not sure if these opportunities and experiences are a norm for other universities. Perhaps for a few they are, but for USC students it is a humbling normalcy: as students at USC in general, we are incredibly lucky. We are incredibly lucky to be afforded opportunities and experiences as this, meeting artists that we have not only studied throughout our course, but who have fans that would probably teem with jealousy upon hearing a class of 20-something year old students were in that close of proximity to them. It is thanks to the never-ending network that is partly responsible for USC’s ever-consistent fame, that these experiences are possible. There really is nothing comparable to being a USC Annenberg student and a USC student, in general.
Which may be why, as mentioned by both Professor Kun and then Becky at multiple moments throughout the class, that USC is, and has always been, her dream school.
With good reason, Becky. Patricia Silva
BA Communications ‘15
Undergraduate Student Assistant
Annenberg Alumni Relations and Development