Blood Diamonds in Popular Culture

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Popular culture or pop culture as defined by Wikipedia consists of the cultural elements that prevail in any given society, mainly using the more popular media, vernacular language and/or an established lingua franca.  It results from the daily interactions, needs and desires and cultural ‘moments” that make up the everyday lives of the mainstream. It finds its expression in the mass circulation of items from areas such as fashion, music, sport and film.

Being a subject of films and songs found in popular culture has done much in creating awareness regarding the issue of conflict diamonds. People who otherwise would not bother to listen, talks or read on the issue find themselves exposed to the issue and intrigued by it after watching films or listening to music that touch on it.

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Blood Diamond Movie

The most recent movie that tackles conflict diamond trade [was] released in 2007. The Blood Diamond movie, is [created] waves and is making jewelers wary even now. Prior to the Blood Diamond movie there are other notable movies that touched on the issue. One such movie is the remarkable film starring Nicholas Cage – Lord of War. Lord of War is about the illegal arms trade but shows how diamonds are intertwined with the trade are paying for the arms that brutal armed forces are using to kill innocent people in Africa, specifically Sierra Leone. It is a wonderful movie telling us a horrible story, which though fictional, is actually still happening in some parts of the world nowadays. Another blood diamond movie showing the dark side of the diamond industry is the James Bond film Die Another Day. Die Another Day’s opening scene shows a North Korean army officer illegally trades weapons for conflict diamonds. Another film that centers on conflict diamonds is a film that became popular in Australia upon its release in December 2004. Death is a Diamond is the first African film taken in Australia and is about three rival gangs fighting over Blood Diamond that were mined in Nigeria and brought to Sydney,Australia.

Blood Diamond Music

In the music industry Kanye West’s song entitled Diamonds from Sierra Leone made big waves and won the Grammy Awards for Best Rap Song in 2006. Kanye West learned more about the issues revolving around conflict diamonds and the people affected by the illicit trade after writing the song and decided to use the music video as a tool to help create more awareness. Another rap song that touched on conflict diamonds is Talib Kweli’s song Going Hard. Talib Kweli hits the heart of the issue whenever he sings,

“People ask me how we wearing diamonds
When there’s little kids in Sierra Leone
Losing arms for crying while they mining
Probably an orphan who’s momma died of AIDS
He built a coffin working often but he never paid
Forever slaving in the world that’s forever cold.”

There are more references to conflict diamonds in popular culture, which is a good thing.  Yet after people watch these blood diamond movies and hear the songs should stop just enjoying them and start listening to what they’re saying. Listen to the message and start caring. It doesn’t matter if all the artists in the world sing songs, make movies, or write stories about the conflict diamond trade if ordinary people will not pay attention to their message.

By:  Dana H

 

Reference:

H, D. (2006). Blood Diamonds in Popular Culture. Retrieved & Updated July 06, 2016, from http://bit.ly/29grdHk

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