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Our Student Reporting Labs program, which leads journalism training in middle and high schools around the United States, asked teenagers why representation in pop culture matters to them.
We take a look now at how diversity in media and entertainment affects young people. Our Student Reporting Labs program, which leads journalism training in middle and high schools around the country asked teenagers why representation in pop culture matters to them.
Eloise Pearsall, Haldane High School:
There's a lot about pop culture that is pretty negative, but it can also help you find out who you are in this world.
I told my parents last night and they were actually okay with glee was a big part of me accepting and discovering my sexuality. In Glee was great at showcasing LGBTQ plus representation. And so it quickly became my comfort show.
Samantha Casas, Northview High School:
Grey's Anatomy the show freshman year, I was still trying to find ways in how to make other people see me and love me as me.
Phin Ponce, Howard W. Blake School High School:
The fact that Loki from the series Loki on Disney Plus is gender fluid. A lot of people don't know what gender fluidity is. And it's hard to try and explain it to them when they have no examples. And it's difficult to try and be their example.
It's also going to be a reminder of the heritage of this country, which is one of diversity.
Jose Delgado, Oakland Military Institute:
When Jennifer Lopez and Shakira performed in the Super Bowl halftime show, I remember being so proud because these people are part of my culture, and a part of my race. And I felt seen, I felt embraced.
Mohammed Musaed, Oakland Military Institute:
Especially like to TikTok. I follow a lot of Arabic content creators, and it just helped me connect better with my roots. I used to think that doesn't really matter, like seeing people look like you're doing good things, but it really does help.
Tabarik Mayyahi, Cudahy High School:
Probably Aladdin, I felt really appreciated because it shows Middle Eastern culture. I came here in like second grade to a completely different country and culture. And I felt the need to fit in with my classmates who were mostly white.
Amelia Ferrari, D.C. International School:
Grand Army, some shows are really overplayed and drug usage and partying. But this one focuses more on mental health and actual issues that like teenage girls and guys might be going through.
Anna Arrington, Forest Hills Junior-Senior High School:
In the Netflix show called Tiny Pretty Things. There's a lot of dark points in the show with dancers developing eating disorders, and a lot of people don't like to talk about it, but I myself struggle sometimes with stuff like that. And I think it's a really good thing that the show brought attention to that.
Sarah Deal, D.C. International School:
One stereotype is that many Asian women are all cute and small and can't stand up for themselves. But in squid game and Shang chi, many female characters showed that they were strong and they could fight and like stand up for themselves.
Raha Murtuza, Richard Montgomery High School:
In Spider Man 2: Far From Home, I have seen one portrayal in particular that most accurately portrays a Muslim girl. The here is this girl and she's able to have fun and be free and Europe and still wear his hijab showing that the two can coexist.
Hallelujah Debretsion, Oakland Military Institute:
Black Panther had started a whole bunch conversation. That's why it's very important to have diverse characters to for people to feel represented and also to start more conversation.
Oscar Perez Sanchez, Rouse High School:
The more I care become more accepting, which is obviously something that makes everyone overall better people.
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