I write about the social impact of entertainment and how media can be used for good. Views are my own. 

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Who the Heck is Alykhan Kaba, and Why is He Writing at Me?

Amazing, you’ve arrived at my first blog post. That means I must have done something right to get you here, and/or I didn’t chicken out before making this post go live.

If you already know me, thanks for showing up. Just skip this blog post and send me a nice text message. Much appreciated.

If you don’t know me, I should probably introduce myself. My name is Alykhan, and I love thinking about how media and entertainment can change the world. I’ve spent most of my life thinking about how television, film, music, gaming, and publishing have shaped the societies we live in.

I know what you’re thinking – is entertainment all that powerful? Entertainment is just light fun, it can’t be that scary. Just ask someone about which sectors most influence society. They’ll probably rattle off a list that looks something like this:

  • Government
  • Politics
  • Financial services
  • Tech
  • Energy
  • Manufacturing

Frankly, I’d be surprised if they were bold enough to list television or video games. And sure, there are blurred lines across all of these sectors. I mean is Netflix more of a tech company, or a production studio? But you see where I’m going with this.

Everything from the way we present the Kardashian family to our media coverage of 9/11 have influenced not just our values, but the way we interpret the things happening around us.

What’s right or wrong?

What’s good or bad?

What’s socially acceptable?

We all have our own answers to these broad and philosophical questions, and so does every other microcosm of the world. And the content that we consume shapes all of those beliefs, whether or not we realize it.

Fine. But why are you writing?

Whenever I’m hanging out with my friends, I can’t help but commentate on the societal implications of whatever we’re watching, playing, or reading. Astutely, many of my them have suggested I blog about it. Probably so they won’t have to listen to me as much.

I was nervous about putting my voice on blast for literally anyone in the world to see what I had to say, but after thinking about it for long enough, I started to get excited about it. So I decided to take the plunge. If nothing else, this would be a great forcing mechanism to help me think more critically about my observations, get to the next order of questioning, and communicate them in a way that goes beyond incoherent group chats on WhatsApp.

Seems legit. What should I expect?

If this sounds like your cup of tea and you want to follow along, you can expect to see:

  • Analysis on the social impact of media and entertainment. If something is happening in pop culture and it’s going to have some type of influence on a societal cause, I’m going to write about it. I’d argue that Disney’s African Cats and Netflix’s kooky Tiger King have both impacted wildlife preservation. Which one do you think did more to advance the issue?
  • International entertainment coverage. I’m fascinated about entertainment outside of North America, particularly in emerging markets, because it reflects the values of that market in a way that we’re rarely exposed to in the news. Afghanistan has a whole scene for pop music, but you’d never know that without looking for it.
  • Diversity and inclusion in creative industries. Some of this will be content-related, covering unique forms of representation in popular media. Some of this will also be business-related, evaluating practices that media and entertainment companies have deployed so their companies can look more like the populations that they serve. D&I is a clear, direct example of how media shapes our attitudes and perceptions, so it deserves a significant amount of attention.

Expect new blog posts about once per week, although they could become more or less frequently depending on what’s happening in the industry – not to mention my day-job.

Sounds good. I’m in!

Great! I’m glad to hear it. This process is new for me and I’m not sure where it will go, but I’m excited to see where this journey is headed. In the meantime, please share your comments, provide lots of feedback, and let me know what you want to hear about. Until next time!

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