Incorporate diversity to your media consumption


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

CJay Wenceslao, Staff Reporter

As we are nearing the end of the school year, it’s important to remember, however hard it is, that your level of exhaustion is valid, and we should all afford ourselves the relief of a little bit of self-care. I, as an *almost* thirty-year-old student, who works full-time, often forgets this. When I do end up taking some time to myself, I try my best to enjoy content that is fun but also highlights diverse voices across all forms of media. 

Sonia Oliva, a sociology professor here at the college, believes that diversity in the entertainment industry is important and necessary.

“They send the message that we matter, that we are important and that we have something valuable to contribute to the arts. This is truly uplifting,” Olivia said. 

So true. I often think about how rarely I’m represented in the media and how difficult it could be to find people to look up to. With that said, here are some of my recommendations that have helped me take the edge off of a tough semester while also being great insights into voices outside of my usual binge experience.

Firstly, my bread and butter: YouTube. I enjoy most of my media consumption through this platform, ranging anywhere from a breezy 15-minute laugh to an hour-long analysis of the hardships experienced when writing for the Dark Souls video game series.

Dark Souls. Photo courtesy of

In that realm of video game commentary, a recommendation I would like to make is Alanah Pearce. Alanah is a writer at Santa Monica Studios, infamously known for their God of War franchise. Still, she is also a gaming content creator who has raised money for minority communities such as Able Gamers. Alanah hosts the annual Accessibility Awards, highlighting the efforts made by game studios that make a conscious decision to evolve the implementation of accessibility features in video games. Even more recently, she hosted a fascinating in-depth discussion about the Holiday of Ramadan featuring Muslim personalities from the gaming industry. These are merely a few of the vast amounts of content she’s produced, leading me to wonder how she finds the time.  

Now I know people often like to go offline, even if just to prove that they can. I’ve even heard that there are people who read often, and I envy their ability to sit and have something to maintain their attention in that way. While I feel unqualified to recommend anything other than “Evicted” by Matthew Desmond, which I read for my excellent sociology class last semester, I can point you in the direction of someone who can offer a few great book or manga recommendations. Merphy Napier is a BookTuber whose YouTube Channel does a deep dive into a variety of good book recommendations, analysis of authors, and a great reaction/breakdown series into the incredible manga One Piece. Merphy’s blend of vast knowledge beautifully pairs with her funny, quirky personality and has led my girlfriend and I to some great suggestions.

Merphy Napier. Photo courtesy of @merphynapier on Twitter.

One of Merphy’s recommendations that I plan to continue over the summer is “The Murderbot Diaries,” a series written by Martha Wells. The first book of the series is called “All Systems Red.” It introduces us to a malfunctioning Murderbot who has secretly achieved sentience but chooses to spend his days watching TV and being left alone, and if that isn’t just the most relatable piece of fiction I’ve ever heard! Obviously, though, things don’t go as planned, and that’s where the story begins. I’m only a bit into the first book, but my girlfriend is five books into the series and loves every minute of it. 

With final exams, final projects, and final papers in full swing, we often don’t have time to stumble into a new obsession or really dig into a good book. Here are some streaming recommendations that are high quality and condensed to fit into a busy college schedule. I recommend watching King Richard, which you can’t mention without talking about the Oscars. Six nominations and one win for King Richard, wow! The movie was nominated for best performance by a leading role, best motion picture, best supporting, etc. This film tells the story of the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, respectively, with their father, Richard Williams, as the narrative lens through which their story is told. It’s a story highlighting the struggles of being a member of a minority community trying to succeed in a world designed to support an outdated status quo. 

My next suggestion is two hilarious stand-up comedians who highlight essential truths of our society that are often not spoken about enough. Ali Wong is a triple threat to the entertainment industry – comedian, actress, and writer. Her 2022 special Don Wong is a raunchy romp through relationships, parenthood, and infidelity. I have always respected Wong and her bold brand of nothings-off-the-table comedy. She is one of the few women in comedy who has been able to carve out a space herself in a world that’s still a bit regressive in its expectations of women and the “ladylike” things that are acceptable to speak on. 

After her iconic stand-up special Quarter-Life Crisis came out on the bright and sunny  March 3rd, 2020, I had been waiting for Taylor Tomlinson’s return to the stage. In her new special Look At You, the evolution of her relatability is pure gold as we follow Taylor on her coming-of-age journey through the struggles of mental health and navigating the treacherous underworld that is the human dating pool. Every story gets more relatable as her self-exploration reveals truths to those who maybe feel like they are struggling alone in this world. Taylor is a rising star in the stand-up world, even if her serotonin levels aren’t quite on that same stable trajectory.

Olivia Rodrigo on the cover of her album SOUR. Photo courtesy of Flickr

I thought I’d end with a suggestion that is one part technically obvious, with a side of an additional viewing experience. Olivia Rodrigo nabbed her first Grammy this year for her smash album SOUR. While I’m sure most everyone has probably heard a song from that album,  Disney+ offers a documentary/performance style inside look into the creation of the #1 album with the film “Olivia Rodrigo: driving home 2 u”. This film contains not only behind-the-scenes looks at how she arranged the songs on SOUR but even some of the origins of popular songs as they’re being created. It’s a fascinating insight into music production and, specifically, Olivia’s process with her music. Even if you’re more interested in the performance side, the film has alternate takes on some of her popular songs and entirely new performances for each song on the album shot in music video-style shorts. If you’re not a fan, or if you are one who just wants a little more SOUR content, this is an excellent brisk watch. 

I think it’s important to empathize with our fellow Earth-bound beings and how our differences and similarities are both valid and important to hear. When it’s easy to be drowned in isolation and the impression that your struggle is yours alone, it is essential to know that there is someone out there who understands. All you have to do is find them.