An Open Letter To My First Crush: Johnny Depp

**Content Warning: This article discusses domestic violence.** 

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Dear Johnny Depp,

 Mrs. Depp. That’s what I used to write on my school books. Ever since I saw the first Pirates of the Caribbean film I became completely and dramatically obsessed with my very first crush, you, Johnny Depp.

Your performance in that movie motivated me to learn more about the man behind the dreadlocks and eyeliner (which I thought was the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen). This interest (obsession) lead me to purchasing two biographies and a lot of god damn movies, with Edward Scissorhands, The Corpse Bride and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape being some of my favourites (hello young Leonardo DiCaprio as well).

Johnny, you made me believe that no matter what life throws at us, we can get through it. That we must embrace our flaws, our quirkiness, and our uniqueness. You made me feel like it was OK to be different. That is was good to be different. You helped me through those high school nightmares of worry, comparison and self doubt.

You ignited the rebel within me. Whenever I’d talk about getting a tattoo, or listen to heavy rock music, I’d think about the opening chapters in your biographies and your early career in music. You’ve inspired me to pursue my passions, to be daring and to embrace my inner artist.

But lately, something’s been eating me Johnny. Not all flaws can be forgiven despite how quirky or sexy you may have once been to me. Domestic violence is not something that one of your quirky characters can distract me from, yet you’ve done a pretty good job of deflecting it in the media. Somehow you’ve become the victim and walked away stronger than ever.

At first I found myself defending you – ME! An avid feminist and activist against domestic violence. That’s what you made me do. You – your fame, your characters, your artistic flair made me think for one second that, “no that can’t be true.” and maybe that’s why this entire conversation has disappeared from media discussions. Because you’re Johnny Depp, you’re untouchable.

The media reported Amber Heard’s statements as ‘allegations’ and that her reports weren’t ‘verified.’ However, like the majority of sexual assault and domestic abuse, there’s little to no evidence of these violations. This doesn’t mean that we disregard them and attack the character of the woman whilst the male character is able to walk away unharmed. I thought we had finally moved on from victim blaming, however the response from the media would suggest not.

This reflects a very dark side of society. Like Edward Scissorhands, we try to speak up and someone gets cut. Well it’s not going to be me, your wife, or your children. It’s you. I’ve loved you since I was a teenager. A 10-year crush shattered to pieces. Well Johnny Depp, my first crush, I’m letting you go. Maybe you’ll embody your character like in ‘Lone Ranger.’ But sadly, for you, you no longer have our hearts.

From Adelaide

*You can read more here

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual or domestic violence, you can contact 1800 RESPECT which is the National Sexual Assault and Domestic Family Violence Couselling Service.

Call: 1800 737 732

Visit: https://www.1800respect.org.au/

This article was written for Twenty Something Humans. You can check out the awesome things they do here. 

What do we want? Nollywood! When do we want it? Now!

 

Movies have a way of delving into our homes and hearts, conveying important messages, themes, social issues, morals and great acting. Directors push the boundaries, question certain restrictions and spark debate over social, personal and political issues. This is no different for the world’s 3rd largest film industry in the world… Nollywood. 

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http://b.fastcompany.net/multisite_files/fastcompany/imagecache/inline-large/inline/2013/03/3006695-inline-174-nollywood-2.jpg

With hundreds of films being churned out on low budgets, basic and amateur equipment and taking only 10 days to produce a film, Nollywood films possess a strong sense of realism, reflecting, raising awareness and questioning current issues. Nollywood films aren’t generally viewed in the traditional way we in Australia are used to. Instead of sitting in the lounge room with just your family watching a film, the streets of Lagos become the loungerooms of Nigeria. This ‘street audience’ that occurs on the street corners bring people together to engage with eachother and the film (Okome, 2007). Popular culture, in Hollywood or Nollywood, helps with the ‘construction of identity (in relation to) environment’ and is ‘locus of public debate and of individual and community agency’ (Abah, 2009).

Nigeria is plagued by corruption, and their is a strong desire for social change. According to Abah, social change occurs through ‘communication, coordination and collective action by groups of citizens who wish to change institutions and policies which govern them’ (p 737, 2009) Because of the amount of people who access Nollywood films, the way in which they engage with them, independency from government, potentially allows Nollywood to act as a mediator to generate and encourage social change and improve the democratic process by providing a ‘progressive outlook; equitable distribution of power, curb injustice and the enforcement of civil and sexual rights’ (Abah, p 738, 2009).

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http://www.nigeriaintel.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Bring-Back-Our-Girls.jpg

Media, especially film has the potential to create social change not just in Nigeria but across the globe. The sense of unity created through national film industries can strengthen communities an countries and together can create change. It is far easier in a place like Australia or America where we are influenced by liberal Hollywood cinema where we have better democratic processes, unlike Nigeria where corruption, lack of education and poverty intervene with citizens power to act on their ideas. As Nollywood gets stronger and stronger, so will the citizens of Nigeria, allowing Nollywood films to mediate and encourage the country’s much needed social change.

References

Welcome to Nollywood – Trailer – YouTube. 2014. Welcome to Nollywood – Trailer – YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSNC5UIdj0I. Accessed 28 August 2014

Okome, O 2007 Nollywood: Spectatorship, Audience and the Sites of Consumption, Postcolonial Text, Vol 3, University of Alberta.

Abah, A.L. 2009, “Popular culture and social change in Africa: the case of the Nigerian video industry”, Media, Culture & Society, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 731-748.http://mcs.sagepub.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/content/31/5/731, Accessed 28 August 2014