Gayatri Spivak points out the skewed representations of marginalized groups in popular media in the piece Can the Subaltern Speak?. Spivak focuses on the feelings and lived experiences of these groups which are often portrayed incorrectly in the mainstream. Spivak’s analysis often harkens back to the question: “can the subaltern speak?” More often than not, the answer to this question seems to be in the negative.
After reading Spivak’s piece, I remembered a news report by RT America which covers a rising filmmaker named Tony Weaver, Jr. who founded Weird Enough Productions to combat this issue. In an interview with RT America’s Anya Parampil, Weaver explains that media is “a tool that people use to express their world views.” The idea that media is a platform for people to share and express their opinions and world views becomes increasingly true as media becomes more accessible to people across the world. Coupled with Spivak’s analysis, this idea also delineates the dangerous nature of media in the way of spreading inaccurate or biased representations of marginalized individuals’ identities and experiences. This highlights the importance of the question: “can the subaltern speak?”
Without giving a voice to individuals within the subaltern, the feedback loop of producing and consuming content which inaccurately represents marginalized groups will, perhaps, never end. This is because only marginalized individuals have the capability to express their ideas, feelings, and experiences—strictly because they are unique to them as marginalized individuals. It is impossible for an individual outside of that group to understand or portray these experiences in the same way. This is what Tony Weaver, Jr. hopes to achieve with Weird Enough Productions. He mentions that he wants his company to be a platform for marginalized voices (in this case, specifically those of black people) to share their ideas, feelings, and experiences to combat misrepresentations from the mainstream media.