- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 05 October 2016
- Written by TAFFY LASHLEY | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Thanking the 80s for its Contributions to Today’s World
It’s hard to believe that the 1980s were about 30 years ago, especially with glimpses of the decade emerging in today’s pop culture. Honestly, I never really liked the 80s. I always thought the decade was corny and obnoxious- from the oversized shoulder pads to the oversaturation of bright neon.
I still do for the most part, but I’ve come to realize that its obnoxiousness is what made it one of the most memorable decades in recent history. It’s much more than just the surface trends I mentioned before. In fact, there were a lot of other firsts that we have to accredit the 80s for making popular; a lot of the things we enjoy today wouldn’t have existed or been discovered.
Let’s start with music- the 80s were more than just Michael Jackson, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. Granted, they’re all very unique and talented artists, but they aren’t all the 80s had to offer. I feel that rock really began to evolve around this time with bands like KISS, Van Halen, and Metallica all producing albums. These bands and their vast influences gave rise to a now very evident counterculture- punk.
On the other side of the music spectrum, one of my favorite genres emerged- hip-hop and rap. Not many consider the 70s and 80s as the birth of rap and hip-hop, but the essence of rap actually began in the late 70s and came into fruition in the 80s.
I can’t take credit for being a lifelong fan of hip-hop and rap since I only really started listening to it after I watched Straight Outta Compton last summer. However, during that short span of time, I’ve traced the origins of rap, and the 80’s were a very influential time for the genre. Run DMC was one of the grandfathers of early rap as well as the rap group, the Fat Boys. You can thank Queen Latifah and Salt-n-Peppa for putting female rappers on the map. Furthermore, another rap group from the 80s, NWA has to be one of the most famous rap groups of all time and it all began with their first album dropping in 1988.
To me, the music made the 80s tolerable. Another thing I have to thank the 80s for is for the birth of video games and computer technology. Technology has impacted everyone’s lives in some way or form, and without its birth in the 80s we’d still be using our house phones as one of our only forms of long distance communication. Cell phones might not have had their sleek design and interface yet, but they served their function for the few who had a chance to own one since their commercial release in 1983.
Nintendo released the first Mario game in 1985, along with the first Nintendo console. As the Nintendo console was further developed, more games and consoles did as well and the “nerd” generation emerged, which is pretty awesome since nerd culture is very prominent today.
In tandem with the video game culture emerging, cult classic movies also made an appearance in the 80s. It gave way to the stereotypical high school teen archetypes (The Breakfast Club), the fear of sleeping (Nightmare on Elm Street) and the first mean girls (Heathers), along with many more. Unless you were born after 2010, you’d know that the Ghostbusters movie that came out this summer was a femme take on the 1984 classic. And if you’re a fan of Stranger Things, you can thank the 80s for its nostalgic ET/The Goonies/ Stephen King feel.
Overall, the 80s were a decade of fun, oddity and freedom. After 20 years of political strain in the 60s and 70s, it was a time for teens and young adults in particular to express themselves without being judged and live the fun, carefree life that had always been marketed to them. It’s not my favorite decade of the 20th century, but definitely a necessary, exciting, and overall influential one.
IMAGE TAKEN from instagram.com