One of the things that I love most about art is how it allows you to explore other cultures, lifestyles, and lived experiences. Stories don’t just entertain. They can teach you as well. And today’s helping is the perfect example of this. Hypebeasts is a short film about young people waiting in line to buy sneakers. At least, that’s the plot summary at its most basic. In truth, it’s actually a lot more complicated, as the film manages to pack in a lot of social commentary in just under 20 minutes. Writer, Director, and star Jess Dela Merced clearly has a lot to say, and she uses the backdrop of sneakerhead culture to say it.
Don’t know what a sneakerhead is? That’s okay. Neither did I. All I knew prior to watching this film was that there was a show on Netflix with that name. But beyond that, I was clueless about this passionate culture of sneaker aficionados. After watching Hypebeasts, I’m certainly no expert. In fact, I’m pretty sure this film only scratches the surface of sneakerhead culture. But it gave me a window into a world I knew nothing about. A starting point to learn more. And that’s the beauty of art. I can immerse myself in a world that I know nothing about, and come out on the other side with a greater understanding of the world at large. And no, that’s not a hyperbole.
As already stated, there’s a lot going on in Hypebeasts that goes way beyond sneakerhead culture. It touches on so many issues, and the way that Merced weaves them together to ramp up the tension is masterful. When it all finally boils over, you can’t look away. That’s why I was thrilled when a quick search revealed that Merced has several more films under her belt. I can’t wait to see what else she has to say.
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!