Monthly Archives: August 2015

32 High School students participate in Scripps Howard’s Digital Media Summer Camp

(Scripps Howard)

(Scripps Howard)

Darryn Mumphery | Contributing Writer

On July 12, Hampton University welcomed 32 high school students for it’s first ever DREAM Digital Media Academy, a summer camp geared towards increasing the presence of minorities in digital media and technology.

“DREAM” is an acronym that stands for “Diversity Re-Imagined, Engaging All Media,” and it reinforces the main goal of the program. The students represented an array of cultures and backgrounds. They participated in investigating all aspects of media and content development.

This summer camp is the brainchild of Hampton University professor Allie-Ryan Butler. Butler is a professor in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, and he worked tirelessly to create a concentrated, effective program that was centered on inspiring, elevating, and educating minority youth.

The program consisted of 12 days of activities, classes, and seminars. Each morning the students began the day with yoga on the waterfront. They then attended SAT and PSAT prep courses, and sometimes sat in on tapings of the “Digitalbytes” talk show series (the students had their meal in the studio as host Lawrence Rigby interviewed the special guest of the day).

After lunch the “dreamers” participated in hands-on courses in the subjects of coding, art and design, and videography. Expert alumni and employees of the University taught these courses. They proved pivotal to the campers for their final project, which required a marriage of each skill taught in these classes.

Following the instructional portion of the day the campers enjoyed many group activities like fireside chats (complete with s’mores and water balloon fights), a digital media scavenger hunt, karaoke, and games like manhunt on the campus grounds.

In addition to classes and daily activities, campers were required to participate in step practice to prepare for the production that took place at the end of camp. The step video would be this session of camper’s legacy of sorts, and it took many nights of practice to pull together.

Hampton University students Andrew Williams and Tra’Von Williams coached the campers through three step sequences. Many had never stepped before, and some even discovered a new passion. One camper was even inspired to continue stepping, stating, “I’m going to start a club at my school. I never thought I’d be good at stepping.”

Though meticulously structured, the program was punctuated by events that were strictly geared towards fun and socialization. A white party on the waterfront gave the campers a chance to dress up, eat a plated and served meal, and take thousands of pictures to commemorate their experience. The trip to Busch Gardens and the pajama party on the last night at camp gave the students an opportunity to let loose after the rigorous courses and the completion of their final projects.

The aforementioned final project required the DREAM campers to come up with an original idea for a mobile app, as well as create a trailer, website, and presentation for their product within one week. The campers were placed in teams of 5 and 6 for this challenge.

These teams were lead by the program’s resident assistants, Scripps Howard students Jusitn Alvis, Darryn Mumphery, Jalyn Sanders, Ryan Berry, Nick Acors, and Ricci Bostick. Head resident assistant Aaron Doggett supervised the teams throughout the process, along with program assistants Jalin Washington and Jessica Dortch.

Hands-on help was provided to the students by teaching assistants Keilan Roberson and Katrina Padilla. Though faced with a project that required skills many of them had just learned, the students met and exceeded expectations with their finished products. Their ideas covered the categories of fitness, music, leisure, education, and business.

Despite being a camp focused on education and enrichment, fun was still a priority. The campers bonded with the staff and established lifelong relationships with one another. “I felt loved here,” said one camper. Another camper commented, “I’ve never had so much fun while learning. I’ve been to a lot of camps, but this one definitely stands out. I want to come back next summer.”

The only criticism campers had to offer was that the program was too short. They’d like it to be extended to three weeks, at the least.

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One Year Later, Darren Wilson is in hiding after Ferguson

getty images

Getty images

Bakari Clemmons | Staff Writer

On November 24, 2014, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced at 8:24 P.M. local time that the jury voted not to indict Wilson for the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Since that day, Darren Wilson, now 29, is constantly looking over his shoulder.

August 9, Ferguson along with other protestors across the country observed the one-year anniversary of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. With the transitioning of a whole calendar year, former St. Louis police officer Darren Wilson is not the only officer to have murdered an unarmed citizen, but he is the only one to share his experience after murder.

With multiple death threats sent to him personally and to the St. Louis police station where he used to work, Wilson does not feel safe. He, his wife and infant daughter have been living in secrecy.

Wilson has been unable to land a job at another police department or anywhere else due to the fact that he would be a “liability” to the company or business.

According to Jake Halpern, contributing writer for The New Yorker, Wilson “has been living for several months on a nondescript dead-end street on the outskirts of St. Louis. Most of the nearby houses are clad in vinyl siding; there are no sidewalks, and few cars around.” Halpern explains his first trip to Wilson’s home:

“This March, I spent several days at his home. The first time I pulled up to the curb, Wilson, who is six feet four and weighs two hundred and fifteen pounds, immediately stepped outside, wearing a hat and sunglasses. He had seen me arriving on security cameras that are synched to his phone.”

Wilson has his house monitored by cameras to protect himself and his family.

A few things learned through Halpern’s profile on Wilson are:

  1. Wilson came from a dysfunctional home.
  2. Wilson did not want to “work in a white area.”
  3. Wilson declines to read the DOJ report on Ferguson.
  4. Wilson is wary about discussing Brown shooting.

Darren Wilson comes from a troubled past. His mother, Tonya Dean, was a perpetual thief. She was notorious for writing false checks and stealing money from others to pay people she owed.

Dean even stole from Wilson in his childhood when he raised money for his Boy Scout troop. Wilson was questionable about whether or not his mother would steal from him again, so he had two separate bank accounts, one nearly empty and the other, full.

Tonya Dean eventually left her first husband, John Wilson, remarried and had a child with Tyler Harris, who managed a Y.M.C.A. Harris also, admitted she had stolen from him.

“Tonya had me in debt—almost twenty thousand dollars—that first year,” Harris told Jake Halpern. In 2002, Tonya Dean died unexpectedly. Wilson believes the cause of her death was suicide.

Darren Wilson decided to become a police officer and had expressed how he did not want to work in a predominately white area. He said that working in a largely black populated community “could boost his career.”

He landed his first job as a police officer in 2009 in Jennings, Missouri, a town that was 90% black and largely impoverished. When Wilson became a police officer in Jennings, he was joining a department that had a reputation for racism. Even black people from other counties tried to stay away from that side of town.

In 2011, Wilson was laid off from the Jennings police department in result of the Jennings City Council voting to shut down the police department and hire St. Louis County to take over.

“When I left Jennings, I didn’t want to work in a white area,” Wilson said. “I liked the black community. I had fun there… There’s people who will just crack you up.”

In March of 2015, the Department of Justice released two significant reports. The first addressing Wilson’s actions, deeming them just, and the second addressing Ferguson police’s treatment and discrimination to the African American citizens in that community. Both of these two reports, Wilson has neglected to read. “I don’t have any desire,” he said, “I’m not going to keep living in the past about what Ferguson did. It’s out of my control.” Wilson also believes the numbers in the reports are “skewed.”

Wilson and writer Jake Halpern discussed how Wilson has avoided talking about Michael Brown much. When asked if he still thinks about Brown, he responded, “You do realize that his parents are suing me? So I have to think about him.”

When the writer asked him if he thought Brown was a “bad guy” or someone who got himself in a “bad situation,” Wilson said, “I only knew him for those 45 seconds in which he was trying to kill me. So I don’t know.”

“Do I think about who he was as a person? Not really, because it doesn’t matter at this point,” Wilson said. “Do I think he had the best upbringing? No. Not at all.” Brown’s family had a “mixed reaction” to the article, family attorney Anthony Gray told CNN’s Don Lemon.

“In one sense, they want to be angry about the things he’s basically saying about their son. On the other hand, they’re not surprised,” Gray said. “I find it really appalling that he would make that reference when he had a terrible upbringing himself, by his own admission.”

As Wilson lives as a free man, legally, he does not live as a free man physically or mentally. He has to live with the fact that he cannot walk down the street with his wife and kid without fearing for his and their lives.

He has to live with not being able to financially provide for his family. Lastly, Wilson has to live with knowing because of his carelessness, the first time he drew his gun resulted in the murder of unarmed Michael Brown. A year ago, those 45-seconds turned into Wilson’s forever.

Rising West Coast Rapper MoThoro Debuts his first solo album “ThoroLyfe: Transition”

(MoThoro)

(MoThoro)

Phillip Jackson | Web Editor

Up and coming Los Angeles Rapper Morris “MoThoro” Taylor gains ground releasing his first individual project “ThoroLyfe: Transition” earlier this week. The project, what Taylor described as the “installment,” is the beginning of the #ThoroLyfe project series.

Although this is Taylor’s first solo effort, he has built credibility in the west coast with his two-man rap tandem “MnR” with Rasul Shabazz, who both worked together releasing collaboration projects: Genesis, Higher Thought, All in Progression, and Sabbatical EP over the past years.

“The focus is really on building our individual brands until we link up for another joint project,” Taylor said. “Since we’re on opposite coasts, another focus is dropping singles until the buzz is big enough before we drop again.”

As Taylor enters his sophomore year at Hampton University, this freshman individual LP builds momentum as he continues to brand himself as an artist. One of the anchoring themes in the album, which is introduced in the third track, “Another Day At HU Interlude” is Taylor’s experience in College.

A detailed scene showing a casual exchange between Taylor and a girl he meets while walking on campus shows his charismatic, relaxed and confident approach, which is one of the vibes that is caught from this album.

Taylor says he and his friends are throwing a “house party in the harbors,” and she replies, “I’ll probably come with my two friends that stay in White.” This interlude transitions into the single “Tryna Get Active,” produced by Taylor. The video was released just a week before Taylor dropped the album.

Other songs: “Bout it,” “Starstruck,” “So Long” and “4 The Love of Money” add an airy feeling opposed to other songs such as “Been a Minute,” which gives a more raw, gritty emotion.

Taylor, who is still in works of releasing a video for the song “Unrest” which he says, “talks about my frustration being a black man in this country enduring racial injustice,” is making plans to help the album gain more buzz.

He described that he, along with Rasul Shabazz, both plan to “consistently feed people time and time again periodically, instead of dropping everything at one time.”

“ThoroLyfe: Transition” can be purchased on iTunes here. Stream the album below.