Watch the Yard launches YARDCON

Ayanna Maxwell | Editor In Chief Watch the Yard on April 19 launched its first YARDCON, a digital conference for black students who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Watch the Yard, known as the most prominent platform for black…



Local and World


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    Jamaija Rhoades | Staff Writer Photo Credit: Unsplash User Frank McKenna As a hopeless romantic, I can easily admit that watching romance films and allowing myself to become encapsulated in love stories has heavily influenced my expectations and perceptions about falling in love.  I…
  • Gayle King should not be your focus
    Ryland Staples | Staff Writer Photo Credit: Christopher Smith | Associated Press Gayle King on Feb. 6 interviewed former WNBA star Lisa Leslie about the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash alongside his daughter and friends a few…
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  • Watch the Yard launches YARDCON
    Ayanna Maxwell | Editor In Chief Watch the Yard on April 19 launched its first YARDCON, a digital conference for black students who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Watch the Yard, known as the most prominent platform for black college students, fraternities…
  • Coronavirus: What you must know
    Kailah Lee | Staff Writer Photo Credit: Unsplash User  Kelly Sikkema Many have heard about the Coronavirus (CoV), a recent epidemic. What makes it even scarier is that there are hourly updates on how much the disease is affecting hundreds upon thousands of people…
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Arts and Entertainment


  • Jermaine Marrow becomes HU’s all-time leading scorer
    Nazim Trammell-Wells | Staff Writer Photo Credit: Unsplash User Stephen Baker Jermaine Marrow made history last week by becoming Hampton University’s all-time leading scorer in men’s basketball. In doing so, he passed former NBA Star Rick Mahorn.  “It was a goal I had in…
  • Another XFL, 19 years later
    Justin Whitner | Staff Writer When the XFL began its first go-around in 2001, it was a professional American football lea gue that wanted to pounce on the idea that football season could still stay relevant after the completion of the NFL and…
  • NBA trade deadline recap
    Justin Norris | Staff Writer Although no stars were moved during the NBA’s trade deadline, plenty of teams made moves they think will upgrade their roster. Some teams, such as the Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers, made moves that…

Watch the Yard launches YARDCON

Ayanna Maxwell | Editor In Chief


Watch the Yard on April 19 launched its first YARDCON, a digital conference for black students who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Watch the Yard, known as the most prominent platform for black college students, fraternities and sororities, created the conference to offer resources and network opportunities for black students across the nation. 

Hosted by Watch the Yard founder Jonathan Rabb, the conference began with a gospel music set performed by DJ Ricovelli and a prayer from Hampton University alum Michael Eley. Journalist Roland Martin followed up with an open conversation among HBCU SGA presidents regarding how their schools are adjusting to their new norms. SGA presidents from Tennessee State, Florida A&M, Clark Atlanta and Norfolk State discussed how they’ve remained connected with their students through social media and emphasized the importance of empathy for college students during this time. 

Hampton University sophomore and Black Lives Matter Greater NY President Nupol Kiazolu led the next segment, which focused on the impact coronavirus has had on communities. Under Kiazolu’s leadership, Black Lives Matter Greater NY crafted a petition to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging him to implement more COVID-19 testing facilities in black communities that have been disproportionately affected. 

“If you’re in a community that you know has been hit hard by this pandemic, create a letter, write to your senators or write to your governors,” Kiazlou said. 

TV personality and winner of T.I.’s Grand Hustle Krystal Garner hosted a session titled “Hustling Through Corona,” discussing ways to generate income during the quarantine. This session featured entrepreneur Wavey’s World, wedding and lifestyle photographer Reem Virgo and apparel company Support Black Colleges. 

As if that wasn’t enough, YARDCON attendees also received tips on resume-building and learned how to maneuver LinkedIn. Renee Reid, a staff UX design researcher at LinkedIn, advised students to draft compelling personal summaries that are concise and meaningful, like elevator pitches. 

“Tell a short story about yourself so people are intrigued,” Reid said. 

Reid also gave away a free six-month premium Linkedin package to a special YARDCON guest. 

Resume expert Elizabeth Fletcher described what HR specialists seek in the ideal resume, including a professional email address, professional summary and transferable skills. 

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has taken a major toll on people’s mental health worldwide. Wellness Leader Keith Pough hosted a “Mental Health Check In,” in which he mentioned his three keys to a positive day: gratitude, attitude anIMG_3984IMG_3984d servitude. Also, contrary to the popular belief of social media, he argued that it is OK to come out of this quarantine without a new business venture. 

“I think we should come out of this with more peace, more perspective and more empathy – not more products,” Pough said. 

The Black Mental Health Alliance, also a sponsor of YARDCON, was on standby in the conference’s networking forum for students to interact with therapists one-on-one. The networking forum was also available throughout the conference for attendees to connect with each other. 

In the next session, Regan Farley, senior publicist and CEO of the Regan Farley Agency, shared some insight on how to increase social media following. 

“Protecting your brand is important,” Farley said. “If you’re a member of an organization, that’s still a brand. Keep in mind what you put out, how it’s perceived and who’s going to see it.” 

Rabb introduced Watch the Yard’s #VerifyMyHBCU campaign, targeting HBCUs who are not officially verified on Instagram. 

“Out of 98 HBCUs. only 4 are verified,” Rabb said. 

Being that many notable PWIs are verified on Instagram, Rabb encouraged HBCU students to visit to sign a petition to get their respective HBCUs the recognition they deserve. 

Rapper Dee-1 and founder of ONE Musicfest Steve Canal led an “Inside the Music Industry” segment, followed by special giveaways from Forbes8. Forbes8 introduced eight virtual internship and celebrity mentorship opportunities focused on music, sports, tech, food and beverage, storytelling, influence, fashion, and social impact. 

The conference concluded with a virtual performance of “Swag Surf” by creators @We.R.Fly and @Only1Easton. To top it all off, each speaker represented his/her HBCU or Divine Nine organization by wearing paraphernalia throughout the entire show. 

YARDCON was a major success, to say the least. Attendees left with knowledge, connections and even internship opportunities. For additional information about YARDCON, visit

Childish Gambino releases fourth studio album: 3.15.20

Barry Jones | Staff Writer

Flicr User Dan Garcia

Photo Credit: Flickr User Dan Garcia

Coming off (arguably) his biggest year in 2018, Gambino has finally returned to deliver his fourth studio album, 3.15.20. Named after the date it was released, the Atlanta musician took the internet by storm by randomly releasing the project via a website titled “” The album was playing continuously on this website from March 15 to March 16 and was removed suddenly with no warning.

Six days later, the album hit all digital streaming platforms – still with minimal promotion – and came to a surprise to most. If you’re wondering what to expect from this album, the rollout says a lot about Gambino’s intentions. The surprise drop seems to be intentional as it defies all traditional release tactics coming off a No. 1 single as Gambino did in 2018 with “This is America.”

If you’re familiar with Gambino, this is not surprising. Through his music and creative expression, he refuses time and time again to be defined by industry standards and norms. As for timing, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Everyone across the country is stuck in the house looking for anything new to engage in when it comes to content.

“Marketing wise, this is a great time to drop music,” Hampton University junior Sevaughn Coates said.

3.15.20 is an incredible culmination of electronic sounds, vulnerable emotions unorthodox sequencing tactics and hip-hop/house influences. Gambino has never been one to shy away from putting his influences on the front street. With samples from Zhane, Andre 3000 and Kanye West, the influences of this album from a content perspective are quite obvious. However, the instrumentation in which a lot of these samples are embedded in makes for a quite interesting journey.

Produced by Ludwig Garranson & DJ Dahi, the two producers who contributed heavily to Gambino’s most recent album, Awaken, My Love!, 3.15.20 is composed of sounds representing a wide range of musical eras. This is not new to Gambino. His previous album had a more consistent theme that paid tribute to the funk world’s biggest influences, such as Parliament-Funkadelic and The Ohio Players.

This album’s influences are not as consistent. The intro track “0.00is comprised of a montage of electronic sounds, incredibly reminiscent of the ’80s sounds of Enola Gay. This record blends perfectly into “Algorhythm,” which takes a similar electronic take to the 1993 hit record “Hey Mr. DJ” by Zhane.

The electronic undertones of the LP come to its pinnacle at the third record, Time, which ironically includes very few electronic musical elements that were displayed in the two tracks prior. Instead, Gambino relies on his use of the voice-box to carry his vocals through. This record serves as the metaphorical rising action of the album. The hybridization of all the musical elements: the strong string section, a choir, electronically altered vocals and even a strong piano performance on the final chorus all come together to create a perfect bridge into the album’s high point: “12.38”

On the standout record “12.38,” Gambino flips the infamous hook of Andre 3000’s Vibrate to construct probably the most sonically pleasing record on the entire album. Aside from his great vocal performance and boppy production, 21 Savage graces this record with some much-needed insurgent energy. None of the features are listed on the tracklisting, so 21 Savage’s appearance came as a surprise during the first listen as the boppy instrumental definitely does not scream “21 Savage.” However, his presence highlights his versatility and range.

On “19.10” and “24.19,” Gambino gets incredibly deep content-wise. Gambino utilized “12.38” as the precursor into his inner thoughts. Making reference to the renowned scholar, theorist, and feminist Bell Hooks, most famous for studies of Love. Both on “19.10” and “24.19,” Gambino dives head first into addressing his quarrels with love. On “19.10,” Gambino proclaims, “To be beautiful is to be hunted,” and on “24.19,” Gambino makes use of Andre 3000’s chorus on Prototype to speak to the emotional fervor that he has for his love interest.

The rest of the album has its fair share of lows and highs. While things get a bit dicey on the production side of things on “32.22” with some obvious Yeezus inspired basslines and synth riffs; “42.26,” otherwise known as “Feels Like Summer,” serves as a bit of a saving grace before the project’s finale.

3.15.20 is unorthodox in every way. From the way it was released to the plain white cover, ominous track titles, uniform yet questionable sequencing and unusually long records, this album is definitely one that stands on its own. The sonic and physical inconsistencies point to some intention on behalf of Gambino as this may be one of his final projects. Gambino doesn’t seem to be concerned with sales, promotion or anything of the sort. Coming off of such big commercial success with his previous album and his single “This is America,” Gambino completely veers off the path he was on and delivers a project that seems to be honest and representative of where he is creatively and emotionally.

Jermaine Marrow becomes HU’s all-time leading scorer

Nazim Trammell-Wells | Staff Writer


Photo Credit: Unsplash User Stephen Baker

Jermaine Marrow made history last week by becoming Hampton University’s all-time leading scorer in men’s basketball. In doing so, he passed former NBA Star Rick Mahorn. 

“It was a goal I had in mind when I first committed here, and it feels good to reach that goal,” Marrow said in an interview with the Daily Press. “I remember everyone telling me I needed two more points, three more points to get the record.”

Marrow, who’s known for scoring buckets in high quantity, wasn’t having the best game. While he accounted for 13 points in the first half, he was held scoreless until the 4:52 mark when he hit a layup that tied the mark. He was then fouled, went to the free throw line and hit both shots, passing Mahorn.

The entire crowd knew how close Marrow was to the record, and when he did eclipse it, they erupted. Coach Buck Joyner also called a timeout so that Marrow could briefly bask in the moment. 

Marrow was greeted by smiles and handshakes from his teammates before closing out the game with a 80-70 win over UNC Asheville.

“It was an exciting moment,” Hampton senior Cameron Austin said. “I knew he could get buckets, but becoming Hampton’s all-time leading scorer is a feat that I never thought I’d see.

“I hope that he continues to ball and gets a chance in the NBA.” 

Marrow has been a hometown hero for some time now. He attended high school at Heritage High School in Newport News, where he averaged 31 points per game.

After the season concludes, Marrow plans to declare for the NBA Draft. Last year, he tested his stock to see what scouts were saying but ultimately decided to return back to Hampton. Marrow will finish the season with the most prolific career in Hampton University basketball history before taking his talents to the big stage.

Another XFL, 19 years later

Justin Whitner | Staff Writer

When the XFL began its first go-around in 2001, it was a professional American football lea gue that wanted to pounce on the idea that football season could still stay relevant after the completion of the NFL and NCAA seasons.

The XFL set off as a joint venture between the World Wrestling Federation and NBC. WWF owner Vince McMahon promoted the outdoor football league with fewer rules, faster play time and more excitement on the field. The first XFL league had eight teams in two divisions. The 2020 version will repeat that same league plan with hopes that this second go-around with the league will go much differently.

  In the first week of the XFL season in 2020, much like in 2001, many viewers tuned in to the opening day of games. Two games were on Fox, one on ABC and one on ESPN. The four games averaged 3.12 million viewers and a 1.0 rating among adults ages 18-49.

Those ratings were in line with the inaugural prime-time game for the Alliance of American Football on CBS last year that averaged 3.25 million viewers, 0.9 in adults 18-49. However, the AAF didn’t get a chance to even finish its season as it suspended operations the 9th week of the 10-game season.

Fox’s Sunday afternoon XFL game had the biggest audience with 3.39 million viewers, while ESPN’s Sunday telecast was the smallest of the four with just under 2.5 million viewers, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

  “I think the XFL has a better foundation, and I think they came with a different approach,” Hampton University football player Justin Lawson said. “The XFL has its own set of rules that makes it more interesting to watch. The XFL is also accessible on channels like Fox and Fox1; it also comes on ABC, which tells you that the XFL has network approval and people are actually watching.”

  The rule changes and opportunities in the XFL, along with the quality of play, drew largely positive reviews on opening weekend. Although the kickers are undermined, and their value is decreased with no more punting out of bounds, kickoffs are backed up, more returns are allowed and no more extra-point kicks, it seems to have brought a different style to the game of football.

In 2001, the partnership between McMahon and NBC resulted in 14 million viewers for its prime-time opener. After the first game, however, the ratings went all the way down, and that XFL failed just after one season. NBC and the WWF both lost $35 million on their $100 million investment in the league’s inaugural season, according to Forbes.

“For the XFL to stay relevant, it has to get a specific fan base, and the city they have placed themselves in will help them reach those places because only the fans keep the team alive.” Lawson said. “Like the DC defenders had a showing yesterday that was pretty good, and their quarterback Cardale Jones is not bad.”

The XFL has started off on the same path as it did in 2001, but it will have to do things extremely different this go-around in order to keep the league afloat.

NBA trade deadline recap

Justin Norris | Staff Writer

Although no stars were moved during the NBA’s trade deadline, plenty of teams made moves they think will upgrade their roster.

Some teams, such as the Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers, made moves that further emphasized their win-now attitudes in a championship race that is more open than it has been in at least five years. The Los Angeles Lakers were the most notable team to stand pat at the deadline. 

The Houston Rockets doubled down on their small-ball philosophy by trading away starting center Clint Capela, their 2020 first-round pick and Gerald Green for Robert Covington and a future second round pick. Trading Capela means that PJ Tucker will play center full time for the Rockets in a lineup where no player will be taller than Covington, who is 6-foot-7. The move will create more driving lanes for James Harden and Russell Westbrook while enabling Houston to play a five-out offense for virtually the entire game to maximize 3-point attempts and shots at the rim, while allowing them to switch anything defensively without putting any player at a major size advantage defensively. 

Ever since GM Daryl Morey acquired Harden from Oklahoma City in one of the most lopsided trades of all time, he has been determined to maximize Houston’s championship window, which is directly tied to Harden’s shelf life as a superstar. 

With the Golden State Warriors out of the championship picture this year, it was assumed Morey would make a win-now move to take advantage of the abdicated Western Conference throne. Morey even admitted in an interview with ESPN in 2017 that last year that he was “obsessed” with beating Golden State because he knew that the road to the NBA Finals ran through Golden State. 

The Miami Heat sent Justise Winslow, James Johnson and Dion Waiters to the Memphis Grizzlies for Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill. Iguodala was one of the most coveted names on the market for his playmaking acumen, defensive chops and championship experience, and Crowder and Hill are wings capable of making open 3-pointers and holding their own defensively. 

Additionally, Miami was able to rid itself of Waiters, who had fallen out of favor with coach Erik Spoelstra after having multiple detrimental conduct issues with the team. Jimmy Butler’s arrival in Miami this past summer made Winslow’s presence somewhat redundant as a defensive-minded playmaking wing with a questionable jump shot. 

Nazim Trammell-Wells, a Hampton University senior journalism major from Philadelphia, really liked the Heat’s deadline acquisitions. 

“The move to get Iggy and Crowder definitely shifts us into a win now mentality,” he said. “Pat Riley is a great GM, and he is constantly finding pieces to have us in the conversation to both make a deep run, while also acquiring talent.”

This trade deepens Miami’s rotation, gives Spoelstra even more lineup flexibility and firmly puts the Heat into the tier of Eastern Conference contenders below Milwaukee, which includes Philadelphia, Boston and Toronto. 

The Los Angeles Clippers acquired coveted forward Marcus Morris from the New York Knicks. Morris had been linked to both Los Angeles teams before the deadline, and he and Iguodala were two of the most highly sought after players on the market. While Morris represents another viable 3-and-D and scoring option for the already loaded Clippers, perhaps the biggest boon of this transaction is that the Clippers kept him away from their locker room roommates, the Los Angeles Lakers. Morris is averaging almost 20 points per game on 44 percent shooting from 3-point range. He is another wing defender who can at least hope to match up with LeBron James in a potential playoff series, if for no other reason than to keep Kawhi Leonard and Paul George fresh.

The Lakers chose to value team continuity and chemistry over perceived marginal upgrades at the trade deadline. The death of Kobe Bryant might have played a factor, as this team rallied and became closer than most in the weeks leading up to the deadline. Forward Kyle Kuzma’s name was circulating in trade rumors leading up to the deadline, but the Lakers decided to keep their streaky third-year scorer. In fact, Kuzma was rumored to be in discussions with the Knicks for Morris, but the Lakers must have decided that the price to acquire Morris was too steep. However, they are expected to be active in the buyout market, especially since free-agent guard and California native Darren Collison recently announced he will remain retired, to the chagrin of Lakers fans. 

John T. Harvey IV, a fourth-year in HU’s 5-year MBA program who is from Washington, D.C., laments the Lakers’ passiveness at the deadline.

“When you look at the Clippers, they are deep at every position and have already beaten the Lakers twice this season,” he said. “I was hoping that they would acquire Morris to even the scales, but it is unacceptable to allow him to go to our biggest competition. His shooting and defense would have made him a great fit on any team, but especially next to LeBron and AD.”

As with every season, time will tell if teams such as the Rockets and Heat did enough to vault themselves into true championship contention, and if the Clippers did enough to topple the Lakers in a playoff matchup. But all eyes will be on the Lakers and whether or not they were prudent in their refusal to trade Kuzma and disrupt their chemistry like they did at last season’s deadline.

NBA honors Kobe Bryant with All-Star tributes on and off the court

Keion Cage | Staff Writer

The NBA’s All-Star Game on Feb. 16 in Chicago celebrated some of the league’s best athletes. The association also changed the rules of the game to honor basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who died Jan. 26.

A frenetic fourth quarter featured fierce competitiveness worthy of Bryant. Several fouls, challenges and heated disputes occurred between players and referees – rarely seen in past All-Star games. 

“This fourth quarter of [the NBA All-Star Game] is an absolutely phenomenal look for the game of basketball,” ESPN journalist Stephen A. Smith wrote on Twitter. “This is what fans crave and the players delivered.”

Team LeBron was able to complete the comeback victory and beat Team Giannis, 157-155, with a free throw made by the Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis sealing the deal.

The NBA changed the All-Star MVP Award name to the Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP Award. The Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard earned the honor with 30 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

“It’s very special,” Leonard said in an interview with ESPN. “Words can’t explain how happy I am to be able to put that trophy in my room and just be able to see Kobe’s name on there.”

The All-Star Game captains were the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo. Team LeBron players wore No. 2 to honor Bryant’s daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, who died in the helicopter accident with her father. Team Antetokounmpo wore No. 24 to honor Kobe Bryant.

“It’s a big honor,” Antetokounmpo said in an interview with “I wouldn’t want it any other way representing Kobe and Gigi in [Sunday] night’s game.”

Singers, rappers and speakers shared words about Bryant before the game.

“Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced before the game. “He always relished the opportunity to compete with the best of the best and perform at the highest level for millions of fans around the world.”

In the first three quarters, the two teams competed in 12-minute periods, with the winner of each receiving $100,000 toward their team’s Chicago-based charities. In the final quarter, the scores from the first three quarters were added up, and the game clock was turned off. The fourth quarter was played until a team reached the final target score. The final target score was determined by the leading team’s total score in the first three quarters plus 24 to honor Bryant again. The winning team would get an additional $200,000 toward its charity.

Team LeBron took the first quarter with a score of 53-41. Team Giannis countered and won the second quarter, 51-30. The third quarter ended 41-41, causing the $100,000 in charity money to be carried over to the winner of the final quarter. Team Giannis led Team LeBron entering the fourth quarter, 133-124, making the final target score 157. 

Team LeBron earned $400,000 for the Chicago Scholars Foundation, and Team Giannis made $100,000 for After School Matters. 

The Photograph: Not a love story – a like story

Alton Worley II | Staff Writer


Photo Credit: Pexels User Brett Sayles

It’s been a while since audiences have seen a black romance movie, and The Photograph provides a breath of fresh air, but not in the way you would think.

The official synopsis: “On Valentine’s Day, Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure, Little) and LaKeith Stanfield (FX’s Atlanta, Sorry to Bother You) connect in a romance where a woman must learn from the secrets in her mother’s past if she is to move forward and allow herself to love and be loved. 

When famed photographer Christina Eames unexpectedly dies, she leaves her estranged daughter Mae Morton (Rae) hurt, angry and full of questions. When a photograph tucked away in a safe-deposit box is found, Mae finds herself on a journey delving into her mother’s early life and ignites a powerful, unexpected romance with a rising-star journalist, Michael Block (Stanfield).”

The Photograph takes a modern approach to the romantic movie genre and does something that has become rare nowadays. In a world now full of romantic comedies, The Photograph manages to stay solidified in the romance category only having hints of comedy in it. 

The only way this movie works is because the leads do a good job portraying the roles that they were given. Rae and Stanfield’s chemistry and acting keep this movie afloat when the writing does not, but in terms of realism, the writers did a good job keeping it real when it comes to their character’s relationship. 

“I had major hopes for what this [movie] could have been or what I expected it to be, but it didn’t make me feel the way I thought it would,” said Savannah Henson, a Hampton University psychology major from Prince George’s County, Maryland. “The storyline was just cute, and the impression and feelings I had left after seeing the film weren’t long-lasting. I don’t know … I expected more, and it was just ‘Eh.’” 

“Cute” would be the best way to describe this movie, as it isn’t anything extraordinary, but ordinary enough to keep the audience entertained, if that. While the stars play their characters well, their timid personalities often leave the audience wanting more.

“Personally, I didn’t like The Photograph,” said Myana Mabry, an HU political science major on the pre-law track. “I felt as if it was fast-paced, predictable and a bit awkward. I strongly believe the main characters didn’t actually love each other – rather, this film was based on lust. I left the theater disappointed.” 

There were no big gestures or reveals that made the movie scream “romance,” so the power was in the body language with some credit given to the dialogue. The characters weren’t perfect, and in reality, no one actually is, so seeing them go through things very relatable to the audience was nice, but also lackluster as the movie was missing something. 

“I felt that the movie was a nice break from the drama that usually occurs in black films about love,” said Jasmine Robinson, an HU strategic communication major from North Carolina. “No one was dramatically shot as well as other stereotypes associated with black love films.” 

This movie should keep the audience entertained, but it doesn’t. In a society where every movie is trying to be bigger than the next, this movie tries something different by not trying at all. This movie lacked the drive and heart-wrenching emotion that many other movies in its genre have, and that’s why it missed the mark it needed to hit.

The Photograph is now playing in Hampton theaters at the AMC Hampton Towne Center 24, Cinema Café and Studio Movie Grill.

Gayle King “was doing her job” in asking about Kobe Bryant’s past, journalists say

Andi McCloud | Staff Writer

Gayle King was being a responsible journalist for CBS when she asked about a past felony sexual assault charge against former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, several journalists agree.

“I just feel like she was doing her job,” Hampton University journalism major Marcus Nelson said, adding, “If you aren’t in her field of work, you just might not understand that.” 

Snoop Dogg issued a warning to King online after her “CBS This Morning” interview with former WNBA player Lisa Leslie about Bryant, who was killed Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash with his daughter and seven others.

The Associated Press reported that other celebrities, including LeBron James, 50 Cent and Bill Cosby, criticized King for asking Leslie whether Bryant’s legacy had been complicated by the accusation that he raped a woman at a Colorado resort in 2003. Bryant said the two had consensual sex, but he later apologized for his behavior and, after the charge was dropped when the accuser was unwilling to testify, settled a civil suit against him.

Snoop Dogg later posted an apology video after he was criticized for his extreme response.

Oprah Winfrey — King’s best friend — held back tears as she spoke on NBC’s “Today” show about death threats King received.

“We fully support Gayle King and her integrity as a journalist,” CBS News President Susan Zirinsky told the AP. “We find the threats against her or any journalist doing their job reprehensible.”

The Los Angeles Times, New York Times and other media organizations included articles about the assault charge in their news coverage immediately following his death.

King took to Instagram to speak about how a portion of her interview with Leslie was disseminated. 

“I am embarrassed,” King wrote. “And I am very angry. Unbeknownst to me, my network put up a clip from a very wide-ranging interview, totally taken out of context, and when you see it that way, it’s very jarring. It’s jarring to me. I didn’t even know anything about it.”

Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones said King was in the right to ask the questions she asked.

“King had nothing to apologize for,” Jones wrote on “She is a journalist and asked questions any responsible journalist would.”

During the CBS interview with Leslie, King said: “It’s been said that his legacy is complicated because of a sexual assault charge, which was dismissed in 2003, 2004. Is it complicated for you as a woman, as a WNBA player?”

Leslie responded: “It’s not complicated for me at all. Even if there are a few times that we’ve been at a club at the same time, Kobe’s not the kind of guy — never been, like, you know, ‘Lis, go get that girl, or tell her or send her this.’ I have other NBA friends that are like that.”

King continued to question Leslie about whether or not she would have known the truth about Bryant’s alleged rape, and Leslie defended Bryant to be “never like that. I just never, have ever seen him being the kind of person that would do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way.”

King talked to Leslie because the former Los Angeles Sparks star was one of Bryant’s good friends. 

“If you are a serious journalist, you cannot avoid the painful questions and topics,” Alfred Edmond Jr. wrote on “King’s interview with Lisa Leslie was about Kobe Bryant’s life and legacy; a good journalist knows you can’t just leave out the parts we don’t like.”

Commentary: Oscars are still so white

Anisa Saigo | Staff Writer


Photo Credit: Unsplash User Denise Jans

The Oscars have been the highlight of almost every actor’s dream for more than 90 years. The glitz, the glamour and the expenses that these amazing actors and actresses go above and beyond for don’t go unnoticed on the most famous red carpet ever.

What does go unnoticed, however, is the lack of appreciation for black actors.

You would think by 2020, things would be different, but it is no different than 80 years ago, when Hattie McDaniel became the first black actor to win an Academy Award. Even then, McDaniel had to sit at a segregated table that was not with the cast of “Gone with the Wind.” On top of that, keep in mind that the Academy Awards was hosted in a “no Blacks” hotel.

Five years ago, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite was created and surged to popularity to recognize black people and those of other races not being acknowledged for their hard work in film.

Five years later, the Academy membership still is made up, predominantly, of white males. According to, the membership is 84% white males and 68% male. When you have people who can’t relate to movies such as “Queen and Slim” and “Harriet,” it can be quite hard for them to have an opinion.

“Harriet” star Cynthia Erivo was the only black actor to receive an Oscar nomination for the Feb. 9 ceremony.

“I’m so tired of it,” Ava DuVernay, who is black and was the director of “Selma,” told USA Today. “We care about [winning an Oscar] because it’s a mark of distinction around the world. … It’s not the end-all, be-all; it’s not the arbiter of good taste or achievement. It’s a lovely thing that’s a cherry on top of the work.”

In 92 years, only 17 black actors have won an Oscar. Several of those awards have been given for roles that display stereotypes about black people such as Lupita Nyong’o as a slave in “12 Years a Slave” and “Octavia Spencer” as a maid in “The Help.”

This is why award shows such as the BET Awards have been created to highlight black achievements and appreciation for black culture. 

It is easy to view a film and have an opinion on the way it was directed, the way the actors act, and so on, but when a judgment is made before actually viewing a film starring black actors, it’s hard to believe it’s the best judgment.