“A legacy to remember” William R. Harvey to retire in 2022

Barry Jones | Editor-in-Chief

Courtesy of the Office of the President

Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey has announced his retirement. Set to retire in June 2022, Harvey would end up serving as the president of the university for 44 years, the longest tenure of any HBCU president and the eighth-longest tenure of any university president in the United States.

Becoming the 12th president of Hampton Institute in 1978, Dr. Harvey arrived on a campus that “was slowly losing ground,” according to a statement released by the university. Over the course of his time at the university, Dr. Harvey managed to expand its academic offering, financial standing and physical uniqueness. 

Under Dr. Harvey’s leadership, 92 new academic degrees were introduced, including 12 doctoral programs; the endowment increased from $29 million to over $300 million; and 29 new buildings have been erected.

Through building a reputation of prestige, honor and dedication to Hampton University, Dr. Harvey has maintained a philosophy of leadership centered around teamwork and active listening. He highlighted the fact that a major factor of the university’s progression and success are the contributions of a high-caliber team of administrators, faculty and student-leaders.

“If you look at the team that I have amassed here, I think they are extraordinary,” Dr. Harvey said in an interview with The Hampton Script. “When you look at the fact that I have 17 [administrators] that have gone on to become presidents of other colleges and organizations, when I add in student-leader input, faculty input, the board of trustees input, I think we have a pretty darn good process.”   

Dr. Rodney Smith, former HU vice president of administrative services, was appointed president of the College of the Bahamas in Nassau. Former HU Provost Dr. Pamela V. Hammond was appointed interim president of Virginia State University in 2015. 

The Harvey Leadership Model has served students, faculty and staff throughout the course of Dr. Harvey’s tenure. In 2016, Harvey published “Principles of Leadership: The Harvey Leadership Model.” The book highlights 10 principles that distinguish leaders. Serving as a culmination of 40 years of result-driven leadership, Dr. Harvey utilized his own personal response to adversity, wisdom from his parents and innovative thinking to pen a guide to obtaining and maintaining an enriching leadership experience.

Through Dr. Harvey’s avid political participation, Hampton University managed to make never-before-seen strides as it relates to the development and expansion of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, the largest free-standing proton beam cancer center in the world, was established in 2010. Four satellites launched in 2007 made Hampton University the first Historically Black College and University to have 100% control of a NASA satellite mission.

“I have been in the Oval Office for every single president since Jimmy Carter,” Dr. Harvey said. “I think that has helped us gain federal money.”

Dr. Harvey has not backed down from his bipartisan approach to increasing Hampton University’s favor among political figures. Through Dr. Harvey’s relationship with former Republican president George H.W. Bush, the President’s Advisory Panel on HBCUs, a panel on which Dr. Harvey served, secured $776 million in federal funds in 1989 and $894 million in 1990 — an increase of $118 million in two years.

During the Bush administration, Hampton University secured more than $40 million in federal funding for faculty research, student scholarships and the expansion of academic programs. 

“My father said to me there are good people and scoundrels in both major political parties,” Dr Harvey said. “He said, ‘Always support the person, not the party.’ There may be times where alumni, faculty and students don’t particularly like the decision. But I will always do what is right and best for Hampton.”

Dr. Harvey’s adoration for Hampton University has been a motivating factor during his long-standing tenure as president. Students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff have recognized the progress that has been made under his leadership. 

“We all know Hampton University is a special place that has grown over the years to be a stellar institution,” Student Government Association President Austin Sams said in a statement to The Hampton Script. “Hamptonions of many generations have been fortunate for Dr. Harvey’s leadership, and I congratulate him on creating a legacy that will live on forever.”

As Dr. Harvey’s tenure comes to a close, the university will soon begin to set eyes on his successor. When asked how big of a role he will play in the selection of the next university president, Dr. Harvey indicated that the Board of Trustees will have the final say-so as to who will replace him.

The announcement of retirement has had no effect on the amount of work President Harvey plans to commit to during the remainder of his tenure. With plans to carry out the wishes of former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, Dr. Harvey hopes to assist in raising funds for the creation of a slave museum in Virginia. He also emphasized an effort to fundraise $50 million to $75 million for minority cancer patients who can’t afford treatment. Finally, Dr. Harvey is focused on providing COVID-19 testing for “underserved rural communities.” 

Upon retirement, Dr. Harvey plans to stay in Hilton Head, South Carolina, with his wife, Norma B. Harvey. Dr. Harvey plans to embark on yet another literary journey in an effort to utilize his four decades of experience to serve higher education. Although Dr. William R. Harvey will retire as president of Hampton University, HU will continue to be his “Home by the Sea.”

Highlighting entrepreneurial efforts of Hampton students

Brooklyn Young | Staff Writer

Hampton University has always been well-known for its trendsetters and innovators. Many Hamptonians still uphold that reputation by using their creativity to not only influence others but also create change in their communities.  Hamptonians have used their creativity to start their own brands and create impactful content. Some of your favorite YouTube vloggers, fashion designers and original magazine creators got their start at Hampton. Here is a glimpse of some entrepreneurs from Ogre, Quintessence and Onyx classes. 

Accent Films

Don’t forget the accent mark.

Accent Films started off as your typical college YouTube vlog in 2018. As time progressed, Bria Dickerson, better known as Bria DéShaun, has made her mark on Hampton’s campus by commemorating social moments as “the student body’s historian,” and creating promo videos. The meaning behind the accent is to “put emphasis on your purpose [and] put an accent on your wildest dreams,” said Dickerson. This brand allows the inner creative in Dickerson to be depicted visually and expose her authenticity in various projects. Accent Films is also a direct reflection of her journey as an individual and as an entrepreneur. 

“You can be carefree in who you are and do it without hesitation,” said Dickerson. 

Recently, Accent Films collaborated with the Greer Dawson Wilson Student Leadership Training Program (SLP) for its 20th anniversary of the Black History Extravaganza (BHX) by creating a short film, “Tales of an HBCU.” You can stream this on SLP’s YouTube channel now. 

Dickerson is a junior, journalism major with a minor in leadership studies and cinema studies from Bear, Delaware. 

COVRT 

With encouragement from friends and family, Trajan Baker, a sophomore architecture major from Winston-Salem, created his fashion brand Crafted Vision, which is now known as COVRT. At COVRT, you can have it your way with his unique clothing customizations. Baker hand paints jeans, jackets, shoes, hats and just about any clothing item you can think of. The brand is symbolic to self-discovery and revealing the artist within everyone.

 “My acronym for artist is a rare talented individual seeking truth,” said Baker. 

The relationship between Baker and his clientele are most meaningful and seeing them wear his designs makes him extremely proud. On average, it takes between 10 to 20 hours for Baker to make a single piece. Right now, COVRT is creating a graphic sweatshirt line and painting series. Baker is looking forward to where his brand will go and hoping to be a featured brand in a Hampton event like Springfest. Trajan Baker is a sophomore, architecture major from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 

EPOK

Dictionary.com defines epoch (EPOK) as “the beginning of a distinctive period in history of something.” This Virginia and New York based brand began with two fashion-forward individuals making T-shirts in a bedroom in the Harbor Apartments for fun. Austin Johnson, a senior marketing major from Hampton, Virginia, and Jarrett Dines, a senior strategic communication major from Queens, New York, constantly strive to take chances and continue going after new avenues to gain even more exposure for their brand.

“Buying into a concept; you are in your Epok,” said Johnson. “Each piece is personal.”

 Opening doors and creating better access to resources for the next entrepreneur is the ultimate goal for Johnson and Dines. 

“Jarrett and I knew we were gonna make history, this is just the beginning,” said Johnson. 

Over the past two years, EPOK has had pop-up shops in New York and Virginia, countless photoshoots and has even shipped orders to London. For these entrepreneurs, they see no limits. 

For more information on their next event(s), an interactive pop-up shop and new releases, visit their website.

Austin Johnson is a senior, marketing major from Hampton, Virginia. Jarrett Dines is a senior, strategic communications major from Queens, New York. 

Reign the Magazine

Editor-in-Chief and journalism student Tasha Smith, a junior from Baltimore, launched the first issue of Reign the Magazine on January 1, 2021. The magazine was created to exhibit Black content, including fashion, beauty, culture and music. Smith’s goal is to create an enjoyable and inclusive atmosphere, where everyone involved feels comfortable showcasing their creativity. 

“I want to create a community that celebrates Black joy and creativity,” said Smith. 

Smith was inspired by lifestyle journalist Elaine Welteroth. 

“I have read her book ad nauseam,” Smith said. 

Since the Black youth is so impressionable, Smith mainly targets this demographic. 

“I am sick of feeling like I have to ‘skate around’ my Blackness for white people,” said Smith.  Knowing the importance of unapologetically loving and accepting your Blackness is the Magazine’s endgame. 

Currently, Reign the Magazine is working on the March issue, which is the first style issue, featuring a young stylist. A new issue drops on the first of each month, so be sure to get yours March 1!

Threadz Boutique

The reputation of inimitability and uniqueness that boutiques possess has always enticed Taylor Robertson, a third-year, five-year MBA major from Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.  That attraction and passion for fashion design created Threadz Boutique! Threadz Boutique seemed out of reach for Robertson, but with the encouragement from her mom, it became a brand. 

“I just got started,” said Robertson. 

Growing up with both parents being entrepreneurs, Robertson tapped into her entrepreneurial side. Robertson enjoys that she is able to deeply portray herself in her craft and offer rare clothing to women ages 17 to 40. 

“Everything that I have is something that I would pick up in a store and have to buy,” said Robertson. 

If you want to stand out and tap into your uniqueness, be on the lookout for new drops over at shopthreadzboutique.com

1868 The Brand

Fashionista, Inaya Henderson, a junior strategic communications major from Atlanta, decided to put a twist on traditional university paraphernalia by launching 1868 The Brand. Representing the year that Hampton University was founded, 1868 The Brand also looks to connect the Hampton University community through apparel and accessories.  

“It’s a line that encapsulates the essence of Hampton and transforms it into the form of fashion,” said Henderson. 

With 1868, Henderson intends to show the world that Hampton is more than what you see on the surface, but that Hampton is full of creativity and innovation.  

1868 is intended to be a classic everyday wear, whether you’re going on a Target run or on a trip, 1868 is made for it all. Currently, 1868 is working on rugs, household items, sweatsuits, workout gear, skateboards for each class and a potential collaboration with another HBCU. The newest drop is expected for summer 2021 to kick-off the summer vibes, so keep an eye out! 

For anyone scared to start their business, just look at these young entrepreneurs making it happen. It is all about believing in yourself and simply taking that first step!

Creative Block: Promise Robinson’s triumph through music

Nyle Paul | Staff Writer

Courtesy of @promtheproducer

The COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting the lives of many artists, and they are still coping with the restrictive reality that this “new normal” has brought.

Here at our home by the sea, we have a large community of artists, all of whom deserve to be recognized for their talents. As the wrath of the coronavirus still lingers, it is important  to get insight on how these artists are staying dedicated to their work.

Promise Robinson is a second-year audio production major from Neptune, New Jersey. A musician, songwriter and producer, Robinson has produced and released a number of pieces throughout the pandemic, including productions that feature other artists at Hampton. To give a bit more insight on her artistry, Promise goes in depth with her craft. 

“To describe my artistry, I’d like to think of it as baking a layered cake,” Robinson said.

“I started getting serious about music my junior year of high school, so from there I found the right resources, or ingredients, to build up my career. From getting to open up for little showcases in my city to winning those showcases, I used that as my foundation, my base, to get me to where I am now, which is best described as the second layer of the cake. I can feel myself getting closer to my goals, the top, etc., but I still got a lot more learning, teaching and reaching before it’s time to blow the candles out.”

Promise then touched on the influences that helped her step into her creativity.

“Though my list goes on forever, whenever someone asks who my influences are, I think it’s the most Jersey thing in me to say Lauryn Hill, but that’s who is a major influence on not only my life but my career,” Robinson said. 

“She’s been real since she stepped on the scene, and she never steered away from showing vulnerability as an artist. I feel like music is at its purest form when it’s relatable, when you’re telling your story, and it’s not only therapeutic for you the artist, but for the people listening. And you know, I think that’s why I gravitate so close to Ms. Hill because her music is that for me, and that’s what I aspire to be for others.”

Courtesy of @promtheproducer

As mentioned, the coronavirus has left many in financial hardships. The heavy physical restrictions that were set in place also challenged many artists’ capabilities to support themselves by getting the equipment needed to better their craft.  Promise shared how the difficulties that she ran into affected her craft. 

“My biggest takeaway from the pandemic is that it taught me how to be still,” Robinson said. “I was so used to being out and spending money I didn’t really have, so because I didn’t have anywhere to go and spend all my money, I was really able to save up and ultimately invest in myself, and that started with my music equipment. I was fortunate enough to keep my summer job, and even more fortunate to have no delays when ordering things like my laptop, studio monitors and desk. Curbside pickup is a blessing!”

With the physical and financial hardships, the pandemic has lowered people’s motivation to do the tasks that were once a part of their daily lives. Promise touched on how her artistic motivation has been altered throughout the pandemic.

  “It wasn’t that I didn’t want to work on music,” Robinson said. “I loved working on music, especially working on my first love, which is music production.  It was really having motivation for writing songs and gathering my thoughts for my project that wasn’t really flowing like I wanted it. However, it wasn’t until I mentally took myself to things that I’m passionate about and expanded as a songwriter. I expressed myself in ways I’ve only dreamed of, and it came down to me remembering the joy of writing isn’t just to write about where I’m at right now in life, but it’s to write about where I came from and where I’m going, too.”

Creative block is something that almost all artists are familiar with, and the pandemic creates a space for artists to be more prone to creative block. Promise explained how often she suffered from creative block throughout this pandemic and what she did to push past it.

“If I have a creative block, it always seems to happen when it doesn’t feel like the right time or place for my creativity to flow,” Robinson said. 

“However, I knew I needed to figure out the best times for each of my creative processes, and that became the most effective way to get the most out of my day. Much like everybody else, I really found what works for me during this pandemic, and with that, I noticed that I work best when I make beats at night, write lyrics in the morning and record in the afternoon. It’s almost like the beat marinates in my mind overnight, and then I wake up, and the lyrics are just cooking up. It’s a super satisfying feeling, and you would be surprised how much free time I’d still have after going so hard.”

With the pandemic skewing normality, it brings about the question of how some artists have been able to keep focus on their art during this difficult time. Promise shares her difficulties with focusing, and drops gems while explaining what she did to get past distractions.

“It all came down to a matter of knowing myself, knowing where I want to be, and knowing that I didn’t want to be the same person I was coming into this pandemic when I came out!” Robinson said. “Just off personal experience, and losing my Pop-pop, cousins, uncles, etc. I realized how easy it is to fall off, rather than keep moving forward, but that would be my advice. Keep moving forward! Put good purpose behind the pain and get inspired.”

Courtesy of @promtheproducer

“I had to go through and find the small joys in life, dreaming, and manifesting to realize my drive can go through any obstacle that’s in my way,” Robinson continued.

“And with that I was able to drop music every month since May, including my multiple singles, three projects, two of which were my own, and one of which was executed by me, for a good friend of mine. With so much going on right now, this brings me so much joy and motivation because I found my rhythm, and I really don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

While dropping music throughout the pandemic, it goes without saying that Promise has been putting in work this year.

“I’m currently working on releasing another single called ‘Brown Sugar’ featuring two amazingly talented singers who I love dearly!” Robinson said. “This single will also be included on the deluxe version of my latest project called ‘Colors Too.’

“But in the meantime stream the non-deluxe version titled ‘Colors’ and stay tuned for more!” 

Fans can support Promise Robinson by following her instagram account @Promtheproducer, where a lot of her work is featured. Her music is available on all streaming platforms.

Review of “New York times presents: Framing Britney Spears”

Noah Hogan | Staff Writer

In this combination photo, Jamie Spears, father of singer Britney Spears, leaves the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Oct. 24, 2012, in Los Angeles, and Britney Spears arrives at the premiere of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” on July 22, 2019, in Los Angeles. Attorneys for the two sparred Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, over how he should share power with a financial company newly appointed as his partner in the conservatorship that controls her money. (AP Photo)

For the past 13 years, Britney Spears has lived her career in the shadows due to a court-sanctioned conservatorship.

“Framing Britney Spears,” a documentary by The New York Times, delves into the tumultuous career and personal life of Spears.

Since 2008 at age 26, Spears has been placed in a conservatorship to her father, James “Jamie” Spears. 

Now 39, the same fandom that Spears had built over the years is combating her conservators by using the hashtag #FreeBritney to bring attention to her legal battle against her father.

“I did not realize Britney Spears was trapped in a bad contract with her father. It felt like she slowly disappeared from the spotlight,”said Calyx Stover, a Hampton University journalism major from Boiling Springs, South Carolina..

According to Merriam Webster, a conservator can be defined as “a person, official or institution designed to take over and protect the interest of an incompetent.”

Usually used for the elderly, a conservator is only needed when an individual does not have the ability to take care of themselves. 

As conservator of the Spears estate, James “Jamie” Spears has controlled every aspect of his daughter’s life. From her career earnings to her medical decisions, Britney is seeking to take back control of herself. 

A major focus of the documentary is the re-examination of  the media’s role in the descent of one of the biggest pop stars of all time.

Journalists within the film explore the idea that Spears was ridiculed due to factors such as being a woman in a male-dominated industry and the confidence she carried within herself.

Inappropriate topics such as her breast or virginity were the type of conversations that Spears dealt with from an early age.

As she matured during the boom of blogs and tabloids, Britney was forced to publicly address tabloid narratives about promiscuity and her motherhood.

The docu-series extensively showcased the overt and systemic misogyny Spears and other female performers of the early 2000s faced within the entertainment industry.

“It’s sad that this episode highlights some of the sexisim issues that women still go through in any field but especially in the entertainment industry today,” Stover said. “It left me asking myself, ‘Has anything changed?’” 

The documentary features key interviews with important members of Spears’ inner circle, including family friends, marketing executives and lawyers who have worked on the conservatorship.

Although Britney Spears’ uphill battle with the media has been enlarged in part to her fame and fortune, her battle highlights the struggles that she and artists of different genders, ethnicities and genres go through on a daily basis when displaying their art.

“We’re loved and hated so much, especially in the entertainment culture,” recording artist and Hampton University alumnus Kaicash said. “We’ve already broken so many barriers and got the masses to adapt to what we create, but in hindsight, we’re still looked down upon, we’re still misunderstood, and we’re still ridiculed as well.”

As Spears’ conservatorship battles have not concluded, she is still optimistic that her fortunes will change for the better. She is hopeful to have her conservatorship transferred to a third-party institution that will keep her best interest at heart.

Both sides returned to court to determine the roles her father and the acting co-conservator, will play in handling her estate. The next hearing is scheduled for March 17.

Let the Black kids escape, too

Jamaija Rhoades | Staff Writer

Unsplash User: @kristsll

It feels like all recent coming-of-age films such as (but not limited to) Booksmart, Love Simon, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and Sierra Burgess is a Loser all revolve around superficial and effortlessly watchable topics. The films tell stories of teenagers whose most significant problems revolve around their grades’ status and where the next hot party will take place.  

While I love a good coming-of-age film (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is my personal fav), I cannot help but notice that Black teenagers are rarely the main characters within these stories. The few times individuals of African descent have starred in these films, they are either extremely heavy (Moonlight) or seek to make a statement about racism (The Hate U Give). 

This lack of carefree, innocent films that showcase Black teens simply falling in love or having fun without the interruption of discrimination or poverty is related to the popular association of  the Black experience and struggle. 

“I feel like parts of society only view Black people as people who will inevitably struggle through life — that we must face an obstacle, big or small, in our lifetime,” said Meraiah Cannon, a recent nursing graduate from Norfolk, Virginia. 

Of course, I am fully aware that anybody with melanated skin will face some hardships in some shape or form due to things they cannot change. However, I do not believe we need to be reminded of this all the time. 

Most people watch movies to escape their reality or just enjoy a couple of hours where they do not have to be reminded of their struggles in their day-to-day lives. Few people need to escape the realities of life more than people of color, particularly children, yet they rarely get the chance to do so. 

As important as it is to tell these heavy stories that are the realities of many Black people, Black creatives need to also ensure that they are creating films that highlight the innocence of Black teens and Black children as a whole. We often see children of African descent being forced to become adults and be strong in moments that other children are given the space to be vulnerable and make mistakes without extreme consequences. 

Despite what major production companies may believe, the Black community craves more films that showcase Black characters experiencing a sense of normalcy. 

“To see Black teens just getting to be kids and living out their best, normal teenage lives would be a dream come true. We need at least five of those movies within the next five years,” said Simone Williams, an HU graduate student from Newport News, Virginia.

Creating light-hearted coming-of-age films starring Black teens would not only be refreshing, but it would serve as a reminder to the world that despite the color of our skin, we are the same. 

Just as white teens crave love, a good time and adventure, Black teens do as well. Highlighting and emphasizing the reality that Black teens are also teens would assist those individuals who still believe that Black teens are less than. It would help them realize that we are human just as they are. 

Jamaija Rhoades is a graduating senior journalism major with an emphasis in cinema studies from Richmond, Virginia.

Glamour or scam: Teens’ use of substances in media

Kailah Lee | Staff Writer

Unsplash user Matteo Badini

Chances are, if you watch any film or series today, you will see someone using some sort of controlled substance. Whether that be a group of friends comforted by a bottle of booze, smoking cigarettes, or puffing on some “Zaza,” these instances are almost impossible to miss. 

Partaking in substance abuse is justified with older crowds because these actions are understood as adult behaviors. After 21, a person surpasses legal thresholds and is considered grown enough to decide what they should or should not put into their body–illegal or not. 

However, the issue is not adults participating in adult activities on TV. It is the media portraying normalcy in substance abuse among minors.

One might argue that producers are trying to capture the verisimilitude of a high school student. A television show may highlight the reality of events that could potentially happen at a high school party, but are these instances a sample of truth or an extreme? 

In the award-winning HBO hit series “Euphoria,” the story centers on the life of a teenager struggling with a narcotics addiction as well as other teenage turmoil. Although the show reveals the horror and sadness of substance abuse, there is a sense of glamour weaved into the idea of underage drinking and drug use. Scenes of pill-popping are embellished with glitter, neon lights and music.

“Not going to lie, seeing people smoking weed, hearing the music create the vibe and feeling of relaxation made me more curious to try it,” Hampton University student Jamaija Rhoades said. “It looked cool, if I’m being honest.” 

Psychologist Birgit Wolz told the Chicago Tribune that “many films transmit ideas through emotion rather than intellect. … Watching movies can open doors that otherwise might stay closed.”

Substance use usually is painted with the idea of a stressor. An alcoholic beverage can be associated with relief or a lavish event. Marijuana can be associated with a way to unwind and bond with peers. Being compelled to try drugs or engage in drinking is more than seeing the act. It’s also about the aesthetic. 

“Production companies have a way of making it all look beautiful and acceptable while the actors are not even teens,” Hampton alumnus Tyler McColley said.

Media companies cast older actors and actresses to play younger roles because employing minors is a greater liability. Minors have restrictions with hours and content.

According to Screenrant, older actresses and actors ensure that “all potential romances be legal.”

So, it’s OK for an adult to play a teen and assimilate illegal behavior, although that reality is taboo?

That just seems misleading.

HBO said “Euphoria” is actually for adults despite the content circling around teens. Still, the show is viewed more by teenagers than adults. Not to mention, the actress who plays Rue, the main character of “Euphoria,” is Zendaya, who was once a Disney star building her fanbase at a young age.

“Euphoria” is one of many examples of this phenomenon of substance abuse portrayal. There are an abundance of contradictions in the media. One minute there is a commercial demeaning nicotine use among teens, and in the next instance, a hit show is making the act look cool.

An older woman, Natane Herrera, thinks that “the media appeals to a younger audience because they’re looking for potential buy-ins. … With people my age, there’s no point in trying to sell us.”

We’ll never honestly know the media’s intentions. Maybe it’s a subliminal act of business. Perhaps the media is trying to push an image, or maybe it’s just to entertain.

“The media knows what it is doing,” said Amanda Jones, a writer from Charlotte, North Carolina, “and it will target those susceptible to its narrative.” 

Kailah Lee is a graduating senior journalism major from Richmond, Virginia.

HU student-athletes reflect on cancellation of spring sports

Aliyu Saadu | Staff Writer

Hampton University student-athletes have faced a fair amount of adversity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the cancellation of all 2021 spring sports, HU spring athletes have now forgone two consecutive seasons.

“I was on vacation to hang out with my parents and my friends. We were on Zoom, and we found out we weren’t playing. We were devastated,” junior softball standout Jenae Lyles said when she found out that Hampton was canceling 2021 spring sports. 

In October 2020, Hampton University announced the cancellation of the 2021 spring sports seasons. This decision affected track and field, sailing, softball, tennis, triathlon and lacrosse. 

Lyles was a member of the 2019-20 softball team that had their season cut short due to the coronavirus. Unfortunately, they were not able to finish their season and ended with a record of 15-4. 

Hampton University sophomore tennis player Laura Peralta learned a lot about herself since HU’s cancellation  of spring sports. 

“The thing I learned about myself is that I can do anything, but having two jobs is hard. I had to learn how to do time management,” Peralta said. 

The university has not allowed students on campus since March 2020. The school’s decision to continue virtual learning during the spring semester led to the decision to cancel the 2021 spring sports season. The only HU teams to compete this academic year have been men’s and women’s basketball. 

“[I’ve] been trying to keep up with my training,” junior track and field thrower Nicholas Edwards said. “There are people in the conference that are getting better, and I am at home.”

Hampton track and field won both the men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field titles in their first year in the Big South Conference in 2019. Looking to build upon their momentum, HU track and field suffered from yet another season of cancellations due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of these athletes have not played in 11 months and are eager to compete. 

“ [I’m] going hard for practice. Not taking hard workouts for granted. Not taking any meet for granted,” senior hurdler Dylan Beard said. “I just want to run my race and be the best at it.”

Even though spring sports are not playing, there is good news to share. The Hampton men’s lacrosse team is joining a conference for the first time. Hampton will be a member of the Southern Conference on July 1. The Pirates are the first men’s HBCU program to join the Southern Conference. They are expected to play in the Spring 2022 season. 

According to ESPN, the NCAA Division I Council voted to allow student-athletes to have an extra year of eligibility when seasons were canceled. The NCAA will extend the eligibility to all spring student-athletes, not just seniors. It will allow schools to expand their rosters beyond current limits of scholarships to account for future recruits and seniors who were expected to graduate. 

This may be an opportunity for spring student-athletes at Hampton to consider an extra year of eligibility. That decision will have to be made by them, but it gives these men and women an opportunity to finish what they started.

NBA All-Star Game to benefit HBCUs

Cameron Crocheron | Staff Writer

Jeff Chiu | Associated Press

The NBA announced on NBA.com that the 2021 All-Star Game festivities will be a one-day event March 7 in Atlanta that will benefit HBCUs and COVID-19 relief efforts. 

The All-Star events, which all will take place on that Sunday, look to generate more than $2.5 million to support HBCUs and defenses against COVID-19, according to New York Times reporter Marc Stein. In support of HBCUs, the NBA has partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), United Negro College Fund (UNCF), National Association for Equal Opportunity (NAFEO) and Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity to focus on bringing awareness to HBCUs.  

“I think it’s a good thing to have the NBA support HBCUs,” Hampton University student Joe Wells said. “It brings more awareness to our sports as well.” 

The league plans to highlight the importance of HBCUs while raising awareness around the direct impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. Storytelling and content told by HBCU alumni and students along with special performances from HBCU musical groups will be featured throughout the events, according to the league’s website.

Previous rumors of the 2021 All-Star Game being held sparked controversy across the league as many viewed the game being unnecessary considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I think it’s stupid,” Sacramento Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox said when asked about the potential All-Star Game in a postgame news conference Feb. 3. “If we have to wear masks and do all this for a regular game, what’s the point of bringing the All-Star game back? But obviously money makes the world go ’round.” 

Many players, including Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, spoke out against the NBA hosting the All-Star Game given the health risks involved, the Associated Press reported. Additionally, the 2021 All-Star Game has been deemed unnecessary by some college basketball players who have undergone similar COVID-19 protocols during their season. 

“They shouldn’t have an all-star game this year,” Hampton University men’s basketball junior Raymond Bethea Jr. said. “It’s been an odd year, and we haven’t had fans or anything.” 

The idea of the All-Star Game being non-mandatory for players voted in is being discussed between the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and the NBA. The possibilities of players being able to opt out of the game to rest for the second half of the season or because of health and safety risks is being discussed.

Additional protocols and safety measures are being taken by the league, which stated in a memo that players will be provided private travel to Atlanta and the creation of a “mini-bubble,” requiring players to always remain in their hotels except to participate in All-Star events. 

“There should be an NBA All-Star Game because it’s not something that people have to go to,” Hampton University men’s basketball guard Davion Warren said. “It’s an option, so if you decide to go, then you know the risk.” 

Usually, the NBA All-Star events would take place over an entire weekend beginning on a Friday, but this season, all events will be held on the same day for the first time in league history. The NBA skills challenge and 3-point contest will take place earlier in the day, with the Slam Dunk competition taking place during halftime of the All-Star Game. The only canceled event for the 2021 NBA All-Star festivities was the annual NBA Celebrity Game.

Opening Schools Shouldn’t Be the Priority

Ryland Staples | Staff Writer

As the number of serious COVID-19 cases is on the decline, President Joe Biden has made it a part of his 100-day plan to ensure that most K-8 schools reopen to students and teachers. He says that he expects them to be open for the full five days a week like pre-COVID. 

I understand that it’s important for students, especially younger ones, to return to an in-person environment. However, I feel like it’s just flat-out irresponsible to put both students and teachers in that kind of situation. In this situation, they’re not vaccinated and are actively interacting with other people. Without the proper precautions, going to school can worsen the problem.

It has been a tough year for students at any level since COVID-19 shut everything down, but I feel like it has been especially awful for students in the K-8 grade levels. These education levels are crucial for the development of children. 

According to Politico, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said that vaccinating all teachers before going back into the classroom would be “non-workable.” So why would President Biden claim to have the grand plan to open up K-8 schools in his first 100 days in office if his top advisers on the pandemic said that it’s “non-workable”? 

This rash decision will not only ravage the teachers, it will impact the children — specifically Black students, who are at a higher risk than their peers. According to the University of Michigan, Black people are three times more likely to get COVID-19. With schools going back to in-person instruction, Black students would have to take more caution if there was a return to school. Understandably, students would want to go back to school, but is it worth putting Black students, Black teachers and their families at risk? 

Due to the pandemic, students have had to stay home and experience virtual learning’s ups and downs. Now we can all confidently say that virtual school isn’t the same as in-person learning. You’re not exclusively paying attention to the lessons, and you’re just not engaged. It has gotten so bad that school systems consider summer school to make up for lack of learning.

I understand the rush for trying to get students back into school buildings and out of the house. If I were in the students’ shoes, I would want to go back as well. It’s been almost a full year since this started. However, people have to make sacrifices, and I know everyone is tired of hearing that phrase. We’ve been collectively hearing it as a country ever since late March of last year. 

However, such a sentiment still remains true. Parents shouldn’t have to worry about whether schools will reopen and potentially send their child back into a potentially contagious environment. President Biden is wrong for making this proclamation without consulting this team of people who are well-versed in this area. 

Ryland Staples is a graduating senior strategic communication major from Silver Spring, Maryland.

FILE – In this Aug. 26, 2020, file photo Los Angeles Unified School District students attend online classes at Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood in Los Angeles. After weeks of tense negotiations, California legislators agreed Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, on a $6.5 billion proposal aimed at getting students back in classrooms this spring following months of closures because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

The Anatomy of Betrayal

 Kailah Lee | Staff Writer

What drives the act of betrayal? There is no one answer because it is layered. Motives can be crafted in experiences, while some are made by foundational beliefs. The act of committing betrayal is almost unforgivable and low, but also irresistible in dire circumstances. 

The question of “why?” arises in hindsight when the committer loses more than he or she intended to gain, but one thing is for sure: the betrayer is often selfish.

In the midst of civil unrest, the Black Panther Party fueled a surge for Black progression. Members challenged the fundamental beliefs of American society while protecting their own.

According to Britannica, the party was founded in 1966 and grew over subsequent years through powerful leadership. It became a staple for Black power. 

For every Black Panther Party member’s life changed, another non-affiliate’s life was threatened. Like Martin Luther King and Malcom X before the party, enemies lurked in the shadows. Ergo, the assainations that followed each legacy.

In Shaka King’s new film, “Judas and the Black Messiah,” King epitomizes the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party through the main characters.  King takes you through the life of the protagonist Fred Hampton as his role as chairman while peeling back the layers of the antagonist, William O’Neal as his role as an FBI informant who infiltrated the party. 

Lakeith Stanfield (William O’Neal) personifies the tragic nature of O’Neal’s actions in a way that makes his character seem more human. You see that O’Neal’s predicament is formed out of desperate circumstances.

In the beginning of the film, O’Neal was involved in a crime that led to him getting pulled over and arrested. He faced up to six years in prison for stealing a car and impersonating a federal officer. At this point in the film, you’re not seeing a criminal or a rat. You’re seeing a man battered from prior conflict.  

The FBI agent asks O’Neal if he “was mad when MLK and Malcom X died,” to which O’Neal responds, “I never thought about it.” O’Neal’s lack of passion toward MLK and Malcom X may have initiated comfortability for the FBI agent to offer O’Neal the deal.

O’Neal’s theft is indicative of an economic struggle to which the FBI chooses to capitalize off of. O’Neal is now in a position to avoid jail time and be reimbursed as an informant.  

“O’Neal was a token black man to do the FBI’s dirty work. He wasn’t heavily involved in black matters and he already had a criminal mind, ” said Darrell Lee, a Richmond, Virginia resident.

Now you see a man, coerced into his decision and partially naive. You almost sympathize with O’Neal  because you see his impulsion and the severity of his predicament.  Throughout the movie O’Neal struggles with internal conflict as he becomes integrated with the organization. As he grows to appreciate the Black Panther Party, you almost hope he’ll have a change of heart, but O’Neal was consumed from within.

Warner Bros. Entertainment held a virtual summit, “The Anatomy of Betrayal” to deconstruct the elements of William O’Neal’s (Lakeith Standfield) character. 

“You don’t meet a lot of Fred Hamptons; you don’t meet a lot of people who are willing to die for their beliefs, but you do meet people who make pragmatic choices all the time,” said twin actor and writer  Keith Lucas.

O’Neal was a troubled man prior to coming into contact with the FBI agent. If he had made better decisions, he would have avoided the deal all together. You really see how a person can be consumed by their choices they choose to make. 

The act of committing betrayal just doesn’t happen; it’s premeditated. Thoughts marinate and grow stronger through incentives. It’s unnatural to go against your morals, there’s always some kind of personal gain.

In O’Neal’s case, he received today’s equivalent of $200,000 dollars, which back in the 60’s was worth a whole lot more, and freedom. Yes, he is wrong, but his actions are understandable. 

“I know a lot of brothers who when they watch this movie, they’re probably going to see themselves more like Will than like Fred,” said Lucas.

It’s truly because human nature is imperfect. It’s full of mistakes and poor decisions and although William O’Neal was the bad guy, you see his “why?”

“We have to give ourselves…a chance to tell stories, we have to see perspectives that we are uncomfortable with, this is the only way we expand,” said Actor Lakeith Stanfied. 

The conflict in history and in stories is what people learn from. Like the biblical reference, Judas betrayed Jesus for monetary gain just as O’Neal did Fred Hampton. 

Whether the betrayal happens in B.C or in 1967, you learn that selfish or sinful acts never end well. Both Fred Hampton and Jesus Christ were killed because of an act of betrayal.

The real William O’Neal would later commit suicide and Judas’ acts would lead to blasphemy.

So, the question stands.  What does one truly gain from betraying?

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment