The Men Who Stand On Trial 

Sydney McCall | Staff Writer

A nearly all-white jury convicted three men of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man killed in Georgia on Feb. 23, 2021, after three men chased and killed him. 

The verdict came days after the not-guilty ruling in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, a white 18-year-old who was on trial for the shooting of three Black Lives Matter protestors in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Two of those he shot died, and one was severely injured.

The conviction of the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery came as a relief to those who felt betrayed by the justice system after Rittenhouse’s trial. Many felt disbelief that Rittenhouse was given his freedom after killing and endangering those three men. Others thought that the law protected him under the terms of self-defense. 

Arbery was out for a jog, unarmed the day he died. The men who killed him believed that he was committing a crime. They said they saw him exiting an unfinished home and immediately chased him in their truck. The men even recorded the incident, which shows Travis McMichael confronting 25-year-old Arbery before shooting him. 

The incident is similar to Trayvon Martin who was killed in 2012 by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was found innocent. 

Zimmerman and the three men who killed Arbery, William Bryan and Travisand George McMichael were not police officers. They claimed to be attempting to make a citizen’s arrest. 

The senseless killing of Arbery shows how easy it is for regular citizens to kill people. Americans have too much access to guns. If guns were harder to obtain, many people would still have their lives. 

This case also highlights the issue of racial profiling. Those men’s unconscious bias made them believe he was guilty of committing a crime. 

In Arbery’s case, the prosecutor used the video of him running away to prove that the shooters were not acting in self-defense. She even highlighted that racial profiling was the basis of his murder by saying the men attacked Arbery because he was “a Black man running down the street,” according to the New York Times. 

 Many people were surprised by the convictions of Mr. Arbery’s killers due to past acquittals for similar situations. Others believed that the facts were so clear they couldn’t be found innocent. 

“I would have been very disappointed if Travis McMichael, George McMichael, and William Bryan were let free because there was so much evidence,” says Monae Fletcher, a second-year biology major at HU. “The videos and the fact that they were not police officers, nor did they have any proof of him doing anything illegal settled it for me.” 

So often in the United States, white people are let off the hook after killing Black people. Some examples are the shooters of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake. 

One of the reasons these shooters are found innocent is because of the makeup of the jury. The demographics of the juries that decided the case’s fate were inconsistent with those of the victim. When those on the jury can relate more to the defendant and not the victim, it is easier to believe the victim is innocent. 

 Arbery’s killers’ conviction was a step forward but did not mean we do not have more work to do within our justice system. New gun laws and more diverse juries are just some of the ways America can prevent cases like Kyle Rittenhouse or Trayvon Martin, just to name a few.

A Penny for Your Pleasure, a Dollar for Your Smile

Alfred Johnson | Staff Writer

As Christmas gets closer, many of us find ourselves scrambling to get the perfect gift, if not for our family and friends, then for ourselves too. There is an incredible amount of pressure surrounding the search. 

We’re all expected to remember what our loved ones want, but with the lengths we go through, there’s more that we’re sacrificing than we may be thinking about. 

When it comes to gift-giving, we’re taught that, traditionally, we’re supposed to be grateful for what we receive. Regardless of what we receive, someone went out of their way to do this one simple favor. The least we could do is appreciate the effort.

Nowadays, when it comes to gift-giving, we find ourselves looking through more of a materialistic lens, seeing these gifts as a reflection of the value of our relationships.

People become selfish when it’s time for Secret Santa. Some get hurt to the point where they find it offensive if the gift does not reach their expectations, while many, on the other hand, argue that an event like this is not to be taken seriously.

We’re told time after time, movie after movie, show after show, that Christmas is supposed to be about spending time with the ones you love and sharing that positivity and that “Christmas Spirit” to as many people as possible. But with people fighting each other for that perfect gift, it seems that we’ve lost the value of camaraderie.

Once Cyber Monday hits, the fight for the “Perfect Gift” slowly swells into a war for the last box. People race for the checkout button just to find out they’re late to a drop that hasn’t even been open for a full ten seconds. 

The low prices have people scrounging their pockets and checking their bank accounts just to see if they have the last penny to spare on a product. Commercials and advertisements remind us daily that they now have affordable prices for a limited amount of time. 

On Black Friday, there are brawls in stores. People swipe items from kids and possibly even go so far as to steal things. Hundreds of videos of people fighting for products and being trampled as soon as doors open.

All this pain, all of this madness, for temporary joy? 

We do our best not to think about it, but we can’t escape the fact that we’re trapped in the system.

These events contradict the meaning of the holiday. We don’t look inside ourselves enough to notice that the choices we’re making for the ones we love get in the way of the meaning of why we’re doing it.

Consumerism blinds our true intentions, propelling greed to the forefront of our minds. We become more concerned with the value of a gift rather than the value of a relationship.

The farther we go with this behavior, the harder it will be to escape it. Although there will be excuses for our actions, we know deep down that we don’t have to.

The hard part about it is that even though we understand this isn’t how we were taught to celebrate Christmas, we conform because of societal pressures. The mere thought of losing someone close to us because of what we present to them was not sufficient can scar us.

While the happiness of our loved ones is important to us, consider this question: Is all of this worth the risk? 

Blast from the Past: Fashion Edition

Tyrone Farmer | Staff Writer

We have all heard the phrase, history repeats itself. Music, films and dances have proven this cliche to be true, and fashion is not left out. 

Fashion trends from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s have made a big return in today’s society with a bit of a 21st-century twist. Gen Z’ers have fully committed to the vintage lifestyle, stocking their closets with countless classic pieces to achieve a throwback look. 

Apps like Depop give people the ability to pull off a thrifted look without the headache of going into physical stores. 

“I love Depop,” Hampton University student and creative Justin McCray said. “It allows me to execute that ‘90s look and give [me] that vintage feel. It’s for sure my favorite app when it comes to vintage drip. I can find anything from graphic tees, varsity jackets, cardigans, pants, even shoes and accessories.”

Flare jeans are one of many throwback styles to make a legendary return in the 21st century. These pants were popular in the ‘70s and originally referred to as bell bottoms because of their wide shape. Today you will find flare jeans with multiple patterns or cuts to make them more stylish. Flare jeans are well-styled when paired with a unique graphic tee and sneaker. 

Graphic tees have seemed to take society by storm. You can find them virtually anywhere, showing off a wide range of things from old music groups and rappers, old sports teams, to historical figures. 

Varsity jackets and cardigans have also made a significant return. Today cardigans can be dressed up or dressed down. They are often paired with nice pants or trousers. The notable execution is in the selection of the shoe. 

Designer brands have even started to buy into the fashion wave, reaching into their archives and releasing vintage pieces. This wave of classic pieces has given creatives the space to expand their style to execute a more eccentric look. 

These are just a few ways fashion has turned vintage looks into new and eclectic styles for 2021!

How to Beat the Winter Blues

Noah Hogan | Staff Writer

As students return from Thanksgiving break and prepare for upcoming finals, they might be feeling a sense of heaviness or more apathetic than usual.

Fear not. This is a normal experience, as the days are shortened and night comes quicker than expected. 

“Winter blues” has been coined to describe the sadness one feels in the later months of the year. 

Although these blues are not permanent, if an individual is not careful, the blues can develop into a clinical diagnosis known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, according to the National Institute of Health.

Here are five tips to help students beat the winter blues.

  1. Go outside and relish in the sunlight.

During the winter months, the challenge for students to take time for themselves and get outside becomes a forgotten task during their free time. Typically it becomes colder, darker, and more dreary outside. 

One of the easiest ways to get over these blues is to get outside or even go to a brightly lit space and absorb some vital vitamin D. This is best planned early in the day. 

Creating time for oneself to enjoy the day is very important. If only for a few minutes a day, it has been proven to improve both mood and physical health, leading to reduced stress and increased self-esteem, according to the Student Conservation Organization.

Whether it be as simple as a walk or something more complex like a specific activity, enjoying the sunlight is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to beat the winter blues. 

  1. Exercise, exercise, exercise 

Another simple way of beating the winter blues is staying active, even when it is dark and cold outside. Exercise is often used as a natural way to improve general health.

It has also been proven that exercising during the winter months can increase necessary neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine, according to Healthline. These transmitters help the brain become energized and get into a positive rhythm. 

Fortunately, Hampton University provides its students with the unique advantage of an on-campus gym located on the second floor of the student center and other amenities located throughout the campus. While going through proper protocol to access these conveniences, students are encouraged to be healthy physically and mentally at all times. Don’t forget to take your mask when you go!

  1. Keep in contact with your support system

Loneliness and isolation can make the effects of the winter blues feel worse than usual.

When dealing with the winter blues, finding a way to connect with supportive individuals is key to changing your mood. 

As some students are not Virginia residents, it is very common for students to become homesick and miss their support system. Try to set up calls with friends and family to help subside any negative feelings. 

Doing so with people you feel comfortable confiding in can be tremendously beneficial. This may include outdoor activities, talking on FaceTime or brunch and lunch dates.

  1. Eat well and take vitamins.

Although this can be easier said than done, due to students’ limited resources and funds, eating right and staying on top of a vitamin schedule can be overlooked and undervalued. 

Students should look into changing their diet for the better and stay away from too many carbohydrates and sweets. These foods are known to slow down individuals during this time of year. 

Green vegetables and iron-rich foods can start a healthy diet for students while on campus. Folic acids and vitamins such as B6 and B12 are known to help with feelings of fatigue. 

  1. Seek out professional help.

If these lifestyle modifications and other seasonal adjustments do not provide a sense of relief from the winter blues, consider seeking professional help. 

Psychotherapy is highly recommended to treat depressive disorders. Although not overnight, students can gain a major benefit from talking with educated professionals who are trained to help individuals face the issues they are dealing with on a daily basis.

The Hampton University Marching Force Takes on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 

Morgan Harris | Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of The Hampton University Marching Force VIA Facebook

The Hampton University Marching Force strided through New York City on Thanksgiving in the Macy’s Day Parade on Nov. 25. Out of 100 applicants, The Marching Force was selected as the only HBCU to perform in the parade this year. 

The parade invited the band to participate in 2020, but the pandemic postponed their performance. Many band students were disappointed to learn that their trip to New York would be canceled but appreciated the safety protocol. 

“It was something we all saw coming,” said Ace Evans, a junior Music Education major from High Point, North Carolina. “Granted, it would have been a good way to end the season but I’m glad that we were safe. I’m glad [Macy’s Parade Staff] valued safety over entertainment.” 

With performances in Connecticut, other New York high schools and a pep rally in Central Park, the Marching Force made sure to leave their mark on New York City. The band’s initiative for the high school stops is to keep students interested in the arts. 

“Us going to high schools is very beneficial to the arts because we are presenting an experience that students wouldn’t get anywhere else,” said Evans. “We are creating a learning opportunity for students to see that it’s possible to go to school through music.”

With a theme of a “Celebration of Family” influenced by the pandemic, the band prepared endlessly for their 90 seconds of fame since band camp. 

“It showed how serious the performance was, which made me appreciate the opportunity we were given by being selected by Macy’s, especially being the only HBCU,” said Evans. 

Numerous celebrities, including Hampton alum DJ Envy, former 106 & Park Host A.J. Calloway and Whoopi Goldberg, showed their support for The Marching Force. 

“I just want to say good luck and have a great time marching,” said Goldberg. 

Other notable alumni, including WAVY-TV 10’s Anita Blanton, showed their support on social media. 

Starting at 77th Street and marching down for 2.5 miles, the band hit the Macy’s Herald Square a little after 10 A.M. and put on nothing short of a phenomenal performance for their television fame. 

Playing hits like “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge and “Workin’ Day and Night” by Michael Jackson, the band paid tribute to essential workers who toiled tirelessly during the pandemic. 

This isn’t the first time the band has made headlines and performed for thousands. 

In 2020, the band traveled to Rome, Italy, and participated in the country’s New Year’s Day parade, performing for the pope in Vatican City. In 2019, the drumline performed in Pasadena, California in the Tournament of Roses Day Parade. 

Student Government Association Hosts a Virtual Alumni Panel

Christian Thomas | Script Photojournalist

Hampton University’s Student Government Association hosted a virtual Young Alumni Panel on Dec. 1 for students interested in becoming active within the school’s many leadership positions. 

Throughout the session, held on Zoom, the panelists discussed the many ins and outs of student government, methods for balancing both leadership responsibilities and academics, as well as detailing ways their experience within student government has benefitted them within their career field.

The panel was made up of four recently graduated Hampton Alumni who served in a wide range of leadership positions throughout their years at Hampton.

The panelists, Jordan Mckinney (‘18-’19 Class President), Kendall James (‘16-’18 SGA Director of Finance), Kendall Yelverton (‘19-’20 Executive Assistant) and Taylor Lee (‘17-’18 Director of Special Projects), shared the many experiences, skills and memories they gained while attending the school.

“The panel was targeted towards current SGA members, prospective SGA members and anybody interested in how SGA works,” said Lanece Carpenter, a third-year pre-law, sports management major, leadership minor.

Carpenter hopes the session helps students learn how to apply what they learn at Hampton into the real world and for students to get a chance to connect with some of the school’s most influential alumni. 

Photography: The Work Behind the Art 

Nia White | Staff Writer

Photography is a unique form of art that captures a part of a real moment in time from the artist’s point of view or photographer. 

“I see photography as an art form that captures a feeling in a moment,” said Eric Montgomery, HU sophomore Architecture major. “A picture is only catching a fraction of a second so telling a story or capturing a feeling in that moment makes art. I try to take pictures either cinematically or by focusing on drawing out emotion in the pictures. It helps give life to a still image.” 

The subject of a photo draws attention to it and gives the photographer a focus. HU Sophomore Jaden Reeves enjoys photography because it allows the photographer to capture different personalities and surroundings. 

“I like to take environmental portraits, where people pose in an environment natural to them,” Montgomery said. “Even in photoshoots where the entire thing is planned, I try to have the setting match the energy of the shoot and the model. It makes things run a lot smoother and usually makes the models more comfortable and confident during the shoot.” 

Photography may start off as a hobby for some. Reeves first began his passion for photography at age six, but he did not get his own personal camera until he was 12 years old. 

“When people ask me, ‘How long have you been a photographer?’ I just say since the age of 12, since that’s when I got my first ‘real’ camera,” Reeves said. 

Each person has their own journey to find their form of art and each person may have a different start than the next. Montgomery’s journey began with using his mother’s camera to take pictures of his friends. 

Many artists have their own unique styles that they apply to their work. This sets each individual aside from others in the field. Some photographers, like Reeves, use film photography over digital to make their photos more unique. 

“Starting out, my style was very unrefined and in the moment. Over time I started to draw inspiration from other photographers and started thinking about the look I was trying to go for. My style is still changing constantly but I feel like I have created my own identity now,” Montgomery said. 

The style, inspiration and history behind a photographer is what makes them unique. Everything behind the scenes makes photography the art form it is. 

“Photography is an art form because you have to be able to use your creativity and imagination,” Reeves said. “With photography you sometimes have to capture normal things, but the photographer’s job is to see how they can capture that thing in an out-of-the-box-type way. Photographers also have to use different mediums (just like a painter would) like exposure, shutter speed, apertures, etc. It takes a lot of technique, and it is very much so an art form.” 

Tene Wilder Wins An Emmy!

Trinity Goppy | Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Trinity Goppy

Tene Wilder, a Baltimore native, recently won an Emmy for Outstanding Contemporary Hairstyling on the hit television show Pose. Wilder has been a coiffeuse for over 20 years, starting when she was only 12 years old and converting her talents into a successful career.  

“I always dreamed big and as I got older, my vision grew bigger,” said Wilder. “As a child, my mother saw that I had a talent for doing hair, so I did all of her friend’s hair as well as the people in the church.”

This was only the beginning for Tene Wilder. She opened her first spa salon, The Wilder Experience, in her hometown in 2003. The business was successful and created a sense of community that allowed her to expand.

Soon after, Wilder was faced with an obstacle and decided to make a decision that changed her life; she moved to New York. 

 “I am going to step out on faith like I always do,” she said, “It was about the best thing that I could have ever done for my career.” said Wilder. 

Wilder worked on Broadway plays briefly doing hairstyles and working aside with a multitude of people from different cities in the United States. Her authenticity allowed her to build lasting relationships within the entertainment industry. 

Shortly after her time working on Broadway, Wilder began working on television show sets such as “The Wire,” “That’s So Raven,” “House of Cards,” and “Veep” before earning her Emmy on television show, Pose

Wilder worked on Pose, a television show set in the 1980s that focuses on the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York for the LGBTQ+ community, while working on another major television show. Once the opportunity presented itself, Wilder began working on Pose full-time during the third season. 

“It was a big show and it was really diverse and it also touched on many topics that hit our community,” she said. “I worked on the character Angel, played by Indya Moore, and we really bonded.”

Wilder won a Creative Arts Emmy award, for her work on the last episode, “Once Upon A Time,” alongside the Pose make-up department, including Timothy Harvey, Barry Lee Moe, Rob Harmon, and Greg Bazemore. 

“The team that I was with was amazing and I would not trade it for the world,” Wilder said. “It was a full-circle moment because I told them early on that we were gonna get the award.”

When she attended the award show, Wilder recalls being anxious yet confident that her team would win. 

“When they announced that Pose won, we looked at each other and just knew that our hard work had paid off,” she said. “I have always helped and mentored young women, so this award was not just for me, but also for everyone who has ever come into my life that pushed me and valued me in my moments of doubt.”

After winning the Emmy, Wilder is enthusiastic about what the future holds.       

“What’s next for me is an Oscar! The Oscar is next and it is coming,” she said. “I have accomplished all that I have asked for and now this moment is about enjoying the fruits of my labor and taking advantage of what I can ask for now.”

King Richard Shoots for the Goal in its Star-Studded Production

Dante Belcher | Staff Writer

The highly anticipated film King Richard stars Oscar nominee Will Smith (“Ali,” “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Bad Boys for Life”) as Richard Williams, the father of world-renowned tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams, who has a plan that will move Venus and Serena from Compton to the tennis world as certified legends on the playing field.

Their mother Oracene “Brandy” Williams is played by Aunjanue Ellis. Saniyya Sidney is playing the role of Venus Williams. Demi Singleton stars as Serena Williams.

Marcus Green directed King Richard and Zach Baylin wrote the screenplay. Isha Price, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, Adam Merims, Lynn Harris, Allan Mandelbaum, Jon Mone, and Peter Dodd served as executive producers.

Will Smith sees the story of King Richard as “the impossible dream.” 

“For the most part, we all have impossible dreams,” said Smith at a panel on the movie. “We have things that we would do if we felt that they were possible, things we would do if we believed. At the core, this is about wanting to be the best versions of ourselves and sometimes, our circumstances may not line up with that, and it’s up to the strength of the human spirit to overpower circumstances. It’s wish fulfillment for all of us.” 

The film shows how they would practice on old and uncared for tennis courts in 1990s Los Angeles and would use old tennis balls and equipment in order to help them get to where they are today.

“They really understood our family and portrayed us in a way that was really us, and I’m really proud of that,” said Venus Williams about the making of the movie. 

Sidney recalled the challenge of having to train for the role. 

“In the beginning, it was pretty bad, just getting to know the sport,” she said. “Plus, I’m left-handed. It’s been a long process, but I look back at videos and see how far I’ve come.”  

Furthermore, Venus Williams also arrived on set and would give the young stars some tips. 

“She showed me exactly how to hit like her—how she breaks her wrist in her backhand, how she leaves her arm out in her forehand, her stance, the way she walks,” said Sidney. “I needed to learn all of that. With her there, it was so helpful. It was my job to learn that, but if I was ever confused, I asked, ‘What would Venus do here?’ And she was there to give me pointers, thank goodness!”KingRichard will be released in theaters and on HBO Max on November 19.

Nikole Hannah-Jones Visits WHOV and Talks New Book

Christian Thomas | Script Photojournalist

Renowned Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones stopped by Hampton to discuss her new book as well as how she became interested in journalism on November 10.

Hannah-Jones announced her recently released book, entitled The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, along with an accompanying children’s book Born on the Water. She also mentioned her upcoming documentary which is set to detail every phase of the 1619 Project from its start through its publishing. 

The discussion began at 12:00 p.m. in the WHOV studio and was moderated by Mary Elliot, Curator of American Slavery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Hannah-Jones began the discussion by detailing her upbringing in the small town of Waterloo, Iowa, which she referred to as “Nowhere town.” 

Hannah-Jones explained how from a young age she noticed the many inequalities that plagued the Black community.

“I rode the bus two hours everyday, and I saw how the community would change as it left the Black side of town to the white side of town, that the houses got nicer, that the roads were paved, and I would see in the media that the explanation for these differences, which is that Black people just didn’t want nicer things, that Black people didn’t work hard,” she said. 

Referring back to her adolescence, Hannah-Jones mentioned how she published her first article at the age of 11. She explained that her article was about Jesse Jackson’s failing political campaign in 1988, which she believed was the direct result of discrimination. Hannah-Jones then credits her high school teacher, who happened to be her first Black teacher, for not only introducing her to the year 1619, but also for inspiring her decision to become a journalist. 

When discussing how the 1619 Project came about, Hannah-Jones said she initially came to the idea in response to the 400-year anniversary of slavery. 

Hannah-Jones explained that during the process of pitching the project she had anxiety because she worried that no one would care. She also described the recurring challenges she faced throughout her career. 

 Finally, Hannah-Jones mentioned that the hardest part of creating the project was actually writing her editorial piece for the project.

Following the discussion, Hampton University journalism students shared their opinions of Hannah-Jones’ visit. 

“I feel very enlightened,” said junior journalism major Sherdell Baker. “I feel like being in the presence of a prominent journalist was very inspiring for me. I feel getting to see her insight on the 1619 Project was something that was very empowering, especially seeing an African American female journalist being as prominent as she is and having the success despite all the other factors that she may experience. I think it’s nice that she came to Hampton University versus every other HBCU. It’s something that makes me feel proud.” 

Junior journalism major Jeremiah Williams shared similar sentiments.

“I enjoyed it a lot,” Williams said. “I think she [Hannah-Jones] gave us aspiring journalists a blueprint of what to do if we’re shut down. I like how she talked about the history of the 1619 Project and why she did it.” 

If you are interested in seeing the full discussion with Nikole Hannah-Jones, you can watch it on WHOV, channel 85.2 in Hampton University dorms.