Walking the Line of Purpose

Alfred Johnson | Staff Writer

As I wake up and make my way to the mirror every morning, I always find myself asking two questions: What does the day have in store for me? Whatever it may be, am I ready for it?

The older we get, the more serious questions like this can get.

Most of us are either taking our first real steps into life or are well enough into it. College is arguably the best place to learn about what you want to do, but more importantly, it’s one of the best places to learn about yourself and what you want in life.

As young adults in college, we usually use school as the go-to for motivation, but there’s more to life than school. Many people like talking about staying on the grind and having no days off, but what’s the goal at the end of the day?

Is this constant grind going to lead to a fulfilling life or just satisfy temporary desires?

At this period in our lives, we should be focusing on what path we want to walk down. Most people get lost in the wind, trying to hold on to something, but if you’re not sure about something, your grip will loosen further.

My mind goes in a lot of different directions, so I understand uncertainty. Even on the worst of days, I try to remember what I want in life and why.

Things can get rough, hectic and even confusing enough for you to be frustrated and lost. The question isn’t if you want to keep you going or not. It’s if you want the result of your legacy to be worth as much effort as you’re putting in.

There’s nothing wrong with getting extra credit on assignments and working extra shifts at your job. The issue is when you overexert yourself for something you didn’t need to do.

You’ll hear phrases a lot in life such as, “Work smarter, not harder,” and “If you want it done right, do it right the first time.” Too many people fall into trust traps and end up in bad situations. If you care enough about how you want your future to look, know what you’re putting yourself through, and learn how to say “no.”

It’s OK to want more from life. Plenty of people are still doing what they can to get higher on the ladder to success. That determination is what brings you where you need to be.

It’s OK to take your time and be strategic. Things happen all the time in life, and we get thrown off track. Being organized and planning for the expected and a bit for the unexpected shows how careful you are.

Even being undecided is OK as long as you’re safe about whatever it is you want to do.

Things may look hazy at the moment, but you aren’t counted out. There are a lot of things that can help you find your way. If you give life enough time and patience, whatever you need will be ready for you when you need it most.  

Many young adults are doing their best to move through life, navigating through work and assignments, not knowing much about what’s going on. It may seem that, at times, we are flailing through life with no sense of concrete direction. We need that pressure to motivate ourselves to be better, but at the same time, we can’t let that pressure cause us to collapse before we get a chance to see our potential.

The key is to do what feels right at this moment and learn from when things go wrong. Our potential as well-adjusted individuals grows as we gain more life experiences and learn from them. The potential is spotted when the care is presented, and time is too short not to take your first steps.

Students are struggling to adjust to campus life after quarantine 

Raven Harper | Campus Editor 

For many students at Hampton University, returning to in-person learning was a huge relief after being remote for over a year. However, after a couple of months of being back, some are still struggling to adjust to campus life. 

Nina Pinto, a senior Psychology Pre-Med major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, says it has been a weird adjustment so far, which has made it very stressful for herself and many of her peers. 

“I feel the student in a lot of people died in March of 2020, so getting back into the habit of going to classes and the workload is hard,” Pinto said. “I really have to put that effort in now that wasn’t enforced for like an entire year.”

Hampton University quickly shifted to remote learning in March 2020, after sending students home because of the spreading coronavirus pandemic. For almost 14 months, students attended classes online.

With the rollout and availability of the COVID-19 vaccine across the country, Hampton reopened the campus in August for the 2021 fall semester for in-person learning to students who were fully vaccinated and had tested negative for COVID-19.

In the first weeks of October, students already have experienced Homecoming week, with midterms immediately following. Pinto feels as though the school year is quickly progressing. 

“At least from my point of view, I feel like Hampton is almost trying to recreate what was the normal academic experience, when in actuality, it has changed a lot,” Pinto said. 

To help students adjust to this new normal, Pinto believes wellness days should have been implemented into this semester to help with the burnout she and many of her peers are currently dealing with. 

“Post homecoming and midterms week, we were burnt out. I’m still burnt out,” Pinto said. “Wellness days back at home were great because it was a time to decompress from looking at a screen the entire day. However, I think they are needed now more than ever because we are trying to adjust to a new normal. So for us to not even be able to have the opportunity to take a break, it’s overwhelming.” 

Last year during remote learning, the Student Government Association (SGA) implemented wellness days to address the students’ mental health concerns. SGA, in tandem with Hampton administration, scheduled a few days throughout the semester for no classes, advising students to take the time to focus on their well-being. 

Pinto suggested that aside from wellness days, a possible fall break should have been considered.

“It’s really sad, but a lot of students are like, ‘I really need a break,’” Pinto said. “People, myself included, are very overwhelmed. I feel like maybe even just a four-day weekend for a fall break would have really helped alleviate stress and helped students get caught up a little.” 

Madison Davenporte, a freshman Marketing major from Atlanta, Georgia, says that being new to Hampton as a first-year, along with the pandemic, has been a huge adjustment for her. 

“This is my first time in college,” Davenporte said. “I spent pretty much my entire last year of high school online. So not only am I adjusting to getting back to being in person, but I’m adjusting to college life as well, so I would say it’s a lot harder and has been a challenge for me.”

Davenporte says the most challenging part of adjusting to campus life has been the fast-paced environment at Hampton this semester. 

“Being online, the workload wasn’t as heavy,” she said. “However, now being in-person, I have such a heavy workload. It’s like once I’m done with something, there’s always something else that’s due right after.” 

The lack of socialization during quarantine also played a role in Davenporte’s stress this semester, which she said made it difficult at first to be social and meet new people.

“Learning remotely, I got so used to being in my room all day that I’ve lost that social aspect,” Davenporte said. “So actually being here in person, it was harder getting out and meeting people than it normally would be.” 

Davenporte thinks the administration should allow the student body to have more campus activities to help everyone get used to getting back to normal as much as possible. 

“I understand that the school is being cautious of campus events and activities because they don’t want to have to close the campus down again, but a lot of our freshman class lost most of our senior year, and we feel like we’re losing some of our freshman year, too,” she said. 

Davenporte said that many campus events and activities students had proposed or planned at the beginning of the semester were turned down. 

Now that administration and student activities are allowing more and more to occur, she feels like it’s already late into the semester but is still hopeful for more campus activities soon. 

“It just takes time to get used to,” Davenporte said.

Carr Couture Boutique: A New Legacy of Fashion 

Nia White | Staff Writer

Carr Couture Boutique was launched in June 2021 from the fashion-driven mind of Lillian Carr, a Hampton University sophomore. Carr’s inspiration for the launch of her boutique came from her interest in the fashion industry and her background as a Strategic Communication major. 

“I got the fashion inspiration from different boutiques that I admire as well as people within the fashion industry, vendors that I enjoy looking at on social media and other platforms that really produce fashion,” Lillian Carr said. 

Carr Couture Boutique is an online boutique that specializes in clothing for women of all ages. 

“Carr Couture is a place for fashionistas who dare to be different,” Carr said. “Carr Couture is not just a boutique, it’s a brand. It’s a place where anyone who has a passion for fashion or is interested in learning more about how their fashion sense can grow.” 

The launch of the boutique came after many years of thought, but Carr decided to begin her journey as a business owner in February 2021. 

“I have a passion for fashion, and I wanted to have the opportunity to share my passion on a bigger platform so the ability to do that through a boutique came to mind,” Carr said. “I had extra free time during the pandemic. I thought that it would be the perfect time to finally launch my boutique.” 

After developing the goal of her business, Lillian prepared to launch Carr Couture Boutique. 

“I prepared to launch by gathering all of my business documents, doing a lot of research, creating a business account, getting the necessary funds to launch my business and preparing the looks that I wanted to launch for my business,” Carr said. 

After getting the research and financial side of her business organized, Carr attempted to establish her business’s advertising and photography side. 

“I advertise my business through emails, text messages, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok,” Carr said. 

Running a small business comes with many responsibilities, including brand promotion and other forms of advertisement. 

“The most challenging part is definitely photo shoots,” Carr said. “I feel like everyone thinks that photoshoots are really fun, and they are, in retrospect. However, it’s truly a lot of planning for hair and makeup. You also have to plan for weather changes because you truly never know what will happen in your photos.” 

As a business specializing in fashion, the images are an essential part of the brand. 

“Photos are truly one of the most important parts of your work, so if you don’t have that piece, then you won’t have the product to produce, and people won’t be drawn to your brand,” Carr said. 

Every business has its challenges, especially for student entrepreneurs attempting to balance work and school. 

“It’s tough trying to balance running a business while also being a full-time student,” Carr said. “It’s been really difficult to maneuver such trying times, but I’m persevering and making the most out of my experience.”

Carr is aiming to continue her business while also being a successful student. 

After moving on campus, Carr decided to take a break from releasing new clothing items and focus on her academics. Lillian still plans to keep Carr Couture up and running even during her vacation. 

“I plan to keep my business running by continuing advertising and just making sure that people know my brand,” Carr said. “I hope that through this next year I am able to engage as many people as possible and build my following so that I can grow my business.” 

Carr plans to continue expanding her brand, both as a student and after graduating. 

“I honestly just hope my business continues to grow,” Carr said. “I hope that when I graduate from Hampton, I am able to run my business full-time along with whatever else I choose to do with my degree. I want people to know that they have people within the industry that care about them and care about curating the best styles for them.”

Students anticipate new leadership at Hampton 

Morgan Harris | Staff Writer

After nearly 44 years of leadership as the longest-serving president of Hampton University, Dr. William R. Harvey plans to retire next year. As his longtime tenure ends, Hampton students say they are receptive to the leadership change and await transition. 

As a graduate of Talladega College, Dr. Harvey insisted on using his skills to set Hampton University on the path of inevitable success. 

Assuming office on July 1, 1978, of what was then called Hampton Institute, Dr. Harvey was elected as the 12th president. While serving as president, Dr. Harvey has implemented a leadership program, M.B.A. program, centers for high-tech scientific research such as the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute and expanded the Continuing Education Program. 

With numerous awards and accolades, Dr. Harvey made history by becoming the first African American owner in the soft drink bottling industry when he and his wife, Mrs. Norma B. Harvey, purchased a Pepsi-Cola bottling franchise in 1986. 

On December 15, 2020, Dr. Harvey announced his plans to retire by June 2022, after nearly 44 years of leadership.

“[Dr.] Harvey’s leadership feels very secure,” said Promise Robinson, a junior Music Recording Technology major from Neptune, New Jersey. “You can tell that the priority is the student’s safety even if we don’t necessarily agree with every protocol.”

Anticipating new changes and eager to see what new leadership will bring to Hampton University, students are optimistic that the change could potentially be smooth-sailing. 

“With a new president coming in, I can definitely say I’m looking forward to seeing a shift in the culture at Hampton,” Robinson said. “There’s a lot of rules, regulations, departments and buildings that new leadership could possibly look into enhancing. With a new president, I hope to see Hampton shine in a new light that will continue to be enjoyable for the students and staff.” 

From the beginning to near the end of his career as president, Dr. Harvey has made it his mission to ensure that students’ voices are accounted for and the No. 1 priority. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Harvey made swift changes to ensure that the students’ and staffs’ safety was at the top of the list, deciding to switch to remote learning. 

Students looked forward to the promised new scenery throughout the campus hiatus and were even more excited that a new president would bring a fresher look to the campus.

“I hope they will bring more engaging things to the campus that will benefit us, the campus, [and] our education,” said Chauncey Goodson, a junior Interdisciplinary Studies major from Darlington, South Carolina. 

Goodson is hopeful the new president will bring Hampton to even greater heights and maybe add more fun to the mixture. 

“I think that once we get a new president, some things on campus may be more fun and exciting to look forward to,” he said. “Especially if the new president is younger. I honestly think they might make some things better here on campus because they could bring something new.” 

Students expect a new president who will interact with students more, help balance their priorities, and engage more in their student and campus life. 

Students believe that new leadership could bring even more beneficial opportunities to the table. 

“Whenever there’s a change in authority, no transition is ever going to be perfectly smooth,” Robinson said, “but I have high hopes that this will be the change Hampton University needs in order to become an even finer institution.”

Candyman actor Tony Todd visits Hampton University 

Christian Thomas | Campus Photojournalist

(Photo Courtesy of Christian Thomas | Photojournalist) 

This past Wednesday, actor Tony Todd, star of the 1992 film Candyman, visited Hampton University for a film screening and discussion with students centered around the newest installment of the Candyman franchise and Todd’s various projects. 

Invited by Rel Dowdell, a film studies professor in the English and Foreign Languages department, the screening was held in the Student Center’s theater with a packed student audience. 

Dowdell said he wanted students to meet a “real actor” who had paid a lot of dues.

“What I wanted was someone who had over 40 years in the industry, who has done everything, not just theatre acting, but film acting, voiceover, commercials, so they can understand all the different facets of someone who’s done everything,” he said.

Todd, who has acted in more than 230 projects throughout his 40-year career, shared his unique experiences while in the film industry. From turning down Quentin Tarantino four times for a role in Pulp Fiction, traveling to Africa with James Earl Jones, to working on the set of The Crow, before the film’s star, Brandon Lee, tragically died. 

During the event, Todd went into detail behind the scenes of his iconic roles in films such as Candyman, Final Destination and the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead

Taking questions from the audience, Todd shared his experience being covered in bees while filming Candyman.

“When I read that script and I saw the bees coming up, I knew that was a scene that had never been done before,” Todd said. “We had an official beekeeper on set. Two days before we started shooting, he took me into his trailer and he said, ‘Tony, it’s time for you to meet the bees.’ I only got stung about 26, 27 times, but the adrenaline was gone.” 

He mentioned that he had previously negotiated to receive $1,000 as compensation per bee sting. 

Todd also talked about Cabrini Green, the apartment complex Candyman took place in. 

“We spent a month in Cabrini Green, which is one of the most hostile housing projects ever created,” he said. “We got to talk to the community, which is mostly single Black women. We were told that they had to get their shopping done by 10 a.m., otherwise it was no-man’s land. If you look closely at the opening scene, a lot of these guys are actual gang members.”

Todd shared that he had initial concerns over the release of Candyman

“So many people saw that movie when they were little. It freaked me out,” he said. “I went to the director and said, ‘Man, did we make a movie for kids? Are we babysitting for them? He said, ‘Tony, relax. Anybody who saw this movie when they were little either loved it, or was affected by it, or will remember it forever.’” 

Todd also spoke on the lack of diversity not just in front of the camera but behind it. 

“I would be on a set of 100 people, and I wouldn’t see anybody of color,” Todd said. “They used to not let more than one of us [people of color] on the set.” 

Speaking to the future actors and actresses in the audience, Todd advised students to be fearless. 

“You have to be fearless, you have to own this role,” he said. “Every role you go for, write down 10 reasons why you don’t want the job.” 

Todd worked as a producer in the 2021 reimagining of Candyman. Before the event’s conclusion, the actor hinted at his role as Venom in Spider-Man 2 that is slated to release on Sony’s Playstation 5 in 2023. 

Dowdell says he plans to offer events similar to these regularly.

Broadway is Black! Black Playwrights Make History

Trinity Goppy | Staff Writer

Seven plays are debuting on Broadway this fall, and for the first time, all seven are written by Black playwrights. 

The fall lineup, according to NPR, includes Pass Over, Chicken & Biscuits, Lackawanna Blues, Thoughts of A Colored Man, Trouble In Mind, Clyde’s and Skeleton Crew

Pre-pandemic, there were very few plays that showcased Black artists.

“To say Broadway is a white space is kind of like saying there are clouds in the sky,” actor Tristan Wilds, who stars in Thoughts of A Colored Man, told the New York Times.

Broadway is changing, and for many, it is a long-awaited change. 

“The future of Broadway will hopefully be more inclusive and diverse,” Hampton University first-year theatre arts major Faith Gibbs said. “This is one step forward for Black artists, and I am excited to see what happens next.”

A more diverse Broadway is necessary for Black artists. Not only is Broadway a theatrical platform that boosts the careers of those who work there, but it also increases the longevity and reach of their work.

“I think people are going to be refreshed to be back in the theater, but also refreshed with the stories they’re getting in the theater,” playwright Douglas Lyons told NPR. “There’s a whole generation of artists that have not been seen, and I feel like this COVID thing stopped the world and gave Broadway no excuse to not see us.”

This season is a monumental chapter for the future of Broadway. As a result of the pandemic, Broadway will look a lot different. Many issues will arise, such as ticket sales, limited capacity and social distancing. These pressures can be surreal for any Broadway show but even more so for new, Black-written plays. 

“We have these seven plays coming when we don’t even have audiences yet, so this can’t be a measuring stick for how to move forward — this has to be the first step on a journey,” Dominique Morrisseau, the writer for Skeleton Crew, said to the New York Times.

Regardless of the issues, many of the new plays have risen to great expectations with their debuts. Black-written plays such as Pass Over and Chicken & Biscuits have so far received excellent reviews and recognition.  

“We know that we — the Black playwrights this season — are literally pushing the boulder uphill,” Lynn Nottage, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, said to Variety. “Broadway is not up and running to its full potential, and that’s a reality we’re facing. Thank God we’re a resilient people. We’re used to hard work, to obstacles, and we’re used to beating the odds.”

These accomplishments are an inspiration to aspiring young people who want to follow their dreams. 

“This is something that I feel empowered by—to see people that look like me accomplish their dreams is amazing,” Gibbs said. “For some time now, there are not many Black writers that have been given their flowers in the theater industry, and it is empowering to see.”

Zendaya and Timothèe Chalamet speak to the continual relevance of Dune

 Jontaya Moore | Staff Writer

The newest adaptation of Dune has been highly anticipated by fans worldwide. Dune is an epic science film that depicts the chaos of outer dimensional forces. Amid these forces, characters are brought together in hopes of saving their humanity and family lineages. 

In a Warner Bros. college roundtable, 30 college students were selected to interview actors Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet about their roles in the upcoming release of Dune. The interviewers were chosen from their university’s largest major newspaper or media outlet. 

Students were able to see a private screening of the film in order to form film-centric questions. A Zoom was held following the movie presentation, allowing several students to ask specific questions, while all received feedback and journalistic experience. 

Director Denis Villeneuve was driven to recreate the award-winning sci-fi novel after his childhood encounter with the book and the continuing impact it left on his life, according to New York Times Magazine.

“Being that he read it as a young person and was able to grow with it and grow up with it quite literally and has been a fan of it for so long, I think, that is a greater emotional connection to the piece that he’s creating,” Zendaya said. 

Due to the stature that Dune has upheld for decades, numerous directors and critics have withheld from taking on the task of creating a movie since the 1984 version, but the actress believes Villeneuve was the right choice. 

“I don’t think there’s anyone better for the job,” she said.

When it came to Zendaya and Chalamet confirming their positions in the movie, both agreed that it was an undeniable offer. From the director to the notable cast they would get to work alongside, they told the Zoom panelist that it was a dream come true. 

The story of Dune encompases Paul Atreides, a young aristocrat, born into great family lineage. Paul and his family agree to voyage to the most dangerous planet in the galaxy with hopes of securing their future. 

Like the average teen, Paul found himself battling with his identity and the expectations that come with being a part of the house of Atreides. 

“I think those are things that all of us struggle with when we’re that age,” Chalamet said. “Sometimes, like Paul, there’s an ulterior circumstance, something greater than yourself, that pulls you out of that safe setting, that forces you to grow maybe sooner than you were ready to.” 

Throughout the movie, the audience will be able to relate to not only Paul but also other characters as well. The two spoke strongly of their appreciation of their character roles. When asked, the actors stated that they could both connect with Chani, Zendaya’s character, or Paul on a deeper level. 

Villeneueve wanted to keep the film as grounded in reality as possible, according to The New York Times. However, the location of where Dune was filmed made it almost impossible for actors not to feel dreamlike at times. 

In the interview, Zendaya emphasized the director’s ability to never lose sight of the human element and emotion even amid an outer dimension setting. Chalamet said he only filmed two scenes with one green screen in the background. 

“It felt like a constant process of being inspired by everything that was happening around,” he said.

While Zendaya was not on set as long as the rest of the cast, she also shared these “special moments.” She emphasized her gratitude for those moments and spoke to her immersion into her role as Chani. 

Continuing through the journey of Arrakis, Paul and Chani play a major role in the maturing of each other’s characters. Both actors explained that on and off camera their friendship is strong, which helps when it comes to filming certain scenes. 

When asked about what’s to come for Dune and its characters, Chalamet and Zendaya were unable to confirm a sequel for the movie but were hopeful for the opportunity. Both actors were sure of what Dune meant to them and the message they expect it to give to the audience, specifically young adults. 

“The movie is about many things, but if young people can relate to what Chani or Paul are going through at the center of it and can also intake themes that sometimes go over my head, then we succeed,” Chalamet said. 

Dune is set to release on HBO Max on Friday, Oct. 21, and will be in theaters Saturday, Oct. 22.

As NBA Season Begins, Vaccination Issue Looms in New York and San Francisco

Wynton Jackson | Staff Writer

Despite having the first in-person NBA Media Day since 2019, not all teams felt the cheer and optimism the event normally brings.

This year, the usual superstar gossip was headlined by Ben Simmons’ refusal to return to the 76ers – but there was also a more severe issue: COVID-19 vaccination. 

Though there is no mandate, the league has a 95 percent vaccination rate, according to NBA.com. While the unvaccinated in most cities are still cleared to play, New York City and San Francisco passed laws stating that they cannot participate in home games. 

Two teams affected, the Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets, both had high-profile players resisting the shot. 

The NBA also said players would not be paid for games missed due to the vaccine. For unvaccinated players in Brooklyn or San Francisco, that would be 41 games without pay, plus any postseason appearances. 

Among the slew of players who announced their stance on Media Day, Golden State forward Andrew Wiggins surprised audiences. Wiggins, known for his carefree attitude, gave a no-nonsense news conference.

“I’m gonna keep that all private right now,” Wiggins told NBA media members about his vaccination status.

He proceeded to answer each question concerning the vaccine with a similar response. 

The forward’s calm demeanor may have thrown reporters off as they kept pressing him about the shot. One journalist mentioned the potential monetary consequences he would suffer, to which Wiggins responded, “It’s my problem, not yours,” in a matter-of-fact tone that quieted the room. 

Oct. 5, before the Warriors’ first preseason game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Wiggins announced that he had received the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“The only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA,” Wiggins told reporters after their 121-107 victory. 

Whereas Wiggins is rarely in the news, Nets superstar Kyrie Irving is no stranger to public scrutiny. Irving shook the NBA when he arrived late and on a Zoom call to Media Day. 

Irving refused to expand on his stance against the vaccine, citing privacy as the main reason. He confirmed that he had not taken the vaccine and was not allowed into the building. However, even with questions not directly tied to his vaccination status, he remained guarded.

When ESPN’s Malika Andrews asked if he expected to play in home games, Irving said: “Again, I would like to keep all of that private. Please, just respect my privacy.” 

Irving’s defiance could have devastating consequences for the Nets’ postseason aspirations. Without Irving, they would be limited to the big two: James Harden and Kevin Durant. Although they are both top 10 players in the league, losing Irving for home games will significantly lower their chances of winning the title. 

The annual general manager survey revealed that the Nets received 72 percent of the votes for winning the NBA Finals this year, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers at 17 percent, according to NBA.com. 

The media has come to expect stances like this from Irving. He pledged his loyalty to the Boston Celtics before demanding a trade. He recently tried to convince players not to enter the NBA Bubble in the wake of the George Floyd murder, even though he wasn’t playing. 

“I expect us to have our whole team, at some point,” Durant told NBA reporters in response to questions surrounding Irving’s status. However, if he refuses the vaccine, the Nets may be forced to trade him to another team.

That move would have to be approved by Durant, as the two friends joined Brooklyn together in the summer of 2019. 

Students around the Hampton University campus have mixed feelings about the situation. First-year student Donovin Cooper, an aspiring sports agent, believes athletes should be vaccinated but not forced to take it.

“The United States is built on freedom, and when you’re forcing somebody to do something, you are forcing them against their will,” Cooper said. “And you are holding their money hostage in the process.”

Avid basketball consumer and prospective sports journalist Raymond Beasley had this to say about vaccinations.

“I don’t think they should be forced, but assuming that everybody is vaccinated, then [docking pay] is appropriate,” Beasley said. “In order to play and not jeopardize a team, player, season, or game, you have to get vaccinated, although the decision is up to them.” 

From an athlete’s perspective, Hampton soccer player Ryan Lynch supported the NBA’s decision to pressure non-vaccinated performers.

“As an athlete, I think athletes should get vaccinated,” Lynch said. “It helps to protect themselves, and they are role models to many people. NBA players carry a lot of influence, so I believe they should get the vaccine so their followers can be encouraged to get it.”

When asked whether players need to take the vaccine even though they are not at significant risk of death, Lynch argued that “it’s better to be safe than sorry, no matter how healthy you are.” 

With cities considering following New York and San Francisco’s lead, the NBA may be without some of its premier talents for the October 19 tipoff.

A Midseason Look at Hampton Football 

Chance Williams | Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of HBCU Sports 

The Hampton University football team has seen it all through their first five games of the 2021 season. 

The Pirates have two wins against Virginia Union and Howard … and three losses against Old Dominion, Norfolk State and Kennesaw State.

A big reason for those wins is the team’s high-powered offense. As of Oct. 7, the Pirates are second in the Big South with 35.3 points per game, according to the conference website. That’s something that not only fans but also players hope will continue. 

“As an offensive unit, we’ve been averaging 35.3 points per game, and what’s good is that we can still improve on a lot of things,” HU quarterback Christofer Zellous said. “So we’re just continuing to try and get better every week, finding something we can get better at each day in practice.”

Pirates offensive lineman Zach Jean-Louis agreed.

“Our offense has been clicking. We’re putting up all these points each game. If we can keep that up, continue executing, and staying together, we’ll be in good shape.”

As of Oct. 7, the Pirates ranked fourth in the conference in passing yards per game at 248.8 and second in rushing yards per game at 217.3, according to the Big South.

An unknown aspect of this football season is how quickly the team has come together. “We’re starting to learn from each other,” Zellous said. “Coming off a short offseason and having about 10 weeks to get ready for this season, I think we’re doing a great job of playing together. It’s big-time what we’ve been able to do and create here.”

Athletes often speak about how behind-the-scenes bonds between players are vital in building and sustaining teammate chemistry that leads to wins. At Hampton, players are firm believers in that. 

“I want to see us continue to uplift each other when things are both good and bad,” HU defensive back Robinson Davis said. “Just keeping our brothers’ heads up, because not everything is going to be perfect. If we continue to do that, I feel that we’ll be all right.”

Several other players, including wide receivers Armand Vinson and Brycen Thomas, and quarterback Jayden Birchfield, echoed Davis’ comments.

The crowds are a seemingly underrated aspect of football games to those who attend contests at HU’s Armstrong Stadium. Noise created by crowds is a significant help to those playing on the defensive side of the ball, and the Pirates are aware of this. 

“During third-down situations, making some noise really throws the offense off,” Davis said. “As a collective defense, we’d appreciate more fans coming out and making noise to help us get off the field, so we can get our offense back on the field to make some more plays.” 

HU defensive back Stanley Garner reiterated that.

“When we’re on defense, we want all the fans to get loud so the opposing team doesn’t hear their cadence,” Garner said. “It’s helpful towards us defensive players as well.” 

Even with the typical ups and downs of every sports season, the Pirates remain confident, with their heads held high. 

“Team morale is great,” Davis said. “We’re family. We preach it every day. It’s about trusting your brother next to you. We’re positive going forward, and we look forward to doing big things. While enduring the highs and lows of a season, it’s important to keep a good head on your shoulders.” 

The Pirates have been doing just that while looking to build consistency as they get more games under their belts. 

“It’s really all about executing,” HU receiver Romon Copeland Jr. said. “It’s about doing what’s best for the team and holding your brothers accountable.” 

The next home game will be against North Carolina A&T on Oct. 23. The entire Hampton University family welcomes any support for the team every time they lace up their cleats.

Should the COVID Vaccine be Mandated?

Sydney McCall | Staff Writer

While vaccine mandates continue to be a national debate, signs show that current vaccine mandates are working. 

COVID-19 has affected more than 44 million people in the U.S. and taken more than 700,000 lives, according to official Center for Disease Control and Prevention data. When the Coronavirus first appeared in March 2020, everyone wished for an easy solution to end it. Now that it is here, many people are skeptical, which is confusing. 

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is 95 percent effective against the coronavirus, according to the CDC. Additionally, if one does happen to catch the virus after being fully vaccinated, they are less likely to develop severe illness or death. So why do so many people have reservations?

Social media has spread much misinformation about the vaccine. Some say there is a microchip inside of it that allows the government to track its citizens. Others say the vaccine causes infertility. Some anti-vaxxers even claim that the vaccine can turn one into a zombie, as if that is physically possible. 

Vaccines are not a new concept. As an American citizen, one receives several vaccines throughout their childhood. Polio, hepatitis B, tetanus, and chickenpox are just some examples of life-threatening diseases that have practically been eliminated in our country because of vaccines. 

The COVID-19 vaccine saved more than 140,000 lives over the first five months of 2021, according to a study by Sumedha Gupta published by Health Affairs. In New York, vaccinations led to 11.7 fewer COVID deaths per 10,000 people, according to Healthline. 

The efficacy of the COVID vaccine can also be seen at Hampton University. The COVID numbers at HU are very low because 97 percent of faculty and 98 percent of students are vaccinated, according to a Sept. 15 letter from the university.

Some students were on the fence about receiving the vaccine, but now that the campus can be fully open, they feel it was worth it. 

“I am just happy that I can be back with my friends at my Home by the Sea,” said Kendal Johnson, a second-year business major. “I feel like the vaccine made me feel safe. I am also protecting my older professors and staff here.”

It has been proven that the vaccine saves lives. It can help us get back to our everyday lives since so much normalcy has been taken away from us for almost two years now. Misinformation should not get in the way of saving the life of a parent, grandparent or friend. The vaccine should be mandated in spaces where one is exposed to other people to keep everyone safe.