Bridgerton: Season One Review

Noah Hogan | Staff Writer

Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash

Shonda Rhimes delivered a gift Dec. 25, as her television production company, Shondaland, made its streaming debut with a Regency-era romance story, “Bridgerton.”

Written by Chris Van Dusen, a previous writer who collaborated on television mainstays such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” “Bridgerton” is the first scripted material from Shondaland’s multi-year deal with Netflix.

Based on the eight-volume collection “The Bridgerton Series,” the story of the Bridgertons centers on eight siblings placed in upper-class English society in the 19th century. Each volume follows each member of the Bridgerton family, four boys and four girls, as they matriculate through life and find true love. 

“Even though 19th century culture is something that I am vaguely familiar with, I appreciate Shonda Rhimes making an attempt to create a show using unconventional actors and actresses in prominent roles,” said Calyx Stover, a Hampton University journalism major from Boiling Springs, South Carolina. 

Season one of “Bridgerton” primarily revolves around Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of the family, as she begins her journey to find love during a competitive marriage market. Only after attending endless parties and masquerades, each young man makes his rounds to the young women and their families to discuss suitability in marriage. 

After gaining favor from Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel), making her the topic of conversation in the eyes of Lady Whistledown, Daphne sees her value fluctuate. This leads her to develop a plan using the Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page), a man who has no intention of marriage and needs to find a way to keep mothers and daughters from throwing themselves at him. 

While the development of Daphne and Simon’s relationship serve as the main focus of the first season, multiple siblings develop subplots over the course of eight, one hour-long episodes. The siblings include: Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), the eldest Bridgerton son, who longs for a relationship with an opera singer; Benedict (Luke Thompson), a painter who seeks to travel across the world; and Eloise (Claudia Jessie), who champions the role of comedic relief and is not interested in following in Daphne’s footsteps of marriage whatsoever.

 Serving as the main adversaries to the Bridgerton family, the Featheringtons are trying to find suitable husbands for their daughters as well. As the elder sisters try their best to marry and fit into society, Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) looks to build a relationship with Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton). She loves him from afar, but due to her shyness and Colin’s negligence, he has no idea how she feels. Despite the fact the Featheringtons are preoccupied with marrying their daughters off to the wealthiest bidder, they decide to care for a distant relative named Marina (Ruby Barker).

Maybe the most interesting plot thread of season one is the identity of Lady Whistledown. The mysterious character publishes her scandalous thoughts that somehow involve all the present characters and their deepest darkest secrets. 

With Netflix announcing that the series is projected to be viewed by 63 million households within the first 28 days of its debut, making it the fifth-most-watched Netflix Original, it’s easy to tell why the series has gained such popularity. 

“It wasn’t until I talked to my friends about the show that I realized that it [Bridgerton] had come out on Christmas Day,” Stover said. “It gave us something to talk about as we caught up with each other.”

 For all intents and purposes, Shondaland managed to create a modern-day princess drama with a unique 19th century flair, utilizing a modern score and a plethora of actors and actresses to address the ever-so-real conversations of feminism, race, sexuality and self love.

Aaliyah’s Estate Gives Update on Releasing Her Music to Streaming Services

Nyle Paul | Staff Writer

For all of the Aaliyah fans out there, many are familiar with the struggle of trying to find Aaliyah’s songs on streaming platforms. Due to legal issues with Aaliyah’s personal rights to her music, most of Aaliyah’s music has never appeared on streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify.

This might not be an issue much longer. Aaliyah’s estate has given an update confirming that efforts are being made to have Aaliyah’s entire catalog released on all streaming services.

“I hope what they’re saying is true,” said Makayla Jones, a first-year Hampton University English major from Brooklyn, New York. “I’d love to have easy access to the music she would want us to have, right at the tip of my fingers.” 

A few days ago, the estate of Aaliyah released its first statement addressing fans’ concerns regarding the streaming of music for the singer, who died in a plane crash at age 22 in 2001. Her estate addressed the roadblocks that prevented them from releasing her music and assured fans that the estate is working toward addressing such concerns and protecting Aaliyah’s brand. 

“We hear you and we see you,” read the statement from Aaliyah’s Twitter account. “While we share your sentiments and desire to have Aaliyah’s music released, we must acknowledge that these matters are not within our control.”

“In the meantime, we are working diligently to protect what is in our control – Aaliyah’s brand, legacy and intellectual property.”

The main roadblock that is causing such trouble over releasing Aaliyah’s catalog is the fact that all three of her albums were made with Blackground Records, a record label that is now inoperative. 

Each album was also distributed by different labels. Aaliyah’s first album released in 1994, “Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number,” was on Jive Records, which still holds the rights to the album. “One In A Million” was on Atlantic Records, and her self-titled album “Aaliyah” is now owned by Universal Music Group. Jive Records allowed its content to be available on streaming services, hence the songs from “One In A Million” being the only songs from Aaliyah’s catalog that are available to stream. 

“One of my favorite songs by Aaliyah is ‘One In A Million,’ and I’m sure I’ll have more when her unreleased music becomes available,” said Johnathan Williams, an HU Kinesiology major from Nashville, Tennessee. “It’s a shame that all this time has passed and no one has had the opportunity to enjoy the music we all know is good.”

With the inability to contact the former owners of Blackground records and maneuver around legal difficulties set in place, Aaliyah’s estate has been met with many unsuccessful attempts with releasing Aaliyah’s catalog. However, according to Aaliyah’s estate, gradual progress with releasing the catalog has been made since its first attempts with releasing the music back in August. 

With the estate’s promise and the progress that has been made over time, Aaliyah fans are hopeful that her music will soon grace the platforms of all streaming services later this year.

Drake announces new album, “Certified Lover Boy,” and surpasses 50 billion streams on Spotify

Jamel Rogers | Staff Writer

Drake has been making hits since the early 2000s and continues to be loved by fans worldwide. He crosses over his style and advances from his early work to adjust to different generations. 

Although he adjusted to new content, many of his loyal fans consider his prime being his early stages at Cash Money Records. Today’s hits such as “Toosie Slide,” “In my Feelings,” and even “Popstar,” have been blowing up on TikTok.

In November, Drake announced his upcoming project titled “Certified Lover Boy” and seemed excited to release it. Unfortunately, he later posted on his Instagram story about a bad knee injury and delayed the album. Drake recently featured artist Lil Durk on a track called “Laugh Now, Cry Later,” a lead single on “Certified Lover Boy.” 

The title “Laugh Now, Cry Later” speaks volumes to anyone experiencing hardships through the climb of their career. This song develops a true scenario of people who speak on big dreams but won’t apply action to their thoughts. Many fans assume that the upcoming album will have similar themes that will resonate with them. 

“I’ve always been a Drake fan, so I’m going to wait regardless of when it drops,” Hampton University five-year MBA major Adrianna Senn Yuen said. “I was disappointed that it got pushed back, but it was expected with everything going on. I love old Drake the most, probably, but I still love the vibes of his new music. Drake will always be a true and unique talent to me.”

Although the album has been delayed, fans still maintain high expectations for the Toronto native’s sixth studio album.

“I feel like this album is going to be another classic just because he has been working on it for so long. Also, he looks like he’s been in his feelings in the studio, so it must be a classic,” said Mark Minkins, an HU third-year computer science major. 

Drake has successfully surpassed 50 billion streams on Spotify. This sets him as the first artist to reach the milestone on the app. 

After being signed to We the Best Records, Drake worked alongside Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Kendrick Lamar and Lil Baby. Since then, he has branched off and created his own record label called OVO Sound, where he has helped a lot of artists break the barrier from underground to mainstream.

He goes by the playful nicknames of “Drizzy” and “Aub,” and fans live for his constant social media engagement. He means so much to his fans and aspiring musicians when it comes to lyricism. Drake’s culturally relevant lyrics have served as captions on various social media platforms.

Creative Block: The Impact COVID-19 has on artists

Nyle Paul | Staff Writer

Courtesy of RJ $tackhouse

As COVID-19 cases continue to increase nationwide, artists are finding themselves maneuvering through this “new normal” with a restrictive, unpredictable nature. 

Here at our home by the sea, we have a large community of artists, all of which specialize in different art focuses. With the coronavirus not letting up on its rampant expansion throughout the nation, we wanted to get insight on how these artists are handling their craft amid this “new normal.” 

Reginald Baker Jr. is a 2019 Hampton University graduate from Richmond, Virginia. He was an audio production major.. He is a musician, songwriter and producer that goes by the stage name “RJ $tackhouse.” 

To give a bit more insight on his artistry, $tackhouse goes in depth with his craft and the musical influences that inspired it.

“I describe myself as a music artist because I try to mix genres when I feel inspired,” $tackhouse said. 

  “I started rapping in middle school when I got my first MacBook computer and started producing around that time, too. Now I still do rap, but I try singing, too. I’m not a good singer, but that’s why we have Auto-Tune. I just try to mix my electronic sound with natural sounds. My influences musically are Michael Jackson, Drake, Frédéric Chopin, Anita Baker and, more recently, Brandy. Other than music artists, I get inspiration from nature, life experience and storytelling. I always take the rapper approach to my music, but honestly, you’ll never know what you get when I drop something.”

As coronavirus cases continue to increase across the nation, the financial hardships that were imposed are getting heavier. The physical restrictions set in place are also challenging many artists’ capabilities. $tackhouse shared his experience with the difficulties he ran into and how those difficulties have affected his craft. 

“It’s been very inspiring. I haven’t really gotten any new equipment and software. Just been making music on my phone,” $tackhouse said.

“I didn’t know you could turn your iPhone into a studio until the pandemic started. And I created two albums off it, Self Care and Self Harm. I was never inconvenienced because I always make music at night when I have nothing else to do. I won’t go to sleep until I make a song or at least get an idea out there. I’ve slowed down now because I have a new day job, but I still get it in on the weekends. The only thing I wish I could’ve done this year was be in more live shows. Just to get my name out there to more people.”

Artists’ motivation has been affected by the pandemic as well. In most cases, two outcomes have been produced: artists were encouraged to become more disciplined in their craft and tap into their unlocked creativity, or they have lacked the motivation to continue their craft. $tackhouse touches on the pandemic’s effect on his artistic motivation. 

“It helped me find my first album theme and second album theme, so I’m happy for that,” $tackhouse said.

 “Self Care, the album I started before quarantine, was basically me complaining about life and being depressed,” he said. “The second one, Self Harm, was more about me exploring my sound and expanding on new ideas I got over finding myself. It was more experimental, I guess, and I had more features on it, so it was also a collaborative effort which is kind of new for me. I used to not work with other artists before 2018.”

Creative block is a commonality among almost all artists. With the setbacks that the pandemic imposed, artists may be more prone to creative block. Stackhouse explained whether or not the pandemic personally affected his ability to access his internal creativity.

“Not at all,” $tackhouse said. “The only thing that keeps me from thinking of anything to create is being busy with work. 

“I never have any song ideas when I’m at my day job. I get all my best ideas at night when I’m tired. Although when I go outside and spend time doing things by myself, I come up with ideas. I do a lot of exploring. The more exploring I do, the more ideas I get, usually. I have had writers block, though. Like right now, actually. That’s because I feel drained because I’ve been making and pushing out so much music this year. Usually, I take a long break from releasing music and just keep experimenting until I find the right song to make. If I find a  central theme for a project, I expand on that and keep it to myself until it’s time to reveal it to the world in full.”

With the mental, financial and physical challenges that the pandemic has brought along, it brings about the question of how some artists have been able to keep focus on their art during this difficult time. The HU alum shares how he has been able to remain focused on his craft and encouraged creatives to get a true sense of self and discipline.

“I work out a lot and changed my diet to be a little bit healthier,” $tackhouse said. “I say just explore outside by yourself. Don’t talk to anyone and keep a mask on, but go outside and be away from others. I go to the mountains like every month and hike. Sometimes with my friend Rondy. That’s when I clear my mind and get away from reality for a day. 

“Also, stay off social media so you can have time to think and breathe. Then come back because you might find your next song idea on the internet. I started doing other things too, like painting. I’m not good at it, but it’s something to keep me sane. Drink tea, meditate and stretch, too. That’s what I do.”

It is without a doubt that RJ $tackhouse has been putting in work this year. His fans certainly cannot wait for what he has in store. To give a little more insight, $tackhouse touched on some upcoming projects that he has in store.

“So I’m featured on two projects this Halloween,” $tackhouse said. “The projects are by REK Productions and Young Carrot. I have a song with my friend Nása that comes out Oct. 23, so by the time this comes out, it’ll be out. It is called ‘Silence.’ That’s my introduction to my R&B’-ish type sound. We also have a music video for it filmed by the one and only 4kMalcom. I’m working on a collaboration project with Nása, too, but the release is to be announced. I’m also working on an R&B album that will most likely come out [in] 2021. I think I’ve tapped out my project meter for the year.”

RJ $tackhouse can be found on Instagram @therjstackhouse, where some of his music is featured. His music can be found on all digital streaming platforms under his name, RJ $tackhouse. 

Businesses nationwide prep for the release of new gen consoles

Isaiah Taylor | Photojournalist

Courtesy of Isaiah taylor

As the new year is rapidly approaching, gamers around the world receive a constant reminder that the future of modern console gaming is right around the corner. 

It has been seven long years since both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 systems were initially launched by Microsoft and Sony. Both companies find themselves preparing to release the next generation of gaming consoles: the Xbox Series X on November 10 and the PlayStation 5 on November 12. Fans on both sides of the spectrum are stoked about the new features both systems have to offer.

The Xbox Series X is a good choice for cross-platform games with the option of a game pass service available. Gamers will find an endless selection of games suited for unique preference and play style for only $15 per month including multiplayer online play, making the Xbox Series X a potential must have. 

On the other hand, the PlayStation 5 is shaping up to be an extremely powerful next-gen console capable of 4K gaming, at up to an impressive 120 frames per second. Sony has made it its mission to make its system UI interface sleek, vastly reducing loading screen times. This gives consumers the ability to play Sony exclusive titles such as Demon Souls, Horizon Forbidden West and even Spiderman: Miles Morales in crystal-clear 4K.

With Microsoft backing the newly arrived Xbox Series X and Sony endorsing the brand-new PlayStation 5, the release of these consoles have fans worldwide hyped for their release. Despite the potential health concerns and risks due to COVID-19, many stores around the Atlanta area firmly believe that the show must go on. 

Andy Mcall, a local GameStop manager in the metro Atlanta area, was briefed this past weekend on how their store plans to combat the waves of console-hungry fans eagerly awaiting their copies while also trying to be as clean and safe as possible.

“We have adjusted our strategy to adapt to these new shopping preferences due to these times,” Mcall said. “Our primary objective is to keep our customers safe. We’re only offering a select number of consoles by pre-ordering, and curbside pickup is available by showing your receipt, all at the standard prices, of course.”

It’s not just GameStop stores making accommodations. Retailers of all brands nationwide are offering more online services to match customers’ desires to shop for the consoles in advance for the holiday season. 

Target employee Archie Kyle spoke in detail about the company’s plans for the release days.

“Depending on your Target retailer, stores plans on opening around 8 a.m. with paid security guards patrolling the lines to make sure that all customers are 6 feet away from each other,” Kyle said. “For those customers who have preordered the console online, curbside pickup may be available to you depending on your local Target. In addition to that, we offer price matching, though I doubt the price will be different for any of the other retailers.”

Whether you’re team Xbox, PlayStation or team indifferent, stores all over are making sure that the product is distributed to all consumers safely and effectively right on time for the holiday season. 

Courtesy of Isaiah taylor

Creative block: The impact COVID-19 has on artists

NYLE PAUL- STAFF WRITER

As coronavirus cases increase nationwide, more and more artists find themselves having to forcefully adjust to the restricting nature of the virus. The financial, mental and physical restrictions that the virus imposes result in the risk of art equipment becoming harder to access and artists having little to no motivation to continue their craft.

At Hampton University, there are many artists who specialize in different styles of art. With the coronavirus running rampant throughout the nation, here is a glimpse at how one artist is maneuvering through this “new normal.”

Gabrielle Tazewell is a senior journalism major and a liberal arts minor. She is a blogger and specializes in creative writing.

As the pandemic continues to worsen, the financial burden gets heavier as it is drawn out. Since physically going out in public spaces exacerbates the risk of catching the coronavirus, the artistic capabilities of many artists are challenged. With money being tight and accessibility of equipment being restricted due to store closures, it has been a hassle for artists to continue their work. In an interview with Hampton Script photojournalist Isaiah Taylor, Gabrielle shared her experience with the difficulties she ran into and how they have affected her craft.

“This pandemic is taking a lot of opportunities, career wise, from me within the whole freelance blogger industry,” Tazewell said.

“But I think within my own platform, for this year, I was actually planning on going on my own, taking my own pictures and actually collaborating with more people in person. But because of the pandemic, I’m unable to really do that. I am still able to collaborate with other people, which is cool virtually. But otherwise, I have been really affected by this in terms of my own platform and progressing my career in general.”

The ongoing limitations that the pandemic has brought upon has either encouraged people to become more disciplined in their craft or left them lacking motivation to continue their craft. To help maintain her motivation, Tazewell touched on a few things she has implemented into her routine.

“Creating a consistent routine is the biggest thing,” she said. “Prior to the pandemic, when I was blogging, I kind of had a set schedule after classes. I was already doing work, so afterwards, I jumped into the blog.

“But in terms of motivation, it’s really been a struggle to just get up and stay consistent with it. Something that has helped me is finding other bloggers and aspiring writers who are motivated and want the best for themselves. I’ve just been trying to surround myself with more of those people so I can stay motivated and on top of my stuff.”

If there’s one thing that all artists can relate to, it is their collective dislike for the dreadful creative block. Referencing her familiarity with creative block and the strain it can put on one’s creative process, Tazewell discussed how dealing with creative block in the pandemic has personally affected her writing.

“With the motivational standpoint that I was talking about previously, everything we do now is digital,” she said. “So, usually I would get my content on Instagram or I would just find an influencer or a blogger similar to me and just write about them, so I wouldn’t say it’s really affected that aspect.”

“In terms of creative block/writers block, it is a really big issue when you’re going off of your own perceptions within writing, especially now. All in all, I would say that it would really affect the way that I perceive the content and how I spin it to become my own thing.”

With the mental, financial and physical challenges that the pandemic has brought along, it brings about the question of how some artists have been able to keep focused on their art during this difficult time. Tazewell shared how she has been able to remain focused on her craft and encouraged creatives to practice discipline, especially in a time like this.

“Surrounding myself with fellow creatives and connecting with a lot of people on Instagram has helped me a lot with breaking out of creative block,” she said. “It also helps me to be more consistent because I’m seeing the way that they’re working and I’m seeing the progress they’re making, so that inspires me.”

“In terms of advice that I would give to other writers or creatives, I’d advise to set a consistent routine for yourself. This time, especially for creatives, is really about discipline. Whether you’re setting alarms or setting deadlines, really do that for yourself because when you get into the actual workplace, you’re going to have to meet deadlines. So, setting alarms and maintaining a consistent schedule would be like a head start almost. There’s really nothing more that you could really lose in this time then we’ve already lost, so just do it.”

Courtesy of Isaiah Taylor
Gabrielle Tazewell and her blog can be found on Instagram
@gabrielletheblogger, where some of her work is featured. Her website is http://www.gabrielletazewell.com.

TikTok: A game changer for social media influencers

JAMEL ROGERS- STAFF WRITER

TikTok is the new wave for future generations. The app helps publicize lots of media influencers, especially those specializing in comedy, singing and dancing.

According to a YouTube podcast titled 1422, a teen nicknamed Swag-BoyQ is a dancer and entertainer on the app. Claiming that TikTok has opened a lot of doors for him, he noted that he used to tease TikTok users on the app until his friend encouraged him to try it out.

The role of corporations in this outcome is to sell more of their products to new faces. Over the past few years, TikTok has gained more than 50 million users and played an integral role in creating large platforms for a lot of users such as SwagBoyQ.

TikTok has a vast amount of challenges, songs, dances and even original work put into each user’s timeline. The great thing about this app is that it’s free, and being an influencer on the platform leads to a lot of great exposure. Any influencer on the app can withstand a lot of marketing advertisement in their 60-second-or-longer video. The app is particularly popular with young users, but people of all ages can share their creativity with the world.

According to a CH Tech article, TikTok profits in the months of May,
June and July totaled up to $102.5 million. Considering this amount of revenue, TikTok affords all users the possibility of one day becoming influencers to reap immense social and economic benefits.

Jayla Daniels, senior psychology major from Houston, Texas, has a deep appreciation for TikTok.

“TikTok is a unique platform,” Daniels said. “I think the reason TikTok is so popular is because of the algorithm. Millions of people can see the same thing at the same time. The algorithm allows others to connect and exchange ideas faster than any other social media platform.

“I love the app, and I’m learning more about the world’s current events through a first-person perspective when people post. It’s like the news except that I can ask questions in the comment section, and I’ll receive a direct response.”

With the rise of new users, TikTok generated $88.1 million in August. The app has contributed tremendously to artists in genres like gospel, R&B, hip- hop and more. Famous YouTubers also utilize TikTok to expand their streams of income.

Users encourage anyone to try out the app to see new trending music and advertisements. There is also a live feature on the app where celebrities can connect with their fans anytime they want. In the coming years, you can expect to see even more revenue generated from TikTok as the app becomes increasingly popular.

Bryson Tiller drops new album: Anniversary

ANYAE JOHNS- STAFF WRITER

For years, fans of Bryson Tiller were concerned if the Kentucky artist could revive his career and be the musician they first fell in love with. Three years since the R&B artist released his second album True to Self, his new album Anniversary is finally out.

The new project dropped on the fifth anniversary of his debut album, TrapsoulAnniversary contains 10 songs and a feature with Drake on the “Outta Time” track.

The album received a lot of mixed reviews from fans and critics. Listeners are still stuck on his debut album, and it’s up to Tiller to get them hooked on something else.

“Old Bryson Tiller is still better than new Bryson; it just doesn’t give me the same feelings as the Trapsoul album did,” said Tayliour Martin, a senior journalism major. “I personally liked ‘Always Forever’ and ‘Keep Doing What You’re Doing.’”

If you’re expecting Bryson to be in his Trapsoul bag, you may be disappointed. He’s matured and is bringing new vibes.

If you’re familiar with Bryson Tiller’s work, you’ll be able to see his growth as an artist in this album.

“I feel like this album was really overdue. I personally expected more from him, but I still loved it,” said Aniyah Oberlton, a Hampton University strategic communication major.

Anniversary is a mood from the lyrics to the album cover. The cover
is an eccentric blue with him looking to his left. It is similar to the Trapsoul cover, which is in red and he is looking to the right.

The album starts with the track “Years Go By.” Another man is talking to Bryson, saying, “With what the young generation’s doing and I’m like, yo, man, you really just got to do this, worrying about or trying to figure out what they need to think or like it or not. Aw, man, you going to have about five years go by…next thing you know, you ain’t going to want to do this no more.”

The lead single, “Always Forever,” sets the mood for the album. The beat is hard, and the lyrics are relatable. Ready for You and Things Change paint pictures of relationships that many listeners may have been in before. The lyrics speak to real-life situations in today’s social climate.

The track “Timeless Interlude” slows the mood down. It speaks on growing and becoming wiser. It also speaks on how life is flashing by and reminds listeners to be mindful of that.

The chorus of “Inhale” contains a sample of SWV’s “All Night Long.” The sample, in conjunction with the reverb vocals and spacy drums, creates a sound incredibly reminiscent of the late ’90s R&B sound that still asserts its influence today.

“Outta Time,” featuring Drake, drives the album home. Hearing Drake and Bryson Tiller on a track is something soothing and something our generation needed. Their voices together blend well and make the song dynamic.

“Keep doing what you’re doing” opens with a voicemail from Tiller’s grandmother, who passed away early in 2020. Dedicating the song to her, the sentimental aspects of this record become apparent. This track really inspires the listeners to believe in your- self and to keep going no matter what.

Anniversary concludes with Next to You, which includes a sample from the Flight Facilities’ “Heart Attack” record on the chorus. Bryson really showcases his vibrato and style throughout the song.

The album will put you in your feelings and is perfect to listen to on a late-night drive. This album was personal and spoke to the highs and lows of relationships. Tiller did what needed to be done for R&B.

In a recent interview with Genius, Bryson Tiller confirmed that he has another album coming out called Serenity, a three-part series. Volume 1 will consist of R&B, Volume 2 will consist of hip-hop, and Volume 3 will consist of pop.

Fans are hoping that Serenity is just the project they need to restore their initial feelings of Bryson as an artist.

SAVAGE X FENTY: A star studded socially distant event

NOAH HOGAN- STAFF WRITER

Dennis Leupold | Associated Press

Robyn Rihanna Fenty opened the second volume of her Savage X Fenty special with a beautiful quote:

“Storytelling is the last part of any journey. There’s experience and there’s that emotion that’s connected to the experience. Whether it’s a scent, whether it’s the sound, that emotional connection to that particular moment is the thing that makes it worthy of telling in a story.”

Rihanna did just that with her follow-up on the Amazon Prime streaming service.

Packed with celebrity appearances, distinct set designs and stellar choreography, Volume. 2 was more than a worthy successor to the first show at New York Fashion Week.

What is most intriguing is that Rihanna and her team understand the need to create a story of Savage X Fenty without forcing the need to focus on the actual garments. Instead, she uses different mediums such as music and choreography to set a mood using the clothes to be nothing more than what they are, clothes.

From the very beginning, we are introduced to some of Fenty’s creativity in the most obvious role that most associate her with, her music. More specifically, her music taste.

She uses songs from artists that her base can easily identify like Kendrick Lamar and Roddy Rich. However as a woman of Caribbean descent,

Rihanna takes the opportunity to make her audience aware of artists in the Latin and Caribbean markets with performers like Rosalína and Bad Bunny. Although Riri does not stick to the conventional rap or pop genre, she finds a way to weave in elements of R&B and house music to give each scene its own identity.

“The scenes were perfect for the clothing pieces that she showed and the music made it better. I liked the dances in Volume 2 more than the first,” said Monique Smith, a Hampton University biochemistry pre-dental major, leadership studies minor from Atlanta, Georgia.

The Savage X Fenty show allowed Rihanna to take on other personas and blend them to create the best version of herself.

We see her wear many hats such as the creative, the businesswoman and the leader.

If you listen to the way she describes in great detail something so trivial like fabrics, you would think she was a graduate of a fashion design school. Savage X Fenty is proof that Rihanna has taken the time to be fully invested in her craft.

Design Director Emily Whitehead describes Rihanna as having the eye
to figure out not just what pieces are going to work best but how to best utilize them. “That kind of steers us and makes it better but also makes it hers,” Whitehead said.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not just Rihanna’s brand name recognition that made the show feel special. She allowed for others to shine and show case their talents on a major scale, not taking into account celebrity status or prominence.

Rihanna and company did a great job incorporating models and dancers of all shapes, sizes and walks of life.

From a multitude of frames, there were many different women and men who were able to express themselves through fashion. Citing that inclusivity is something that is “second nature” and that “there is no need to think about it.”

“I love that she’s doing that,” Smith said. “It made me want to buy and support her even more. Many people are insecure about their body, and lingerie is supposed to be ‘sexy.’ So Rihanna’s show highlighted a diverse group of models and told people that all body types are sexy and be confident and love yourself.”

Overall, Rihanna chose to tackle themes of sexuality, inclusivity, mood and inspiration within a 56-minute time frame.

Opting for the lingerie garments to serve as background images to compliment the bigger themes at play, she also completed a goal of creating something that surpasses the boundaries of fashion and enters the space of great art.

The only question left unanswered now is, if Rihanna is so invested physically and emotionally to her clothing line, will she have the necessary time or energy to uphold the other big obligation in her life, music?

Creative Block: The Impact COVID-19 Has On Artists

Nyle Paul- Staff Writer

Photo by Daniel Chekalov on Unsplash

With the Coronavirus outbreak abruptly shifting everyone’s daily lives, artists are learning how to operate in this “new normal” with a deficit in the accessibility to equipment and artistic motivation. 

Hampton University has a large population of artists, all of whom specialize in different art focuses.  The limitations that quarantine imposed has had an effect on the artists’ craft. Isaiah Taylor is a senior Journalism and Communications major with an area of emphasis in Liberal Arts at Hampton University. He specializes in digital art.

Because of the financial burden that the pandemic has brought, the artistic capabilities of many artists were challenged. With money being tight and the mass closure of stores across the nation, getting the equipment and software to help carry out their work has been a hassle. Isaiah detailed the difficulties he ran into and how they served as an inconvenience to him.

“Most of my art pieces are produced digitally. So getting software isn’t really a problem if I have an internet connection,” said Isaiah. 

“However, I had problems getting art supplies during the beginning months of the pandemic. At most art stores they were only letting in five customers at a time to contain the spread of germs and bacteria. Personally, I enjoy sketching preliminary drawings in my sketchpad with mechanical pencils as practice for my digital drawings but it was a real tussle going out to purchase new pencils.”

The restricting nature of the pandemic has either encouraged people to expand their minds and tap into their unlocked creativity, or left them lacking motivation to continue their craft. For some artists, like Isaiah, quarantine influenced a mixture of both feelings. 

“This time of quarantine is a blessing and a curse in my eyes,” said Isaiah. The impact is more of a double sided sword. Yeah, I had more time to draw and write story ideas for my microfictions but I found it harder and harder to draw in the original space I was in. I found myself moving my workspace around my home and even going outside to parks to draw and it really helped towards motivating me to keep going.”

Creative block is a commonality among almost all artists. Referencing his familiarity with creative block and the strain it can put on one’s creative process, Isaiah discussed how the pandemic personally affected his ability to access his internal creativity.

“It’s been a teeter totter story when it comes to accessing internal creativity,” said Isaiah.  “For a string of days I’ll be on a roll with writing and drawing. However being at home most of the time does hinder my creative flow. I just want to experience new sights to get the juices flowing but due to the pandemic I couldn’t really go out like I wanted. So I had to find other methods like watching more shows /movies and envision myself there.” 

With the mental, financial and physical challenges that the pandemic has brought along, many may question how some artists have been able to keep focus on their art during this difficult time. Isaiah credited his determination for his perseverance and touched on advice he would give to those who have not been able to tap back into their artistry. 

“Creative block has always been a hindrance for me while drawing and writing but honestly throughout the pandemic I’ve been able to cultivate a few ways to combat it,” said Isaiah. 

“Days will come where you kinda don’t want to do anything related to your craft. You just want to do nothing. However, you can’t let that feeling persuade you into laziness. Don’t just do nothing.  Even if that’s drawing a doodle or just writing a singular paragraph. At least you made progress towards your craft. I’d rather be in slow motion than no motion at all. As cliche as this sounds, believe in yourself. Don’t allow opinions from other people or even your own negative thoughts define your body of work. You do art for yourself and nobody but yourself. Hold yourself accountable and take the steps you need towards greatness. Greatness lives inside of all of us. It takes time and it varies.” 

You can support Isaiah and his art by following his instagram account, @ixayuh, where some of his work is featured. He can also be contacted via direct message regarding commission inquiries.