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

Noah Hogan | Staff Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coming 2 America Cast Discusses Continuing An Iconic Legacy More Than 30 Years Later

Anyaé Johns | Staff Writer

Courtesy of Amazon Studios 

Thirty-two years after the culture shifting film Coming to America (1988) premiered, Zamunda is still a part of Black culture, exuding royalty displayed in its highest capacity while delving deeper into traditions and a keen sense on how to bring generations together in the highly anticipated sequel, Coming 2 America.

During an HBCU roundtable interview on February 10, cast members of Coming 2 America discussed some of the highlights and gave insights into what is going on in the world of Zamunda all these years later.

The Coming 2 America roundtable discussion featured Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Tracy Morgan, Jermaine Fowler and Rotimi. Throughout the discussion, there were many prominent themes such as the unification of Black culture, women empowerment and family dynamics in the Black community.  

Courtesy of Amazon Studios 

Jermaine Fowler (Lavelle) exposes the disconnect between older and younger generations, dives deeper into his character’s story and bridges the gap between generations to move the culture forward. 

Intergenerational tension is not a foreign idea by any means and Fowler considers this when he speaks highly of his own relationship with his father, in which there is deep love but a disconnect still exists. 

In light of this, Fowler said there is still a responsibility to “pay it forward and pay it back to him” through this experience.

Courtesy of Quantrell D. Colbert

Fowler continued by sharing a personal story of how he got his dad his first therapist recently and how big the moment led to his realization that we need to respect what we’ve been through because not much has changed. 

He noted that while guidance from elders is essential, there has to be ways in which the present generation can “work together for a common goal and figure out what we all do best to get things moving forward” in a culture that is full of division.

Speaking to the intergenerational power of this film, Fowler voiced his hopes for the new story to allow for fans of the original to find that same success they once experienced that will make “people to sit down and enjoy what makes them so great together” and connect them with the new audience in a way that’s interactive and conversational. 

Rotimi (Pretty Iddi) shed light on what he hopes people will gain from watching the sequel. 

Rotimi expressed that the powers of enjoyment and escapism are necessary to utilize as unifying tools during our present times, noting that “something nostalgic … something that’s a positive piece of Black anything is good right now.”

Rotimi looks forward to seeing how fans will react to the movie on social media. 

“I’m excited to see Twitter go crazy and Instagram go crazy, and a couple memes of me, you know what I’m saying, everybody else don’t worry about anybody else,” Rotimi said. “I think that we just need to embellish on the positive. I think our culture needs something like that, the world needs to laugh, that’s really what it is.”

Courtesy of Anyae Johns

Eddie Murphy (King Akeem) raves about his experience coming back more than 30 years later to portray Prince Akeem in a new sense of power as king of Zamunda. 

Murphy illuminated the power of venturing into “uncharted territory” by attempting to continue the story of Coming to America 32 years later. The ambitious journey was a four-to-five-year period of creative exploration that turned into a “great script” to make something special. Therein lies the joy of getting to be “doing something that’s never been done before.”

The cast is excited for all Coming to America fans to finally get to watch the sequel they put a lot of work into. The anticipated film will premiere Friday, March 5, through Amazon Prime Video.

Judas and The Black Messiah: Panel Discussion

Noah Hogan | Staff Writer

Saturday, Feb. 6, The Hampton Script was given the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion for the upcoming film “Judas and The Black Messiah.” 

Set in the late sixties to early seventies, the film follows the life of Chairman Fred Hampton and the Illinois chapter of The Black Panther Party. 

With Judas and the Black Messiah affording such a young and dynamic cast of black actors and actresses such as Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, Dominique Fishback and more, the opportunity was not only a showcase of their talents, but a continuation of the fight and legacy of Fred Hampton and the Black Panther Party at large. 

The respect and admiration that each cast member showed for one of our fallen heroes in Fred Hampton was beautiful. 

During the panel discussion, I presented the question, “If Fred was not assassinated as young as he was, what do you believe he could have accomplished?” Dominique Fishback (Deborha Johnson) responded, “Sad to say for myself, I don’t know if my imagination can go as big and as wide at this point in my life to think of what Chairman Fred Hampton could have done. He was so forward thinking and was at least 50 years ahead of his time. I wouldn’t even want to sell him short with a limited idea I can think of.”

Another point of discussion was how a traumatic film such as Judas and the Black Messiah personally affected each actor. When asked if he struggled with the dichotomy of his character, Lakeith Stanfield (William O’neal) explained, “Yeah it’s a bit of a challenge, but that’s part of what it means to accurately portray someone. Sometimes you have to go outside yourself a little bit so yeah, it was a challenge, but once I got there, I developed an appreciation for characters like William O’neal.”

A common message amongst the cast was to highlight a piece of black history that is relatively misunderstood and forgotten. Numerous members used the word “blessed” to describe the feeling of working on a project in which they brought to life the love and passion for the community that the Black Panther Party represented on a daily basis. 

Caption: (L-r) DARRELL BRITT-GIBSON as Bobby Rush, DANIEL KALUUYA as Chairman Fred Hampton, ALGEE SMITH as Jake Winters, ASHTON SANDERS as Jimmy Palmer and DOMINIQUE THORNE as Judy Harmon in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Glen Wilson

The panel discussion itself was not limited to dialogue only concerning the psychology of characters or the actors unique motivation, but the actual real world implications the film had on them and what were some of the deeper topics that can start to create conversations amongst African American youth. 

When asked about how do you believe that you and your castmates’ representation in a film such as Judas and the Black Messiah can affect college students across the world, Hamptonian Darrell Britt-Gibson (Bobby Rush) said, “I hope that this film is able to start the conversation that will lead to the tangible change that we so desire and that we seek on a daily basis as both black men and women.”

The biggest takeaway from the panel discussion was that every actor wanted to be a part of something bigger than themselves, each cast member made it apparent that they wanted to accurately portray the mission of racial pride and economic empowerment amongst the black community.  

When asked if he felt that this was his opportunity to showcase a prominent black hero just as his colleague Chadwick Boseman, Gibson answered, “Yeah when I read the script and realized what he said and how he thought, I was like wow,  I wanna be a vessel for this. This is what I’m here for. I feel like my career has been leading to this if I am being brutally honest. Anything I do for me is like who am I empowering ? Who am I making feel good?” As Black History month begins, Judas and The Black Messiah will educate, enlighten, serve as a pivotal piece in black culture for years to come.

“Insecure” ending after Season 5

Anyae Johns | Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of  Flickr user @TheTorchTheatre

Yes, all good things come to an end, but why Insecure? Many fans are saddened by Issa Rae’s recent announcement that the beloved HBO comedy series will end after Season 5. The first four seasons were such a hit that many didn’t anticipate the series ending one season later.

Insecure is ending, and I don’t know how to feel about it,” said Tayliour Mart, a Hampton University first-year chemistry major from Austin, Texas. “I hope each episode is one to two hours now.” 

This series put her on the map. Rae often talks about being awkward and Black in the industry, and she decided to market it. With many viewers in the African American community relating to being awkward, she introduced something to Hollywood that no one knew was needed. Rae thrives off of telling Black stories from the Black perspective. She made her own seat at the table after hearing many no’s.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl was self-written, and she also starred in it as J, a Black woman who finds herself in embarrassingly awkward positions in every area of life. The viral series lasted for two seasons. It became the foundation of the award-winning Insecure.

October 9, 2016, the hit show Insecure was born, thanks to its two creators, Rae and Larry Wilmore. The groundbreaking HBO half-hour series stars Rae and Yvonne Orji as two educated Black women living their everyday lives despite a handful of complicated Los Angeles experiences. Insecure closely follows Molly (Orji) and Issa’s friendship as they deal with their own company, insecurities, relationship troubles and the general difficulties of being adults.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr User @JoslynWillburn

The show has four great seasons with outstanding ratings. Fans took to Twitter to express their complete disbelief for the show ending when Rae announced it by retweeting her interview with Deadline.

“Very excited to film our fifth and final season!” Rae tweeted. “We couldn’t have told a complete story without the tremendous support of our audience and the faith of [HBO]. See y’all soon! #InsecureHBO.”

The show has received positive feedback and awards for its comedic relief and honest portrayal of the Black experience through Issa and Molly’s perspective. Throughout the show’s run, Rae has received two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and two Golden Globe nods for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy. In Season 4, Insecure was nominated at the 2020 Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series, while Yvonne Orji was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. 

“I’m really sad about Insecure ending, but I know all good things come to an end with time,” said Romari Black, an HU junior journalism major from Baltimore, Maryland. “I just really hope Issa and the writers end it well and I’m not mad the last episode.” 

Season 5 is tentatively scheduled to be released around May.

Nintendo users await new Switch console

Isaiah Taylor | Staff Writer

Photo Source: Associated Press; Business Wire 

As Nintendo looks to compete with the market of new generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony that released last November, rumors have been floating around the market of a new Switch console hitting the shelves later this year. 

The Nintendo Switch Pro is currently the name being used to describe the rumored mid-life cycle console refresh for the Nintendo Switch. 

Back in August 2020, Bloomberg reported that Nintendo was investigating a new Switch model that has not only 4K viewing “high-definition graphics,” but also more computing power. 

The question is whether Nintendo Switch Pro would feature Mini-LED technology—leading to an increased battery life, as well as improvements in the screen’s brightness and contrast, compared to the current LCD display.

“I have the original Switch, and although I’m pleased with the quality of the current system, I have always been a fan of Nintendo, and I do plan on supporting the release of their next console, whenever that may be,” said Cameron Vance, a Hampton University engineering major from Baltimore, Maryland. 

In a recent interview with Polygon, Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser said the Nintendo Switch is “at the midpoint of this life cycle,” and that the company is in no immediate rush to replace it.

Nonetheless, if the Switch Pro rumors are true, then it’s highly likely the newer console could feature some quality-of-life changes beyond just a specs boost, including updated hardware and improved battery life, which some Nintendo Switch users feel strongly about. 

“I love my switch, but I feel like I barely get a chance to play it because it’s constantly charging,” said Paige Billingsly, a Hampton University third-year marketing major from Atlanta. “I hope the new model has the improved battery life it claims to have.” 

Although a Switch Pro would not necessarily be a replacement for the current Switch console, it would be an innovative build that can compete with the other gaming consoles. It could potentially be a version for consumers who want more out of the console rather than it just being handheld. Nintendo has done this many times with previous models in the past such as Nintendo 2DS, 3DS and 3DSXL handheld systems.

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