HU Students give their take on Winter Premiering TV Shows

Nia White | Staff Writer

Television is often the talk of social media platforms, whether it’s newly premiering shows or shows that have been renewed for another season. Winter television can provide entertainment in a multitude of genres. 

While many people have been awaiting the new season of HBO’s Euphoria, others have been introduced to new shows, like ABC’s Abbott Elementary.

Abbott Elementary is the creation of Quinta Brunson who also stars in the show. The show is mockumentary-style set in a Philadelphia public school. It is centered around Brunson’s character, Janine Teagues, and her challenges as a new teacher. 

“I really love the nuance and humor that the show has,” HU junior Savannah Lovelace-Swann said. “Usually, when it’s a comedic show, there’s a setup and punchline, but Abbott Elementary doesn’t really have that.”

The cast, featuring Tyler James Williams, Lisa Ann Walter and Sheryl Ralph Lee, is part of the reason why many people were drawn to the show. 

“I started watching because I had seen the people starring in the show, and it’s a show full of Black people talking about real problems,” HU sophomore Cholena Walker said. 

Other new shows like Showtime’s Yellowjackets are also a topic of discussion. Showtime describes the show as a coming-of-age drama where a high school girls’ soccer team must navigate surviving a plane crash in the wilderness. 

“The best part [of Yellowjackets] is seeing women who are and have overcome a traumatic event,” HU junior Katelyn Simmons said. 

While some shows have premiered as new shows this winter, others have come back as favorites. Black-ish and This Is Us have returned for their final seasons this winter. 

Black-ish premiered on Jan. 4 with Michelle Obama guest starring. 

Euphoria season two premiered on Jan. 9 on HBO almost three years after the first season. The show starring Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, and Sydney Sweeny has been highly anticipated.

Euphoria is a show set in a California town, where high schooler Rue and her friends navigate a world full of their challenges, according to HBOMax. 
While some favorites like Black-ish and This Is Us will not be returning to television after this season, others like Yellowjackets will be coming back. Many people will most likely be looking for more seasons of favorites like Abbott Elementary.


Rob Lee’s Sweet Life

 Trinity Goppy | Staff Writer

HBO’s unscripted reality series, Sweet Life: Los Angeles, directed by Issa Rae focuses on the lives of an ambitious group of Black friends as they navigate adulthood success. Amongst them is Robert “Rob” Lee, a Chicago-born comedian.

“I always knew that I was funny. Since I was about 13 or 14 years old, I always said that I would tell a joke this way instead,” said Lee. “My pastor in highschool once told me ‘laughter does the heart good like medicine.’”

Graduating from Howard University with two film degrees allowed Lee to expand his interests and push himself to new heights.

Lee’s charisma and personality on screen is prominent and that resonates with his comedic career.

“I’ve always enjoyed putting smiles on faces,” said Lee. “I’ve always tried to be relatable with my jokes. I typically use life experiences and for some reason self-deprecation is funny to people. I try to bring life to something and try not to take things too seriously.”

Lee moved to Los Angeles in 2020 amidst the pandemic to pursue his dreams of becoming a comedian and creator. Despite opportunities being limited during the pandemic, Lee thrived and accomplished some of his goals. 

Within six months, Lee was cast in Sweet Life: Los Angeles.

“Moving in the middle of a pandemic is what you would expect,” said Lee. It was a gamble, but I knew that once I got there, everything would fall into place.”

On the show, Lee shares that he is a teacher for younger children in the public school system. The audience sees the highs and lows of virtual learning from an educator’s stand point. 

“I am excited for this year and what I have lined up,” he said. “We are gonna start shooting season two of the show, focusing on my comedy career and stepping into a modeling space. This year is gonna be great.”

Currently, he is collaborating with Cross Colours, the original hip-hop clothing brand from the 1990s. He will be featured in their Foot Locker campaign that will showcase rising artists in apparel that portrays the authenticity of street life. 

The campaign will feature fellow Sweet Life: Los Angeles star P’JAE Compton, Interscope artist Lute, American professional boxer Gabriel Rosado and model Krysta Foster. 

“Growing up, Cross Colours was something that exemplified Black excellence,” Lee said. “They also have a HBCU initiative that is really dope. I am excited to work with them and to hopefully work with them more in the future.”

Sweet Lives Of The Young & Successful

Tigist Ashaka | Social Media Manager

Two cast members from Sweet life: Los Angeles are collaborating with streetwear brand Cross Colours. Both men are successful in the music and the comedy world.  

Sweet life: Los Angeles, is a show about young Black adults focusing on their achievements while living lavishly in South Los Angeles. The show is an unscripted series produced by Issa Rae about a group of Black friends in their mid-20s living in LA trying to find their way in the world. 

P’Jae Compton is a South Central native and works in the music industry as the co-owner and artist manager of the new record label, Lost Sound. He’s focusing the music he makes on fashion, social media marketing and modeling. 

Robert Lee is an up-and-coming comedian and teacher. He moved from Chicago to LA about a year ago.

The collaboration with P’Jae and Rob is with an upcoming Cross Colours x Foot Locker Campaign, a project that solidifies Footlocker’s dedication to showcasing the talent and voices of Black creators. 

Both men felt like this experience with Cross Colours was exciting and educational.

“I am new to the brand, but hearing the deep dive into, like, the history and stuff and just being a part of something like that is pretty dope for the culture,” said P’Jae. 

Since the 2020 BLM protests, many companies have tried to show their support for Black people by including the Black community in their projects.

When asked how this collaboration is different from the other brands they have worked with, they replied with excitement.

“Well, I would say the emphasis on Black. You know, they highlighted black news, highlighted black skin tones, you know, even the color green, yellow, and red. I don’t know what to say, they’re about it, but I rarely see it,” said Lee.

P’Jae agreed.

“He kind of took my answer from me, but yes, it is all about, for me, culture,” said P’Jae.

Season two of Sweet Life: Los Angeles will still focus on the friend group, but give more insight into the cast’s personal life.

“Next season is a bit of the same in a sense, but also a deeper dive into each individual and who we are. I’ll give you a different perspective of like, you know, who we are, our lives, our relationships, family. It is just a deep dive into everyone and tries to connect with you guys on a different level,” said P’Jae.

You can watch season two of Sweet Life: Los Angeles in August on HBO Max.

This Isn’t a Fluke, We’re Working with Lute!

 Tigist Ashaka | Social Media Manager

Thirty-two-year-old Luther Nicholson, known as Lute, will be featured in the Footlocker and Cross Colours campaign along with other artists for January 2022. 

Lute is signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville Records. He released his first mixtape, West1996, on February 22, 2012. He tries to relate to his audience with his humbling lyrics describing his life struggles and parenthood, masked within vibrant melodies that captivate. 

The partnership with the Cross Colours Vibe campaign showcases the playful energy of the inner city street. The inspiration for this campaign is drawn from early 90s New York streetwear.

He sat down with me during his photoshoot to discuss his collaboration with Cross Colours.

What does this partnership mean to you?

“You know, I think this collab is pretty fire. I was introduced to Cross Colours by my older brothers like they were really into it, the 90s wave and hip hop, and my brothers introduced me to hip hop. So I think this is a fire collab because I grew up watching certain artists and, you know, Cross Colours being a part of their wardrobe. So I think it’s pretty great.”  

Who do you think is your inspiration for fashion?

I like the 70s era, but I try to simplify a little bit like where you can’t tell the date and period. But I like seventy-style things, and I like vintage stuff. I like Polaroid a lot. I just had to pick and choose.”  

What is one word you can use to describe your style and why?

“I guess I would say vintage because it’s like super old and throwback, you know.”

Do you think your personal style correlates with the brand you work with? Do you see yourself wearing it? 

“Yeah I do. Because I don’t know. I’ve been trying to get away from the beanies I’ve been wearing, but it has been–I feel like bucket hats are 90s style. I feel like they coincide with the trend.”

What do you think it is like partnering up with this company? What do you think is different from, or how do you think it’s different from other companies you have worked with in the past?

“Representation, to be honest. I feel like, being a Black male or being a Black person, I feel like the representation of the culture is pretty fire. You know, it’s something that you can be proud to wear.”

What do you think is the biggest takeaway of this project?

“The biggest takeaway has to be able to say that I did something with a company that’s been around for a while. And being able to do a photoshoot with Cross Colours was fire, I can go back and tell my brother I did a photoshoot with Cross Colours.”

Photography: The Work Behind the Art 

Nia White | Staff Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tene Wilder Wins An Emmy!

Trinity Goppy | Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Trinity Goppy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dante Belcher | Staff Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hood Librarian: NoName’s Book Club

 Trinity Goppy | Staff Writer

Chicago-born rapper and activist NoName started her book club to uplift the voices of people of color in an online and in real life community after an exchange with a few Twitter fans. After going viral with 5,000 retweets, NoName’s Book Club was born in the summer of 2019.

“It was very spontaneous and impromptu. I didn’t really have a plan, but the feedback has been really crazy,” Noname told Essence. 

Each month, NoName highlights two books written by authors of color.

“I feel like there’s always been a stigma on Black people and reading just because historically, we were boxed out of that process,” she said. “I’m trying to break apart the stereotype that n— don’t read because we definitely do,” NoName told Essence. 

Last year, NoName opened the Book Club: Radical Hood Library headquarters in Los Angeles, California. The headquarters will provide political education classes, book drives, a radical community library, food drives, book club meet-ups, tent drives, free art shows, free movie screenings, and more according to Complex.

NoName’s inspiration comes from her mother, the first black woman to own a bookstore in Chicago. The bookstore was called Afro Central Bookstore and was run for 20 years by NoName’s mother until it closed in 2008. 

According to Essence, the experience of being mentored by scholars of Black thought and cultural critique who would stop and talk to her when browsing the store shaped how Noname sees the world today. 

“It really helped my development and helped me to be as prideful and as strong-minded as I am when it comes to the way I view my blackness,” NoName told Essence. 

One of NoName’s goals is to promote Black-owned bookstores that are local and increase library usage for the underprivileged, opening a book space focused on reading material for Black liberation and knowledge. Currently, there are 12 book club chapters across the country, in cities such as Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, and more. 

NoName’s Book Club launched a prison program that sends monthly book picks to POC who are incarcerated all over the country. To fight against the Prison Industrial Complex, the book club gives free resources to those behind bars, according to NoName’s book club website. 

“I believe the book club is a good way to share author’s voices and stories. I appreciate that they focus on uplifting the voice of POC. It is a chance to explore different experiences. This is also a unique way to connect with those who are incarcerated,” first-year kinesiology major Tyshona Littlejohn-Russ said. 

The Radical Hood Library centralizes the idea to shop at POC bookstores. On NoName’s site, several directories locate local bookstores in your city that focus on black content. 

“We really encourage our readers to shop at these POC bookstores,” NoName said. “It’s like a big f— you to Amazon and the FBI,” NoName told Trevor Noah on the Daily Show. 

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.