Chadwick Boseman: His Legacy Lives

Trinity Goppy | Staff Writer

In honor of late Howard University alumnus Chadwick Boseman, the school and Netflix have created a $5.4 million scholarship called The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s co-CEO and chief content officer, announced the partnership in a news release. 

“He always spoke of his time at Howard and the positive way it shaped his life and career,” Sarandos said. “Now we will have the opportunity to give many future superheroes a chance to experience the same.” 

Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick said the scholarship symbolizes Boseman’s love for his alma mater, his passion for the arts and his willingness to support future generations of Howard students. The scholarship funds four years of tuition at Howard’s College of Fine Arts, renamed after Boseman earlier this year. 

Eligible students have to exemplify a drive for excellence, leadership, respect, empathy, passion and exceptional skills in the arts, according to Howard University. The scholarship grants young artists an opportunity to pursue higher education without the stress of financial barriers. 

Howard will distribute the first official scholarship awards this fall to inaugural recipients Sarah Long, Shawn Smith, Janee’ Ferguson, and senior Deirdre Dunkin, according to Howard Newsroom.

Boseman attended Howard University in 2000 to study directing and earned a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. His teachers at Howard included Al Freeman Jr. and actress Phylicia Rashad, who later became his mentor and now is the dean of the College of Fine Arts. He later went on to study at The British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England, for graduate school. 

Although he could not financially afford the trip, Rashad raised money with her friend, actor Denzel Washington, according to the New York Times. As a result of their guidance and counsel, Boseman was eligible for several programs and training camps to further his career as an actor. 

Following his “Black Panther” success, Boseman returned to Howard University in 2018 to deliver a commencement address. 

“Whatever you choose for a career path, remember, the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose,” he said. “When I dared to challenge the system that would relegate us to victims and stereotypes with no clear historical backgrounds, no hopes

or talents, when I questioned that method of portrayal, a different path opened up for me, the path to my destiny.” 

Boseman used his passionate speech to encourage the graduating class to find a purpose, not just a job. 

“Purpose crosses disciplines,” he told the graduating class. “Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history.”

The scholarship highlights Boseman’s continued connection to Netflix, as two of the actor’s final roles were in partnership with the streamer.


HU Students Offer a TV Guide Through Shows New and Old

 Nia Cain | Staff Writer

Premieres of TV shows can be the highlight of some people’s summer experiences. New shows such as “Generation” and “Clickbait” and returning shows such as “Outer Banks” were the biggest hits of the summer. 

“‘Outer Banks’ is my favorite show because regardless of how much I binge the show, I never get tired of it,” Hampton University sophomore Aniyah Reed said. “The plot is so intriguing and interesting that it leaves the audience wondering what will happen next. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has yet to watch, but the new season definitely took me in for a whirl and shocked me in the least expected way.”

Netflix describes “Outer Banks” as a show about an island divided by class, where three teenagers join together to solve the mystery of a legendary treasure. 

Many returning shows have kept viewers interested over the years, such as the anthology series “American Horror Story,” which first aired 10 years ago. 

“A returning show that I would recommend is ‘American Horror Story’ because the previous season, ‘1984,’ was fun and campy … but in a good way, and the most recent season is doing well so far,” HU sophomore Jacob Ethridge said. 

FX describes “American Horror Story” as a show that has “redefined the horror genre with various installments.” 

While shows such as “Outer Banks” and “American Horror Story” returned, many new shows aired this summer. 

“Some of my favorite shows from this summer are ‘Loki,’ ‘Wandavision,’ ‘Generation,’ ‘Invincible’ and ‘Them,’” Webb said. 

“Generation” premiered on HBO Max in March, with people watching it over the summer. “Clickbait” was a new show that premiered on Netflix in August. 

“I loved that I’d never watched a show with that storyline,” HU junior Madison Grant said of “Clickbait.” They did an excellent job of presenting their message in an original way.” 

For those who have not watched ‘Clickbait, Netflix lists the plot as follows, “When family man Nick Brewer is abducted in a crime with a sinister online twist, those closest to him race to uncover who is behind it and why.”

Not all shows garnered positive reviews.

“A show I specifically didn’t like was ‘Spinning Out’ on Netflix,” Ethridge said. “I don’t think the story was done or paced well and ended up not making a ton of sense in my opinion.”

Some shows appeal to broad audiences, while others target only select groups.

“I tried to watch a few shows like ‘F is for Family’ and ‘Ginny and Georgia,’ but
I just couldn’t connect,” HU sophomore Kayla Quinnie said. “It felt like I was being fed content.”

Netflix describes “Ginny and Georgia” as a show about “free-spirited Georgia and her two kids, Ginny and Austin, who move north in search of a fresh start but find that the road to new beginnings can be bumpy.”

“‘Ginny and Georgia’ was overall a really fun show to experience,” Ethridge said. “The dynamic between Ginny and Georgia’s characters seemed very well established and evolved in a way that was slightly predictable but still enjoyable to see come to fruition. Additionally, I loved the side characters and how they influenced the decisions that both Ginny and Georgia made throughout the season.” 

People can have high or low expectations of new shows, or possibly no expectations at all. TV shows can elicit different responses from different people. 

“I was expecting something to just have on in the background, but all of these shows impressed me,” Webb said. 

People watch television for a variety of reasons. The characters and audience of a show can impact people’s final opinions of a show. 

“I look for shows to cater to our new age,” Quinnie said. “[I want] characters who seem real and I can connect to.”

A Look at the Legendary Debbie Allen

Trinity Goppy | Staff Writer

Debbie Allen, after more than 50 years in the entertainment industry, became the first Black woman to receive the Governor’s Award at the Emmys, which were broadcast by CBS on Sept. 19. 

“Let this moment resonate with women across the world and across this country, from Texas to Afghanistan,” she said during her acceptance speech. “It’s time for you to claim your power. Claim your voice, sing your song, tell your stories. It will make us a better place. Your turn.” 

Throughout Allen’s extensive career, she has broken down barriers for women. 

At the start of her career, Allen faced a common obstacle for many Black ballerinas. She was rejected by the North Carolina School of the Arts because her body structure did not fit the preferred image of a ballerina, according to The New York Times. Yet she persevered and made her debut on Broadway, which opened opportunities that would jump-start her career as an actress. 

Allen’s influence has made her a force to be reckoned with as she has won two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography and an Emmy Award for Best Actress. With her relationships in the industry, Allen dabbled in a singing career and released two solo albums. 

She also tried her hand at acting with her most known role as Lydia on the hit television show Fame. The show allowed Allen to express her artistic gifts as a choreographer, actress and director. 

As Allen’s talents gained recognition, she was inspired to do more behind the scenes, producing one of the fundamental cultural forces of Black television, A Different World. The show tackled several controversial topics in the ’90s. Black youth who watched the show often cite it as a defining reason they decided to attend an HBCU, according to the Netflix special Strong Black Lead

On top of her work, Allen has made it her mission to give back to her community by mentoring dancers who strive to achieve their dreams. In 2001, Allen started The Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA), a nonprofit organization that focuses on teaching dance and theater training, regardless of financial status. The academy has been open for more than 19 years and has served as a stepping-stone for young dancers.

Misty Copeland, the first Black female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, thanked Allen for her contributions.

“Debbie has been like a second mom to me by bringing me into the Black ballerina community and I am incredibly thankful for that,” Copeland said in an interview at the University of Southern California.

Even after her extended time in the entertainment industry, Allen is continuing to create opportunities for others. Recently, she had auditions for her popular musical, Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, which modernizes the original musical, The Nutcracker

The musical recently debuted on Netflix, and because of popular demand, Allen is relaunching the musical this December on Broadway.

Creative Block: Shining a light on Hampton’s artists

Nyle Paul | Staff Writer

Through all of the difficulties, both mentally and physically, that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, many people have turned to the arts to alleviate their hardships. Here at Hampton University, there is a community of artists who continue to grace their audiences with their creations despite the pandemic.

Xavier Lamberth is a third-year Architecture major from Sedalia, North Carolina. Lamberth is a multimedia graffiti artist, as well as the owner of a hand embroidery clothing brand. When asked how he describes his craft, he called it an “undefined version of me.”

Courtesy of Xavier Lamberth

To gain insight into what pushes him to create such elaborate and exciting pieces, he was asked who and what influence his art.

“My influences are my life,” Lamberth said. “I let my art come from my feelings. However, when I was younger, my influence came from DOKE, a graffiti artist.”

Courtesy of Xavier Lamberth

During these trying times, it is easy to lose grip on the motivation needed to continue pursuing personal goals, and artists may experience difficulty tapping back into their creative side. Lamberth touched on the source of his creative block and what he does to get past it.

“Most of my creative block comes from wanting to draw,” Lamberth said. “I like to draw when I want to draw, and that allows my creativity to flow without burning myself out. These breaks allow me to overcome those creative blocks.”

Courtesy of Xavier Lamberth

Although the pandemic has created a roadblock between many artists and the perseverance needed to stay dedicated to their craft, some artists, such as Lamberth, claim that their art has benefited from the social break that the pandemic brought.

“The pandemic has allowed me to stretch my feelings beyond myself and for my people,” Lamberth said.

Courtesy of Xavier Lamberth

For many colleges and universities, the arts aren’t heavily supported, making artists feel overlooked. The North Carolina native shared his thoughts on if he believes that the arts are getting the attention it deserves and if Hampton offers enough opportunities for exposure.

“No, I do not,” Lamberth said. “I feel as if there should be more places for artists of all media forms to be accepted. With my art form being graffiti, many people don’t really hold anything to spread it, but a lot of people love it.”

Courtesy of Xavier Lamberth

Along with his inspirations, the lasting impact he hopes his art will leave pushes Lamberth to continue his craft.

“I hope my art is able to allow people to understand that you’re not alone,” Lamberth said. “People have the same story or same feelings, and it’s OK to connect with my art. Because my art allows me to express my feelings so people can relate.”

Without a doubt, Lamberth has put forth a lot of hard work and dedication into his craft.

“To be honest, I’m going to be pushing out more canvases and allowing people to have custom items done,” Lamberth said.  “The clothing will also be custom made to order only.”

You can support Xavier by following his art page @mase_theartist and his clothing brand page @peaceof_me.

Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell

Noah Hogan | Staff Writer

Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

The thought of death weighed heavy on the mind of Christopher Wallace up until the day he died at age 24.

Wallace fell victim to gun violence on March 9, 1997, yet has left an unimaginable impact on the genre of hip-hop and music itself. 

Hailing from the epicenter of New York, the Notorious B.I.G.’s legacy will forever be echoed in rap conversations across the world. 

“Biggie is one of those names that is held in such high regard, but unfortunately I was born after he had already passed, so I am not so familiar with his work other than his major hits,” said Calyx Stover, a Hampton University journalism major from Boiling Springs, South Carolina.

Netflix’s  Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell, which debuted on the streaming service March 1, serves as one of the many pieces of posthumous content released by the Wallace estate in recent years. The documentary spans various forms of media, including his sophomore album, Life After Death, a 2009 biopic, Notorious, and various books and documentaries.

Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell finds its uniqueness as it is constructed using previously unseen footage provided by Biggie’s lifelong friend, Damion Butler. With executive production from the MC’s mother, Voletta Wallace, and lifelong friend, Sean “Puffy” Combs, the authenticity is felt throughout the film by incorporating interviews from friends and family who knew and understood Christopher Wallace best.

I Got A Story To Tell takes the opportunity to fully flesh out and explain Wallace’s relationship with his mother. Tracing the Wallaces’ roots back to Trelanny, Jamaica, Ms. Wallace details her difficult decision of chasing the American Dream or staying in Jamaica.

“I always daydreamed of being a filthy rich lady, a lady of means with three children,” Voletta Wallace said in the documentary. “I did not see that in the country for me. That was not my life.”

Photo by Dylan McLeod on Unsplash

Raising her son in Brooklyn as a first-generation American, Wallace found it instrumental to send Christopher to Jamaica every summer, where he would come back and share new music and dialect from his Uncle Joe. 

In an attempt to build on his natural talent of art, a local saxophonist, Donald Harrison, exposed Wallace to various forms of jazz artist such as Max Roach, who would later inspire some of Wallace’s rhyme schemes.

“He was already writing,” childhood friend Hubert Sam said in the documentary. “He had different rhyme books, and we’d all link up and start doing routines.” 

Although he attended a Catholic school from an early age, Wallace soon fell victim to the chaotic environment around him and began selling drugs on Fulton Street, an area notoriously known for hustlers and addicts. 

Over the course of the 97-minute runtime,  I Got a A Story To Tell depicts the ebbs and flows of Wallace’s double life. On one hand, he is depicted as a man who did what he felt he must do to provide for his family and those in his support system. On the other hand, he was a man who dedicated himself to a life of crime out of fear of his financial woes.

“I think this documentary was much-needed for the perception of Biggie,” Stover said. “Other hip-hop legends that have passed like Tupac have a good amount of interviews and other footage so that people could get a feel for who they were. On the contrary, besides the songs, Biggie is a complete mystery.”

 In an attempt to connect the Christopher Wallace story to a younger audience, director Emmett Malloy made it his mission telling the side of Biggie that fans don’t know. Instead of focusing on the infamous East Coast vs. West Coast conflict, he makes better use of the narrative by honing in on the circumstances and relationships that made Christopher Wallace. 

I Got a A Story To Tell does its best to fill in the gaps of Christopher Wallace’s story of growth through trials and tribulation. Scene after scene, viewers get an idea of the type of character that Biggie was through the use of home video clips of day-to-day activities. The same individuals from the artist’s childhood would reappear again in new roles as Wallace’s companions at his performances and live appearances.

Twenty-four years after his death, I Got a Story To Tell leaves fans with the burning question: Why was a man so talented slain so young? In an attempt to rationalize and humanize Wallace, fans are left with the cold reality of what could have been.

“Christopher Wallace certainly had a great ear,” said Faith Evans, Wallace’s wife, in the documentary. “He was super intelligent with his way of words, and he probably would have set them all up with gold and platinum albums, if they showed that that was what they wanted to do.”

Billboard-charting Hampton music producer is making a name for himself

Jamel Rogers | Staff Writer

Photo Creds: Manny Young (Photojournalist)

Christian Ho started charting a path to success before he got to Hampton University.

Ho, aka “DatKidChris,” first made the beat to Middle Child at age 17 during his junior year in high school. He produced the song by PnB Rock and XXXTentacion.

After Middle Child’s release, it ranked No. 91 on Billboard’s Top 100 and No. 37 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop Hot 100 for the week of May 18, 2019. The song peaked in the top 10 in all of Apple Music. The music video has 62 million streams on YouTube. 

Ho, now 21 and a third-year computer science major from Woolwich Township, New Jersey, was honored to work with PnB Rock.

“PnB Rock is a monumental figure in the music industry in the Philadelphia/New Jersey area,” Ho said. “I was a big fan of his work before working with him and am honored to have been a part of his project, TrapStar Turnt PopStar, which was released in May of 2019.” 

That was less than a year after XXXTentacion was shot dead at age 20, according to The New York Times.

Ho believes XXXTentacion would have been one of the greatest artists of this generation.

The beats go on

Ho has worked really hard to get to this point and estimated that he has made around “3,000 beats since starting [his] musical journey in 2016.”

He also has unreleased tracks with recording artist Playboi Carti, titled Let’s Get It and Rollie. Ho hopes those songs will make Carti’s rumored deluxe version of his critically acclaimed 2020 album, Whole Lotta Red, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 100 in December 2020.

Ho also has a recently released project with an upcoming Philadelphia artist named Lil Bape, Neighborhood Popstar, which is available on all streaming services.

Hampton influences

Ho’s mother is a proud Hampton alumna who is one of many who influenced his decision to attend Hampton University. 

His interest in technology motivated his interest in the computer science department. He has aspirations to make his own software application that will tie both music and technology together for creators like himself. Ho wishes there were more outlets for aspiring producers/creatives like himself at the university, including more label opportunities and listening events for artists to get their names out there.

His Hampton University inspiration is DJ Envy, a prominent Hampton alumnus and host of the nationally syndicated radio station 105.1 The Breakfast Club. His other inspirations include Pi’erre Bourne, Metro Boomin and Pharrell Williams. 

What separates him

Many people have asked him to collaborate and wonder why he does not work with many artists, and it is because he is very critical of his art and has to believe in an artist’s vision to work with them. He states that many people just release art, hoping that it works instead of focusing on putting the best product out there and being unique, which he believes separates him from many other creatives. 

You can follow Christian Ho’s musical journey by following his social media platforms, @DatKidChrisOnDaTrack, and he encourages other fellow Hampton creatives to contact him to collaborate or for tips on how to start making music. 

Hampton students react to Nintendo’s cornerstone pieces receiving well-deserved reboots for historic retro games

 Isaiah Taylor | Staff Writer

Since the beginning of Nintendo’s reign as one of the leading video game franchises, titles                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     such as Super Mario, Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda have been the cornerstones for Nintendo, playing a vital role in the prestige amassed over the years. Fans worldwide are all celebrating significant anniversaries this year.

One of the biggest anniversaries on Nintendo’s list to celebrate in 2021 is The Legend of Zelda. The original NES title was released in 1986, and since then, the series has only gotten more prominent as the years progressed.

“Each Zelda title is a huge release to the fanbase and has always brought such unique concepts and gameplay with every game released,” said Janee’ Hoover, a third-year Hampton University business major from Detroit.

The latest Legend of Zelda game to be given a reboot is the Nintendo Wii installment of Skyward Sword. Dropping on July 16, it has been more than 11 years since the initial release in 2011.  The game also supports button-only controls, owing to the Switch Lite’s absence of removable hand controllers.

“I was completely blown away, seeing Skyward Sword on the switch. All of those same emotions from playing this game in my childhood came flooding back in full force,” said Vincent Thomas, a fourth-year HU graphic design major from New York. “Nintendo is going crazy this year, and I’m 100% here for it.”

In addition to The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo is also focused on getting the most from each and every new retro game reboot going forward. Next to Zelda, Pokémon is the most extensive series celebrating a milestone in 2021. Primarily, the plans for this will be orchestrated by the Pokémon Company and Game Freak. 

During the Pokémon anniversary live stream, the Pokémon Company announced the release of reboots for Pokémon Diamond and Pearl coming in November 2021 and titled Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. The company also announced that it is releasing a new Pokémon game unlike any other, called Pokémon Arceus. Pokémon Arceus will be an open-world, non-linear game that will combat the previous mold of all the other games released in the past. 

“I love my switch, but now I feel like I’m truly getting my money’s worth with these new Pokémon games,” said Jonathan Lowe, a third-year HU marketing major from Atlanta. “I literally cannot wait until these games drop this year. So much nostalgia.”

Last but not least, the Super Mario franchise is a worldly renowned platformer adventure game released in arcades in 1983 before being ported to the SNES and NES. Not only is it one of the most iconic and influential arcade titles of its time, but it’s still vastly popular today with hundreds of games that have captivated fans for decades. It introduced so many beloved characters that have grown alongside Nintendo. 

With the anniversary being celebrated year-round, Nintendo launched Super Mario Bros. 35, a free online battle game available to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, along with an exclusive Game & Watch Super Mario Bros. handheld console. When the games were announced on the 35th anniversary of Nintendo Direct, the company said all of these would be removed from sale on March 31 indefinitely. This makes them potential prized collector items. 

“I’ve been a Mario fan ever since I could remember,” said Brooke Marshton, first-year HU liberal arts major from Bowie, Maryland. “All of these Nintendo releases are just adding to the everlasting love I have for Nintendo. I can’t wait to play!” 

Oprah Has a Groundbreaking Tell-All Interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

Anyae Johns | Staff Writer

Photo Credit: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP News The full interview is available

On March 7, in a two-hour-long CBS special, Oprah sat down with Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, alone to discuss adjusting to the royal life while juggling marriage, parenthood, and howMarkle was dealing with the negative publicity. Later within the special, Prince Harry joined the two to discuss their new life in America and their future plans. 

Last spring, the now-former Duke and Duchess of Sussex turned down their titles and all things associated with their royal titles. Throughout the course of their marriage and even prior, Meghan Markleclaimed to be bullied by the Royal Institution and the British Press. Most feel as though it was because of her being biracial. Meghan Markle’s mother is black, and her father is white.

Markle stated that she went into the Royal marriage “naively” and did not know what to expect. In Markle’s expression, she opened up about the experience, which prompted Oprah to ask Markle, “Were you silent or were you silenced?”

“The latter,” said Markle.

At that moment, Markle revealed to Oprah and over 17.1 million viewers that the British Institution silenced her. 

The Duchess of Sussex proclaimed that she did not feel “protected” from the institution, nor did she feel “supported.” The lack of regard for her well-being negatively impacted her during events, outings and she believed it was simply because of her race. 

Markle also revealed that the Royal Family did not want her first child to be granted the title of  prince or princess and would not receive the protection accompanied with a royal title because of “how dark his or her skin might be when they are born.” At the time, they did not know that they were having a son (Archie).

Markle was under a lot of stress and stated that she contemplated suicide.

“I just didn’t see a solution…it was all happening just because I was breathing,” said Markle. “I knew if I didn’t say it, I would do it, and I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”

Markle even reached out to the Institution for help regarding her mental health but received nothing. 

“I can’t believe the Institution, an organization there for her protection, offered no help to her at all,” said Laniya Sims, a second-year marketing major from Baltimore, MD. “I am so glad they found peace outside of that organization.”

In 2019, the couple left the UK and moved to Canada, intending to continue their duties for the Queen. The two moved to California recently after leaving Canada in 2019 after the Royal Family cut ties with the couple.

The couple told Oprah that they did not blindside the Queen or the Royal Family like the British media claimed. Prince Harry and Meghan wanted to “take a step back” with his family because they were not getting the help he requested. 

“And what we were seeing was history repeating itself, but perhaps far more dangerous because then you add race into it and then social media in it,” said Prince Harry. “When I say history repeating itself, I’m talking about my mother.”

Prince Harry claims he was not aware of many things regarding bias until he met his wife, Meghan. He asked for “calm from the press” more than once. Today, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are thriving in their new home in California, raising their son Archie and awaiting their baby girl.

“The interview exposed that racial barriers still need to be broken globally and exposes the truth about the Royal Family that many people had prior misconceptions about,” said Aniyah Oberlton, senior strategic communications major at Hampton University.

Creative Block: Promise Robinson’s triumph through music

Nyle Paul | Staff Writer

Courtesy of @promtheproducer

The COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting the lives of many artists, and they are still coping with the restrictive reality that this “new normal” has brought.

Here at our home by the sea, we have a large community of artists, all of whom deserve to be recognized for their talents. As the wrath of the coronavirus still lingers, it is important  to get insight on how these artists are staying dedicated to their work.

Promise Robinson is a second-year audio production major from Neptune, New Jersey. A musician, songwriter and producer, Robinson has produced and released a number of pieces throughout the pandemic, including productions that feature other artists at Hampton. To give a bit more insight on her artistry, Promise goes in depth with her craft. 

“To describe my artistry, I’d like to think of it as baking a layered cake,” Robinson said.

“I started getting serious about music my junior year of high school, so from there I found the right resources, or ingredients, to build up my career. From getting to open up for little showcases in my city to winning those showcases, I used that as my foundation, my base, to get me to where I am now, which is best described as the second layer of the cake. I can feel myself getting closer to my goals, the top, etc., but I still got a lot more learning, teaching and reaching before it’s time to blow the candles out.”

Promise then touched on the influences that helped her step into her creativity.

“Though my list goes on forever, whenever someone asks who my influences are, I think it’s the most Jersey thing in me to say Lauryn Hill, but that’s who is a major influence on not only my life but my career,” Robinson said. 

“She’s been real since she stepped on the scene, and she never steered away from showing vulnerability as an artist. I feel like music is at its purest form when it’s relatable, when you’re telling your story, and it’s not only therapeutic for you the artist, but for the people listening. And you know, I think that’s why I gravitate so close to Ms. Hill because her music is that for me, and that’s what I aspire to be for others.”

Courtesy of @promtheproducer

As mentioned, the coronavirus has left many in financial hardships. The heavy physical restrictions that were set in place also challenged many artists’ capabilities to support themselves by getting the equipment needed to better their craft.  Promise shared how the difficulties that she ran into affected her craft. 

“My biggest takeaway from the pandemic is that it taught me how to be still,” Robinson said. “I was so used to being out and spending money I didn’t really have, so because I didn’t have anywhere to go and spend all my money, I was really able to save up and ultimately invest in myself, and that started with my music equipment. I was fortunate enough to keep my summer job, and even more fortunate to have no delays when ordering things like my laptop, studio monitors and desk. Curbside pickup is a blessing!”

With the physical and financial hardships, the pandemic has lowered people’s motivation to do the tasks that were once a part of their daily lives. Promise touched on how her artistic motivation has been altered throughout the pandemic.

  “It wasn’t that I didn’t want to work on music,” Robinson said. “I loved working on music, especially working on my first love, which is music production.  It was really having motivation for writing songs and gathering my thoughts for my project that wasn’t really flowing like I wanted it. However, it wasn’t until I mentally took myself to things that I’m passionate about and expanded as a songwriter. I expressed myself in ways I’ve only dreamed of, and it came down to me remembering the joy of writing isn’t just to write about where I’m at right now in life, but it’s to write about where I came from and where I’m going, too.”

Creative block is something that almost all artists are familiar with, and the pandemic creates a space for artists to be more prone to creative block. Promise explained how often she suffered from creative block throughout this pandemic and what she did to push past it.

“If I have a creative block, it always seems to happen when it doesn’t feel like the right time or place for my creativity to flow,” Robinson said. 

“However, I knew I needed to figure out the best times for each of my creative processes, and that became the most effective way to get the most out of my day. Much like everybody else, I really found what works for me during this pandemic, and with that, I noticed that I work best when I make beats at night, write lyrics in the morning and record in the afternoon. It’s almost like the beat marinates in my mind overnight, and then I wake up, and the lyrics are just cooking up. It’s a super satisfying feeling, and you would be surprised how much free time I’d still have after going so hard.”

With the pandemic skewing normality, it brings about the question of how some artists have been able to keep focus on their art during this difficult time. Promise shares her difficulties with focusing, and drops gems while explaining what she did to get past distractions.

“It all came down to a matter of knowing myself, knowing where I want to be, and knowing that I didn’t want to be the same person I was coming into this pandemic when I came out!” Robinson said. “Just off personal experience, and losing my Pop-pop, cousins, uncles, etc. I realized how easy it is to fall off, rather than keep moving forward, but that would be my advice. Keep moving forward! Put good purpose behind the pain and get inspired.”

Courtesy of @promtheproducer

“I had to go through and find the small joys in life, dreaming, and manifesting to realize my drive can go through any obstacle that’s in my way,” Robinson continued.

“And with that I was able to drop music every month since May, including my multiple singles, three projects, two of which were my own, and one of which was executed by me, for a good friend of mine. With so much going on right now, this brings me so much joy and motivation because I found my rhythm, and I really don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

While dropping music throughout the pandemic, it goes without saying that Promise has been putting in work this year.

“I’m currently working on releasing another single called ‘Brown Sugar’ featuring two amazingly talented singers who I love dearly!” Robinson said. “This single will also be included on the deluxe version of my latest project called ‘Colors Too.’

“But in the meantime stream the non-deluxe version titled ‘Colors’ and stay tuned for more!” 

Fans can support Promise Robinson by following her instagram account @Promtheproducer, where a lot of her work is featured. Her music is available on all streaming platforms.

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.