Gucci criticized for sweater’s resemblance to blackface

Amber Smith | Staff Writer

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Flickr User Heidi Uusitorppa

The popular fashion brand Gucci infuriated many customers with its release of a black sweater which resembles blackface.

The black wool balaclava sweater – appearing similar to blackface, the practice of non-black performers wearing black makeup on their face in order to make a mockery of the behaviors and features of black people – arrived as an unappreciated, unpleasant surprise during Black History Month.

While some people say this was merely a lapse in judgment from the brand, others think this is an outward act of racism and have decided to boycott Gucci altogether.

“Mistakes like these are unacceptable in 2019,” Hampton University student Jada George said. “Although this shows that Gucci needs to employ more people of color so designs like these won’t happen, anyone with a basic-level education should have taken one look at this sweater and said ‘no,’ but the fact that it reached the approval to make it into stores shows that we have a bigger issue going on in our country.”

Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, told NBC News the company is committed to facing what happened as a crucial learning moment and that the design causes him grief. Apparently, the sweater was intended to be a tribute to Leigh Bowery, an Australian performance artist, club promoter and fashion designer known for his flamboyant makeup and costumes.

The controversial sweater, priced at $890, has since been removed from stores and online after being widely criticized.

“I feel like it was a lack of knowledge more so than them trying to be outright racist,” HU student Taylor Dotson said. “The fact that Gucci was able to release this shows that there are not enough black people on their team and the white people who are have a lack of knowledge.”

Since the design’s release, Gucci has come under great scrutiny and criticism from celebrities and fashion enthusiasts on social media.

Rapper T.I., a customer who spends tens of thousands of dollars a year on Gucci, took to Instagram to explain how he does not accept the apology from the luxury brand and called for a boycott of the brand until it learns how to respect its black customers. He even encouraged his followers to instead support black-owned fashion brands such as ServedFresh and Amir James.

“I feel like once this blows over, black people will be wearing Gucci again,” HU student Destiny McFadden said. “I don’t want to support Gucci, but at the same time, I’ve spent my money on it, so I wouldn’t just burn it. But I’m definitely going to support other brands instead.”

Reacting to rejection

Mia Concepcion | Staff Writer

The word “no” is commonly feared and disliked. Rejection often evokes feelings of inadequacy. Discouragement begins to linger, competence is questioned, and uncertainty arises upon hearing this unsettling word.

In life, not every request or desire will be answered with a yes. Sometimes, the words “no” and “maybe” are more appropriate for a situation. When events do not play out as hoped, the plan toward achieving a goal must be adjusted. Both the route to goals and goals themselves ought to be flexible—therefore it is important to learn how to healthily and appropriately respond to rejection without distorting oneself.

When faced with rejection, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, never use this failure as a measure of self-worth. Just because some things are not executed as imagined, potential and talent still remain. In fact, this potential still has the ability to improve. Do not be overcome with defeat by a single incident. Rejection can be a driving source of motivation for progress in life. Use this simple “no” to energize your desire to claim what is yours. You are more than capable of realizing your dreams.

There is no single way to be successful, as seen by individuals who have attained their own personal goals.

“I just have to take a step back and assess the situation,” said Amirah Manes, a junior biology pre-med major from Suffolk. “I like to see what I could have done better to avoid making the same mistake the next time around.”

You can compensate for rejection by contemplating the various ways in which a goal can still be achieved. There is no single way to be successful, as seen by individuals who have attained their own personal goals.

Unlearn rigid thinking and be flexible in how you attempt to fulfill your aspirations. If the first plan failed, then it is time to either reroute your direction or alter the goal. Stop trying to mimic what everyone else is doing because they seem to be doing well. Follow your own route toward the objective, and remember to offer help to those who need it along the way.

“My reaction towards rejection depends on who it is coming from,” said Clarence Stevens, a fourth-year psychology major from New Jersey. “If it stems from a close friend, then I’ll try to avoid blaming myself for what happened. If [the rejection comes] from an internship, then I assume that it wasn’t meant to be and continue applying for others.”

Finally, do not be afraid of rejection. No one will ever do everything perfectly the first time, because perfection is impossible. Give yourself room for error and expect the occasional rejection. Be open to making mistakes and learning from them.

Davion, a second-year psychology major from Newark, New Jersey, said, “Rejection has taught me to attempt all things even if the answer is no. I sometimes expect it to, just because I know that is how life works.”

Cardi B has golden touch with Invasion of Privacy

Selena Roberts | Staff Writer

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Selena Roberts

The hip hop industry, up until now, has been dominated by men. With the rise of Cardi B, it might not stay that way for long.

 

Invasion of Privacy, her awaited debut studio album, was released April 6, and it already has gone gold. This accomplishment is mostly due to the success of her hit record “Bodak Yellow,” which debuted last summer.

 

According to The New York Times, the Invasion of Privacy album is reminiscent of the 1990s and the 2000s, when New York rap was beginning to test its pop edges.

 

The album features other artists such as 21 Savage, Migos, Chance the Rapper, SZA and Kehlani. There are 13 songs, each with unique sounds.

 

Invasion of Privacy starts off with “Get Up 10” and ends with “I Do,” featuring SZA.  Each song covers a different a topic, from the pressures of fame to relationship issues.

 

“I’ve always been a fan of Cardi B,” Hampton University freshman psychology major Tanaya Jones said. “She’s always worked hard for what she wants. Invasion of Privacy is just another indicator of how talented she is. She keeps on changing the game through her own unique way.”

 

On Saturday Night Live, Cardi confirmed that recent pregnancy rumors were true by debuting her baby bump to the world during her performance. After the reveal, Cardi stated backstage that she was “finally free.”

 

Next, fans can catch Cardi on Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic World Tour in the upcoming months. She also has a deal in the works to partner with the fashion brand Fashion Nova to create her own clothing line.

Amateur not so amateur

Ryland Staples | Staff Writer

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Screenshot from Netflix taken by Ryland Staples

Amateur, a new Netflix original film, takes a look at the lives of extraordinary high school basketball talents in the United States. It explores and explains how everything isn’t always what it seems when it comes to the talent pool of prospects.

 

The main character of the movie is Terron Forte (played by Michael Rainey Jr.), an eighth-grader who started in the public school system but already plays for the local high school team. Forte is a star there. He makes everything look easy against opponents. His encounters with opponents include fancy dribble combinations, flashy passes and amazing shooting. Forte is the unopposed star. However, his home life isn’t the best.

 

His mother is a night school teacher, and his father falls in and out of employment. His father deals with constant headaches and chronic pain all over his body due to his past career as an NFL player. His dad is an integral part of his life. He is his self-proclaimed manager, meaning that he records Terron’s highlights and uploads them to the internet.

 

When Terron gets home and does his math homework, he struggles with it on a daily basis. He suffers from a rare form of dyslexia that makes it almost impossible for him to be able to read numbers. Later in the movie, it even affects him on the court. Forte isn’t able to read the scoreboard/shot clock.

 

Terron Forte is offered a full-ride scholarship to play on one of the top high school teams in the country. His mother is concerned that he’s still in eighth grade and will be attending high school, so he ends up commuting to a nearby middle school. At this point in the movie, he’s ready to play and be taken seriously as a national prospect. When he arrives, he moves in with the team.

 

As expected, he isn’t treated with the utmost respect. He has to deal with the common jeers of “You don’t belong here” and “Who let the middle schooler on the team?” He has to carry the older players’ bags, and he doesn’t get the opportunity to play as much as he did while he was in the public school system. School isn’t the same either; he rarely goes to any of his classes.

 

This mirrors what’s happening in today’s amateur basketball landscape. There is an increasing number of players who feel there’s no point in pursuing an education, and many college players decide to only play for a year and go to the NBA. With this in mind, they only attend class for the first semester so they’re able to stay eligible to play in the second semester.

 

Amateur is a movie to which many student-athletes can relate. Check it out on Netflix to see how Forte’s future plays out.

Growing criticism on mainstream rap music

Jaelan Leonard | Contributing Writer

Hip-hop/rap music is a global phenomenon that permeates every facet of our society.

Hip-hop doesn’t just influence the mainstream, it is the mainstream. However, its recent decline in sales and growth in criticism have said otherwise.

In a span of more than 40 years, rap music has evolved to fit the cultural aspects of the changing society.

Many individuals use rap music as a form of expression to explain ongoing problems that they are facing.

The internet has changed the music industry to allow for creative musical expression.

It is also a great tool that allows independent musicians to find a global audience without having to have major labels back them up.

According to RecordingConnection.com, the internet has made music more accessible to the public and has also made it difficult for artists to make money in the process.

Hip-hop began in the 1970s and originated in New York City. Back then, hip-hop gave the black and Latino youth an outlet to express themselves.

The development created a movement that influenced how people dress, speak and socialize with peers. “Gangster rap” quickly followed suit and spread like wildfire in the 1980s.

It was marked as the beginning of a “rough era.”

Kayla Key, a senior from Pittsburgh, said, “In my opinion, I feel like I’ve heard a lot of the same kind of beats, and I feel like there’s not a lot of originality.”

In a poll of African-Americans by The Associated Press and AOL-Black Voices last year, 50 percent of respondents said hip-hop was a negative force in American society.
Despite this poll, many young Americans still idolize these upcoming rappers.

Hip-hop/rap music has been blamed for a variety of social injustices.

Studies have shown that there is an attempted link from rap music to teen drug use and increased sexual activity.

Many people believe that the sole purpose of today’s rap music is to make profit, and that the era of lyricism and storytelling is ending.

Also, there’s a criminal aspect that has been related to rap music.

In the ’70s, groups may have rapped about drug-dealing and street violence, but rap stars weren’t the embodiment of criminals themselves.

In today’s era, the most popular and successful rappers boast about murders, dealing drugs and sexualizing women.

“It all depends on the artists that you listen to,” Gabrielle Snipes, a Hampton alumna, said.

“On the trap side, you are definitely going to get rappers who talk about drugs, living in the trap, etc. Other artists discuss awareness on certain [topics] like mental illness.”

Criticism of hip-hop/rap music is nothing new; it has become a part of the culture.

The question is, will society fuel the progression of horrible music or uplift the ones who are trying to make a breakthrough by returning hip-hop to originality?

Marshall Movie Review

Selena Roberts | Staff Writer

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Courtesy of Dahyo Coleman

This time of year promises new films that will be sure to generate excitement from audiences everywhere. One film that is sure to get Oscar buzz is none other than Marshall. Marshall is a unique biopic that showcases the esteemed judge’s early beginnings as a young lawyer working for the NAACP. The film displays Thurgood Marshall’s career and life before his victorious win in Brown VS. Board of Education, the case responsible for desegregating schools in 1954, and his role as the first African American Supreme Court Justice.

The film stars Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall, Sterling K. Brown as Joseph Spell, Josh Gad as Sam Friedman and Kate Hudson as wealthy socialite Eleanor Strubing. The plot centers on Thurgood Marshall’s attempt to clear an innocent black man’s name, Joseph Spell, after he is accused of sexual assault and attempted murder by his white employer Eleanor Strubing. Joseph struggles to prove his innocence, but with Marshall’s guidance, he is given a fighting chance.

The movie shows a different side of Thurgood Marshall that was not often showed to the public. Viewers get to see him as someone who is righteous, but is willing to go above and beyond even if it means breaking the rules in order to get justice for those who deserve it. One poignant line that Boseman’s character stated during the film was, “I only represent innocent people, people accused because of their race…that’s my mission.”

This is not Boseman’s first time playing an influential figure on the big screen. He first starred as Jackie Robinson in 42 in 2013. He then took on the role of James Brown in Get On Up in 2014. Like his previous roles, Boseman’s role in Marshall did not disappoint.

The movie’s plot correlates with society today, as it is released during a time where many are at odds with the Trump administration. Minorities are still facing opposition from the government. Boseman spoke on how timely the film is. He stated, “It’s so unfortunate that it’s so, so relevant at this time period, but at least we have it to shed light and to give people hope, to remind people. There’s the phrase ‘Make America Great Again,’ but how did we make America great? Who did it? It was Thurgood Marshall who did it.”

Steven Tompson, a freshman political science major, said, “As someone who is aspiring to be a lawyer, I think that it is great to have a movie like this. Not only is it inspiring, but I learned more about someone I consider a hero.”

Roseanne is making a rosy return

Naomi Ludlow | Arts & Entertainment Editor

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Courtesy of Dahyo Coleman

The 1990s hit sitcom “Roseanne” is back with an even bigger bang. Actress Sara Gilbert, who played Darlene, proposed the idea to the cast members back in March. Hesitant that the stars wouldn’t be up for it, Gilbert held back on her plans. Once actor John Goodman, who played Dan Conner, had an appearance on The Talk and discussed the show, Gilbert knew the sitcom could have a chance at being a hit once again. When she spoke to Goodman, she was reassured that the show would be highly anticipated. Gilbert will be the executive producer of this revival.

“Roseanne” brought the reality of the working class to television. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Gilbert said, “That’s a voice that’s not been spoken for enough in this country and we feel hopefully that we can be a uniting force in that way.” She hopes that members of the working class audience will be able to relate to the show and see the family as a reflection of them.

As for what’s to come in the reboot, the cast and producers want to leave the audience in suspense. One question that was answered concerned the role and well-being of Dan. In the original series finale, Dan Conner died of a heart attack, but in the revival he will be alive and well. Goodman is excited to make his return to the screen as this character. These actors are looking at this reboot as a “magical” experience. People who grew up watching the show are anticipating its comeback. Fans have expressed their excitement on social media, some saying that their “TV mom” is back, and others saying it was the best show for them while growing up.

You can expect to see many familiar faces along with some new ones, as the storyline has been altered. Roseanne Barr (Roseanne), John Goodman (Dan), Laurie Metcalf (Jackie), Sara Gilbert (Darlene), Lecy Goranson (Becky) and Michael Fishman (DJ) will be back in 2018. Shameless’ Emma Kenney will make her way to the show. We don’t know what to expect besides tons of comedic relief throughout the season. The cast and production team are hopeful that Roseanne will have a successful revival and that the audience will still love it.

The cast has been uploading behind the scenes pictures that can be found on the Roseanne ABC Instagram page and ABC.com.

The eight-episode reboot was announced back in May and the production began in October. Roseanne will return to television screens in 2018 on ABC.

 

 

Lost in translation in a “united” nation

Randall Williams | Sports Editor

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ESPN

Colin Kaepernick’s name over the past year has remained a frequent subject of discussion when it comes to the NFL. His protest over the racial inequality and social injustice has heard plenty of praise but also a significant amount of disapproval as well.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback aimed to spread awareness of the topics by kneeling during the national anthem last season.

“Kaepernick [was] not trying to disrespect fallen soldiers that have fought to protect the country for what it is today,” Hampton University sophomore Preston Randolph said this week. “He only wants equality and fairness.”

A week after the media frenzy began, Kaepernick’s jersey sales skyrocketed to the top, making him at the time the No. 1-selling jersey in the NFL. Time passed, and talk of protesting the league until he stood began.

The ratings of NFL games dropped 8 percent in January, according to Rolling Stone magazine. Many owners across the league believed this was due to the protests started by the onetime Super Bowl quarterback.

Kaepernick was released in March, and he has yet to be signed. The word “blackball” was mentioned often. Celebrities such as rapper and producer J. Cole, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley are just a few notable names in a sea full of people who say NFL owners have ostracized Kaepernick. Others believe that since his former team has not been producing, there is no reason to sign him.

President Donald Trump in March gave his own explanation on why Kaepernick remained unsigned. Trump’s reasoning was that “NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet.”

Six months later, the president’s attack was more personal than ever. Trump attended an Alabama rally in support of Luther Strange on Sept. 23 and said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of [an expletive] off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

The comment was extremely unexpected. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was one of the first to respond the following day, saying, “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.” From there, an array of responses occurred from players and celebrities.

This was Saturday, though, and when Sunday came, the whole world waited to see how NFL teams would react as organizations. Division was the result. Teams kneeled together. Teams locked arms. Three teams stayed in the locker room. Some teams were split in between standing and taking a knee. Trump, however, did not back down, and instead sent another load of tweets reiterating his point that everyone should stand.

A day passed, and then the Dallas Cowboys were the center of attention. Jerry Jones, owner of “America’s Team,” was also a point of focus. This was due to his avid support of Trump over the past two years in his run as a politician, even donating $1 million. The team knelt and locked arms, all while being booed by the crowd.

People who did not agree with protests during the anthem began using the hashtag “I Stand” on social media and also discussed boycotting the NFL until the players stand. The NFL was already being boycotted by some American citizens for Kaepernick’s unemployment.

So two sides who oppose each other are now doing the same thing to try to cripple the nation’s most popular sport.

“I feel because of Trump’s comments towards the NFL [that] people are now missing the point of why the knee was taken in the first place,” Hampton student Kevin Monday said.

Has America become lost in Trump’s comments? Is the U.S. forgetting the purpose of the original protest? Although there are individual players such as Bennett, Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and more who have remained kneeling for the original cause, there is a discrepancy.

Since teams in Week 3 took a knee following Trump’s comments, the impression was conveyed that they are kneeling out of humiliation by the president.

A humiliation that was met without a response would have been an embarrassment. To avoid this, the league responded accordingly.

 

Styling tips from Hampton University student hairstylists

Sierra Armstrong | Contributing Writer

When it comes to hair in college, things can get tricky. You aren’t sure if you should wear your real hair, get a weave, or rock braids. The thought of doing your own hair every day seems tiring, trying to find a new hairstylist in college is terrifying, and weaves and braids might break your bank account. So what do you do? Paris Stallworth and Deneara Worthy, student hairstylists, are here to solve some of your hair troubles with a few styling tips.

Paris Stallworth is a sophomore pre-law criminal justice major from Los Angeles, California. She specializes in braids, weaves, wigs, and natural hair. “With my mom being a professional stylist, I was born in the hair salon. My experience is what makes me special,” says Stallworth.

Deneara Worthy is a junior education major, biology minor from Durham, North Carolina. She specializes in sewing weaves, doing natural hair, and braiding. Worthy says, “What makes me special as a hairstylist is [that] I’m versatile and a fast learner. You can come to me with a style I have never done and I will pick up on it and do it for you.”

Protective styling is crucial in college. A protective style is any style where your hair is completely covered or tucked away to reduce daily damage of manipulating your hair. These styles include box braids, feed-in braids, weaves, and wigs.

When it comes to protective styling, Paris and Deneara recommend braids for college students. “When wearing braids your hair is fully protected. This allows it to grow and keeps it from breaking off,” says Stallworth. The best part about a protective style is being able to freely experiment with weaves and braids without damaging your own hair.

Now, what happens when you wake up and don’t have any clue of how to style your protective style or your natural hair? For weave-wearers, Deneara suggested trying a slick ponytail or bun because they are sleek and stylish, yet simple.

For natural hair, a quick puff is always an easy style; but if you want a different look, Paris says to give flexi rods a try. For box braids, Deneara’s go-to style is a half up bun, half down look.

Those days when your hair just will not cooperate and it turns into a complete bad hair day, what do you do? Paris recommends to stock up on head wraps. Head wraps can be worn in a low bun, high bun, or wrapped however you want while completely covering your bad hair day and creating a cute style.

Another tip from Paris is to try two braids. “Two braids are my go-to. You can pull them back, pull them into a bun, braid down the front and leave the back out. You can never go wrong with two braids,” says Stallworth.

Girls may not know where to start when it comes to buying hair products for these styles. Stores have thousands of hair products, but which ones are the best? For the weave-wearers, Deneara’s preferred list of products are edge control, a flat iron, a toothbrush for your edges, and a comb. Paris suggests the brand “Chi” for girls who put heat on their hair.

For natural hair, Deneara and Paris both love Mielle Organics. Worthy also says, “Cantu has a really good product line for natural hair. Eco-styler gel is also a necessity for natural hair.”

To contact Deneara Worthy, her hair Instagram is @worthy_looks, and her personal Instagram is @denearaeshon. If you want to reach Paris Stallworth, her hair Instagram is @lahandz and her personal Instagram is @parisjimmera.

 

“Real Estate” revisits familiar sounds with “In Mind”

Aaron Worley | Arts & Entertainment Editor

Indie rock band Real Estate has undergone a variety of changes since their debut album, “Real Estate.” In the beginning, their sound was more focused on a beachy and calm tone that carried some of their most popular guitar patterns they continued to implement on later projects. It was glorious, and set the mood for “Days,” their sophomore effort. It had much more of a subliminal psychedelic tone than “Real Estate,” and opened up a gateway for repeating sounds that featured more production overlays than previously implemented. Their following album, “Atlas,” was monumental in that it carried such raw emotion that they had never shown before. The album was sad, deep, and explored personal relationships sung by Martin Courtney, the lead vocalist of the band. This new content was interesting to hear and became one of their more critically lauded projects. The latest album by them, “In Mind,” exhibits a lesser amount of emotion, favoring a balance between their iconic sound that made them popular and more upbeat songs. While this isn’t necessarily bad, it does feel redundant at times and hearing about long nights does not compare to Atlas’s broad range of emotion and feelings suggested.

The opening track, “Darling” paints a picture of Courtney in either a grassy or suburban house, waiting for his love to come back. With a soft and hopeful tenor he sings, “The night surrenders softly/The moon retreats from sight/The darkness that surrounds me/The sun cuts like a knife to shine.” Though the lyrical content is not varied and is often limited, it can be sensed that the narrator is wishing for something to actually happen with his relationships. He feels that the days have been turning into nights quicker than he thought, and is growing tired of letting life pass without his love interest.

The fifth track, “Two Arrows,” stands as one of the highlights of the project, explores a vivid description of a dark town, and the journey of walking through it with someone. The guitar work is fantastic and gives the mood an actual sound. It is reminiscent of “All The Same,” which was the final track on “Days.” The repetitiveness of the guitar added a ‘loop’ pattern that most users of psychedelics tend to experience, where a visual element or sound repeats itself, hence the name. The ending of “Two Arrows” starts to become much more raucous than how it started, before it almost abruptly cuts off to lead into “White Light.” This could be taken as a symbolization of the narrator’s decaying state of mind as he plunges deeper into darkness.

On “Diamond Eyes,” there is a country influence, as was the case for “How Might I Live” on Atlas.” While this may be a departure from their iconic sound and may confuse some, it is a showcase of the band’s experimental qualities and their desire to broaden their sphere of influence. Courtney sings, “I will not go quietly” in the dialect of a southern gentleman, and draws empathy for the situation he is dealing with. “Saturday,” which is the best showcase for the band’s guitar work, is fantastically driven by an opening piano, as well as the later guitar tempos that bring the album to a satisfying close.

While it may not attract a good amount of fans who have not heard of the band before, “In Mind” stays true to what original fans hoped for in a new release, though to an amount that offers less catchiness and replay ability than their previous efforts.