Jay Electronica tweets that his debut album is finished

Barry Jones | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Flickr User Joshua Mellin

Jay Electronica, one of hip-hop’s biggest mysteries, has finally tweeted that, after a decade, he has finished his debut album.

Electronica got his start in 2009 with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. He immediately got to work with some of the industry’s biggest producers such as Young Guru and Just Blaze.

In December 2009, Jay Electronica released one of hip-hop’s most revered records to date: Exhibit C.

Exhibit C, produced by Just Blaze, caught major attention worldwide. To say Jay Electronica had an amazing introduction is an understatement. Exhibit C landed Electronica in the “all-time” conversation by various critics. New Music Express called Exhibit C “the most accomplished piece of ‘conscious rap’ this millennium.”

Yet, after such a strong first showing. Jay Electronica went all but missing on the music scene, with only a few guest verses over the next 10 years, such as Big Sean’s Control, Jay-Z’s Shiny Suit Theory and his record Better in Tune with the Infinite. 

Until now.

Jay Electronica on Feb. 7 tweeted, “Album Done,” and followed up with another tweet: “…my debut album featuring Hov man this is highway robbery.”

Immediately following this tweet, many media outlets and media personalities took to Instagram to share the news. Elliot Wilson, the host of the Rap Radar Podcast on Tidal, posted a screenshot of the tweet to his page. The comments flooded with comments like “yeah right” or “he’s gotta be joking.” However, Young Guru, the lead in-house sound engineer for Roc Nation, quoted the tweet, saying: “Facts!!!!!!! This is not a drill.”

The news caused quite a rumble in the hip-hop community. The community was not only shocked by the fact that Jay Electronica stated that the album is finished, but also the fact that he insinuated that it is a collaboration album with Jay-Z. This in itself caused quite the controversy. Mal Clay, co-host of the Joe Budden Podcast and brother of Roc-a-Fella/Roc Nation Co-founder Kareem “Biggs” Burke, stated on Episode 321 that “they [Jay Z and Electronica] have a lot of records together on the album, so it’s looking like it might be a Watch the Throne type of thing or something in that vein.”

Joe Budden himself did not take favorably to the idea of Electronica’s first album being a collaboration with Jay-Z, saying, “For Jay Elec to come out and rap one song and be pitted with the elite and then never rap again and then come out with an album 10-11 years later with Hov?”

The idea does seem a bit farfetched and straight up unfair. However, the skill that Jay Electronica has shown through his very limited catalog gives hip-hop fans something to dream about when it comes to a potential debut album from Electronica with Hov.

The same issue that plagued Andre 3000’s career, the lack of a solo album, has seemed to come to an end for Jay Electronica. We will see if he comes through with his word. If so, this is lining up to be one of the most anticipated hip hop album releases over the last two decades.

According to a Jay Electronica tweet, the album is “Releasing 40 days” from Feb. 7. That creates an expected release date around March 18. 

Coronavirus: What you must know

Kailah Lee | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Unsplash User  Kelly Sikkema

Many have heard about the Coronavirus (CoV), a recent epidemic. What makes it even scarier is that there are hourly updates on how much the disease is affecting hundreds upon thousands of people with little information on the prevention of it. 

According to Vox, the outbreak has reached more than 40,000 people and counting. Fortunately for us in the U.S., it hasn’t become as prominent of an issue as it is in China, but by no means should you take this virus lightly. 

The coronavirus and similar strains such as mCov, SARS and MERS are known as zoonotic, which is a fancy word for being transmittable by humans and animals. Originally, this is how the disease came to fruition. As stated by numerous sources, SARS and MERS allegedly evolved from bats and civet cats to affecting humans. But 2019-nCov seems to be a mystery. This raises some concerns considering that government officials are known to experiment in laboratories. Just like AIDS began with human and animal contact, many conspiracies suggest otherwise.

With little information on this outbreak, questions are pouring from the public. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a few symptoms begin with fever, cough and shortness of breath. In a previous report form The Lancet, more detailed symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, fatigue, headache and diarrhea have been seen. In extreme acute cases, pneumonia, kidney failure and death have occurred.

Deaths have occurred in China, and in little time, the infectious disease is spreading like wildfire.

“Is this the disease that is going to take us out and bring on the apocalypse like in Stephen King?” said Dr. James Peterson, a writer, educator and consultant in a STEM panel discussion.

To his credit, the public has no way of knowing what might come of it. It may seem a little cinematic, but with movies, history and research to suggest otherwise, it’s safe to be open-minded about the virus.

“You cannot believe everything you hear about it, but this virus is a serious threat to global humanity,” Peterson said.

With dangling research in multiple sources, there is no exact answer to our questions. The best thing we can do for ourselves is treat the disease as if it were flu or common cold.

World Health Organization international standards for preventing spread are regular hand washing, covering mouth—either by elbow or surgical mask while coughing and sneezing—and meticulously cooking most meats and eggs.

The importance of establishing a daily skin care routine

Brandi Howliet | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Unsplash User Toa Heftiba

The proper skin care routine is hard to figure out but necessary.

The skin on our bodies is the largest organ, so taking care of it is very important. It helps prevent infection and harmful elements from getting into our bodies. There are so many products on the market, and the beauty industry is at an all-time high, so many consumers don’t know where to start. The correct skin care routine is built over time; it doesn’t just happen overnight. 

With time and diligence, you’ll eventually find the right products for you. Using a daytime and nighttime regime is a good start to establishing a healthy skin care routine. Your routine can be a short, easy process that cleanses and moisturizes your skin at the same time. 

Step One: Cleanse 

Start your morning with a splash of fresh, warm water. Then, use a cleanser designed for your skin. If you have oily skin, use a soap that can help combat oiliness. If your skin is dry, use a product that can clean and moisturize your skin at the same time. 

“For my face, I use micellar water before I cleanse,” said HU student Antonia Jackson, a third-year MBA major. “After, I use Cetaphil, then I rub my face with witch hazel. After I use the witch hazel, I apply a rose water for a calming effect. My routine applies for morning and night.” 

Cleansers can be found in local drug stores such as Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy and Target. There’s a wide range of facial cleansers offered in stores, but finding the right one for your skin type can be a bit difficult. 

Step Two: Serum 

Serum is a highly concentrated product that you put on your skin after cleansing but before moisturizing. It delivers powerful ingredients to your skin to ensure moisture and glow. Serums are also infused with antioxidants that keep your skin hydrated and protected throughout the day. It is important to use these types of products on our facial skin instead of lotion and heavy oils that can block our pores. Serums can be found in drug stores and higher-end beauty retailers.

If you are wondering which serum to buy, consider Dr. Botanicals’ Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil. This serum is a vegan-based product that’s made with natural ingredients. It retails for $19.99 in its 15ml size and $39.99 in its 30ml size. It works well on dry skin and helps stimulate collagen for younger looking skin. 

Step Three: Moisturize 

Moisturizing your face should be the final step in your daytime or nightly routine. Whether you have a daily regimen or not, moisturizing is by far one of the most beneficial things you can do for your body. Applying lotion on your skin is normal, but some products are better for your face than others. Taking the time to find the right moisturizing product for your skin will benefit you in the long run and ensure a youthful appearance. According to the Medical University of Tennessee, the most important time to moisturize your skin is after a bath, shave or exfoliating. Water strips the natural oils from your skin and body so using a good moisturizer is a good way to prevent dry skin. 

“I don’t really have a skin routine since my skin doesn’t really require much work,” said HU student Gabrielle Tazewell, a third-year journalism major.

“But what I have noticed [is that] my skin has become more dry these past few months, so I am currently searching for the best moisturizer for me.” 

Establishing a healthy skin care regime becomes more important as we all age.

Many factors affect our skin, so taking extra steps to protect it is important and will help us look better than ever.

The continued spread of the coronavirus

Gabrielle Chenault | Staff Writer

The coronavirus disease has sent many people worldwide into a frenzy because it is continuing to spread outside of China, and the death toll continues to rise. Cases have been reported in Asia, Europe, Australia, North America and Africa as of Feb. 19.

“It’s scary to see how quickly this is spreading, especially since there is no current cure,” said Hampton University student Ra’ana Middleton, a sophomore nursing student.

This virus is spread through the respiratory system and mimics the symptoms of a cold. Due to this, it is easily spread and can be spread among a lot of people at one time. According to a CNN report, “more than 68,500 people have been infected and at least 1,669 have died worldwide.” 

As the virus spreads, President Donald Trump has taken precautions in an attempt to limit the cases of the virus in the United States. A temporary travel ban has been set in place for foreign nationals from entering the United States if they visited China in the 14 days prior to them flying into the United States. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially entered the Coronavirus or COVID-19 into their database Feb. 11. In a New York Times article, the World Health Organization called it “public health emergency of international concern.” 

While there has been a variety of news alerts on social media about this virus, there have also been racist and untrue reports on popular apps such as Twitter and Instagram. 

“I get that in our society people love to joke about everything, but certain memes took it a bit too far,” said HU student George Mitchell, a sophmore political science major. “I saw that someone on Twitter made a meme where all the Disney princess had facemasks except Mulan, and the caption was something about how you can’t trust her. It was just unnecessary.” 

As this deadly virus spreads, there are measures you can take to protect yourself. The first is to educate yourself on the virus. There are many falsified reports on social media, so be sure to read reports from an accredited news source or from organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

Sadly, due to their being no cure, this virus will continue to spread, but there are steps that can be taken to help yourself and those around you stay healthy. 

The easiest way to prevent yourself from getting this virus is by using proper hygiene techniques and eating a balanced diet. Washing your hands, eating healthy and staying hydrated are ways that you can stop yourself from catching this illness. Gabrielle Johnson, a freshman kinesiology student, summed it up best.

“The only way to not catch the virus is to make sure you’re following the CDC’s regulations,” Johnson said. “But we must also not make fun of those who are sick because they and their families are going through a hard time.”

Federal investigation opened into Mississippi prisons after series of deaths

William Paul Ellis | Staff Writer

  For more than a century, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, most commonly known as “Parchman,” has served as the only maximum security prison for men in the state of Mississippi.

Now, after 16 inmate deaths in less than two months, the Department of Justice has agreed to open a civil rights investigation into the conditions of Parchman and other regional prisons including the South Mississippi Correctional Institution, the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility and the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. According to ABC News, 10 of the 16 recent deaths occured in Parchman, which included five inmates beaten or stabbed by other inmates and three suicides.

Located in Sunflower County, Mississippi, the Parchman prison name is infamous, particularly within African American communities. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, Mississippi has the highest incarceration rate in the nation, with an overwhelming number of inmates being black. According to the Mississippi Department of Corrections, as of February 2020, Parchman currently has a capacity of 3,560 and houses approximately 2,700 inmates. 

In January, newly elected Governor Tate Reeves visited Parchman and promised his constituents new policies to improve the conditions of prisons across the state. Reeves also ordered the closing of a Parchman cell unit known for violence. 

“I’ve seen enough. We have to turn the page,” Reeves said in the ABC News report. “This is the first step, and I have asked the department to begin the preparations to make [the closure] happen safely, justly and quickly.”

The governor and Department of Justice’s responses come after much criticism from activists, including rappers Jay-Z and Yo Gotti, who funded a lawsuit against the State of Mississippi and the Mississippi NAACP and Southern Poverty Law Center, who with other organizations petitioned the Department of Justice for an investigation. 

“Those who are incarcerated still deserve basic human rights despite their past mistakes.”

–Kennedy Owens

For Hampton University students who call Mississippi home, the recent publicity surrounding the deaths of Mississippi inmates has been a reminder of the difficulties still present in their home state. 

Cailynn Gregory, a sophomore from Jackson, Mississippi, believes that the prison crisis in Mississippi has only furthered the negative perception held by many concerning the state. 

“As a Mississsippian, and particularly the daughter of a civil rights attorney, I am disheartened by the conditions in Mississippi Prisons,” Gregory said. “It hurts to see the videos and pictures on social media and know that humans are living in those conditions, and that people are losing their families. Mississippi is already last in the country for many things, and seeing inmates being treated as less than humans only heightens the cry for national assistance.” 

Kennedy Owens, also a sophomore from Jackson, Mississippi, views the criticism against the state as warranted due to the long legacy of the mistreatment of inmates in the prison system.

“These events are unacceptable,” Owens said. “Those who are incarcerated still deserve basic human rights despite their past mistakes.”

President Trump unveils 2021 budget with massive cuts to assistance programs

Sara Avery | Staff Writer

President Trump unveiled his 2021 budget that makes major cuts to safety net programs like Social Security and food stamps. The $4.8 trillion proposal also will affect certain federal student loan programs, increasing the amount of debt that borrowers will have over their lifetime, USA Today reported.

A program that forgives the remaining student debt of public service workers, such as teachers and firefighters, who have made on time payments for 10 years, will be terminated. This could result in over $52 billion worth of additional payments in the next decade. 

The budget also would terminate government payments on the subsides of Stafford loans. These subsidies are the interest the government pays on loans while students are in school. This could result in $18 billion more for borrowers over the next decade. 

Additionally, a grant that helped 1.7 million students in 2019 will be axed. The Trump administration believes that the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant replicates the Pell Grant, which helped 8.2 million students in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Education. 

“I believe that Trump’s new budget plan is making it impossible for families with harder financial circumstances to send their children to college,” HU sophomore Daelin Brown said. 

Another change being made is the limit placed on how much parents of undergraduates can borrow from the federal government with the Parent PLUS loan. Currently, parents can borrow the full annual cost of attendance minus other financial aid their student receives per year. Under the 2021 budget, that would be restricted to only $26,500 to pay for their student’s entire undergraduate education.

“That’s totally reasonable,” Sandy Baum, a fellow in the Center for Education, Data and Policy at the Urban Institute, told USA Today. “There’s no reason why the federal government should lend such large amounts of money to parents who may have their lives ruined by it because they can’t afford to repay it.”

The budget also will include modifications of Social Security and Medicaid, even after the president promised several times during campaigning that he would not touch it. The budget plans to cut around $45 billion on Social Security Supplemental Income, a program aimed at helping disabled children and adults. It also plans to cut $844 billion in Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act over the next 10 years.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will take a hit, as the budget proposes a $181 billion decrease in funds over the next decade. Over 36 million currently use food stamps, according to federal data. 

“He shouldn’t do that because some individuals who utilize food stamps are involved in the cycle of poverty,” said HU sophomore Madisoorn Lapsley. “They deserve assistance.”

Despite the massive cuts the Trump administration is proposing, they are requesting $2 billion for border wall funding and a 3 percent pay raise for military members and their families. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized the budget in a news conference, calling it “a blueprint for destroying America.” “This is a heartless budget,” Pelosi said. “It is absolutely shameful.”

Schumer believes the 2021 proposal exhibits how Trump’s values are “so off base.” The budget is not expected to get past the Democrat-controlled House without significant changes being made first.

Diversity in technology

Simone Quary | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Unsplash User Domenico Loia

In today’s world, it is undeniable that technology plays an integral role in every aspect of life. It allows for the completion of simple and complex tasks within seconds. 

Technological advances in the past millenium have also resulted in the rise of social media, which have given any person, regardless of their upbringing, a chance to voice their opinion. 

The diversity prevalent among social media users has brought to question whether the same diversity is reflected within the the technological workforce. As for nearly all industries in the United States, there has been a call for more diversity in the workforce. 

  While technological powerhouses have taken steps to recruit minorities at colleges and universities, there are still many obstacles to overcome. In an article published on TechRepublic.com in 2017, Buck Gee, an executive advisor at the nonprofit Ascend, provides clarity on the adversities that different races experience. 

“The diversity problems of each race are different,” Gee wrote. “In Silicon Valley, for blacks and Hispanics, the basic problem is getting in the door. The problem with Asian Americans in Silicon Valley is upper mobility to management.” 

In 2018, Google’s annual diversity report showed the breakdown of hires of gender and race, with the overall workforce composing of 48.5% white, 43.9% Asian, 6.8% Latinx, 4.8%, and < 1% Native American. A clear gender gap was shown, with nearly 70 percent of males making up the entire workforce. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a critical role in the formation and functioning of technology itself, and results in innovations such as facial recognition. However, researchers have discovered unintentional racial biases in AI algorithms, primarily when identifying which patients benefit from additional health care. 

Racial biases in AI algorithms also present themselves as police begin to embrace the use of facial recognition technology when identifying suspects, with an overwhelming amount of people of color being mistaken for crimes. 

Encouraging the spread of diversity in the technological field can help reduce the social, cultural and institutional biases. Ally Minju Hong, a sophomore aeronautics and astronautics major attending MIT, hopes to be part of this change. 

“STEM fields have an urgent need for more minorities as their driving force,” Hong said. “The very Snapchat filters we use and the machine-learning algorithms behind online targeting ads are just a few examples of AI. There’s been a few examples of discrimination by tech already (i.e., Google images deeming pictures of African-American women as sexually explicit at a higher rate), and if we include certain tech within anything essential, like our justice system, it may inherit or overlook the same biases the creators are having. After all, the programs are only as good as the code inputted by the programmers.” 

  The need for more representation among minorities in technology has been strongly encouraged  at Hampton University. Professors and students alike understand the skills and unique perspective that they can offer to major companies. 

Herman Robinson, a sophomore computer information systems major from Chesterfield, Virginia, describes his classroom setting for his core classes. 

“We’ve learned that, in technology, not enough African-Americans are represented and not enough females as well,” Robinson said. “For instance, I’m in a computer science class here, and there’s only two or three females even though Hampton is a predominantly female school. In the future, I think technology companies need to stress the importance of having more African-Americans, and especially African-American females, be represented.”

Recently, HBCUs have gained the attention of major companies, and some, such as Google, have created immersion programs for high schoolers and undergraduate students for minority students. Having a healthy, diverse workforce in technology will enable it to progress in order to create a safe world. 

Too many romantic movies and not enough real-life romance

Jamaija Rhoades | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Unsplash User Frank McKenna

As a hopeless romantic, I can easily admit that watching romance films and allowing myself to become encapsulated in love stories has heavily influenced my expectations and perceptions about falling in love. 

I just knew my foot would “pop” when I got my first kiss (The Princess Diaries) and that if I tragically lost my memory in a car crash, my future husband would do everything in his power to help me remember the love we once had (The Vow).

  Constantly viewing these images of men performing grand gestures to get the girl of their dreams created this expectation that if a guy was interested in me, he would go out of his way and manage to knock me off of my feet. Needless to say, this has never happened. At most, a guy has called me fine, asked for my number and that was that (not even slightly romantic). 

Romantic films tend to give off the idea that love at first sight exists and that true love can overcome all obstacles. I have found myself in situationships trying to fight through every obstacle thrown my way because I always thought if we liked each other, we would both be willing to fight through anything. 

I believed that distance could not hold us back, and as long as we communicated, we would be able to keep it pushing and eventually fall madly in love. I can only blame my warped mindset on the simple fact that my DVD collection is overflowing with romantic films.

Although these films are great, they unintentionally create unrealistic expectations for love and leave many of us disappointed and unsatisfied in relationships. 

“I’ve been obsessed with romantic movies for as long as I can remember,” said Kendra Phillips, a Hampton University health science major from Columbia, Maryland. “After watching these movies, I went into relationships having high standards because the idea of a perfect relationship was always depicted in these movies.

“Romantic movies do a good job of making relationships look easy, and most of the time, they have a happy ending. That’s not always realistic, in my opinion.” 

As whimsical and enchanting these love stories often are, we eventually realize that love is not as easy and magical as it appears to be on the big screen.

“Romantic movies have definitely impacted my expectations, in terms of staple romance movies where everything is idealistic,” said Kailah Lee, an HU journalism major from Richmond. “Over time, you learn the true grit of love and romance, and how complicated and messy it can get.” 

“I can’t speak on behalf of everyone because each person is going to have a different effect, plus romance movies are so much more enjoyable when there is a good outcome. But a lot of times, we think our stories are going to pan out like in the movies, and you just have to write your own book. It’s best to live and love organically.” 

Of course, I am not expecting anyone to stop watching romantic films. Instead, to save all of us from a little disappointment, we should tread lightly while watching these films. 

Love does exist, and romance is not dead, but we do not live in a world full of Noah Calhouns (The Notebook) and Darius Lovehalls (Love Jones). If we stop expecting every man we encounter to embody any of these characters, we would be a lot less disappointed when they do not live up to our expectations. 

Gayle King should not be your focus

Ryland Staples | Staff Writer

Media Gayle King

Photo Credit: Christopher Smith | Associated Press

Gayle King on Feb. 6 interviewed former WNBA star Lisa Leslie about the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash alongside his daughter and friends a few weeks prior. The interview turned sour when King asked Leslie how she felt about Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault case in Colorado.

This specific question sparked major outrage toward King on social media. Celebrities and regular people alike attacked King for bringing up the sexual assault case. Most notably, Snoop Dogg made a lengthy post on Instagram condemning the journalist’s actions, claiming that both she and longtime friend Oprah Winfrey were trying to tear down iconic black men such as Michael Jackson, whose accuser had been interviewed by Winfrey last year. 

Snoop Dogg and others also accused King and Winfrey of attacking black men while remaining loyal to famous white men who were accused of abuse, such as Harvey Weinstein.

At the end of the post, Snoop Dogg made sure to include “Free Bill Cosby.”

R&B singer Ari Lennox went on a rant on her Instagram live, blaming King and Winfrey for “tearing down the legacies of beautiful black men.” 

There is a lot to unpack in this situation. First of all, I assure you that neither King nor Winfrey is out here unapologetically riding for Weinstein, on trial this week for multiple counts of sexual assault. People are just trying to blow things out of proportion because they see pictures of Winfrey and King with Weinstein.

Snoop Dogg was out of line for calling out King for bringing up a part of history that may not have put Bryant in the best light. I do understand that bringing up that event so soon after the superstar’s death may have been inappropriate. However, calling her all sorts of expletives, bringing Winfrey into the discourse, saying that they’re trying to bring down black men and accusing them of defending an alleged rapist is absurd.

The funny thing is, Snoop Dogg thought it was a good idea to throw in “free Bill Cosby” after one of his Instagram rants. Bill Cosby is a convicted felon and registered sex offender, currently serving time in prison. Putting your neck out for a convicted felon isn’t really the smartest defense. People can believe all they want that there is some secret organization of famous people that are trying to prevent successful black men from their potential ventures, but that still doesn’t change the fact that this man spent decades terrorizing and taking advantage of women. 

I understand that some think it was too early to talk about Bryant’s sexual assault charge, but you shouldn’t villainize journalists for bringing up a very important part of his life – for doing their jobs.

You also shouldn’t act like nothing happened in Colorado. Bryant apologized for his actions and settled a civil suit. Women already have to go through so much just to have trauma acknowledged. People shouldn’t belittle that experience even more by acting as though certain events didn’t take place.  

Beyoncé and Jay-Z can’t win

Lindsay Keener | Staff Writer

With more than 65,000 seats in the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and thousands of standing football fans, it’s hard to believe that anyone would spot the two seats that are filled.

That is, of course, unless they’re filled by superstar phenomenon Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Shawn Carter, known by most as rap mogul Jay-Z.

The Super Bowl, otherwise known as the pinnacle of the pro football season, took place Feb. 2. In attendance was the music industry’s power couple, sitting during a highly praised performance of the national anthem by Demi Lovato. 

Given the Carters’ open support of various social justice movements, many took the pair’s choice to sit as a political statement. Last year, Jay-Z’s full-service entertainment company, Roc Nation, partnered with the National Football League, giving the rap star full creative control over the football league’s music events. Despite the initial belief that the high-profile couple was taking a stance, Jay-Z informed fans that the couple was simply admiring the performance. 

“What happened was not premeditated at all,” the rapper said. 

One Hampton student commented passionately about the rapper’s response to the backlash. 

“You can admire [the performance] standing up,” Tatyana Wilson said. “It looks like you’re protesting, and now you don’t want to be associated with it when you were in full support of men like [former NFL quarterback] Colin Kaepernick before. It’s strange.”

Dedicated to inclusion of all, the Super Bowl halftime show featured Latina stars Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, by way of Jay-Z and Roc Nation. 

“We were making a louder stance,” Jay-Z said the following week at a speaking engagement at Columbia University. “Given the context, I didn’t have to make a silent protest.” 

Some believe there is more to the story than Jay-Z is letting on.

“Honestly, I think Jay-Z is playing both sides of the fence, but not in a bad way,” Hampton University journalism student Lea Luellen said. “I think he has something cooking under wraps.”

Admittedly, when I first caught wind of the Carters sitting at the big game, I paid it little-to-no attention. Like many others, I believed the pair was exercising their right to silently protest, as they’d protested before.

To be told they were simply sitting didn’t quite impact me like it affected others. As far as I’m concerned, the couple is free to sit or stand whenever they feel free. They are also free to advocate for whatever social justice movements they’d like as they’ve done countless times for Kaepernick. 

HU senior Alexus Baldwin was indifferent to the moment at hand.

“People should mind their own business,” Baldwin said. “If they want to sit down, let them, and if they want to get up, cool.”

Celebrities are often held to an unattainable standard, expected to meet the needs of fans and nonadmirers alike. In the case of the Carters, any decision they made that Sunday would’ve resulted in the couple being met with sneers and unsolicited opinions.

Either way, they can’t win.