Tag Archives: Arts & Entertainment

She’s Gotta Have It generates success with viewers

Selena Roberts | Staff Writer

shesgottahaveit

Courtesy of Ayanna Maxwell

Netflix has does it again.

The streaming service has released several shows that are centered around an African-American cast, including Dear White People, Chewing Gum and now She’s Gotta Have It.

She’s Gotta Have It is a reboot of Spike Lee’s 1986 film.

Spike Lee is responsible for several hit films, including Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X, Crooklyn and School Daze.

The new show has already generated some controversy, but it has also attracted new fans.

Although the show is based on the movie, the new series provides a refreshing look at how females define themselves in relationships in 2017.

The show is set in New York and centers on an artist named Nola Darling.

Nola is an independent spirit who does not let anyone put a label on her when it comes to her sexuality or her relationships.

The audience can see the firsthand experiences of her struggles in dealing with her identity as an African-American woman.

Throughout the series, Nola struggles with choosing what type of person she wants to be with, so she ultimately dates more than one man.

She has three love interests throughout the 10 episodes, and they all have completely different personalities: the goofy yet lovable Mars Blackmon, the well-established investor yet still married Jamie Overstreet and the handsome yet self-absorbed model Greer Childs.

At some point in time, each man wants to establish an official relationship with Nola.

However, Nola will not allow anything to further develop in her love life unless it is on her terms.

In one episode, Nola says, “If they want to deal with me, it has to be on my terms, or it ain’t gonna happen.”

Although some critics have stated that Nola’s character is promiscuous and immature, she is anything but that.

She is firm in her beliefs and will not let any man change her values. Everyone is different, so she does not represent every female, but she does provide a different take on the dating experience for women that viewers do not usually see.

Besides the intriguing storyline and over-the-top characters, the show deals with real-life issues that women and men both deal with.

Some of the storylines focus on topics like harassment, gentrification and sexism.

Nicole Peterson, a freshman biology major, said, “The show provides a different look for how women handle themselves in relationships. I like the material and hope it has another season.”

She’s Gotta Have It stands out from the rest because it provides something that many other shows do not.

It portrays a woman of color who is finding herself through trials and tribulations, all while knowing her worth.

DeWanda Wise, who plays Darling, said, “There was so much in Nola that I saw in my friends, in myself, in where I was in my early 20s. There was just such a rich and vast life there.”

Advertisements

The 2017 Soul Train Awards impressed once again

Carlie Beard | Staff Writer

soul train pic

The annual Soul Train Awards was nothing short of soulful.

Singer-songwriter Erykah Badu hosted the show for the third time as it aired Nov. 26.

Many special guests were in attendance, including Tank, Method Man, Keyshia Cole and Ledisi.

R&B divas Fantasia and Faith Evans went head to head in a soul cypher that also featured Mali Music and Bilal.

The Soul Cypher is something newly added to The Soul Train, with its inspiration stemming from the BET Hip Hop Awards.

With performances from the top R&B artists in the music industry, this awards show was not one to miss.

The legendary Toni Braxton hit the stage with her sister, Tamar Braxton. Toni Braxton also took home the most eminent award of the night, the Soul Train Legend Award.

Tamar Braxton went to Instagram to congratulate her big sister, saying, “My sis, how could any other person EVER be more proud!! @tonibraxton -Williams u are THE LIVING LEGEND! Period!”

The “He Wasn’t Man Enough” singer was photographed sitting next to famous Cash Money Records rapper/producer Bryan “Birdman” Williams, at the awards show, who is rumored to be her longtime partner, according to VH1.com.

She also was photographed receiving her award with a ring on her left hand, stimulating fans’ ideas that Braxton might be making a big announcement in the near future.

Bruno Mars stole the show, winning a total of five awards for Best R&B/Soul Male Artist, Album/Mixtape of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Dance Performance.

He also took home the award for Best Video of the Year.

Even though Mars was up against tons of great artists for these awards, there is no doubt that he deserved every single one he received. From his smooth dance moves to his voice, he is unforgettable.

Solange was also nominated for several awards.

Although Solange only took one award away from this show, she is definitely proving why she deserves “A Seat at the Table.”

One of the most memorable moments from the awards show was when Erykah Badu paid homage to NFL player Colin Kaepernick, an activist for bringing awareness to police brutality.

Badu used The Soul Train Awards as an opportunity to salute Kaepernick by kneeling on one knee.

For information about the awards show, visit BET.com.

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?

MoThoro drops his second album, ThoroLyfe: Execution

Carlie Beard | Staff Writer

MorrisTaylor

Morris Taylor

Rapper MoThoro, a Los Angeles native, has recently dropped his sophomore album titled ThoroLyfe: Execution. 

Along with being a rapper, Morris Taylor, also known as Mo, is a fourth-year, five-year MBA major at Hampton University. He balances being both a full-time student and rapper in the industry. Mo shares a record label called “LFTFLD” with his long time childhood friend Rasul Shabazz, who is also a rapper.

ThoroLyfe: Execution has a total of 12 songs and took just shy of four months to complete. Artists such as Mare and Kai Ca$h the rapper, who are both HU students, feature on this album.

To kick off the release of his new project, Mo threw a listening party the night before his album was officially released. Throughout the listening party, guests were able to hear his new project and helped Mo celebrate the completion of the second installment to the ThoroLyfe series.

When it comes to his motivation for entering the music industry, Mo is inspired by two people: his father and rapper Kendrick Lamar. Growing up, Mo witnessed his father being an underground rapper and was exposed to hip-hop music pretty early.

Mo reminisces on a time he saw one of his favorite rappers, Kendrick Lamar, passing out CDs on the streets of L.A. when Kendrick was still an underground rapper. This helped him understand the grind that goes into the music industry.

He has gained more knowledge and experience with the rap game now that he is dropping another album. However, he didn’t start this way.

Mo began by rapping nursery rhymes in his school’s talent show. When he noticed the great response from the crowd, he knew he had a chance in the rap industry. In 10th grade, he started recording songs in his room and posting them on WorldStarHipHop’s site, receiving 100K views.

He has now branched far away from nursery rhymes with new songs such as the crowd favorite “Be About It.” When asked what his favorite song from the album is, he responded, “Choosing one song is like choosing your favorite kid; it’s difficult. I really like “Be About It” and I think the ladies are going to like it, too, because it’s relatable.”

Let’s get into the album cover.  The cover art is not reggae related; however, green, yellow and red are colors that represent the Los Angeles city flag. It was only right that he paid homage to his hometown.

In reference to the significance of the “777” on the cover of the album, Mo stated that, “Seven is the number of completeness and perfection. My name, ‘MoThoro’ [is a play on the word] ‘thorough,’ [which] means ‘complete or to your best ability.’ I feel like the number ‘seven’ represents me as an artist.”

Mo mentioned that on this project, he challenged himself by stepping out of his comfort zone and singing more. He also was able to produce majority of the tracks on his album by himself.

So, what should fans expect next from MoThoro? He plans to continue working in the studio and to promote the album even more. Mo and Kai Ca$h are working on a project together, so stay tuned.

ThoroLyfe: Execution is available on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, Tidal, Google Play and Amazon. You can also access MoThoro’s new album by scanning the QR reader below using the QR Reader app on your iPhone.

Tiffany Haddish takes on SNL

Naomi Ludlow | Arts & Entertainment Editor

TiffanyHaddish.png

Tiffany Haddish is the first African-American comedienne to host the show Saturday Night Live in its 42 seasons.

Haddish got personal in her opening monologue. She discussed her experience in foster care and how that steered her onto the path of comedy. With the help of her counselor, Haddish discovered that her talent could save her from her troubled ways.

Early on, Haddish received advice from some of the greatest comedians, specifically Richard Pryor. She told The Los Angeles Times that Pryor encouraged her to have more fun on stage. “I took that philosophy with me and I do that in everything I do,” said Haddish.

Haddish made her way to television starting with the OWN series If Loving You Is Wrong. Later, she starred as the role opposite of David Allen Grier in NBC’s The Carmichael Show. However, Haddish’s break-out role was in the 2017 film Girls Trip, starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina Hall.

Sophomore Lashae Alexander said, “Tiffany Haddish was hilarious in Girls Trip. She was the life of the party and I’m sure she reminded everyone of that one friend within any circle.”

On Saturday Night Live, Haddish addressed the topic of sexual harassment, an issue that has been relevant in news within the last few weeks. A few big shots in Hollywood have recently addressed allegations about them sexually harassing individuals years ago.

Haddish gave a “Tiff Tip” to men involved in sexual misconduct. The comedienne said, “If you have your ‘thing thing’ out and she still has on her clothes, then you’re wrong.” Like any SNL host, Haddish successfully addressed relevant issues while still maintaining a sense of humor. The sketches throughout the show all touched on the controversial topic as well.

The episode featured a sketch connecting politics and the sexual misconduct allegations. Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore discussed the possibility of losing his seat due to allegations of sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl.

Not only was there a political connection in the sketches, but also a personal connection to an upcoming Haddish project. The sketch The Last Black Unicorn shares the name of Haddish’s book that will be released next month. Be on the lookout for this project if you want life tips from Haddish or simply want to know more about her.

Haddish will return to the big screen in an upcoming film called Night School, with Kevin Hart. Haddish is also said to be starring in a new sitcom with Tracy Morgan.

Inside interview with artist Kelela

Selena Roberts | Staff Writer

Kelela Mizanekristos, otherwise known as Kelela, is a singer/songwriter who is far from afraid to express herself.

She experiments with her music and seeks to break down barriers with her craft. Kelela is known for her debut mixtape, Cut 4 Me, her EP, Hallucinogen, and her most recent album, Take Me Apart.  Recently, our Arts and Entertainment writer, Selena Roberts, had the pleasure of interviewing her.

SR: What are your musical influences?:

K: I have a lot of different influences. Some are abstract and some are literal. They include Natalie Cole, Joni Mitchell, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey.

SR: What is your background in music?:

K: Neither of my parents played music. I played the violin for about ten years [starting] in the fourth grade. I would [also] sing in choir.

SR: How would you describe your music?:

K: I would say that it is rooted in R&B. Vocally, that is where I am coming from in terms of style. In terms of production, I am influenced in electronic. When I think about making music on machines, I think of Stevie Wonder, Prince, and Timbaland.

SR: What advice would you give someone who is trying to make it in the music industry?:

K: There are different stages of your journey. Identifying where you are in your journey first is important. There’s a lot of frustration when you do not know where you are.

People [also] need to remember that there’s so much work and so much effort needed. There’s a lot of failure, and not in an abstract sense. It’s important for people to be okay with where they are first in their journey. Think [more] about being honest than being big. Be true to yourself before selling it to other people.

SR: How would you describe your sense of style?:

K: I’m all things. There are different moods for different events that I go to. When I dress for a show, I have to be comfortable. I have to be able to move and jump in [my outfit]. There can’t be any restrictions. It’s hard to pinpoint my actual style. I always wanted to embody different things. There’s an element of futurism. I would say there is something classic that exists in the thread that I like. It’s about mixing and matching.

SR: How do you calm down before a performance?:

K: I practice scales. I’ll practice scales in the shower. It’s a good way to calm down and be in my own universe. I enjoy being quiet. I’ll try to find a way to be confined.

SR: Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?:

K: Hopefully, there’s elements of this that I don’t know. There’s elements that I can’t predict. Definitely enterprise, building a business that helps other women in the music industry, specifically women of color.

I want to give them a set of tools that will help them navigate the industry. There’s a reality check that women will go through. My interest is to provide an institution for artists, [especially] women of color, to come in, get briefed and get a set of tools to thrive.

There are black people in the industry on the artist perspective; but on the business side, it is shocking to see the lack of people of color.

SR: What would you be doing now if you were not performing?:

K: I would be pursuing a PhD, to be honest. I would be getting [a PhD for] doing the same thing I am doing now through the music platform.

SR: What social media platforms can your fans find you on?:

K: Mainly on Instagram and on Twitter. I have a Facebook page that is less personal, I would say. I am not as active on Snapchat. Those are the main outlets for me.

Want to get to know Kelela a bit more? Check out her latest project, Take Me Apart, available on Apple Music, and follow Kelela on Twitter and Instagram @kelelam.

Marshall Movie Review

Selena Roberts | Staff Writer

Marshall.png

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.”

Justin Timberlake 2018 Super Bowl Performance: Previous Performances he’ll have to top

Carlie Beard | Staff Writer

JT.png

Photo from the official Pepsi Twitter page 

Justin Timberlake is unquestionably one of the biggest artists of this generation. From hit songs like “Cry Me a River” to more sophisticated singles like “Suit and Tie,” he definitely knows how to be versatile and remain true to himself while doing so. The “Sexy Back” singer is, in fact, back, and will be performing at the 2018 Super Bowl Halftime Show.

He took to Twitter to announce the big news after posting a comical video with friend Jimmy Fallon. Along with the video Justin tweeted, “I DO have the time. Half the time…”

Pepsi, a huge sponsor for the Super Bowl, also took to twitter to celebrate with the superstar by writing, “It’s official: @jtimberlake is taking the #PepsiHalftime stage at #SBLII Tune into #SNF tonight for the full scoop & we’ll see you on Feb 4!”

This isn’t JT’s first Halftime Show performance, however. The last time he headlined the show was with Janet Jackson in 2004. The two put on a jaw-dropping performance with an unforgettable wardrobe malfunction…Yikes!

Any who, Justin is back and ready to redeem his name.

Don’t think the redemption will be easy. Timberlake has some competition to top, such as previous Super Bowl Halftime Show veterans Lady GaGa, Britney Spears, Bruno Mars and Madonna.

Beyoncé hit the stage in 2013. The highlight of Queen Bey’s performance was when she reunited with one of the most popular girl groups, Destiny’s Child. Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland joined Bey in performing some of their greatest hits. Will JT bring out his famous boy band, NSYNC, for a reunion at the halftime show?

Let’s not forget when Lady GaGa flew from the sky in her halftime performance. Remember when Katy Perry performed and her background dancer dressed in a shark costume became an Internet sensation overnight? What about when the legendary Michael Jackson took the stage back in 1993 for Super Bowl XXVII? With his smooth dance moves and unmatchable talent, Jackson instantly set the standard for future halftime performances to come.

Hopefully, Justin has learned a few pointers from the King of Pop.

The Super Bowl Halftime performance is one of the most highly anticipated shows that takes place every year. The show can make or break an artist. Tune in on February 4th, 2018 to see what Justin Timberlake has in store.

 

JT.png

Roseanne is making a rosy return

Naomi Ludlow | Arts & Entertainment Editor

Roseanne.png

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.

 

 

A trip into the life of Jhene Aiko

Naomi Ludlow | Arts & Entertainment Editor

Jhene.png

Courtesy of Dahyo Coleman

Jhene Aiko has released a 22-track LP entitled Trip. The songs on this album discuss Aiko grieving the loss of her brother, Miyagi. She experiences a rollercoaster of emotions and turns to drugs to cope with the pain.  In the album, she opens up with her fans about her experimentations and some addictions to LSD, marijuana, cocaine, Adderall, and mushrooms. Despite her mention of drug use, she brings reality to the situation by explaining the many ways in which people attempt to deal with a loss, such as replacement and even suicide. Aiko discusses the importance of her journey to understand that some individuals simply cannot be replaced.

Trip is only one part of a multimedia project comprising of an album, a short film, and a book of poetry. Jhene Aiko refers to this project as a MAP (Movie, Album, Poetry). She introduces a character, Penny, who is supposed to be her purest form. On an Instagram post she explained, “In [my brother’s] presence, I was confident and always so sure. I was Penny. Since that day, I have been incomplete, losing all direction and sense of self.” Aiko describes her desires to get back to who she was before her brother passed, and the album reflects just that.

In 90 minutes, she tells us of her journey of wanting to find the love she felt from her brother. Along the way, she tried to find this love in other men. In the song “Moments” feat. Big Sean, the lyrics are “My mama said love is the answer/ So when I call, you better answer…No substitutes, you’re the one and only/ Please take away the stress I don’t need.” Jhene Aiko falls in love with men thinking they can fulfill what her brother gave her, but she ends up heartbroken and stuck.

She moves on to the next vice and subliminally mentions suicide. In the song “Jukai,” she talks about her wanting to be alone with her brother, but she isn’t successful.

Eventually, she turns to the happiness her daughter gives her and wanting to the best mother she can.

Their mommy-daughter duet entitled “Sing to Me” is a gear switch in not only Jhene’s life, the album as a whole. Her focus shifts to the joy of being a mother.

“Sing to Me” is followed by “Ascension” feat. Brandy, and serves as her prayer for liberation. She ends the album with “Trip” which depicts the physical trips she takes when feeling low.

This work is truly eye-opening. Jhene exposes a vulnerable side to her that she has been hiding throughout her career. In the end, fans can understand the true beauty of it all as they witness the growth and courage she displays through her journey.

Trip the movie is now available on JheneisPenny.com and 2fish, the poetry book, will be available this fall. To get the full Jhene Aiko experience, be sure to check out all parts of this work. Aiko will also begin her Trip tour on Nov. 14. Check out her Instagram to see if she will be stopping in a city near you.