Passion into profit: The emergence of the female entrepreneur

Tempis Askew | Staff Writer

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Tempis Askew

Madame C.J. Walker, Sheila Johnson and Oprah Winfrey are female entrepreneurs who have contributed to the success of one demographic of the 21st century: the black female entrepreneur.

Now more than ever, women of color are turning hobbies, skills and talents into lucrative careers that have granted them entrepreneurial awareness, economic growth and financial profitability.

Aryn Dixon, an Old Dominion University senior, has taken her passion for arts and crafts and turned it into a lucrative business that has built clientele throughout the Hampton Roads area.

Dixon was asked to customize bottles with glitter and rhinestones for a birthday party. This request quickly turned from a favor into a business venture.

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Tempis Askew

Dixon’s business, Bottle Beauties, launched in 2017 as a remote mobile service that customized collectibles such as cups, bottles and glassware. The personalized touch added to each custom piece quickly became a desirable accent that contributed to the growth and success of Bottle Beauties. As clientele quickly grew, the demand for custom products heightened and the requests for additional custom products expanded.

Now offering custom T-shirts, personalized home décor items and embellished ornaments, Bottle Beauties has turned a hobby into a branded business for Dixon. With an expanding social media presence, Dixon can be found on Instagram at @bottlebeautiesva.

She is currently planning a pop-up shop event with Verge & Vintage Web Boutique to showcase the new custom additions that will be added to the expansion of her brand.

Verge & Vintage Web boutique is an online-based women’s retail hub that showcases denim, shoes and cosmetics. It was created with the vision of offering trendy yet affordable fashion to the masses. All products sold at the boutique are under $50 — perfect for college students on a budget.

Verge & Vintage Web Boutique will launch online April 1 online at vergeandvintage.com. Collectively, Dixon of Bottle Beauties and Askew of Verge & Vintage will partner in various pop-up shops and vendorships throughout Hampton Roads during the late spring and early summer.

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Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time: Dominating the box office

Naomi Ludlow | Arts & Entertainment Editor

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marvel.com

 Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time have taken over the box office.

Black Panther has been the No. 1 movie in the world for five consecutive weeks, and A Wrinkle in Time has been trailing right behind it since its opening weekend.

Both movies had African American directors and were provided with substantial budgets of at least $100 million. Ava DuVernay, the director for A Wrinkle in Time, is the first female African American director to ever hold this high of a position in a big-name studio.

In just five weeks of being in theaters, Black Panther surpassed the $1 billion mark worldwide. In every country that it has been released, the film has done exceedingly well, as if it were in the states.

The director behind this magic is Ryan Coogler, who previously directed the movies Fruitvale Station and Creed.

His work in these two movies has led to the more creative and distinctive side of his career.

A Wrinkle in Time, on the other hand, had a diverse cast starring Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and many others.

The movie derived from the book by Madeleine L’Engle and sought to attract families with children between ages 8 and 14. However, following the weekend opening, A Wrinkle in Time wasn’t so successful.

Winfrey and the other stars heavily promoted the movie, with the timing for the release being around spring break. Although the results weren’t exactly as expected, the movie still ranked high with a No. 2 spot in the box office.

The movie is expected to do even better in Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Britain.

The value of Black Panther goes beyond dollar figures.

A tweet about Black Panther said, “[The film had the] most Black people, as dark as me, on screen that I’ve ever seen that wasn’t a comedy or period piece about slavery.”

It is important, especially for younger generations, to have positive representations of African Americans in movies for inspiration. From the directors to the cast, it is imperative to portray positive depictions of the black community.

 

Dontius on the rise

Ryland Staples | Staff Writer

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Ayanna Maxwell

Dontius, signee of 36 Chambers ALS label, has released his EP, The Fourteenth. The R&B EP is equal part soothing and soulful.

Listening to The Fourteenth is a great way to chill out after a hard day of classes.

When Dontius set out to make an EP, he wanted to combine the things he loved. He loves Valentine’s Day, as it embodies the aspects of what R&B songs are all about.

He wants his songs to exude the feeling of closeness with a significant other and the feeling of “[always having someone’s] best interest in mind,” Dontius said.

He wanted “the sensitivity and emotion of the EP to bring something out of the people that listened to it.”

When Dontius was beginning the process of writing this EP, he sat down and tried to channel some of his favorite artists.

He said, “I try to go after some of my favorite artist when I’m writing, like Marvin Gaye and James Brown.”

When you first play the EP, you are greeted with the strong and upbeat vibes of “Fighter.” The hook tells listeners that Dontius is really fighting for the one he loves.

He outlines how much he cares for her and how he will always be there to fight on her behalf. In the hook of the song, he says, “I’m a fighter, till there ain’t nothing left, till there ain’t nothing left.”

According to an interview with Vibe, “RZA’s protégé has been practicing his craft since an adolescent; but it [wasn’t until he was] shot in the leg at a house party that [Dontius] realized how short life is.” He immediately began taking his music career seriously.

Always having been a fan of love songs, he’s always wanted to try to put those feelings in song form. With him being signed to the 36 Chambers ALC

Label, he had a chance to do just that.

“I am excited to be the first artist to launch on 36 Chambers ALC with my 4-song EP,” he said. “We also included three more songs on the EP to give you a sample of what’s to come.”

When asked who the muse was behind the song “Love you Down” on the EP, he said that it was first made by one of his musical idols, a group called, “Ready for the World.”

Since that group had a large impact on his life, he wanted to give the song “a modern spin.”

“I wanted to give it my own twist and be able to turn it into my own anthem of appreciation of women,” he said.

Dontius also has advice for up-and-coming music artists at Hampton.

“Try to get to know yourself, make sure that the music you would be making is you, not you trying to copy someone else,” he said.

“Know your strength and weaknesses and build on that. Most of all, trust in God and trust in your own spirit.”

 

A recap of New York Fashion Week

Carlie Beard | Staff Writer

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Dahyo Coleman

The most anticipated week in fashion has finally arrived: New York Fashion Week. Every year, representatives from various blogs, media outlets and magazines cover designers who raised the bar and those who fell short.

When NYFW comes around, tons of celebrities flock. Many fashionable celebs were present, and some were even featured in the shows. A$AP Rocky, Michael B. Jordan, Selena Gomez, Cardi B and Lil Kim were photographed at the Marc Jacobs show. Cardi B also was seen with Anna Wintour, fashion icon and editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine.

The View talk show host Whoopi Goldberg also attended the festivities. Goldberg was spotted sitting in the front row at the Christian Siriano show, as he celebrated his brand’s 10th anniversary.

According to Sara Ziff, founder of Model Alliance, NYFW models had access to backstage dressing rooms this year. This was the first time NYFW models had this opportunity, as they usually have little to no privacy while getting changed backstage. This was a major step toward preventing potential incidents of sexual assault and toward making models feel more comfortable.

Jeremy Scott, known as the “people’s designer,” included vibrant colors in his pieces. Scott continuously demonstrates his love for color and creative color blocking techniques each year.

The models for designer Phillip Plein’s show walked in a winter blizzard scenery. One model came out of a spaceship-like object and walked the runway with a life-size robot. The Plein show included Christian Combs as a model, along with other recognizable faces in the fashion industry.  Needless to say, Plein took New York Fashion week by storm.

BET Social Media Awards celebrate creative content

Selena Roberts | Staff Writer

Social media plays a huge role in people’s lives. It is where people can get news, entertainment and awareness on different issues. So, it is no wonder that BET hosted an awards show honoring those who’ve produced creative content across all social media sites in the past year.

Comedian Michael Blackson hosted the live show Feb. 11, and it sure did leave an impression. The categories included Best Tea, Best Podcast, Social Hustle, Issa Wave, LMAO!, Clapback, Mood AF and Baewatch.

The show opened with the Instagram comedians Lala Sizahands and Blame it on Kway. The duo performed a montage of all of the dances that were popular in 2017.

The Shade Room won for Best Tea, while Joe Budden won for best podcast and Kendall Kyndall won for Social Hustle.

Remy Ma and Papoose faced competition in their category for Baewatch, including couples such as Cardi B and Offset, Ciara and Russell Wilson, and Teyana Taylor and Iman Shumpert, but they came out victorious.

“Overall, I really enjoyed the fact that the show got to honor all of the creativity that is present on Instagram, Twitter, and so on,” freshman chemical engineering major Hannah Collins said. “Social media is a great place to have our generation’s voices heard.”

One significant highlight of the night was comedian Amanda Seales’ performance. Seales recited a poem that was an ode to black girl magic everywhere.

Aside from honoring social media entertainment stars, the show recognized individuals and organizations whose impact came from their social media content. The founders of The Women’s March were awarded The Social Movement award, as their success came from the impact of their social media platform.

Performers for the night included Kash Doll and YFN Lucci. Doll performed “For Everybody,” and YFN Lucci hit the stage performing “Everyday We Lit.”

 

An All That reunion on Wild ’N Out

Naomi Ludlow | Arts & Entertainment Editor

Comedy stars from Nickelodeon’s All That will be reuniting on the new season of Wild ’N Out after 13 years of being off the air.

In recent posts on Instagram, cast members Kel Mitchell, Kenan Thompson, Lori Beth Denberg and Josh Server were posed together on the set of Wild ’N Out. All members were wearing black Wild ’N Out sweatshirts, meaning they will be on the same team. The reunion will come with nostalgia for all the ’90s kids who watched All That.

According to Complex Magazine, the cast reunited briefly to help promote Nickelodeon’s The Splat, a block programming series that replaced The ’90s Are All That.

Fans are excited for the cast’s official return to TV. Instagram comments read, “My childhood in one photo,” and “This is an important moment for me.”

All That cast member Kel Mitchell thanked Nick Cannon for coming up with the idea to bring the cast together once again, especially since Nick Cannon was once a member of the All That cast. It will be epic to see the stars reunite to battle it out through the games and rap battle.

Wild ’N Out is an improv-comedy battle where two teams go head to head to determine who is the funniest. Usually, the guest stars are captains of the opposing team. Rounds include many games, scenarios and songs where the teams have to conjure up an idea quickly.

Since the reboot of Wild ’N Out, Nick Cannon has repeatedly brought out some celebrity favorites such as Shaquille O’Neal, Migos and Zendaya.

The showing date for the All That cast reunion has not been released yet, so stay tuned to MTV.com for more details.

A Paradox to remember

Ryland Staples | Staff Writer

When you usually think of a sci-fi movie, are there usually large spaceships, aliens and different colored uniforms involved? One new movie, The Cloverfield Paradox, is all of that and more.

The movie was released Feb. 4 on Netflix. It is a continuation of the 2008 Cloverfield saga. The franchise is centered around regular situations being completely flipped with the characters having to overcome an extraterrestrial threat.

In the movie, the world is in the middle of an energy crisis set in 2028. Families all over the world are restricted to use power for a certain amount of time. Countries are fighting over who gets what share of power for what amount of time. The situation becomes so dire that energy experts are put in a space station to try to rip a hole into another dimension in an attempt to create an unlimited energy source for the world.

Ava, the communications officer aboard the station and the representative for England, is the protagonist of the movie. Back on Earth, her husband, Michael, is dealing with the fleck of different countries fighting each other.

Amidst all of the chaos, there are plenty of unforeseen consequences that affect the characters in strange ways.

The movie had lots of hype leading up to the release. Many were looking forward to the third installment in the Cloverfield series.

The film’s producer, JJ Abrams, is known for his projects like the television show Lost, the new Star Wars reboots, and notable films like Super 8 and the Cloverfield franchise. So fans were expecting this movie to be a hit.

However, some HU students think otherwise. To freshman Jordan Jackson, the film was underwhelming. “I expected better from the filmmakers compared to the amount to hype and advertising the film got in the coming weeks of the release,” Jackson said. “To me, it was a disappointment.”

The movie is not a failure, but its downfall is that it is simply average. The plot seemed overall generic.

If you happen to be scrolling through Netflix, give the movie a shot and see what you think of it.

African Americans aplenty at Academy Awards

Selena Roberts |Staff Writer

The Oscars are right around the corner, and this event is sure to be monumental.

The show broke barriers for African Americans last year. Viola Davis won the coveted statue of Best Supporting Actress for her work in Fences. Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Oscar for his role as Juan in Moonlight, and the film won for Best Picture as well.

Tiffany Haddish and Andy Serkis announced the 24 categories Jan. 23, and the nominees consisted of several people of color. Jimmy Kimmel is set to host the 90th awards show.

Mary J. Blige is nominated in two categories for her work in the movie Mudbound. In the film, Blige plays Florence Jenkins. She earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song.

Blige’s nominations are groundbreaking, as she has become the first person to be nominated for her portrayal in a film and for the original song. She is also the first African American woman to be nominated for more than one Oscar in the same year.

Mudbound tells the story of two men who come home after serving duty in World War II. They both endure trials and tribulations when facing prejudice in a divided area. The film also earned nominations for Cinematography and Adapted Screenplay.

Get Out was one of 2017’s biggest films to date. It provided an open dialogue for current issues regarding race in America through its subliminal messages and storyline. The film earned a total of four nominations, including Best Picture, Daniel Kaluuya for Best Actor and Jordan Peele for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

Peele could win three Oscars, as he also produced the movie.

“Right now I’m just thinking about everyone who bought a ticket and told someone else to. You did this. Thank you,” director Jordan Peele tweeted after receiving the nominations.

Thanks to the movie Dear Basketball, NBA star Kobe Bryant can add “Actor” to his resume. Kobe Bryant’s film received a nomination for Best Animated Short Film.

“This is beyond the realm of imagination. It means so much that the Academy deemed Dear Basketball worthy of contention,” Bryant tweeted.

The short film showcases the former Los Angeles Lakers star’s love for basketball and how hard it was for him to ultimately forfeit playing the sport he loves.

Octavia Spencer is no stranger when it comes to the Oscars. This year, Spencer earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role as Zelda in The Shape of Water.

The movie is about a woman who works at top-secret government lab during the ’60s. While working there, she finds companionship with a sea creature who is held captive. Spencer’s nomination for The Shape of Water has made history as well. She is the only African American actress to receive two nominations after previously winning the award for The Help in 2011.

ABC will televise the Oscars at 8 p.m. March 4.

Despite their hits, the Grammys were a miss for some major artists

Carlie Beard | Staff Writer

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Dahyo Coleman

The biggest night in the music industry was a disappointing one for some fans.

To the surprise of many, the artist with the most recognized album of the year didn’t take home any Grammys at the 60th annual awards show.

Jay-Z, a 21-Grammy-award-winning artist, did not win anything for what some may call his most controversial album, 4:44. In his most personal project to date, Jay-Z opened up about his infidelity in his 10-year marriage to music icon Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

However, their 6-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy, was there to steal the show as she sat in the middle of her two parents. Queen Bey was photographed holding fruit snacks and a juice box for her firstborn while in the front row at the awards show.

Not as many people were watching at home this year. There was a 24 percent ratings drop, according to The New York Times.

“The Grammys just didn’t live up to the hype it usually does,” Hampton University I.T. analyst Carl Brown said. “I felt some performances were great, but the award show lacked diversity and wasn’t that enjoyable. I don’t think that Alessia Cara should’ve won Best New Artist when up against new artist SZA.”

SZA was nominated for three Grammys. Despite owning the summer of 2017 with radio hits such as “The Weekend” and “Love Galore,” featuring Travis Scott, she shockingly took home none.

Bruno Mars, on the other hand, had a huge night, becoming only the 10th artist to sweep the major awards – album, record and song of the year.

Kendrick Lamar was among the winning crowd as well, taking home five awards after seven nominations.

Although this year’s show may not have gone as expected, there is always a chance for recovery at next year’s Grammy Awards.

 

 

Black Lightning Strikes Gold

Selena Roberts | Staff Writer

The CW has added another show to its lineup, and it’s already generating a lot of buzz from viewers around the world. The network is known to host several shows based on DC Comics, including Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and now, Black Lightning.

Black Lightning focuses on Jefferson Pierce and his two daughters, Anissa and Jennifer. To the outside world, Pierce lives a normal life as a high school principal and is admired in the community.

Behind closed doors, however, he’s been hiding his true identity for nearly a decade to protect his family’s well-being. Although he’s Jefferson Pierce by day, he walks the streets as the Black Lightning at night. After giving up his uniform to ensure the safety of his girls, Jefferson Pierce continually struggles with keeping his true identity under wraps.

Many have quickly become fans of Black Lightning.

“I’ve always been a fan of comic [book characters], especially the Black Lightning,” Hampton University sophomore Darian Smith said. “It is nice to finally see the Black Lightning on the television screen and get to see the characters come to life.”

Besides centering around Jefferson’s superpowers, the show tackles various issues to which viewers, specifically in the African-American community, can relate.

In the series premiere, Jefferson, his daughters and the town of Freeland are living in a state of turmoil. The city is in chaos due to the presence of the notorious gang, One Hundred. This local gang wreaks havoc on the citizens of Freeland without anyone to fight back. There is a constant struggle between the town of Freeland and the police, not because of police brutality, but because the police have little urgency when it comes to protecting the city from One Hundred. Anissa and others are seen protesting and try to get their voices heard.

Black Lightning is the only DC comic about an African-American superhero. The long-awaited series provides a different perspective on the struggles heroes go through when deciding protect their loved ones.

According to NewsTimes.com, Cress Williams, who plays Jefferson Pierce, said, “I wanted to be a part of [the show] so bad. [Black Lightning] is telling a story that is…even more socially conscious than I could have ever hoped for.”

The new superhero series has already been successful since its premiere Jan. 16. The show brought in a total of 2.3 million viewers, making it the highest rated premiere since 2015 on the network.

Unlike other superhero shows, this one takes a unique approach. The storyline is a relatable portrayal of a family who goes through unforeseen circumstances can always find a way to stick together. Black Lightning’s relevant content and socially conscious storyline makes it more than just another show that revolves around a hero fighting the bad guys. Jefferson Pierce is more than a superhero – he provides hope to a place that is in despair.

Black Lightning can be seen on the CW network on Tuesdays at 9 p.m.