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.


From the screen to the charts

Ryland Staples | Staff Writer

Ryland Staples

Trevor Jackson has a lot going for him right now. The season finale of the popular television show, Grown-ish, where the 21-year-old played one of the love interests of the protagonist, has just premiered.

The budding star has taken his talents from our televisions to our playlists. His new album, Rough Drafts, Pt. 1, has 15 tracks of smooth beats and slow lyrics.

Jackson takes us on a trip though emotion, passion and just flat-out love. Jackson said in an interview with Vibe, “It’s things I’ve been through, what we all have been through … about love, pain and everything in between.”

It’s important for young adults to acknowledge that mistakes exist. It’s OK to mess up or to not be completely sure about everything we do in life. Jackson said, “[The album is] called Rough Drafts because I feel like, especially in [this] day and age, everybody is trying to be perfect.”

He continued: “They’re trying to emulate something on social media. Everybody wants the finished product. They see other people doing well and want to skip a few steps.”

The album starts out slow, with the first song being an introduction of multiple voices making discouraging comments that Jackson has heard all throughout his career as an artist — things like, “You should just stick to acting,” “Just quit,” “Why do you even bother?” and “Put the pencil down!”

This is a great album to put on while you are trying to just calm down and chill out. This is an album that is both entertaining and mesmerizing. The songs fluidly flow from one to another and allow the listener a glimpse into the life of an illustrious young adult in Hollywood.

Freshman marketing major Isiah Wells said, “I really enjoy every track, it is a smooth album that gets me relaxed when I am trying to focus on work that I am trying to do. To be honest, I never really thought of Trevor Jackson as a singer. However, after hearing this, I approve.”

Dontius on the rise

Ryland Staples | Staff Writer

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 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.