Cardi B has golden touch with Invasion of Privacy

Selena Roberts | Staff Writer

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Selena Roberts

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

On My Block breaks barriers and gains success

Selena Roberts | Staff Writer

Responsible for hit shows like Stranger Things, Dear White People, One Day at a Time and so on, Netflix supports shows that feature diverse casts and show minorities in a positive light. On My Block was recently added to the streaming service’s website and it has generated a lot of buzz among fans due to its refreshing way of portraying the drama that teens experience on an everyday basis.

The 10-episode drama centers around a tight-knit group of four friends (Ruby, Jamal, Caesar, and Monse) who are about to enter high school. As a new journey begins with these four, their friendship is being constantly tested. Besides experiencing the ups and downs of high school, they also have to navigate their way through the crime and violence of their hometown.

The show is set in South Central Los Angeles. Each episode provides viewers with a glimpse of the friend group’s everyday dilemma of trying not to get caught up in the life of crime associated with South Central L.A. Although the show centers around them attending high school, the plot exceeds the ordinary adolescent drama. On My Block shows the reality of the minority youth and highlights their own internal struggles with trying to fit in.

Freshman Victor Dalmeida said, “Seeing characters that have similar conflicts that I go through myself is something that attracted me to the show. Each episode left me wanting more. … I was rooting for [the characters] like I knew them.”

Each character, although different, is relatable, and that is what is so special about the show. Cesar is a bright kid involved in a gang, Ruby is a math genius who has trouble making the right choices. Jamal is a dork with a heart of gold. Monse aspires to become a writer. All of the characters are connected through their pain, misfortunes and grief. Their tight bond is their key to surviving the the harsh reality of growing up in a town where hardly anyone makes it out.

Even celebrities have taken notice of the Netflix original. Jamie Foxx tweeted, “Seriously. Watch @OnMYBlockTv on Netflix. Funny. Heartbreaking. We’ll be watching these kids for a long time.”

It has not been confirmed whether the show will be renewed for another season, but judging by the success of the show, it would be no surprise if it did.

Cardi B’s medley, Eminem’s stern words stand out at iHeartRadio Music Awards

Selena Roberts | Staff Writer

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Flickr User: EventPhotosNYC
Cardi B

As the awards season drew to a close, the iHeartRadio Music Awards named the best of the best music artists in the industry. The annual awards show was televised March 11 from California. The star-studded event gathered artists of all genres to celebrate the best songs of the year.

Social media star and famous producer DJ Khaled and model Hailey Baldwin were the evening’s hosts.

Cardi B opened the show with a medley of her biggest hits, including “Bodak Yellow,” “Bartier Cardi,” and her verses in “Motorsport,” “No Limit” and “Finesse Remix.”

As always, Cardi B hit the stage with tons of energy that kept the crowd enthused.

One performer stood out among the rest, however. Eminem’s performance turned heads as he discussed issues in regards to the NRA. Some lines from the verse were, “Sometimes I don’t know what this world has come to. It’s blowing up. The whole country is going nuts. And the NRA is in our way. They’re responsible for this whole production.” He ended it by claiming that the NRA loves their guns more than our children. With recent acts advocating for gun control, this performance hit close to home.

The iconic rock and roll band Bon Jovi as presented with the first iHeartRadio Icon award from Olympic snoboarder Shaun White for their work in the music industry. The band performed their biggest hits, including “It’s My Life” and “You Give Love a Bad Name” before they received their award.

Some of the biggest winners of the night were Cardi B, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars. Cardi won  Best New Artist and Best New Hip Hop Artist. Her acceptance speech was one of the highlights of the evening. She told the audience, “I want to thank my fans, Bardi Gang, because even when I’m wrong, they be like, ‘She’s still right!’ And I want to thank my haters, too, because they be downloading my stuff so they can hear it and talk crap about it, but it benefits me!”

She also announced that her long-awaited album will be released in April.

Sheeran won song of the year for his hit “Shape of You” beating out “Despacito,” “Wild Thoughts” and “That’s What I Like.” Bruno Mars won for R&B song of the year and R&B artist of the year.

N.E.R.D closed out the show with an energetic performance of “Lemon.”

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.”

 

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.

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.

 

She’s Gotta Have It generates success with viewers

Selena Roberts | Staff Writer

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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.”

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

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Courtesy of Dahyo Coleman

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dove commercial creates controversy

Selena Roberts | Staff Writer

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Courtesy of Selena Roberts

Dove is known to be an inclusive brand featuring women of different sizes and races in the brand’s advertisements.

Recently, Dove faced controversy due to a commercial featuring an African American model wearing a brown T-shirt who took her shirt off, revealing a white woman wearing a beige shirt. Some people took offense to the ad, saying that it was insensitive and racist. Dove ultimately took the commercial down due to the overwhelming amount of backlash.

This is not the first time Dove has been the center of controversy due to its choice in advertisement. Back in 2011, the brand was under scrutiny after it featured an ad that showed three women in front of an image of different types of skin textures. The white woman was in front of the image displaying soft skin, while the African American woman was standing in front of the picture that showed dry skin. In addition to that, Dove offended some customers again when it included a “normal to dark skin” label on one of its products.

There is a divide between the public’s perceptions of what Dove was trying to convey in its latest ad. Students on campus had mixed views about the promotion. Although the majority of the public seemed to be offended by Dove, others believed the message was taken out of context.

“I did not think that there was anything wrong with the ad,” said Dave Smith, a freshman MBA major from Connecticut. “I thought it was fine.”

Lisa Jenkins, a freshman biology major, said, “I thought that Dove should have known better and, ultimately, they just missed the mark,”

The model featured in the ad, Lola Ogunyemi, made a statement sharing her views on the negative reception the ad received.

“I don’t feel it was racist,” Ogunyemi said. “The screenshots that have taken the media by storm paint a slightly different picture.”

However, the model made it clear that she was not informed by Dove how the commercial would turn out.

“This did not represent the diversity of real beauty which is something Dove is passionate about and is core to our beliefs, and it should not have happened,” the company said in a statement.

The controversy shed light on the ongoing issue that is seen by major companies and their lack of sensitivity.

Earlier this year, Pepsi was under scrutiny because of a commercial featuring Kendall Jenner. Critics claimed that Pepsi was imitating the Black Lives Matter movement and in a way de-escalating the seriousness of the campaign.

Shea Moisture was under fire for its choice of advertisement as well. The brand was accused of having a lack of representation of different hair types. Customers thought the company’s ad was straying from its core values.