Nineteen Fifty-Six Vol. 3 Issue 2

Before the brush has paint, the song has lyrics, and the dance is created, there is an idea. A desire to add a little more color to the world. An artist stares at their blank canvas, not knowing where this piece will go. “Untitled” honors the work of the past and highlights the art yet to be created. This is the Spring 2023 edition of Nineteen Fifty-Six magazine.

Before the brush has paint, the song has lyrics, and the dance is created, there is an idea. A desire to add a little more color to the world. An artist stares at their blank canvas, not knowing where this piece will go. “Untitled” honors the work of the past and highlights the art yet to be created. This is the Spring 2023 edition of Nineteen Fifty-Six magazine.


You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.


DEAR<br />


You do matter. The numerous achievements and talents<br />

of Black students deserve to be recognized. As of Fall<br />

2022, 11% of students on campus identified as Black or<br />

African American. Black students are disproportionately<br />

underrepresented in various areas on campus. <strong>Nineteen</strong><br />

<strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> is a Black student-led magazine that amplifies<br />

the voices within the University of Alabama’s Black<br />

community. It also seeks to educate students from all<br />

backgrounds on culturally important issues and topics<br />

in an effort to produce socially-conscious, ethical and<br />

well-rounded citizens.

Progressive local partnerships and highly experienced<br />

instructors make Shelton State your destination for<br />

affordable, quality education.<br />

Enroll as a transient student today! | sheltonstate.edu | 205.391.2211<br />

It is the policy of the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees and Shelton State Community College, a postsecondary institution under its control, that<br />

no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, marital status, disability, gender, age, or any other protected class as defined by federal and<br />

state law, be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or subjected to discrimination under any program, activity, or employment.

W R I T E R S<br />

Sophana Norville, Monica Ikegwu, Shamiel<br />

Moore,Morgan Lewis, Theresa Ford, Patrick<br />

Hodge, Keandre Walker, Lyric Wisdom, Alexis<br />

Erby, Ta’Kyla Bates, Dani Brown, Samantha<br />

White, Andrea Tinker, Jeffrey Kelly, Deja Evans<br />



Alexis Day, Ashton Jah,<br />

Tyler Hogan, Dani Brown, Sidney Todd, DQ<br />

Richardson<br />


Janee Hill, Jordan Strawter,<br />

Morinsola Kukoyi, Asia Smith<br />


Autumn Williams, Drew Merriwether, Osaze Akil<br />

Stigler, Assandre Jean-Baptiste, Monica Ikegwu<br />

<strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> is published by the Office of Student Media at The University of Alabama. All<br />

content and design are produced by students in consultation with professional staff advisers. All<br />

material contained herein, except advertising or where indicated otherwise, is copyrighted © 2023<br />

by <strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> magazine. Material herein may not be reprinted without the expressed, written<br />

permission of <strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> magazine. Editorial and Advertising offices for <strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong><br />

Magazine are located at 414 Campus Drive East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. The mailing address is P.O.<br />

Box 870170, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. Phone: (205) 348-7257.<br />

C<br />

O<br />

N<br />

T<br />

R<br />

I<br />

B<br />

U<br />

T<br />

I<br />

n<br />

g<br />

S<br />

T<br />

A<br />

F<br />

F<br />

Front cover features “Caught up in Myself” (2022) by Autumn Darah.<br />

Back cover features “Kelsey” (2022) by Monica Ikegwu

E<br />

D<br />

I<br />

T<br />

O<br />

R<br />

I<br />

A<br />

L<br />

S<br />

T<br />

A<br />

F<br />


E<br />

D<br />

I<br />

T<br />

O<br />

R<br />

I<br />

A<br />

L<br />

S<br />

T<br />

A<br />

F<br />



I<br />

remember the first parade I went to. I was 4<br />

years old, and I held tightly to my parents’<br />

hands. The parade route came right past<br />

my grandmother’s house. There were floats,<br />

balloons, and cars with pageant queens waving<br />

to the crowd. But then I heard the thunderous<br />

sounds of a marching band. There were<br />

dancers, twirlers, and musicians. Everyone was<br />

in sync and the music traveled for miles.<br />

Ten years after that day, I’m the performer<br />

waving to young kids and playing tunes for the<br />

entire town to hear. But people like me weren’t<br />

always allowed to be in parades, art galleries<br />

or even on stage. For so long, Black people and<br />

their art were systemically suppressed.<br />

Much of the art we see in the world started<br />

in underground rooms during the Civil War,<br />

old cabins during slavery, and the bustling<br />

streets of New York. When creative outlets<br />

were limited, Black people made their own.<br />

Past generations crooned spirituals, danced to<br />

washboards, drew portraits of power. We found<br />

ways to express our thoughts, our feelings, our<br />

pain, and our joy.<br />

Art adds color to our everyday life. The music<br />

we listen to, the shows we watch, the pictures<br />

we look at in museums. Everything around<br />

us can be art and it’s important now more<br />

than ever to honor the art of the past while<br />

protecting the art of the future.<br />

Art saved my life, so it’s important to me to<br />

preserve it. Young Black girls and boys deserve<br />

to see people that look like them not only in<br />

the art, but creating art. They deserve the<br />

chance to become the next Quinta Brunson,<br />

Beyonce, Viola Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Toni<br />

Morrison. The list goes on.<br />

Before the brush has paint, the song has lyrics,<br />

and the dance is created, there is an idea. A<br />

desire to add a little more color to the world.<br />

An artist stares at their blank canvas, not<br />

knowing where this piece will go. “Untitled”<br />

honors the work of the past and highlights the<br />

art yet to be created.<br />

As I end my time as editor of <strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<br />

<strong>Six</strong>, I remember all the art we created in our<br />

short time on campus. I think of all the people<br />

who are overjoyed at the work we’re doing.<br />

This magazine is dedicated to those who were<br />

like 4-year-old me, wanting to make people<br />

feel joy but not knowing where to start. I hope<br />

<strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> continues to inspire people<br />

to write, take photos, design and create art for<br />

Black people for years to come.<br />


TABLE OF<br />


C<br />

U<br />

L<br />

T<br />

U<br />

R<br />

E<br />







12<br />

14<br />

16<br />

18<br />

20<br />

23<br />

24<br />

WOULD YOU?<br />



26 L<br />

I<br />

F<br />

E<br />

28<br />

S<br />

30<br />

T<br />

31<br />

Y<br />

L<br />










32<br />

34<br />

36<br />

38<br />

39<br />

40<br />

42<br />

43<br />

44<br />

F<br />

E<br />

A<br />

T<br />

U<br />

R<br />

E<br />

S<br />


CAUGHT UP IN MYSELF (2022)<br />




48<br />

52<br />

53<br />

55<br />

58<br />

46<br />

E<br />

X<br />

P<br />

E<br />

R<br />

I<br />

E<br />

N<br />

C<br />

E<br />


Fashion and music are two great artistic forms that<br />

can be molded by the youth culture–our taste and our<br />

passion for evolving things in our limited time on earth<br />

allows us to look at things with fresh eyes.<br />

Virgil Abloh<br />

“A Robinhooded Flow” (2023) by Assandre Jean-Baptiste (Hueydynamite)



You are scrolling on TikTok and come across a<br />

video of a group of middle schoolers voguing<br />

around their classrooms, school restrooms, and<br />

cafeterias. There are hundreds of comments telling the<br />

middle schoolers they “slayed,” and the thousands of likes<br />

show admiration for their performance.<br />

While many people think this form of dance and culture<br />

is a new phenomenon, it is not. Ballroom culture has<br />

had a reputation for intersecting activism, LGBTQIA+<br />

acceptance, music, fashion, and even film. The long<br />

history surrounding ballroom culture is one filled with<br />

celebration, support, and self-expression. Although<br />

ballroom culture is prevalent today in pop culture, its<br />

history dates all the way back to the post-Civil War era<br />

when drag balls first begun.<br />

People varying in race, gender, and sex came together<br />

to show off their gowns and bodies to a panel of judges<br />

like a pageant. Some women dressed in men’s clothes,<br />

but the main attractions were female impersonators.<br />

Even though drag balls are widely accepted today, back<br />

in the 20th century, drag balls were considered illegal<br />

and taboo. Widespread feelings of homophobia were not<br />

unusual during this time.<br />

It was not until the Harlem Renaissance Era of Black<br />

expression and freedom that drag balls began to blossom<br />

and sexuality was explored like never before. Rolling Stone<br />

discussed the Hamilton Lodge, a colored organization in<br />

New York City, where Black and white people gathered to<br />

dance.<br />

Even though the lodge sought a “racially and economically<br />

diverse audience,” there were still discriminatory issues<br />

like Black queens being expected to whiten their faces to<br />

win prizes. The racial tension in the ball community led<br />

to separation and the formation of “houses.”<br />

Rolling Stone continued to explain it was through the<br />

formation of “houses” that young queer, Black, and Latino<br />

kids who were estranged from their biological families<br />


and homeless, now had a family-like support system.<br />

Some examples of these houses would be the House<br />

of Dior, Wong, Dupree, Corey, and many others. The<br />

houses threw their own balls consisting of modeling and<br />

voguing, which was a nonviolent way of fighting at the<br />

balls. Queens would pose to emulate movements from<br />

fashion magazines.<br />

In the 1980s, voguing shifted to become “hyper-effeminate<br />

posturing” with intricate hand movements and dips, also<br />

known as death drops. The underground ballroom culture<br />

in Harlem first made its way to mainstream in the late<br />

1980s when Malcolm McClaren’s song “Deep in Vogue”<br />

was published along with a music video. Willi Ninja,<br />

founder of the House of Ninja, went on to teach runway<br />

walking, coaching students such as Naomi Campbell.<br />

Singer Madonna’s iconic song “Vogue” came out in 1990,<br />

which pushed ballroom culture into mainstream culture.<br />

The makeup, costumes, over the top hair, dance, and high<br />

energy continues to thrive, reaching a new generation.<br />

TV shows like Pose and RuPaul’s Drag Race bring the<br />

current ballroom scene to life by highlighting fashion<br />

and modeling. Ballroom culture has continued to inspire<br />

music today, seeing as the House music genre is described<br />

by Bazaar Magazine as “Black queer music.” Frankie<br />

Knuckles, named the godfather of House music, began his<br />

career DJing at the Warehouse club in Chicago. It was the<br />

queer underground scene in the early 1980s that coined<br />

the term house.<br />

murder and neglect of those in the LGBTQ+ community.<br />

These activists are responsible for overturning New<br />

York’s walking while trans law, while working to end<br />

solitary confinement permanently, and working to halt<br />

construction of new prisons. These activists instead<br />

want to redistribute the funds to housing, healthcare,<br />

and resources that protect Black trans lives. Ballroom<br />

communities also work to spread awareness about HIV<br />

prevention, as the disease has taken the lives of many<br />

trans women.<br />

Black Art comes in many shapes and forms and ballroom<br />

combines several artistic elements. The rise of ballroom in<br />

pop culture reiterates how the founders of the ballroom<br />

community were trailblazers in a society that shunned<br />

their identity and creativity. While new generations begin<br />

to discover ballroom culture, it is important to honor the<br />

Black creators who gave a safe space for LGBTQ+ members<br />

to express themselves.<br />

Rolling Stone highlighted the words of Dorian Corey,<br />

Mother of the House of Corey, saying, “In real life, you can’t<br />

get a job as an executive unless you have the educational<br />

background and the opportunity… Black people have a<br />

hard time getting anywhere and those who do are usually<br />

straight. In ballroom, you can be anything you want.<br />

You’re not really an executive, but you’re looking like an<br />

executive. You’re showing the straight world that I can be<br />

an executive if I had the opportunity because I can look<br />

like one, and that is a fulfilment.”<br />

Ballroom culture has even inspired the slang used<br />

today with words like “muva,” “slay,” “shade” and “it’s<br />

giving.” Social media has also pushed to reveal more of<br />

the ballroom world to the public, and it is easy to see<br />

Generation Z’s support for the community on apps like<br />

TikTok.<br />

Ballroom culture also has a legacy of spreading activism<br />

and awareness. Time Magazine explained that at a Black<br />

Trans Lives Matter rally in New York on June 18th,<br />

2020, voguers danced to express grief for the senseless<br />


Podcasts have started taking the world by<br />

storm in recent years. A podcast is where<br />

people can talk about a subject that interests<br />

them or that they are educated on. Podcasts are series<br />

that can be listened to on the internet or through<br />

downloads on your electronic device. One of the good<br />

things about podcasts is that anyone can start one.<br />

As long as you have the right tools and streaming<br />

platform, you can form a podcast. Another good<br />

thing about podcasts is that they are also free. Many<br />

podcasts are available on streaming apps like Spotify .<br />

There are genres that fall under podcasts. Anything<br />

you can think of can be turned into a podcast. From<br />

talking about stocks, dating advice, true crime, selfcare,<br />

college and more. People have found what fits<br />

them best when it comes to podcasts. Listeners can<br />

enjoy their podcast from anywhere and many feel as<br />

though they are having a conversation with the host.<br />

A podcast that has gained popularity over the past<br />

couple years is “Brown Girl Self-Care.” This podcast<br />

was created by a Black woman named Bre Mitchell<br />

from Southern California. Mitchell started her<br />

podcast with the goal of helping women .<br />

On the website “Brown Girl Self-Care,” Bre Mitchell<br />

said, “I’m in this journey with you, healing, learning<br />

to be kinder to myself, listen to my body, and trust<br />

myself again.”<br />

On the podcast, Mitchell talks about Black women’s<br />

experiences, including her personal life stories. Along<br />

with these stories, Mitchell provides insight on how<br />

to cope and heal from the issues Black women face.<br />

She discusses what it was like growing up in a single<br />

parent household, embracing her natural hair, being<br />

an African American woman in school and more.<br />

Certain topics that are mentioned can be sensitive<br />

for listeners. Mitchell covers these issues to let other<br />

Black women know they are not alone and that there<br />

are ways to make it through.<br />

When asked what her favorite podcast is, Madison<br />

Carmouche, a senior majoring in news media at the<br />

University of Alabama said, “One of my favorites is<br />

the Balanced Black Girl. It’s actually really good. It<br />

has a group chat that goes with it and I feel like that<br />

is the case with a lot of podcasts, it creates a sense of<br />

community.”<br />

While you have self-care and personal podcasts there<br />

are also informational ones too. There are podcasts<br />

that tackle current events in this country and around<br />

the world. For those that like true crime stories but<br />

do not know where to find the most current or best<br />

events, “Crime Junkie” is a good start.<br />

Crime Junkie was created by Ashley Flowers and Brit<br />

Prawat, who are two women that have both had their<br />

experience in the criminal justice system. Flowers is<br />


the founder of a nonprofit organization called Season of<br />

Justice. The goal of the foundation is to provide funding<br />

for law enforcement agencies solving crimes that have<br />

gone cold. Prawat has experience working with a private<br />

investigator and enjoys true crime documentaries. The<br />

podcast talks about true crime events that have stunned<br />

the world while giving out the most important details.<br />

True crime podcasts can channel that inner detective in<br />

anyone and really make the listener think on a deeper<br />

level. Being able to envision yourself at the scene or try to<br />

find the motive behind the crime is the goal for a podcast<br />

like Crime Junkie.<br />

On the website “Crime Junkie Podcast” it states that, “Every<br />

Monday, Ashley Flowers will tell you about whatever crime<br />

she’s been obsessing over that week in a way that sounds<br />

like you’re sitting around talking crime with your best<br />

friends.”<br />

Ericka Logan, a junior majoring in Fashion Merchandising<br />

at the University of Alabama said, “Podcasts also can be a<br />

safe space for people to talk about personal conversations<br />

that they may not want on a radio show. There’s also so<br />

many different podcasts now showcasing a variety of<br />

topics.”<br />

The difference between radio and podcast is that one is<br />

on a more personal level. Radio stations were solely made<br />

to play music and have some commercial breaks. Listening<br />

to the radio can feel artificial at times because you have<br />

hosts that follow guidelines. With podcasts, it can be<br />

anyone talking behind the microphone, and it gives off<br />

that authentic feeling. Knowing that anyone can start a<br />

podcast makes it more relatable compared to radio, where<br />

it is seen as a professional job.<br />

Podcasts are definitely becoming popular as the years go<br />

by and many people use it as their main listening source.<br />

Even though a study done by Audio Today 2019 reported<br />

that 92% of people here in America still listen to the radio.<br />

Podcasts create a community and a sense of comfortability<br />

that no other listening platform has done yet.<br />


Sophana Norville<br />



Throughout history, protests have become a<br />

mainstay in society. Many people have either<br />

participated in one themselves or have seen one.<br />

Protests are one of the ways people come together and<br />

voice their opinions on a certain issue affecting them.<br />

Protests happen at different levels and they can either be<br />

peaceful or end in violence.<br />

In every protest though, you will always see some form of<br />

art being displayed.<br />

For many generations, art has been used during protests<br />

to show history through images. The point of protest art<br />

is to show events happening in the moment. Art has been<br />

displayed during wars, social movements, and political<br />

movements. Art being used during high points in society<br />

has gone back to the early 19th century. Protest art is<br />

made to alter the thoughts of its target audience. It has<br />

the power to create tension or solutions.<br />

“Art itself is a text and can be used [as] a form of<br />

persuasion, even if you don’t say anything at all, it’s still<br />

conveying a message,” Malea Benjamin, a junior majoring<br />

in Communication Studies and Political Science at the<br />

University of Alabama said. “I think protest would be very<br />

different without art because it allows people to view<br />

the message that you’re trying to convey rather than just<br />

hearing what you’re saying.”<br />

Sometimes people are not able to stand up in front of a<br />

crowd with a megaphone and say how they feel, but they<br />

can express it through their art. Just like how words stick<br />

with people, art also makes a significant impression. A<br />

picture or poster can linger in your memory for years to<br />

come because of how it made you feel in that very moment.<br />

When all the voices from the protests are gone and<br />

the issue is settled, the art remains. Protest art can<br />

spread worldwide. It can go from being on the cover of<br />

magazines to being on merchandise. Even protest art<br />

that is displayed on walls or streets can remain there for<br />

years. To see where a protest happened or be at the same<br />

location that sparked the conflict can be moving.<br />

There can be hundreds of protests all for the same issue.<br />

Some happen year after year and each time the voices<br />

change and the art changes. The messages behind the art,<br />

however, never change. The thing about art is that you can<br />

make it your own. However you interpret the protest can<br />

be translated into art. Protest art is so diverse and that is<br />

why it plays such a key role in protesting. Having people<br />

from all different backgrounds come together to display<br />

their work with a common ground can be incredible.<br />

“For some people protest art is the only way that they<br />

could protest, because a piece can speak a thousand<br />

words,” Gabriel Kirk, a sophomore majoring in history<br />

and education at the University of Alabama said. “For<br />

some people, if they don’t really know how to make a<br />

stance on something, they can draw it.”<br />

Art pieces can be very moving as well. Seeing a painting<br />

during a protest can trigger new emotions, and cause one<br />

to feel the artist’s emotions through their work. There is<br />


power when it comes to artwork.<br />

Protests that really caught the attention of<br />

the world occurred after the killing of George<br />

Floyd in 2020. There were thousands of protests<br />

being held all over the U.S. as a demand to end<br />

police brutality against Black Americans. Many<br />

people spoke out and used their social media<br />

platforms, while others used their art. Posters<br />

of George Floyd’s face, walls painted with his<br />

name all over, signs expressing people’s outrage<br />

and grief.<br />

Art is made to move people and express feelings<br />

in a way words cannot. When it comes to<br />

protests, those feelings come from a place of<br />

true emotion. With art, people can visualize<br />

what was going on during that time and place<br />

themselves there. Protest art is essentially the<br />

backbone to most protest movements.<br />


Shamiel Moore<br />

Paths<br />

of Rhythm<br />

The Image Hip-Hop Culture<br />

has Created for Society<br />

“Pac ain’t make it to twenty-six<br />

Big’ ain’t make it to twenty-five<br />

It’s only right that I gotta get rich.”<br />

This lyric comes from Florida rapper, Denzel<br />

Curry in his track “X-Wing,” where he discusses<br />

his current life as a rapper and the fate of his<br />

inspirations before him. Curry often mentions how<br />

young he is, and how the people surrounding him tend<br />

to end up in the same fate. Whether it be from gun<br />

violence or drugs at a young age, it encourages him to<br />

move differently and avoid the same mistakes.<br />

Within the same song, Curry said, “I don’t want a car/<br />

I want an X-Wing (Yeah)/ I’m just onto the next thing/<br />

Growing up, I didn’t have the best things/ Now my<br />

diamonds on my neck gleam.”<br />

In a song that talks about the traumatic reality of the<br />

hip-hop world we know from news and popular media, it<br />

does not fail to discuss the glamour and drive to improve<br />

in the same sentiment. The beauty of the genre is that a<br />

majority of the songs will have braggadocious lyrics about<br />

money, cars, clothes, sex, and drugs, but also speak on the<br />

real-life issues that are plaguing the Black community and<br />

enlighten many that may be privy to it. From that music<br />


comes a diverse identity for Black people, an identity<br />

that revolves around language and phrases, fashion and<br />

material objects, and even a drive to change the political<br />

climate in the United States.<br />

Hip-hop originated in Brooklyn, New York in the 1970s,<br />

soon after the Civil Rights movement in the 50s and 60s.<br />

The genre was a way to express feelings about the recent<br />

economic decline in the city, and how it heavily affected<br />

the less fortunate Black community. Rory PQ from Icon<br />

Collective said the economic issues left non-white<br />

communities in a state of despair.<br />

“The city’s economy was falling apart due to the decline<br />

of the manufacturing industry and construction of the<br />

Cross Bronx Expressway. Much of the white middle class<br />

moved to the suburbs to escape the social and economic<br />

challenges,” PQ said.<br />

As a result of the ever-increasing poverty, many people<br />

resorted to crime, violence, and organized gang activity.<br />

A way to escape the current situation was block parties<br />

and events hosted in abandoned buildings throughout<br />

the Bronx. DJs and MCs would spin records and hype up a<br />

crowd of frustrated, young Black people and thus began<br />

the rise of hip-hop music.<br />

The most prominent rappers of this time were<br />

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the first rap<br />

group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,<br />

and the Sugar Hill Gang, known for their track “Rapper’s<br />

Delight,” which has become a common sample used in<br />

over 200 songs, from Dr. Dre to 50 Cent to TLC. The 70s<br />

set the standard for how hip-hop should be made and<br />

perceived, and by the time the 90s arrived, hip-hop and<br />

rap became its own entity in the large world of music.<br />

The 90s was an era of hip-hop where the music became so<br />

prominent that it started to bleed into white households,<br />

and eventually caused controversy. This was known as the<br />

golden age of hip-hop, where some of the most influential<br />

artists of all time arrived that you cannot go a day without<br />

seeing on a shirt around campus.<br />

Following the mass incarceration of Black men in the ‘80s,<br />

and racial injustices continuously occurring in the U.S.,<br />

hip-hop was a way to release the emotions of frustrated<br />

Black Americans. But unlike in the ‘70s, hardcore and<br />

aggressive hip-hop was very common. New York had<br />

maintained a heavy presence in the hip-hop scene. For<br />

example the group, Wu Tang Clan that incorporated<br />

rugged instrumentals, samples from martial arts films,<br />

and violent, yet fun, lyrics added an identity to the<br />

northern city. The leader of the group, RZA said he<br />

wanted the group to offer a real look into the lives of the<br />

members and other Black people during the struggling<br />

time in New York.<br />

“To open up the minds of the youth and the people and<br />

become aware of our people, our situation, our community,<br />

martial arts, knowledge of self, and all the things that we<br />

put into those songs,” RZA said.<br />

Also from New York and arguably one of the most<br />

influential rappers of all time, The Notorious B.I.G. made<br />

an enormous impact in music. His subject matter not only<br />

involved the rise to fame lyrics, but reflections on the<br />

environment he came from and his own mortality, which<br />

made him a mature artist to many that is still talked about<br />

to this day.<br />

On the other side of the country, West Coast Rap became<br />

a major staple in the hip-hop community, delivering a<br />

unique sound and legendary producers and rappers. N.W.A.<br />

assembled some of the greatest lyricists in hip-hop, Ice<br />

Cube and Eazy-E, with the production from Dr. Dre. The<br />

group released aggressive “gangsta rap” that talked about<br />

their superiority in the rap game, while also talking about<br />

the cruel lifestyle in South Central Los Angeles. Many of<br />

these songs used samples from soul, R&B, and even gospel<br />

music to accentuate each track, creating cohesive projects<br />

for all black people to enjoy.<br />

“Everything in the world came after this group. ... We<br />

changed pop culture on all levels. Not just music. We<br />

changed it on TV. In movies. On radio. Everything.” NWA<br />

member, Ice Cube said.<br />

By this point, hip-hop had become mainstream, and<br />

grabbed the attention of everyone from young people<br />

of all races, to people who only see the negativity in the<br />

genre.<br />

Modern hip-hop has completely taken over today’s music,<br />

allowing for many Black artists to use their lyrics and<br />

performances to make political statements as well as<br />


entertainment. In 2020, Megan Thee Stallion delivered<br />

a memorable performance on Saturday Night Live of hit<br />

her song “Savage”, a track that displays feminine prowess<br />

and confidence. Behind her and her background dancers,<br />

there is a large screen with the words ‘Protect Black<br />

Women’ along with a snippet of Malcom X’s statement<br />

of Black women being the most disrespected people in<br />

America, referencing the murder of Black medical worker<br />

Breonna Taylor that same year.<br />

The Science Star’s, Yamilka Moreno said that hip-hop<br />

goes beyond simple lyrics and performances:<br />

“While performing her hit song “Savage,” it became<br />

apparent that the performance was meant to be more<br />

than just a live show, but rather a call to political action on<br />

an issue that has been ignored for far too long,” Moreno<br />

said.<br />

Hip-hop is one of the most complex genres of music, and<br />

has a very close connection to the Black experience. Rap<br />

is often reduced to simply ghetto and ignorant, but many<br />

Black artists use their own cultural backgrounds to evoke<br />

a feeling in all their audiences.<br />



Sins of a Saint<br />

I wish I could do the bad I crave without the guilt I fear<br />

but I’ve got morals of a saint.<br />

and daydreams of a sinner and I can’t find my place in either.<br />

I could play the part of a saint and do it well.<br />

but that’s just it<br />

I’ve been cast and I read my script and make sure my emotions match what was<br />

written for me but that ain’t me.<br />

So maybe sinner is more like it.<br />

It’s not what I want to be but who I am naturally.<br />

I’ve agreed to believe in a God that says I can enjoy the things I want but pay the<br />

price for them later and I refuse to believe that anything else exists.<br />

No way do we get to the end of life, and we won’t have to give an account for our<br />

actions.<br />

Behold a higher presence that demands answers for the creativity we used when<br />

justifying our own decisions against what we knew to be morally just because it<br />

temporarily satisfied us.<br />


Lyric Wisdom<br />

S O S<br />

Save Our Ship<br />

After six years from her<br />

freshman album “CTRL,”<br />

SZA released the highly<br />

anticipated album, “SOS.” While she<br />

was not completely silent throughout<br />

the gap between releasing albums, by<br />

being featured on the Black Panther<br />

soundtrack alongside Kendrick<br />

Lamar on “All the Stars” in 2018, SZA<br />

continued to stay on the Billboard Hot<br />

200 for over 260 weeks. At the end of<br />

December in 2020, SZA released the<br />

single “Good Days” and it excited fans<br />

about a possible album release on the<br />

horizon. This was not yet a rollout, as<br />

SZA stepped out of the limelight for<br />

some time.<br />

On June 9, 2022, the 5th year<br />

anniversary of her critically acclaimed<br />

album “CTRL,” SZA released “CTRL<br />

Deluxe” that introduced 7 new songs<br />

to her catalog. These songs were also<br />

said to have been recorded around<br />

the time of making “CTRL” with some<br />

being alternate versions of previously<br />

released songs. Shortly after, “I Hate<br />

U” was released only on Soundcloud,<br />

and after receiving an overload of<br />

positive feedback, that December it<br />

was formally released on all major<br />

streaming platforms. This again<br />

caused speculation of the beginnings<br />

of an album rollout, and they were<br />

correct.<br />

In late October, SZA released the single<br />

“Shirt” and made multiple appearances<br />

for interviews, including Hot 97, SNL,<br />

and Billboard. Then on December 9,<br />

2022, SZA released the long awaited<br />

album “SOS.” There are 23 songs on<br />

“SOS,” nine more songs than “CTRL”<br />

but they each have the same amount<br />

of features, four.<br />

“SOS” similarly to “CTRL” is narrated<br />

by her mother who was previously<br />

featured in the “Garden (Say it Like<br />

Dat)” video.<br />

A major part of the success of “SOS”<br />

besides the wide craving of an album<br />

from the singer, platforms like Tikok<br />

created challenges to different songs<br />

that increased traffic to the album<br />


more than if they didn’t exist. Songs like<br />

“Blind,” or “Open Arms” took over popular<br />

sounds on the app. Pair this with clips<br />

from her infamous song, “Big Boys” from<br />

an SNL skit, SOS was everywhere. To go<br />

along with the album, visuals soon started<br />

to follow with music videos for “Shirt,” and<br />

more recently “Kill Bill.” There are also<br />

leaked versions of songs by SZA floating<br />

around the internet, with the solo version<br />

of “Open Arms,” which is noted to be more<br />

favored by her fans than the version on the<br />

album featuring Travis Scott.<br />

“Kill Bill” is inspired from the 2003<br />

Quentin Tarantino movie with the same<br />

title. The song loosely follows the theme<br />

of the movie with the hook starting with<br />

“I might kill my ex, not the best idea.” The<br />

video takes more direct inspiration from<br />

the first Tarantino movie.<br />

She described the album as a whole to show<br />

how chaotic of a place she is in regarding her<br />

love life and shows a deeper understanding<br />

of some of her flaws. In contrast, she also<br />

is more understanding of the unhealthy<br />

habits she may have, and it’s made obvious<br />

in songs like “Love Language” where she<br />

sings, “Bad as I want to be yours, I can’t get<br />

with your program.” She is trying to get an<br />

understanding of where the person this<br />

song is about is coming from, but there<br />

is still a disconnect. In “Blind” she sings,<br />

“It’s so embarrassing, all of the love I see<br />

living inside of me I can’t see, I’m blind.”<br />

She knows her self value and worth, yet<br />

still gets stuck in a toxic cycle. Later in the<br />

song she says,<br />

“I like all that violence,<br />

give me dysfunction”<br />

So, it’s apparent she knows the relationship<br />

is not working. Songs like “Gone Girl” show<br />

a more healthy approach on the flawed<br />

relationships with saying what she needs<br />

from a partner and the world around her,<br />

and what throws her off. A more optimistic<br />

song, “Open Arms,” featuring Travis<br />

Scott gives the feeling of a conversation<br />

between two people who have completely<br />

different perspectives on the relationship<br />

status, and fans were excited to see them<br />

collaborate again after the success of “Love<br />

Galore” from “CTRL.”<br />

Though platforms such as TikTok fell in<br />

love with the album immediately, social<br />

media users sounded off on different<br />

platforms to express their dislike towards<br />

the new project. Many users agreed they<br />

expected better from SZA and were just<br />

simply disappointed. But there were many<br />

fans who defended SZA, saying, “this is an<br />

album you have to sit and let grow on you.<br />

The editors’ favorites from the album are<br />

“Love Language,” “Open Arms,” and “Kill<br />

Bill.”<br />


Hopefully my music is medicine, some type<br />

of antidote for something or some kind of<br />

explanation or just to feel good.<br />

Erykah Badu<br />

“Check Ball” (2022) by Glenn Hardy Jr.

Ta’Kyla Bates<br />

Would you?<br />

I<br />

never learned to swim. My mom never learned. My<br />

grandad can’t swim, but that’s probably because he<br />

lived in New York for half his life. Mygranny only kinda<br />

learned but she probably hasn’t touched a pool in decades.<br />

I remember going “swimming” when I was younger. The<br />

smell of chlorine and getting a new bathing suit every<br />

time because I couldn’t swim. Always in the shallow end<br />

until I was tall enough to move up a few feet. Every time<br />

I went swimming, I didn’t want to get my hair wet or I’d<br />

get in trouble.<br />

My hair, something that has been a bother but a blessing<br />

all my life. From barrettes and bows to braids, beads, and<br />

bonnets. A blessing but a curse. Mygranny has a hot comb<br />

sitting on the stove. The hot comb her mother used on<br />

her hair, the hot comb she used on my mom, and the hot<br />

comb she used on me. It’s old and rusty looking but trust<br />

me it works. As the comb glides through my hair, trying<br />

not to touch my scalp, I see the smoke rise into the air. The<br />

same smoke my great grandmother, Mygranny and my<br />

mom saw and now I see, the same heat on our scalp. Next<br />

to the hot comb is a large pot of collard greens boiling,<br />

the strong aroma overtakes the smell of the burning hair.<br />

Fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread, mac and cheese<br />

(the one in the oven of course). The typical Sunday dinner<br />

in my house. Mygranny is preparing dinner. She’s making<br />

everything but the mac and cheese, that’s my mom’s job.<br />

The boiling water fills the room with steam, anticipating<br />

the drop of the elbow macaroni noodles. The Colby Jack,<br />

sharp and mild cheddar cheeses wait in the refrigerator<br />

for my mom. The sound of the canola oil crackling awaiting<br />

the seasoned chicken to be dropped by the white floury<br />

hands of Mygranny. My little sisters and I idly watching<br />

her pour the buttermilk into the flour and cornmeal for<br />

the cornbread. No measuring cups in sight. Seeing what<br />

seasonings she’s putting on the chicken. Watching so one<br />

day our kids will be doing the same.<br />

My mom never learned to swim, but if I was drowning,<br />

she’d jump in to save me. Any of us, my brother and my<br />

sisters. They can’t swim either. And as long as my mom is<br />

there, we can’t drown either. And as long as we’re there,<br />

she won’t drown. I remember in 1803, just off the cost<br />

Savannah, Georgia, a group of enslaved Africans, chained<br />

together walked into the waters of the Dunbar Creek<br />

knowing, in the end, they would die. Sacrifice? Suicide? I<br />

guess it’s all based on the circumstances. Would you save<br />

someone from drowning even if you couldn’t swim?<br />

December 22, 2000, at 5 a.m., I opened my eyes for the first<br />

time. I had dark brown skin, dark brown eyes, and dark<br />

brown hair. I was an existing human being. As children,<br />

we’re not really living, we’re existing, our purpose is yet to<br />

be known. Maybe our purpose is never known from when<br />

we first open our eyes to when we last close them. Think<br />

about it, there are a billion trillion stars in the universe,<br />

trillions of galaxies, and one you. Maybe our purpose in<br />

life is to love or to be loved. Going through life without<br />

love is like floating fathomlessly through the ocean with<br />

no one to save you. I think not being loved or not loving<br />

feels like drowning with no one to save you.<br />

When I was eight, I went on a field trip to the YMCA. My<br />

mom wasn’t there, so I almost drowned. As I went down<br />

the gigantic slide with the deep end awaiting me. I fall.<br />


Into an unfamiliar place, an unfamiliar feeling. A white<br />

man’s hand reached to grab me, definitely not my mom,<br />

but a stranger. He yelled at me and asked me why I would<br />

go down a slide into the deep end. Maybe my judgement<br />

got the best of me. Maybe I wanted to sacrifice my<br />

boredom. The funny thing is I never got my hair wet. My<br />

dark brown hair.<br />

I don’t like a lot of things in life. I don’t like large bodies<br />

of water. I don’t like people wasting my time. I don’t like<br />

cornbread, but I have made it before. A sacrifice of my time<br />

for other people’s enjoyment. But also the preservation of<br />

my enjoyment because I love to spend time in the kitchen<br />

with Mygranny and my mom. I love food maybe a little too<br />

much. But remember what I said about love.<br />

I have been to the beach a total of one time. I’ve been to<br />

the forest more than I count. Wanna know why? Nah, I<br />

think you know by now. At 20, I now own two bathing<br />

suits and they have never been worn. They’re “just in<br />

case” bathing suits. Just in case I want to stand in a pool<br />

or just in case I want to stand at the shallowest end of the<br />

ocean. You know the feeling of being in the middle of a<br />

lake in a kayak and you can’t see the bottom of the lake?<br />

That’s what it feels like to not be loved or to not love. If<br />

your kayak partner fell into the bottomless lake, would<br />

you jump in to save them even though you can’t swim?<br />

The tree trunks in the woods remind me of my dark<br />

brown eyes and my dark brown skin. The oak tree reminds<br />

me of my coily dark brown afro. I think of my childhood,<br />

sitting between my mom’s legs while she combs my hair.<br />

I miss those days. Putting my hand in my head to see just<br />

how much more she had to do. She would tap my hand<br />

with the comb, and I would snatch it back fast. Right<br />

next to her sat the “bow box” with beads, barrettes,<br />

rubber bands, ribbons, you name it, it was in there. This<br />

usually happened on Sunday nights so I would have a<br />

fresh hairstyle for the rest of the school week. Coming<br />

to school with a new hairstyle was kinda embarrassing<br />

because people always were curious about how it changed<br />

so fast. In my head, they just sounded really stupid, but I<br />

answered them, anyway. Because it was a nice thing to do.<br />

Literally, bite me.<br />

I don’t know what it is about love and life that makes<br />

people do dumb things. What I do know is throughout my<br />

life I’ve done dumb things for life. And throughout my<br />

journey of love, I missed out on some of my life. But what<br />

I do know is that the answers to the questions I ponder<br />

without a doubt an act of love and a result of life.<br />

Would you save a drowning person, even if you couldn’t<br />

swim? Would you cook cornbread, even though you don’t<br />

like it? Would you let someone touch your hair when<br />

you know it makes you uncomfortable? Did those slaves<br />

commit suicide or sacrifice their lives for the greater<br />

good?<br />

Yes.<br />


Dani Brown<br />

Black Girl Dreaming<br />

Dreaming of everything there is to become.<br />

Holding the weight of the world on my<br />

shoulders. Having to fix every issue that lays<br />

ahead of me, my problem or not. Knowing when to speak<br />

and when not to speak. Holding it all in until I burst in<br />

flames. Am I an angry Black woman? I smile and say it’s<br />

okay. No one is going to look into my big brown eyes<br />

and find the pain. I suppress it. I chose the world over<br />

myself. Am I enough? How can I fix it? I can’t fight my<br />

way through life, but that’s all I know. Complacency is<br />

not me. My foremothers and fathers fought for their<br />

lives and mine. What’s the difference?<br />

Dreaming of a love that was not meant for me to find.<br />

Not being enough for who I want in my life. I keep it all<br />

in my mind. I see what I want being taken by another<br />

kind. Are they blind? What is that I’m missing? I embrace<br />

my natural kinky locs. I maintain myself very well. I find<br />

it completely hurtful how my glowing chocolate covered<br />

skin is the beauty standard for a certain kind. But gets<br />

disrespected by the ones I protect with my whole heart.<br />

How can I change it? Not just for me but for every Black<br />

girl like me.<br />

How can I give my trauma and pain to someone to help<br />

me carry it? I think I can handle it. Am I lying to myself?<br />

Dreaming of being successful. Yet I question how so?<br />

How can I be successful in a world where I build myself<br />

up to get knocked down again? Not just by another race,<br />

but my own. Constantly being depended on to be a strong<br />

Black woman. I’d like to see what it’s like to be weak for a<br />

day. A day where I let others carry the burdens that rest<br />

on my heart and mind. I use those burdens to keep me<br />

going. I have to finish school. I have to be wealthy. I have<br />

to make a difference. I have to be the one who shows<br />

little black girls they can win too. But will I truly win?<br />

Dreaming of a person to love. Will they love me? What<br />

is love? How will I find it? I hope I find it soon. Needing<br />

love at the moment, drowning myself in things that<br />

do not love me. Working hard to distract myself from<br />

what I’m missing. What kind of love do I really want?<br />

A love that God is? Unconditional, intentional, gracious,<br />

merciful. But how can I find that if I don’t know if I truly<br />

love myself?<br />

Dreaming of how I want my energy reciprocated. Call<br />

me, I’m there. I’m not going anywhere. But when I call,<br />

are you there? I wished to save the ones closest to me.<br />

Have I failed? How can I change it? Reverse the time? It’s<br />

hard to live with the fact that there was nothing I could<br />

do. I have no more tears. Am I numb or angry? I don’t<br />

want to talk about it but I do. Why is it so hard for me to<br />

just be cool? They say let it go. But once again I suppress<br />

it. I suppress it because my weight is all too burdensome.<br />


Editor’s Playlist<br />

• I Wish I Missed My Ex- Mahalia<br />

• BRB-Mahalia<br />

• Sock it 2 Me-LAYA<br />

• Protection- Kiana Ledé<br />

• B***h I’m Nice-Doechii<br />

• F.U.B.U-AMBR<br />

• Indonesian Fantasies -Sonder<br />

• Venom-Ravyn Lenae<br />

• Free Room- Ravyn Lenae<br />

• Hide Out-Mahalia<br />

• Glass Flows- Smino<br />

• Long Nights-6lack<br />

• Bittersweet- Lianne La Havas<br />

• Excited!-Destin Conrad<br />

• We Don’t Funk-KIRBY<br />

• fafo-Zack Fox<br />

• Light Me Up-Rayvn Lenae<br />

• Woah-Snoh Alegra<br />

• Amelda-Solange<br />

• Something In The Water-Tone<br />

Stith<br />

• You Got Me-The Roots<br />

• Cherry Wine-Nas<br />

• The Roof-Mariah Carey<br />

• BP-Summer Walker<br />

• Elevators-OutKast<br />

• Soul Ties- Omb Peezy<br />

• Electric Relaxation- A Tribe<br />

Called Quest<br />

• Roses-VanJess<br />

• Little Giants-Nao<br />

• Woman-Lianne La Havas and Nao<br />

• Found-Tems, Brent Faiyaz<br />

• On & On-Erykah Badu<br />

• Ungodly Hour- Chloe X Halle<br />

• 80/20- Chloe x Halle<br />

• Pray It Away-Chlöe<br />

• ICU- Coco Jones<br />

• Dive-Victoria Monet<br />

• Sandstorm- Mereba, JID<br />

• Tell Me Its Over- Jacquees ft.<br />

Summer Walker, 6lack<br />

• Good Together-Shay Lia<br />

• Beating Down Yo Block- Monaleo<br />

• Summer 2020- Jhene Aiko<br />

• Bed Peace-Jhene Aiko, Childish<br />

Gambino<br />

• Q.U.E.E.N- Janelle Monae, Erykah<br />

Badu<br />

• Like a Tattoo- Sade<br />

• Hurt Me So Good-Jasmine<br />

Sullivan<br />

• Gone- Jorja Smith<br />

• Kimmi-Bathe<br />

• No Lames- Kash Doll Summer<br />

Walker<br />

• Ur Best Friend-Kiana Ledé,<br />

Kehlani<br />

• Stuck-Durrand Bernarr, Ari<br />

Lennox<br />

• Love Songs-Kash Paige<br />

• Backwood-Ari Lennox<br />

• A Long Walk-Jill Scott<br />

• Angel-Anita Baker<br />

• Imagine Me-Kirk Franklin<br />

• Faithful is Our God- Hezekiah<br />

Walker<br />

• Procession of the Levites/<br />

Anthem of Praise- Richard<br />

Smallwood<br />

• Never Too Much- Luther<br />

Vandross<br />

• Here and Now- Luther Vandross<br />

• It’s Love- Jill Scott<br />

• At Your Best- Aaliyah<br />

• He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)- Jill<br />

Scott<br />

• The One I Gave My Heart To-<br />

Aaliyah<br />

• Spring Summer Feeling- Jill<br />

Scott<br />

• Nunya-Kehlani<br />

• Footsteps- Kehlani, Musiq<br />

Soulchild<br />

• HEATED- Beyoncé<br />

• Shea Butter Baby- Ari Lennox<br />

• Pudgy- Smino ft. Lil Uzi Vert<br />

• Switch- Tink<br />

• Don’t Touch My Hair-Solange<br />

• F.U.B.U-Solange<br />

• The Weekend-SZA<br />

• Pro Freak-Smino, Doechii<br />

• Persuasive-Doechii<br />

• 7AM- Mariah the Scientist<br />

• Beetlejuice- Mariah the Scientist<br />

• Mango Butter- Durand Bernarr<br />

• By Your Side-Sade<br />

• Boy Bye-Ari Lennox, Lucky Daye<br />

• How Much Can The Heart Take-<br />

Lucky Daye<br />

• Love You Too Much- Lucky Daye<br />

• Dearly Beloved- Wale ft. Jamie<br />

Foxx<br />

• Can’t Anymore- Shenseea<br />


-Beyoncé<br />

• Fkn Around- Phony Ppl ft. Megan<br />

Thee Stallion<br />

• Treat Me Like Somebody- Tink<br />

• Knuck if You Buck- Crime Mob<br />

• Body Bag- Monaleo<br />

• Don’t Play With It- Lola Brooke<br />

• Boys a Liar Pt.2 - Pink Pantheress<br />

ft. Ice Spice<br />

• Cranes in the Sky- Solange<br />

Listen on Spotify<br />

Listen on<br />

Apple Music<br />


You may shoot me with your words, you may cut<br />

me with your eyes, you may kill me with your<br />

hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise!<br />

Maya Angelou<br />

“Swim Good” (2023) by Osaze Akil Stigler





WORLD<br />

34<br />

When most people think of Black music,<br />

their first thought is probably hiphop<br />

or Rhythm and Blues. However,<br />

Black Americans are behind the creation of<br />

genres from rock ‘n’ roll to pop music to country<br />

music. This fact can be traced all the way back to<br />

the music sung by enslaved Africans after they<br />

were taken from their motherland and forced<br />

into labor in the 1600s. The songs that were once<br />

sung by these people as the last trace of their<br />

culture are what set the foundation to much of<br />

the music heard in this country and around the<br />

world today.<br />

One of the earliest genres credited to enslaved<br />

African Americans is gospel or the Negro<br />

spiritual. According to the article “The History<br />

of African American Music,” these tunes were<br />

unlike any gospel music that existed previously.<br />

“Neither Black versions of white hymns nor<br />

transformations of songs from Africa, spirituals<br />

were a distinctly African American response to<br />

American conditions,” the article said.<br />

Singing these spirituals and performing<br />

cakewalks were outlets that helped enslaved<br />

African Americans survive and process one the<br />

worst humanitarian crises in history.<br />

Naturally, even after slavery was abolished and<br />

formerly enslaved African Americans were<br />

“freed,” living in America did not get much easier<br />

for them. A period of disappointment in society<br />

and contempt for the unfair treatment they<br />

were facing fell upon most African Americans of<br />

this time. However, music remained a source of<br />

release for these trying times, and it is from this<br />

period America was introduced to the blues.<br />

The blues already existed amongst African<br />

Americans during the time of slavery, but,<br />

according to “The History of African American<br />

Music,” at the end of the 19th century when<br />

African Americans began moving to the north,<br />

the blues evolved, and this music style spread<br />

across the country with them.<br />

The genre combined elements of ragtime and<br />

gospel music (both of which were pioneered by<br />

African Americans) and created a new sound that<br />

America had never heard. As the years went on,<br />

the blues evolved from acoustic to electric, to the<br />

classical blues of Ma Rainey to the country blues,<br />

and much more. The blues took over the country<br />

and became the blueprint behind many of the<br />

later genres that have been loved throughout<br />

American history, especially after the creation of<br />

the Chicago blues.<br />

Black Americans set out on the second Great<br />

Migration from the south to the north in the<br />

1940s, specifically to the city of Chicago. Once<br />

this move happened, the sound of the country

lues was amplified to a new level with the creation<br />

of electronic instruments. A thriving culture of Black<br />

musicians in Chicago was soon born that was reaching<br />

people all around the country.<br />

After considering all this history, some may ask: if<br />

Black Americans were the creators of much of the<br />

music that is heard today, why is this fact not known<br />

by so many people? To understand the answer to this<br />

question, it is important to remember this was still<br />

a time of immense inequality for Black Americans,<br />

despite their music being consumed by white and<br />

other races of Americans.<br />

Dr. John Giggie, associate professor of History<br />

and African American studies at the<br />

University of Alabama, discussed how<br />

the appropriation and exploitation<br />

of Black American music usually<br />

overpowered the voice of the<br />

Black artists that created it.<br />

“I think initially for much<br />

of U.S. history, Black music<br />

has been commodified, sold<br />

and bought less to reward<br />

the artist and more to reward<br />

white producers or record<br />

makers or radio players,” Giggie<br />

said. “Often the cry for freedom<br />

or for justice embedded in that<br />

music was heard but not listened to.”<br />

Giggie has many years of education and research on<br />

the history of the American south, the Civil Rights<br />

Movement, race and more. Additionally, he is director<br />

of The Summersell Center for the Study of the South.<br />

Another factor that contributes to the disconnect<br />

between American music and Black Americans is the<br />

complexity of its chronology. While there is evidence<br />

that much of American music was pioneered by Black<br />

Americans, there is no exact timeline of when this<br />

took place.<br />

“So much of the story of Black music doesn’t begin in<br />

America, it begins in Africa,” Giggie said. “It requires<br />

an appreciation of the way that culture and sound in<br />

multiple ways, in multiple parts of that continent came<br />

together and were then brought to North America<br />

through the minds, the imaginations, and the souls of<br />

enslaved people. So, part of our work, our task is never<br />

to forget that.”<br />

There is an issue when not enough people ask<br />

questions and try to trace the origins of American<br />

music back to its African roots, according to Giggie.<br />

He said this is usually because of the politicalness of<br />

chronology and deciding when these musical genres<br />

began or because many people simply do not try to<br />

trace this music back to its African origins because it<br />

is ‘too complicated.’<br />

Rap, hip-hop, and R&B are the few<br />

undeniably Black musical genres<br />

partly because they were created<br />

during a time when Black<br />

artists could finally create and<br />

distribute music with the<br />

protection of copyright laws<br />

and other factors that could<br />

prevent their music from<br />

being imitated.<br />

“So many ways, the money and<br />

the power that often came from<br />

being a popular recording artist<br />

didn’t translate back to the Black<br />

community. So most Black popular<br />

artists, they died poor,” Giggie said.<br />

“Now the further off you go to the present era, it<br />

changes radically. To the present moment you have<br />

Black recording studios, you have Black labels, you<br />

have infrastructure of Black creative genius for<br />

recording. That’s really new. It developed in part out<br />

of a response to generations of Black music being<br />

taken but not fully paid for.”<br />

Black music is a part of American history and that is<br />

important to acknowledge. For history to accurately be<br />

remembered, credit needs to finally be given to these<br />

Black Americans for gospel, blues, jazz and more.<br />



“I want my work to highlight the different attitudes of<br />

Black people and point out timely trends that people<br />

follow in terms of their appearance. I aim to produce<br />

work that is a culmination of people, not as subjects to<br />

paint, but as people with their own sense of self.”<br />

Red 7 (2022)<br />

36<br />

Thomas (2020)

My name is Monica Ikegwu and I am a Baltimorebased<br />

oil painter. As of now, I am working as<br />

a full time artist. I earned my BFA in painting<br />

from the Maryland Institute College of Art (2020) and my<br />

MFA at the New York Academy of Art (2022).<br />

I first started painting in high<br />

school when I was fourteen. At<br />

that time, art was more of a hobby<br />

for me. I had actually planned on<br />

stopping art completely after high<br />

school and going into the medical<br />

field to become a pediatrician. By<br />

the time senior year came around,<br />

my painting skills had improved<br />

so much and I was constantly<br />

encouraged by teachers and family<br />

members to continue. I later<br />

applied to the only art college in<br />

Baltimore and once they had sent<br />

me the letter of acceptance, I had<br />

made my choice to fully dive into<br />

art and I haven’t turned back since<br />

then.<br />

When I started making work<br />

that existed outside of school<br />

assignments, I wanted the<br />

paintings to have importance and<br />

be relatable to the audiences that<br />

view them. I was drawn to the<br />

human figure and more specifically,<br />

the Black figure. With a history<br />

of misrepresentation directed<br />

at the Black figure, the main<br />

purpose of my work is to focus<br />

on the perception of individual<br />

people. Perception, meaning the<br />

way that we view others, and the<br />

ways in which individuals would<br />

like to appear. I want my work to<br />

highlight the different attitudes of<br />

Black people and point out timely<br />

trends that people follow in terms<br />

of their appearance.<br />

Freeform (2022)<br />

Full Frontal (2023)<br />

I want to display a variety of people that vary in age,<br />

color, personality, and culture in order to expand on<br />

the representation of Black people. To achieve this, I ask<br />

people I know, strangers, and I am even open to volunteers<br />

who reach out. I create my work in collaboration with the<br />

sitter who directs their own pose and style, thus taking<br />

charge of their image. Following their lead, I customize<br />

the rest of the painting specifically<br />

for them.<br />

My works are large-scale portrait<br />

paintings of Black people. Done<br />

in oil paint, the paintings are<br />

heavily detailed and give off a<br />

graphic quality through the use<br />

of line and color. Depending on<br />

the skin tone, pose, and clothing<br />

the person is wearing, I will then<br />

use those elements to direct the<br />

way that I approach the rest of<br />

the painting. Once the figure has<br />

been painted in, the background<br />

space is then personalized. I tend<br />

to use highly saturated colors that<br />

compliment each person’s skin<br />

tone as well as draw attention.<br />

And instead of replicating an<br />

actual space behind the figures, I<br />

mimic the same colors found in the<br />

clothing and reference the natural<br />

geometry and materials found in<br />

the composition to determine the<br />

final outcome.<br />

Since I have started my journey in<br />

the arts, I have received a grant<br />

from the Elizabeth Greenshields<br />

Foundation, won the young artist<br />

award from the Bethesda painting<br />

competition, and I was recently<br />

named a finalist for the Bennett<br />

Prize. Alongside those, I have<br />

also had the honor to have my<br />

work acquired by the Baltimore<br />

Museum of Art and the Petrucci<br />

Family Foundation. I am hoping<br />

and striving to gain more Museum<br />

acquisitions in the future, but<br />

until then, I will continue to work and trust God with the<br />

rest.<br />



After After Victoria Chang Chang<br />

Season 2 Episode 12<br />

Rhythm — died on the dance floor of<br />

La Douleur Exquise last night at 1 a.m.<br />

It drowned in “Have Mercy;” no one<br />

bothered to carry it out for a better burial.<br />

They left it on the seafloor of leftoverliquor<br />

and chicken feathers and on they danced. ...<br />

Those mediocre bottle blonde angels, clad in<br />

Calvin Klein tighty whities; Those ganglypale<br />

saints weaved in and out of the dance floor in<br />

hoards. Their flailing limbs reaching for the<br />

sky like passengers of the titanic searching for<br />

life rafts. In the luminescent rays of LED light,<br />

you could almost mistake them for something<br />

holy. Souls spilling in and out of mouths as they<br />

kissed. Queer satisfaction dripping like sweat<br />

down their foreheads; their bodies twinkling<br />

with angeldust as they bumped&grind with<br />

hunger; muscles coiled tight. They were<br />

primed for feasting and fighting and f*****g,<br />

but for now, dancing would be enough. So, on<br />

they danced, while Rhythm’s bulging body<br />

bled under their feet; their bodies blurred like<br />

leftover watercolor in a cloudy mason jar. All the<br />

while, Otherness was shoved to Rhythm’s side<br />

at their feet — memories of Kameny looking<br />

to Black power for change, memories of bricks<br />

shattering windows, memories of the STAR<br />

finding a constellation to call home, — trampled<br />

til it echoed the sparse crunch of fallen ice from<br />

overpriced drinks. On they danced, shoving and<br />

slashing at bodies that felt other; while theirs<br />

expanded and split, on they moved like a stormy<br />

sea. Their hips mechanically swaying to f*****g<br />

noise. There was no other way to describe it. ...<br />

None of them noticed Rhythm drag its bruised<br />

body behind the bar and drop a lighter in the<br />

pool of liquor that splattered below the rows<br />

of bottles. The club was flooded in a Jackson<br />

Pollock of fire, and on they screamed while the<br />

flames danced. Quelle douleur exquise!<br />


Katastrophy Global<br />

My name is Patrick Hodge I am a Senior from<br />

Atlanta, Georgia majoring in business<br />

management at the University of Alabama.<br />

My grandma inspired me because once she taught<br />

me more about how to hand sew and work a sewing<br />

machine, I instantly fell in love with the craft itself. My<br />

inspiration behind the pieces that I make comes from<br />

everything else besides clothes that I’ve already seen<br />

made. I refuse to follow any type of “trends” because<br />

I believe in stepping out of the typical fashion norms<br />

and my brand has allowed me to show the world the<br />

different art forms that I’ve learned to love still to<br />

this day.<br />

the architecture of a building which still to this day<br />

sparks my creativity. I knew for a fact that fashion<br />

was the best route for me to choose since I knew I<br />

had the capability to make something that’s never<br />

been seen before and that is the most exciting part<br />

of it all. I view fashion as an artform that I can use to<br />

express myself.<br />

I always knew that I wanted to be unique in my own<br />

way. I strongly believe that Katastrophy Global plays<br />

a big factor in my life. I always catch myself making<br />

clothes that I would have worn when I was 15 years<br />

old. My brand is a lifestyle that I will continue to live<br />

for the rest of my life.<br />

Growing up in Atlanta I was always surrounded by<br />

art whether it’s the graffiti on the walls or even just<br />

“Art should comfort the<br />

disturbed and disturb the<br />

comfortable.”<br />

-Ceasar A. Cruz<br />


Ta’Kyla Bates<br />

Keandre Walker<br />

“I actually quite enjoy<br />

capturing beautiful<br />

moments of plays or<br />

something that happens in<br />

the game.”<br />


Keandre Walker, also know known by his photography<br />

name FLICKSWITHLADRE, is a 19-yearold<br />

photographer from Baltimore, Maryland.<br />

At the age 14 Walker got into photography but didn’t<br />

start to take it seriously until he turned 17. He used his<br />

iPhone to take pictures of his mother and some of his<br />

friends. One day there was a spark of curiosity to find<br />

out what more he could do with a camera. He worked<br />

hard to navigate the ins and outs of the camera and<br />

photography itself.<br />

Walker now has a successful career in sports photography.<br />

He works with NFL and high school athletes and big<br />

names like NBA star Kevin Durant. He has also worked<br />

with SportsCenter and many other NBA players like<br />

Bradley Beal, Nate Roberts and Carmelo Anthony.<br />

“I’ve met a lot of people and photographers that I’ve<br />

built extremely strong bonds with and unforgettable<br />

moments. I am extremely thankful for photography<br />

because without it I wouldn’t be where I am and who I<br />

am today.” Walker said.<br />

Walkers reasoning for getting into sports photography<br />

was his love for basketball.<br />

“I just loved basketball growing up and my whole family<br />

played and I played as well,” Walker said.<br />

He also wanted to give youth opportunities that he<br />

didn’t necessarily have by showcasing their talents<br />

through photos and hoping it would help them get to<br />

colleges or teams they wanted to play for one day.<br />

Walkers love for sports photography shines through his<br />

work. His biggest inspiration behind why he does what<br />

he does is his Uncle Martez, who helped his start off<br />

his sports photography career with taking headshots<br />

for Baltimore and Washington , DC based grassroots<br />

youth organization called Team Thrill, founded by<br />

Washington Wizards player Will Barton.<br />

“He is one of many of my reasons to keep going and why<br />

I love what I do.”<br />

Walker disclosed that he never had any inspirations<br />

doing photography because he had always wanted to<br />

be his own person and just leave an imprint on other<br />

people.<br />

“One thing I’ve learned about a lot of people is that they<br />

seek help from others and end up becoming others,”<br />

Walker said. “Some advice I’d give some people who are<br />

just now starting out is just be yourself. Don’t worry<br />

about what anyone else thinks and make the best of<br />

what you have.”<br />


Alexis Erby<br />


go by Lexi. I am a Sophomore from Montgomery,<br />

I Alabama.<br />

When I first started learning how to do nails, I was<br />

only supposed to be doing my own. I am now a<br />

year in and it was the best decision I’ve ever made<br />

to branch out and do others. It has allowed me to<br />

meet and be a part of so many people’s lives and<br />

learn more about them. People trust me and give<br />

me the opportunity to use my creative skills and<br />

to enhance their beauty.<br />

Mylashia’s Touch means to me that people trust<br />

me to slay their nail sets. People continue to<br />

come to Mylashia’s Touch because they can talk<br />

to me about anything with no judgement, as well<br />

as talking like we’ve known each other for years.<br />

Mylashia’s Touch means that people can come to<br />

me and feel comfortable with me to do their nails<br />

and make a new friend.<br />


Ashleigh C.<br />

Hartnett<br />

“I will leave no stone unturned in sharing the<br />

gift of dance with others and showing them the<br />

true beauty of my art form.”<br />

My motivation behind my form of art is to inspire<br />

others to find their passion which will hopefully<br />

lead to them to finding their purpose.<br />

My artistry means the world and more to me. It<br />

is very rare when someone finds something that<br />

they are passionate about and it is even more<br />

rare when someone finds their purpose in life.<br />

Luckily for me, I was blessed to have found both!<br />

My passion for dance keeps me going and along<br />

the way, I have discovered that it is my purpose<br />

as well.<br />

Ashleigh Hartnett, Senior<br />

East Point, GA

44<br />




The black person is the protagonist in most of<br />

my paintings. I realized that I didn’t see many<br />

paintings with black people in them.<br />

Jean-Michel Basquiat<br />

“Olivia II” (2023) by Monica Ikegwu

48<br />

Teresa Ford<br />

a hidden musician

If you have ever been to an orchestra performance<br />

on campus for a class, extra credit, or pure<br />

enjoyment than you’ve probably seen me: Teresa<br />

Ford. The only black female violinist sitting in that<br />

large ensemble in Moody Music Building’s Concert<br />

Hall, playing her heart out. Some people even have<br />

stated that because of my color, I stick out like a sore<br />

thumb surrounded by my mostly white colleagues.<br />

The truth is: when I am on that stage I know that<br />

I am supposed to be there because nothing feels<br />

more natural. It’s like a weighted blanket falls upon<br />

me and honestly, I never feel more protected in this<br />

community than I do when I’m on that stage.<br />

This is my third year as a student at The University<br />

of Alabama and my 13th year playing the violin.<br />

Student Teresa and violinist Teresa coexist in a<br />

strange way that is my major: Music Education.<br />

Something to note, is that I am the only string<br />

music education major, and the only Black female<br />

music education major at this school as well. To<br />

go along with my passion for music is my passion<br />

for teaching. Most of what I study here at school,<br />

includes the pedagogical skills that are necessary in<br />

music education, as well as the technical avenues that<br />

are included in learning the science of a stringedinstrument.<br />

These avenues consist of discovering<br />

and relearning advanced techniques, becoming<br />

more musical with phrases, using music theory and<br />

harmonies to understand the science behind music<br />

composition and performance, etc. I know this may<br />

sound foreign, but to me, the improvement of these<br />

elements has meant the reaching of many new peaks<br />

in my career.<br />

Every achievement that I have gained since starting<br />

my college experience is mentally programmed<br />

into just moments. My favorite moment so far has<br />

been leading as second Principal of the Huxford<br />

Symphony Orchestra. Being a solo player is<br />

exceedingly difficult, of course, but orchestra<br />

musicians have the extreme challenge of having to<br />

perform long distance pieces. A great example of<br />

this would be track and cross country. Playing solo<br />

is like running track, and playing in an orchestra<br />

is like running cross country; each have their<br />

own challenges and require a number of mental<br />

strength. Another one of my favorite moments<br />

is becoming an Ambassador for the UA College<br />

of Education. It’s so interesting because at first<br />

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be one of the few<br />

education majors selected. I am glad to say I have<br />

been an ambassador for four months now, and I love<br />

being a model to prove to students, especially Black<br />

students, that they can become more than what the<br />

media or history or even our parents tell us we have<br />

to be. There are many more moments that I can<br />

mention including becoming a guest conductor for<br />

Tuscaloosa Symphony Youth Orchestra, a mentor<br />

and reading literacy tutor for low income children<br />

throughout the state of Alabama, and performing<br />

with some of the top professional musicians in the<br />

country. However, even with all I have done, what I<br />

love most about what I have done and what I will<br />

continue to do is there is always room to grow and<br />

learn in this industry.<br />

Despite all of the positive proclamations I am<br />

writing in this story, it hasn’t at all been easy to get<br />

where I am. It is not always positive and I face many<br />

challenges every day that I walk into the School of<br />

Music. Some include being under the subjugation of<br />

micro-aggressions, offensive stereotypes, passiveaggressive<br />

comments about things like my hair<br />

and clothes, and just an all around lack of trying<br />

to understand who I am as a person. I will say the<br />

School of Music is one of the more diverse and<br />

inclusive institutions on campus; however, it must<br />

be addressed that those grievances to my person<br />

and culture are certainly always being notated<br />

in the front of my mind. In spite of the obstacles,<br />

I have found my own community here on campus<br />

leading me to my next point.<br />

At the heart of who I am is God, family, and<br />

friends. I quite literally wouldn’t be alive without<br />

the sacrifices my mother, Captain Stephanie Ford,<br />

made before, during, and after the birth of me,<br />

her youngest child. I also wouldn’t be a musician<br />

if not for being under the tutelage of my Uncle,<br />

Stephen D. Langford, and my mentor, Dr. Tami Lee-<br />

Hughes. It is because of these three that I can go<br />

on to become a beacon of excellence for the next<br />

generation. Included in that next generation is my<br />

three nieces and nephews who I work everyday to<br />

ensure that in my matured-adult life I can provide<br />

for. My sisters supported my entire journey here,<br />

often picking me up and driving long distances to<br />


get me to lessons, buying food after rehearsals, and<br />

chaperoning me in performance gigs. With that<br />

being said, I was glad that I could find some friends<br />

that demonstrated the love and support I received<br />

from my sisters growing up. I wake up without a<br />

doubt in my mind that I am loved by many, which<br />

took a long time to believe.<br />

I was asked recently about my personal code of<br />

ethics and some of the values I include in it. I know<br />

for sure that loyalty and distributing genuine<br />

energy towards everyone is something that I value<br />

inexplicably. But if I could explain how I choose to<br />

live, it is with complete love and appreciation for<br />

myself and for the next person. I think living this<br />

way is easier than choosing to be hateful because I<br />

do believe there is a day where we all have to answer<br />

for our actions and look back at what we have done<br />

for not ourselves but the next person. So I implore<br />

you to continue to reach new highs, and accept any<br />

lows, but also to love justly and fairly to all.<br />




Therapy<br />


Music and its Many<br />

Therapeutic Uses<br />

Music has been scientifically proven to help<br />

reduce stress. From using it as a personal<br />

means to cope with stressful situations to<br />

going through with music therapy, there are multiple ways<br />

that music can help deal with stressful life occurrences.<br />

Hydeia Averitte, a Miles College alumna, said that music<br />

is a way to cope with certain situations.<br />

“A lot of songs that I listen to, they’re<br />

inspirational or I can relate to the artists<br />

or maybe the artists is relating to me<br />

and whatever I’m going through at that<br />

time... I listen to the lyrics and most<br />

songs are like a story. They tell you how<br />

to overcome something or what happens<br />

at the end of their story,” Averitte said.<br />

Averitte said that she listens to a wide<br />

variety of music, but the artist that she can<br />

relate to the most is rapper, Rod Wave.<br />

“He can be a counselor. And basically, from his words from<br />

his rap music, inspiration. A lot of times, a lot of people<br />

are listening to just beats,” Averitte said. “And it’s more to<br />

that. And right where he brings more things just beats to<br />

a song he brings words he brings wisdom, he talks about<br />

his pain, and it’s also a therapy because [it’s] something I<br />

can relate to.”<br />

Faith Kirkland, a member of the A Capella group, Tunein,<br />

said that music has always been a part of her life and<br />

is something that she cannot really remember being<br />

without.<br />

“When something is that normal to have<br />

around, it definitely drives your thoughts<br />

and feelings more than you think it does,<br />

and I think that music can do more<br />

for you than you can do for yourself<br />

sometimes,” Kirkland said.<br />

She also said that listening to music<br />

helps her thoughts stay grounded and<br />

she realized music could be used as a stress<br />

relief method when her whole life began to<br />

center music. Some of the music Kirkland listens<br />

to on a daily basis is pop, indie rock, classical piano and<br />

jazz. Her favorite artists right now are Bad Suns, Morgan<br />

Wallen, Flatland Calvary and The Lumineers.<br />


Music is also used in a professional setting in music<br />

therapy.<br />

Dawn Sandel, the music therapy clinical supervisor at The<br />

University of Alabama, defined music therapy as, “the<br />

evidence-based use of music to achieve nonmusical goals.”<br />

Sandel said that these goals vary across settings but they<br />

include things such as motor skills, communication,<br />

social/emotional needs and cognition.<br />

“Music is very non-invasive and for a lot of people, if<br />

they’re in a medical setting for example, the interactions<br />

they have with the staff can usually have a negative<br />

connotation,” Sandel said. “But music therapy is very noninvasive<br />

and it tends to be more positive of an interaction,”<br />

Sandel also said that no specific genre of music works<br />

best for music therapy and that they use client preferred<br />

music to best help clients reach their goals.<br />

“When we go into a medical setting, we’re going to ask<br />

what their preferred music is or we’re going to have<br />

a song sheet of different genres on it with a few songs<br />

underneath it to prompt an idea of what they might like,”<br />

Sandel said.<br />

Sandel said that they follow trends with music as well.<br />

She said that when they work with older adults, they will<br />

play music from the early timeframe of their life, such as<br />

music from when those clients were in their teens and<br />

twenties because those are the songs they can remember<br />

best.<br />

Overall, music has been proven to help with stressful<br />

situations and because it is so non-invasive, it allows<br />

people to reap the benefits of the therapy they get from<br />

it, whether it be at home or in a medical setting.<br />


Samantha White<br />



Based on a true story<br />

It was a Saturday morning when dad decided to head<br />

over to the corner store to buy a pack of cigarettes.<br />

He had gotten up early, and for some reason I was<br />

already awake when I heard him putting on his jacket<br />

to leave. I wanted to go with him, so I asked him to<br />

wait for me. I brushed my teeth, threw on my coat, and<br />

we were on our way. We walked for about ten minutes<br />

before we saw the bright, red sign that said JIM’S<br />

CORNER SHOP in bold letters. Right as we walked in,<br />

Jim’s voice carried from behind the counter.<br />

“Well hello Ben,” Jim said with a flashy smile that<br />

revealed his gold tooth. “And hello to you too, Mandy,”<br />

he looked down and said to me. I grinned back at him,<br />

but I was too shy to speak.<br />

“Mornin’ Jim,” my father replied and gave me a<br />

disapproving glare until I said something back to him.<br />

“Hi, Mr. Jim,'' I squeaked.<br />

Embarrassed, I walked down one of the isles looking<br />

for Better Maid potato chips.<br />

“Do you want your usual? Pall Mall?” Jim asked.<br />

“Mmhmm, that’ll do,” dad responded already pulling<br />

out his wallet.<br />

“How’s Mrs. Roz?” Jim asked my distracted father<br />

counting his change.<br />

“She’s doing alright,” he said. “Probably preparing<br />

breakfast for Beanie and Damon as we speak.”<br />

Jim laughed, “Yeah, those kids are something else,<br />

always keeping her busy.”<br />

“You already know, Jim,” dad chuckled.<br />

Jim grabbed the pack of cigarettes and rang it up. I<br />

quickly snatched the potato chips and scurried up<br />


to the counter. Dad sighed, grabbing the chips from my<br />

hands, and giving them to Jim to ring up. Jim bagged our<br />

items and gave them to me to carry.<br />

“You’re growin’ up so fast Mandy, but stay focused on<br />

them studies, ya hear?” Jim said with a serious look in his<br />

eyes.<br />

“Yes sir,” I replied nodding.<br />

“Alright now, you take care Jim,” dad said with a tip of his<br />

cap.<br />

We stepped outside the door, and he lit his cigarette. We<br />

stood there staring at the view from across the street. I<br />

saw the familiar buildings that had spray painted words on<br />

them. The buildings were other local stores, and they were<br />

still in use. The graffiti made them look less welcoming<br />

than before though. The graffiti, some of which read<br />

BLACK POWER and BLACK AND PROUD, stood out in<br />

bold lettering that seemed to lie off the buildings’ cement<br />

bricks reaching those passing by. Another building had<br />

the Black power fist sloppily sprayed on its side with the<br />

paint, although dry, running down the brick.<br />

Looking at the graffiti, its paint cracked with time,<br />

reminded me of why they were there in the first place.<br />

I remember when it all went down, two years ago now,<br />

that being the race riots of ’67. It was during the long,<br />

sweltering hot summer in July that the riots started in<br />

Detroit. They erupted on the west side of town, over<br />

where my Aunt Audrey lived. Since we live in the east, we<br />

didn’t have to deal with the looting or burning buildings.<br />

The rioting started the night that the “blind pig,” an<br />

illegal club on the corner of 12th St. and Clairmount, was<br />

raided by police.<br />

That night the club hosted a party for veterans who’d<br />

recently come back from the Vietnam war. It was a warm,<br />

humid night, and when the police came, those inside were<br />

reluctant to leave the air-conditioned bar. One by one the<br />

patrons were arrested, and as this happened, a crowd<br />

began to gather in the street. 12th street was known for<br />

being a hotspot of inner-city nightlife, and police were<br />

known for raiding there. By then everyone had enough,<br />

and before the last person was put in the patrol car,<br />

a bottle smashed in the street. I’m not sure if it was a<br />

brick or a bottle, but one of the two was thrown at the<br />

car and shattered the window. Thousands of people ran<br />

into the streets from nearby buildings, and just like that,<br />

everything went into flames.<br />

“All these folks, every time you see one of ‘em, he gon’ stop<br />

a brother, he don’t never stop no white, that’s why we out<br />

here riotin.’”<br />

I watched an angry Black man speak these words to<br />

the WXYZ news reporter when asked about the cops.<br />

The news station captured Black people breaking into<br />

buildings, taking any and everything they could find.<br />

TV’s, groceries, and clothes were stolen from the closed<br />

stops nearby. Among the chaos, fire burned to life. My<br />

eyes lit up from the reflection of the tv screen showing<br />

flames growing on the buildings. The thick, heavy smoke<br />

filled the once blue skies. Businesses were burned to the<br />

ground.<br />

I’ll never forget while watching, my throat felt dry<br />

making it hard for me to swallow, and a shiver went down<br />

my spine. Sweat lined my clammy hands as I discovered<br />

what fear truly felt like. My mother, speechless, watched<br />

with embarrassment. She said, “it put our people in such<br />

a bad light.” Momma stuck to her soap operas to pass the<br />

time. Days of Our Lives and Search for Tomorrow kept<br />

her attention the most. Dad wanted us to know the reality<br />

of the city’s streets, so when momma went to sleep, we’d<br />

watch the news on the tv in the basement. Police were<br />

beating and arresting the rioters, and firemen were<br />

trying to battle the flames. In doing so they were attacked;<br />

people were determined to see those buildings go up in<br />

smoke. The second day of looting was when the governor<br />

called the national guard to try and stop the rioting.<br />

My mother would pray at night, praying to God that it<br />

ends. I prayed too.<br />

I say being Black in America means you must live with a<br />

target on your back that police use for practice. With the<br />

few Black officers Detroit had, their lives were in danger<br />

too. Some stayed to serve and protect, while others<br />


evacuated. One thing I’ve learned about cops in Detroit<br />

is that they’re going to try to kill as many of us as they<br />

can. At this point, the idea of it doesn’t hurt like it did<br />

before, and not because I’ve become numb to the feeling.<br />

No matter what they do; hate us, beat us, or kill us, they<br />

better believe we aren’t going anywhere. Black resilience<br />

is heavenly, and Lord knows we will come back stronger<br />

in the end.<br />

After five days of riots, the destruction finally stopped, but<br />

the damage was done. Forty-three people dead, over three<br />

hundred injured, and almost two-thousand buildings<br />

burned. Hundreds of families were homeless after that.<br />

My Aunt Audrey ended up being okay, even still, she was<br />

so close to where it went down. Since businesses were<br />

burned, people now had to go out of their way to shop for<br />

what they needed. Some things were rebuilt, but so much<br />

changed.<br />

After a week of the riots being over, dad and I finally went<br />

back to that corner store. There laid the graffiti across the<br />

street. It’s now a constant reminder. It was two years ago,<br />

but still feels like yesterday. I can recall the fear that kept<br />

me up for those five days. I dreamed about the violence,<br />

the handcuffs, and my dimly lit basement. Though silent,<br />

the flashing images on the tv created shadows on the<br />

walls of never-ending flames.<br />

It was over, but in a way, it wasn’t actually over. Even now,<br />

most police aren’t fair to us. Those that might be, we don’t<br />

know if we can’t trust em’ nor do we care to anymore. At<br />

this point, all we want is peace, but more importantly,<br />

justice. Dad keeps talking about leaving Detroit to move<br />

to Alabama and start a new life in the country. I’m not<br />

sure if that will do us any good, but he talks like it will<br />

become our reality someday.<br />

I looked at the BLACK POWER graffiti sprayed on the<br />

building across from us and looked up noticing dad<br />

staring at it too. He finished his cigarette and threw the<br />

butt on the ground, squishing it with his shoe.<br />

“C’mon Mandy, let’s head back,” dad said. “Roz has<br />

probably finished cooking breakfast by now.”<br />

“Okay,” I replied and started walking with him.


in the<br />

MUSIC<br />


From Kendrick Lamar to Beyoncé, artists<br />

around the world and across genres have given<br />

new life to old tracks through sampling. The<br />

evolution of music technology has allowed sampling<br />

to skyrocket.<br />

But some people think that the amount of sampling<br />

being done is ruining the quality of today’s music.<br />

Sampling started in the 1980s in the early days of<br />

hip-hop. When hip-hop became mainstream, so did<br />

sampling.<br />

Aiden Hatfield, a junior at Full Sail University<br />

majoring in music production, said that sampling is<br />

not really an issue in music.<br />

“I don’t think sampling is ruining the music industry<br />

because sampling has always been a part of music<br />

history and the industry and I don’t see it going<br />

away in the near future,” Hatfield said. “There are<br />

always going to be good and bad ways that people use<br />

samples and to say it’s ruining the industry is a bit<br />

overdramatic.”<br />

Hatfield said the reason that people dislike the use of<br />

samples so much is because they feel like it’s a quick<br />

way for an artist to finish one of their songs. But he<br />

said that simply is not the case. Knowing how to use<br />

the sample you have and when to place it in your song<br />

is a skill that many people do not have.<br />

One song that he said uses the art of sampling the<br />

best is “Love Language” by SZA off of her latest album,<br />

“SOS.” The song features samples of Aaliyah’s “I Don’t<br />

Wanna” and her own song “Hit Different.”<br />

Hatfield said that the reason the song is a good<br />

example of sampling done right is because SZA<br />

uses the samples as a way to enhance the quality of<br />

the song, as opposed to building the song off of the<br />

sample.<br />

In a TED Talk from 2014, music producer Mark<br />

Ronson said using samples is not about rapping<br />

over the beat of one song like some artists did back<br />

then. To Ronson, the art of sampling is about taking<br />

the sample, flipping it and turning it into your own<br />

creation.<br />

“When we really add something significant and<br />

original and we merge our musical journey with this,<br />

then we have a chance to be a part of the evolution<br />

of that music we love and be linked with it once it<br />

becomes something new again,” Ronson said.<br />

Kyra Woodall, a student at Calhoun Community<br />

College is another person who thinks that sampling<br />

is not really a bad thing if it is done in a way that is<br />

creative. The reason being because artists can tribute<br />

the artists that have come before them.<br />

One sample that she says was not done well is Drake’s<br />

“Nice For What,” which features a sample from Lauryn<br />

Hill’s “Ex-Factor.” However, she said that overall<br />

sampling is a good tool for newer artists to have in<br />

their arsenal.<br />

“I actually think that sampling is a great tool as far as<br />

nostalgia goes. It also revives the original songs and<br />

introduces them to a new generation. I think sampling<br />

gets a bad rap because some people think it’s lazy or<br />

that new artists can’t come up with new ideas without<br />

taking from others,” Woodall said.<br />




@1956MAGAZINE<br />

1956 MAGAZINE<br />


Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!