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Book Review: The Sun Is Also A Star

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The Sun is Also a Star is appealing to scientists and poets and everyone in between. Photo credit: Google images

Natasha and her family will be deported by the end of the day, unless Natasha succeeds in her final efforts to delay their return to Jamaica. On the same day, Daniel reluctantly makes his way to his interview with a Yale alumn to satisfy his Korean parents. In a serendipitous twist of fate, their paths cross, and in Daniel’s desire to live one day on his own terms instead of his parents’, he convinces Natasha to participate in a science experiment, hypothesis: When two people share their answers to a certain set of questions with one another, they will fall in love.
The novel takes place over the course of a single day, and is narrated by Natasha, Daniel, and the universe, which shares the perspectives of those that the untimely duo come into contact with throughout their day together—people whose lives shift in unpredictable ways after crossing paths with the protagonists. It’s a simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking story about love and fate, and also about racism and identity.
What about this book made it a Finalist for the 2016 National Book Award, 2017 Coretta Scott King New Talent Award Winner, and one of the top ten best books of 2016 according to Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Entertainment Weekly, and a variety of other publications? Its inspiring characters and innovative form.
The protagonists are dynamic, smart, and incredible role models of diverse identities. Natasha is a strong Jamaican teenager interested in math and science. Daniel is a sensitive Korean-American with dreams of writing poetry for a living. And these characteristics are not just on the surface-level. They’re essential aspects of the characters’ values that inform their decisions, making their identities crucial aspects of the plot and their developing relationship.
The form develops the theme of how one’s actions cause a ripple effect that alters the paths of even those who are many degrees removed from the individual. The alternating perspectives also allow internal access into both protagonists and a variety of characters that would otherwise appear as inconsequential to the plot. Doing so allows the reader to interpret many of the scenes with a variety of perceptions.
The form would’ve been even more effective if the chapters narrated by the universe were always in the same point of view. Even some that are from the perspective of the same character—such as all the chapters from the POV of Daniel’s Dad—alternate between first and third person. Being consistent would better develop the secondary characters whose voices are heard in such chapters, although I was still in love with the novel without this consistency.
While a film adaptation of The Sun Is Also A Star is in the script writing stages, the film adaptation of Yoon’s first novel, Everything, Everything (which is also told with an effective unconventional form from the perspective of a protagonist of color), will be released on May 19th.
The multifaceted nature of the novel makes it appealing to scientists and poets and everyone in between. YA and romance readers will enjoy the unconventional way Yoon tells the young love story, while the larger theme of fate versus free-will will leave philosophers and dreamers pondering beyond the pages of the novel. If you haven’t started to read it yet, you are truly missing out on a wonderfully written, touching story!

Hasbro V. DC Comics: Battle for the Bumblebee

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A legal showdown begins over the merchandising rights of toys that are named “Bumblebee.” Photo Credit: Google Images

Warner Bros. and Hasbro are getting ready for a legal showdown over the merchandising rights of toys that are named “Bumblebee.” Back on August 28th, Hasbro filed a lawsuit accusing DC Comics and Warner Bros. of trademark infringement for their use of the name “Bumblebee” for the toys of the DC Superhero Girls character, Bumblebee, and the potential confusion that could arise due to her sharing the name with the Transformers’ Bumblebee. One is an African-American teen superhero who, dressed as a bumblebee, is a tech genius, has the ability to shrink and has super strength, while the other is a sentient alien-robot that can transform into a bright yellow sports car.
While it may seem silly to argue that people could get these two confused, it’s more complicated than it seems. Quick backstory: the DC Comics character, Bumblebee, was created back in 1977 in the pages of Teen Titans (although she didn’t get the hero name until a couple years later) while the Transformers’ Bumblebee didn’t show up until 1984.
Seems simple, right? It should be, but then comes 2015. In April 2015, DC announced a female-focused line of comics and TV shows aimed at young girls called DC Superhero Girls. Then, in July of 2015, Hasbro filed for a trademark on the name “Bumblebee” in relation to “toy action figures, toy vehicles and toy robots convertible into other visual toy forms,” according to the trademark. It is officially registered in December of 2015.
Back to DC, they launched the Superhero Girls TV show in October of 2015 and since then has spun them off into a variety of toys, comics, dolls, and even Legos. It’s an interesting situation to say the least, since Hasbro does have the trademark on all toy action figures that contain the word “Bumblebee,” of which the DC Bumblebee toys, produced by Mattel, are a form of.
Part of the suit, as published in Variety, states, “defendants’ and/or their licensees’ use of the Accused Mark is likely to cause consumers mistakenly to believe that the Accused Goods emanate from or are otherwise associated with Hasbro. Such improper use of the Accused Mark by Defendants and/or their licensees is likely to cause confusion, mistake and/or deception among the public as to the source of the Accused.”
In easier to understand language, Hasbro is alleging that their Bumblebee is significantly more popular than the DC Comics character and that, as such, any toys featuring her with the name Bumblebee, would cause confusion to the general public. To prove this, according to the same Variety article, Hasbro is using an IGN listicle of “The Top 25 Transformers,” of which Bumblebee is #4.
It is obvious that Hasbro wants to prevent DC from selling toys with Bumblebee on it, possibly because of the upcoming Bumblebee standalone movie, which is set to release in 2018, but what is less obvious is why they filed the trademark when they did. There was plenty of time for Hasbro to file a trademark for their fourth favorite transformer if, as Hasbro alleges, they have been selling Bumblebee toys since 1983. It was only after the announcement of DC Superhero Girls and popular reaction to it that they filed for a trademark.
Was it just an obstructionist move or was it truly in anticipation of their movie? Only time, and the court case, will tell.

Movie Review: I Am Not Your Negro

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Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Jessica Snouwaert, Staff Writer

March 5th, 2017

The film I Am Not Your Negro, directed by Raoul Peck, opened in theaters this February and is composed of James Baldwin’s writing from nearly 40 years ago. Baldwin wrote about race in the US during the mid-1970’s, yet his words ring far too clear for a 2017 viewer. The film is constructed around an unfinished book Baldwin wrote about the lives and deaths of Medgar Evers, Malcom X, and Martin Luther King Jr. It is truly a cinematic masterpiece, moving seamlessly between voice-over narration read by Samuel L. Jackson (which draws entirely from Baldwin’s writing), television interviews with Baldwin, historical photographs and clips, and snippets from past Hollywood movies and shows.

Baldwin’s voice and thoughts are two-fold through Jackson’s narration and Baldwin’s television interviews. At first it is difficult to connect the two as being one in the same, but it is easy for the viewer to jump into the rhythm of the film. During the film, the viewer clings to each and every one of Baldwin’s words. He is perceptive and critical, as if able to look directly into the viewer’s consciousness, asking questions about race that require deep introspection and should not go unanswered.

This film does what few others can, even at the best of times: it challenges white viewers with the rawest of truths, making them question the very core of society and themselves. Peck uses a multitude of techniques to accomplish this. Some of which include stark contrasts of cheerful visuals and audio with moments of the utter brutality, which highlight some of the deepest hypocrisy within the United States. The stark reality of the images the film uses forces a white viewer to acknowledge privilege that may have previously been avoided, evoking profound emotion and thought. It goes beyond what  we see in our grade school history books. It is harsh and it is real. But it is not despairing, for Baldwin says in the film, “I can’t be a pessimist because I’m alive. I’m forced to be an optimist.”

I cannot walk away from this film unchanged, returning to daily life the same way. I first wanted to see the film because beyond it being an incredible piece of art, I felt that it was my responsibility. The moment the lights came up in the theater I was struck with frustrated tears and anger. I was angry with the past. I was angry with my country. I was angry with myself. This film woke me up to the true responsibility. This film will evoke emotions and thoughts with which some people rarely dare to engage, but it is time we do so, it has always been time.

Goucher Style: Nashalia Ferrara

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Annie Schwartz, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Who: Nashalia Ferrara, Senior, Communications Major

AS: Nashalia, the first time we met in Zurawick’s COM 242 class you were wearing these really cool booties that had zippers on the edges. Do you still have these boots and where did you get them?

Nashalia Ferrara: Haha, thanks! They are Lucky Brand booties. I took them abroad with me and the cobblestone streets of Europe completely ruined them so I don’t wear them much anymore.

AS: What is your favorite trend on Goucher’s campus?

NF: I love and wish I could pull off boyfriend jeans.

AS: What Goucher fad really makes you cringe?

NF: Don’t kill me; I hate Birkenstocks.

AS: How would you describe your style?

NF: It’s very classic, a little sporty, and maybe a little boring? I love black, clean lines, and capped sleeves.

AS: What will you do with yourself if you have to start wearing pantsuits to your new job post-graduation?

NF: Cry. This girl does not look good in a blazer.

AS: Has your style changed at all during your four years at Goucher? If so, how?

NF: When I arrived at Goucher, I was fresh out of prep school, wearing riding boots and obsessed with Tory Burch. By sophomore year, I stopped dressing like a suburban housewife and started leaning towards a street style look.

AS: Where did you go abroad and how did that impact your fashion sense?

NF: I went to Copenhagen, DK where there is no shame in wearing all black. The Danes taught me that head-to-toe black is very chic and not just for mourning. It was almost always below freezing there, so most of my thick, layering scarves are from Denmark or Sweden.

AS: What’s your favorite go-to piece in your closet?

NF: I love my Stan Smith Adidas! And yes, I know that Stan Smith is an actual person.

AS: Who is your Goucher style icon?

NF: Molly Kincaid McFall.

Garrison Keillor Visits Goucher

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Keillor-Headshot-2.jpgErika DiPasquale, Associate Editor

March 5th, 2017

On Monday, February 20th, Kraushaar Auditorium was filled to capacity for the sold out Garrison Keillor Event. The master storyteller was the first performer of “The Power of Storytelling” themed-semester event series, which strives to encourage “learning to gather stories, learning to craft stories, listening to one another’s stories, hearing master storytellers, and community reflection on stories,” according to Emily Perl, Assistant Vice President for Student Success, and leader of the themed-semester committee. The event was funded entirely by the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Visiting Professorship fund.

Garrison Keillor hosted his very popular radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, from 1974 through July 2016 when he retired. His career earned him 3.5 million listeners on 700 public radio stations and Grammy, ACE, and George Foster Peabody awards, the National Humanities Medal, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He’s also an author of many books and editor of poetry anthologies. According to Emily Perl, Mr. Robert Meyerhoff and Ms. Rheda Becker “were instrumental in the decision to bring Garrison Keillor to campus this semester.”

Keillor entertained the crowd for 2 hours and 45 minutes straight—without stopping. Even during a ten minute intermission about an hour and a half in, he remained on stage and sang nostalgic songs with anyone in the audience willing to join in, expressing more than once how blessed he was to be in the same room as people who know the words to the same songs he knew—something he expects to not experience again in the coming years.

As for the content of his performance, his stories were certainly tailored to the audience, which consisted of more people with gray and white hair than Goucher College students. The age demographics of the audience shouldn’t come as a shock, being that a goal of the themed-semester is “to have a variety of speakers who appeal to different audiences and achieve a number of different goals,” according to Perl. Keillor started with stories about his brother-in-law’s hip replacement and his prostate, and then jumped backwards in time to share stories about college and his childhood. The audience heard stories about his first kiss, childhood punishments, and a couple funerals he’s recently attended. None of the stories he told took place during his impressive radio career. This organizational decision contributed to the development of the theme that “We strive to go far and then we end up back in the same place.”

Another theme he kept circling around to—one that is very relevant to the goals of the storytelling theme semester—is the act of writing things down and being remembered. After his longer stories, he would repeat the statement, “And I thought…I should write about this. But I haven’t written it down because I haven’t figured it out yet.” The first time he thought this, he was six years old. He wished to preserve the memory and prevent himself from simply disappearing from this earth. He wanted to write “to make sense of it.” The “strongest impulse of a writer,” according to Keillor, is “to hold onto the past and not let it vanish.” In his more recent reflections on his own mortality, as his performance illustrated, he’s felt this impulse even more so, in part because of a desire to be quoted posthumously like the greatest writers of all time—something he perceives as more meaningful than if he were to have a building named after him.

Because he told ordinary, relatable stories about his pre- and post- career life, the most resounding take-away from his performance is that anyone can tell their stories and be remembered in any form and style that comes naturally to them. Keillor’s style was one that evoked consistent waves of laughter and involved the audience in song at the beginning, middle, and end. Perl said, “The audience thoroughly enjoyed their evening with Garrison Keillor—I would call it a rousing success!”

A list of the remaining events in the series is below. Reserve your free tickets in advance at http://www.goucher.edu/tickets .

Queen Nur: Monday, February 27th, 7pm

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy: Wednesday, March 1, 7pm

Alec Dun: Thursday, March 23rd, 4:30pm

Ann Hamilton: Thursday, March 30, 6:30pm

Curtis Sittenfeld: Monday, April 3, 7pm

Peter L. Borst: Wednesday, April 5, 7pm

Anna Deveare Smith: Wednesday, April 12, 7pm

Participate in various Story Circle Sessions throughout the semester to listen and share stories in the ATH.

A Day in My Life Abroad: Tuesday, March 7, 4pm

The Place Where I Grew Up: Wednesday, March 22, 3pm

Hair Stories: Tuesday, April 11, 4pm

Goucher Stories: Wednesday, April 19, 3pm

Immigration Stories: Tuesday, April 25, 4pm

Visit http://www.goucher.edu/storytelling for more information about the speakers/performers and the Story Circles.

Who Gets to Be a Jazz Musician?

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Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Katie Van Note, Staff Writer

March 5th, 2017

What does a stereotypical American jazz musician look like? This is the question Naomi Moon Siegel asked that prompted conversation in Jeffrey Chapell’s jazz ensemble class last Tuesday, February 21st. Siegel is a composer, trombonist, and educator who visited Goucher College to present a workshop titled “Gender Equality and The Feminine Principle in Jazz.”

Siegel received her bachelors degree in jazz trombone from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. It was through her training that she realized conversations about patriarchy, sexuality, race, and gender – very much present among students in the liberal arts college – were not present in the conservatory. The majority of her teachers and fellow students were white males. In her music history classes, she learned about men. All of the books she read were written by men. If there was ever a section in a textbook on female musicians, it was given a special label, “Women in Jazz.” Yet, as Naomi stated last Tuesday, “women have always played jazz as instrumentalists.”

So, who is a typical jazz musician in America? Who is given space to sing, play the piano, guitar, drums, flute, clarinet, trumpet, or saxophone? This is where the conversation started at Goucher.

Eight of the attending jazz student musicians were given the task to identify stereotypes of various races and genders in jazz. Siegel asked, “What images and messages does the society receive at large about these groups of people in jazz?” Students identified these stereotypes about men: “they are white, instrumentalists, intelligent, they have an expected level of know-how, they are cool cats, aloof, elitist, middle-class, most able, and most visible.” One Goucher musician added, “they can afford gigging around,” as yet another symptom of privilege and class.

Stereotypes of women in jazz included “non-instrumentalists, sometimes pianists, sex objects, vocalists, wives, and non-composers.” It is important to note that female instrumentalists, such as Lil Hardin Armstrong and Alice Coltrane, both jazz pianists in their own right, were known for their marriages to their jazz musician husbands. Within the first two sentences of their descriptions on Wikipedia, they are mentioned as wives to John Coltrane and Louis Armstrong, whereas both men are described on Wikipedia by musical style and accomplishments with no mention of marital details. This begs the question – would these female musicians have been documented and remembered in jazz history if they hadn’t married male musicians?

Students also offered stereotypes of African Americans in jazz as “natural, the best jazz musicians, best sense of rhythm, and the originators.” Furthermore, stereotypes were discussed of Asian Americans as “classically trained piano players, can’t swing, and non-existent in jazz,” while Native Americans, Arab-Americans, Latino-Americans, were all labeled as “non-existent in jazz” as well. Siegel noted that greater intersectionality between sexuality, gender identity, and cultural backgrounds were not mentioned either, as they further separated a person from the “norm” in jazz.

Yet, how have these stereotypes developed over the hundred or so years of American jazz history? Siegel identified the creation and distribution of magazines in the 1920s as a major cause – propaganda that sexualized women vocalists and prioritized white bands.

In her lecture, Siegel explained her own internalized stereotype as “socialized to believe that females are inferior jazz instrumentalists.” She gave examples by quoting her fellow female jazz musicians, Esperanza Spalding and Kate Olsen: “I’m just a jazz musician,” and “I’m just one of the guys.” In reflection, Siegel pointed to the implicit meaning behind their quotes: denial of the patriarchy “as if somehow it doesn’t exist.”

One female vocalist in the audience told an account of her own experience: “My mom has always said she sees me lying on a piano in a slinky red dress singing jazz.”

As individuals in the jazz arena, Siegel noted the importance of “telling counter-narratives.” These counter-narratives serve as challenges to the perpetual stereotypes marginalized groups face in jazz. She emphasized the development of an individual voice and sound. “My goal is for us to be fully expressive.Only in defining and challenging these stereotypes can we begin to discover our potential as musicians.”

In creating a space for dialogue of this kind, Siegel left some students with another perspective, some with a validation of experience as female and black musicians, and some with inspiration to challenge the concept of a stereotypical jazz musician.

Mothpuppy!

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Nashalia Ferrara, Editor-in-Chief

March 5th, 2017

Morgan Murphy ‘18 is one of my favorite people, and I might be a little bit biased because she also happens to be one of my great friends. Last week, we sat down in Stimson’s dining hall to have some dinner and catch up with each other.  Murphy and her band, Mothpuppy, have been up to some pretty exciting stuff. At just 22 years old, she recently released a single, “Flea”, and has an album on the way.

mothpuppy

After our dinner, Murphy stopped by my room and gave me the exclusive.

NF: What is going on with Morgan and Mothpuppy right now?

MM: Mothpuppy is releasing an album called Cool and Pretty on March 10, ya got that? We recorded it in August at Headroom Studios in Philadelphia with Kyle Pulley and Joe Reinhart.

NF: Your single came out today?

MM: Yes! So our single is “Flea”, and it’s about fleas.

NF: Why is this the single? Is it your favorite song on the album?

MM: I don’t know if it’s my favorite song on the album, but it’s a lot people’s. I think it’s a good length and pretty simple, which makes for a good single.

NF: Where can your fans listen to “Flea”?

MM:  It’s streaming on Sad Cactus Records’ SoundCloud.

NF: Is it true that you’re 22 and you have a record deal?

MM: umm, I mean- I wouldn’t say that. I’m in association with a small record company, a very good record company, Sad Cactus.

NF: How many songs are on the album? And which one is your favorite?

MM:  There are 11 songs on the album. I like “Basketball Court” because we do some weird stuff, and I feel like it’s a good collaboration of all the band members’ talents.

NF: If your album were in stores, which genre would I find it under?

MM: I don’t remember the aisles anymore. I haven’t been to a record store in a while. Whenever I bring a song to the group, it really transforms into something that I’m not really quite sure what to call. We all have different musical backgrounds.

NF: Who is in the band?

MM: Shawn Durham ‘18  plays drums, Rebecca Willis ‘17 plays guitar, Ryan Vieria ‘16 plays the bass, and Becca Kotula ‘17 plays the violin.

NF: Do you write all your songs?

MM: Yes, me, Morgan, writes them all.

NF: You write all of them? Really?

MM: I write all of the base parts, like the chord structure and the lyrics and the melodies. Usually, I’ll write a song on the guitar and then bring it to the band. They take it from there and play what goes well with what I wrote.

NF: What’s harder, writing a short piece of fiction or writing a song? (Murphy is an English Major)

MM: It depends, sometimes it’s really easy writing a song. It can take as fast as the song is itself, and other times, I take a really long time and sit on a guitar part for months and months. That might have a lot do with procrastination, though. Fiction writing people make me write so…

NF: Why release your album on a cassette?

MM: Really just because we can’t do vinyl because our songs aren’t mastered, and we’re not that popular. [Vinyl] is super expensive, so we’re not doing that right now. There’s a market out for tapes because they are cheaper than CDs and more people like them because you can’t burn them and artists can customize the color. There is something appealing about them, right? It took a long time to decide, but our album will be on a gray cassette because it goes well with the album art.

NF: Where can I buy the physical album?

MM: You can preorder the cassette on sadcactus.us and you can also buy the digital album on March 10 through that website.

NF: So say a Goucher student stops you on Van Meter and asks you to sign their copy of Cool & Pretty, would you sign it?

MM: Yes, but I’ll never offer.

NF: When did you know that you were good at making music?

MM: Wow, what a question! I still don’t know. I still don’t know how cool the music is or how much people like it.

NF: Quickly can you explain the name Mothpuppy?

MM: Oh my god, it doesn’t mean anything. It was a mistake and I want to change it but it’s too late. It’s just silly and lifted from my snapchat name. Freshman year, people thought it was funny so they started calling me it.

NF: Cool & Pretty is the name of the album, why?

MM: There’s another single on the album, “Basketball Court”, which is coming out next, but yeah, it’s a line from that song.

NF: What’s the line?

MM: “I think about that in mysterious ways / I spend the time trying to know what to say / I lay in bed and waste half the day / he told me I was cool and pretty, cool and pretty, cool and pretty.” And it’s kind of just about putting more effort in a relationship. When you spend a lot time trying to find the perfect thing to say to people who mean a lot to you, and they come back with the most simple thing.

NF: That’s heartbreaking. Like they didn’t think hard enough?

MM: Yeah, basically, like “cool and pretty” isn’t really that hard to come up with. I could’ve said that too. It doesn’t really sound like much thought went through it, you know?

NF: What’s the theme of the album?

MM: Well, it was going to be called Housewife because a lot of the songs either put me in the position of singing to a child or sympathizing with the feeling of being like you need to devote yourself to something or someone. But that’s not the only theme, there are also songs about body image and identity.

Before Murphy returned to her rockstar life, I asked her a series of “quick fire” questions.

NF: Do you sing your own songs in the shower?

MM: Haha, I sing other people’s songs or I make up silly, new songs. That’s embarassing.

NF: Thoughts on “Happy Birthday” ?

MM: Overwhelming and repetitive.

NF: Taylor Swift?

MM: I just don’t know…

NF: Spotify or Apply Music?

MM: Spotify.

NF: Headphones, earbuds or speakers?

MM: Headphones, I like feeling immersed.

NF: An artist you were obsessed with in middle school?

MM: Green Day, and I still am. If you can get me to open for Green Day, I would kill for you!

NF: What instrument do you wish you could play?

MM: Piano.

NF: Least favorite noise?

MM: Oh god, I have a lot of noises I don’t like, but probably when there are too many people talking and the white noise that it all creates. It’s very bothersome.

NF: Most underrated artist?

MM: I don’t know; I told you not to ask me about my music taste, and this kinda falls under that.

NF: Most overrated artist?

MM: I can think of a lot but I don’t want to be mean.

Morgan Murphy is cool and pretty. Her band’s music is cool and pretty, but as she said, those words are too easy. They don’t capture Murphy, her short green hair, and all her glory just right. Murphy is talented beyond measure. On stage, her voice can get really loud but still sound as if it’s made of glass. The words she uses in her songs, stories, and conversations seem to be carefully chosen with a huge amount of thought behind them. She is the kind of person you leave Stimson and all its buzzing white noise to hear exactly what she has to say.

mothpuppy-2

Like Mothpuppy on Facebook to see when they’re playing next.

Listen to Mothpuppy’s single “Flea” here: https://soundcloud.com/sadcactusrecords/mothpuppy-flea

Black Lindy Matters

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Katie Van Note, Staff Writer

February 25th, 2017

“There is something going on in our culture today; it’s being lost.” This is what Breai Mason-Campbell said in a recent phone conversation. Breai is an African American activist in Baltimore, MD who has dedicated her life to preserving and restoring African American cultural and heritage through dance. She is the founder and director of Guardian dance, a company that, for the past nine years, has taught the history and styles of African American dances like Lindy Hop, Breaking, Locking, Popping, Baltimore Club, and Hand Dance. Guardian has implemented a curriculum teaching these dances to grades Pre-K through 8th at a 100% African American School: New Song Academy in Sandtown, MD. The company is comprised of a team of dancers, including Mason-Campbell, who teach weekly and perform at various events like at the opening celebration of the Smithsonian African American History Museum last October.

What drove Mason-Campbell to create Guardian and more recently, Black Lindy Matters, was a culmination of experiences.

One such experience was at a latino party with her family as a young adult. At this party, salsa music was playing and all generations of people were dancing. Mason-Campbell noticed something special about this community, that the grandparents were putting their grandchildren on their feet and teaching them traditional hispanic dance styles: salsa, merengue, and bachata.

At the time, Mason-Campbell couldn’t put words to why this was so important to see. She wondered why their culture was so well preserved and furthermore, “what is our [African American’s] historical legacy?”

It was through Mason-Campbell’s dance background that she continued to question the cultural forces at play. She had grown up taking dance classes: ballet and modern dance. Although she was grateful for this training, she noted that “it didn’t have deep cultural value.” Ballet was the “aesthetic benchmark for beauty and grace… it was a right of passage.” For many young girls in America, these are the styles of dance they are taught. But why? Why is a European-born dance style so prominent in American culture? “America was built by Africans, it should be more a part of our general consciousness, as should Native-American culture.”

It was interesting to Mason-Campbell that the one visible aspect of African American culture today was the idea of the black entertainer. “When people are trying to get out of poverty, their only access is through a record company, through break dancing, singing, rapping; it becomes so commercial we don’t own it anymore.” And this applies directly to the jazz and  swing dancing of the 1930s.

As a historical dance, Lindy Hop emerged in Harlem, New York during the swing era. The Savoy Ballroom (which has since been demolished) was not only a place to listen and dance to swingin’ jazz music, but it was the only integrated venues of its kind. It broke down racial barriers. Yet swing dancing for African Americans during this time wasn’t just an activity: it was a livelihood, a necessity, a liberation. For most black dancers and musicians, it was an escape from poverty.

Today, Lindy Hop is danced all over the world. Almost every major city in America has a Lindy Hop scene, as well as cities in the UK, Europe, Japan, Korea, China, and Australia. This traditional African American dance was rooted in the United States, it was a necessity, and yet, now it is an activity for a predominantly white dance scene.

When asked what Mason-Campbell would change about the current Lindy Hop dance scene, she didn’t express any negativity towards the majority of it’s often misinformed, unaware, white members. Her goal is to preserve these traditional African American dances through Guardian dance company and the Black Lindy Matter initiative in schools, performances, and dance venues like Mobtown Ballroom.Mason-Campbell hopes to create a deeper cultural appreciation and continuity of identity amongst her students, “I want to put these kids on my feet, share our culture with them, and show them who they are.”

Oscar Predictions

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Image courtesy of Google Images.

Teegan Macleod, Staff Writer

February 25th, 2017

This year’s Oscars boasts a great deal of talent.  It has been a few years since I’ve had so many favorites and many have been nominated for multiple awards. However, at the end of the day, someone must take home the award.  These are my picks for 6 of the categories: Best Director, Best Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, and Best Picture.

For Best Picture, I am firmly behind the film Moonlight.  It was far and away the greatest film to come out this awards season.  It tells an incredible story in three chapters about the life of a gay black man named Chiron from childhood through adulthood.  Every moment of the movie is utterly captivating and every facet of it works to create a beautiful work of art.  With that in mind, I am also picking Barry Jenkins for Best Director and Mahershala Ali for Best Supporting Actor. Mahershala Ali gives an unbelievable performance in the film as Juan, a drug dealer who takes care of Chiron as a child.  Ali gives new life to the too often marginalized role of the drug dealer with a heart of gold.  Barry Jenkins, as writer and director, created a masterpiece with Moonlight, I will make no bones about it. I cannot express enough how incredibly beautiful it is as well as the subject matter being very important. Moonlight is a film that reflects the time in which it is made in a beautiful and unforgettable way.

I think Moonlight deserves every single Oscar that it is nominated for, except for, Best Supporting Actress.   That award I believe belongs to Viola Davis for her role in Fences. I also believe that Denzel Washington deserves the Best Actor Oscar for Fences.  The two of them give unbelievable performances that drive the movie and make it an amazing experience.  They deserve to win the awards together because they both heighten each other’s performances.  Take one away and the other would not be as good in my opinion.  They play off each other in such a way that they bring the art of acting to new and incredible levels.

There are many other awards categories that I have opinions about but these are, in my mind, the essential ones.  Hopefully we will see a shift this year towards a more diverse winner’s circle.

Goucher Style: Haley Rice

by

Annie Schwartz, Arts & Entertainment Editor

February 25th, 2017

Who: Haley Rice, Senior, Socialogy Major

Annie Schwartz: Describe your style.

Haley Rice: I like to wear mostly black and neutral colors with a small pop of red (or sometimes burgundy). I love things that are oversized, lots of layers, and having fun with different materials, hem lines, and textures.

AS: How are you able to dress so well even on your laziest day?

HR: Just wear all black!

AS: Who is your Goucher style crush?

HR: Annie Schwartz, duh!

AS: Which Goucher professor has the best style?

HR: When I had class with Citlali, I always loved her colorful skinny jeans. Also her watch was always on point.

AS: Where did you go abroad and how has that affected your sense of style?

HR: I studied abroad in Seville, Spain. Sevillanos always look good. Everyone was always put together, especially during the holidays such as Semana Santa and Feria. You wouldn’t be caught dead in sweatpants there. Even wearing sneakers is pushing it. Chelsea boots with a thick platform sole were really in while I was there. So were those preppy plaid Burberry-esque scarves. I really learned how to be stylish but still comfortable while I was there. It’s something Spain has really got down!

AS: What is your go to item?

HR: A black cardigan!

AS: What is your fashion pet peeve?

HR: Mixing metals even though I do it all the time. Also graphic tees are the worst.

AS: Do you have a favorite store you like to shop at?

HR: If I had all the money in the world I would shop at Zara every day. It reminds me of Spain. They had Zara’s everywhere.

AS: Out of all of your roommates, whose clothes are you most likely to steal?

HR: Vinesh’s banana shirt.

AS: What is your least favorite trend?

HR: Tucking your sweatpants into your socks and definitely those lace up tops. Also, jean jackets that you buy with the patches already on them and Calvin Klein underwear. You might as well get a 3-pack of Hanes at Target.

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