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Growing up nearby in Franklin Township, I’ve been around Rutgers all my life. Of course I attended a football game here or there, and like any kid living close enough, have a few Rutgers t-shirts that mysteriously appeared in my closet by way of giveaways and community outreach from the University. My understanding of Rutgers was vague in many ways, but there was an event that I would continually hear about: Caribbean Day.
Within the opening remarks of Guatemalan activist, poet and hip-hop musician Rebeca Lane's talk Tuesday afternoon in Tillet Hall, she gave her sharp perspective on the presence of migrant caravans in the modern day, and spliced the issue together with current perils in her homeland of Guatemala. Against the backdrop of the expansive Mayan population of Guatemala, Lane spoke out against a history of colonization and cited the legacy of United States intervention to create a dangerous outside reputation of the U.S.'s "backyard."
Every year, there’s a song that just seems to encapsulate the cultural moment so well that it almost feels scripted, too good to be true. Last year Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” inhabited that space, in large part due to its provocative, spellbinding video. With too many interpretations to count, the themes present in the cryptic, meticulous short film propelled the fairly simple song to both Record and Song of the Year honors at the Grammy Awards this past February. This year, the song that has most closely followed the pattern of incessant criticism and evaluation has been Lil Nas X’s newly crowned Billboard No. 1 hit “Old Town Road.”
By my very unscientific estimation, the actual athletic feats on display only account for roughly 30 percent of the near-religious fervor surrounding the world of professional sports. The other 70 percent is the never-ending editorialization, narrative-building and dialogue that surrounds the various leagues. The world's greatest athletes, in order to sustain their place in history, need a character arc, a story.
If you’re in the know, you’re familiar with the vibrant and historic do-it-yourself (DIY) music scene that exists here at Rutgers. Week in and week out, there are shows held by students that run the musical gamut of hard rock, funk, punk, rap and more. Raucous, passionate and bold, there’s an egalitarian quality to playing for and among your peers. The stage is never a vaunted platform, increasing the distance between audience and performer. In a New Brunswick basement, the artists are front and center, live and direct.
In May 1964, playwright, author and activist Lorraine Hansberry gave a speech to the winners of a creative writing contest hosted by Reader’s Digest and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). Included in her remarks was this illuminating quote: “Write if you will: But write about the world as it is and as you think it ought to be and must be — if there is to be a world. Write about all the things that men have written about since the beginning of writing and talking — but write to a point. Work hard at it, care about it. Write about our people: Tell their story. You have something glorious to draw on begging for attention. Don’t pass it up.”
Leaving the cinema in 2010, my 12-year-old self was content with seeing the curtain fall on “Toy Story,” one of my favorite film franchises. Sure, “Toy Story 3” had a tearjerker of an ending, but the culmination of the series was more sweet than bitter — or so I thought.
Spring break is a time for what college students love best: debauchery and poor fiscal decision-making. Best of all, the vacation is a study in group dynamics, archetypes and the limits of common sense. Here are some typical kinds of students you’ll find on a spring break trip.
After I walked into the Center for Latino Arts and Culture (CLAC), the first words Angelica Calderon, a Mason Gross School of the Arts junior, said to me were, “Do you want something to eat?” A few minutes later we were sitting across from each other sharing a plate of Mangú, a traditional Dominican dish.
Rutgers United Black Council (UBC), the umbrella organization of all African, African American and Afro-Caribbean student organizations, held an event on the College Avenue campus on Monday night titled the “Black Rutgers Community Forum” to connect students and inform them about student organizations, financial aid and more.
There’s no question that we’re surrounded by advertisements, and the obvious truth is that we don’t really care about it. From product placement in our favorite shows and movies to the panel ads on an overcrowded REXL, ads are a quotidian feature of our lives. Most ads are boring and make no bones about it, but there’s always been a cutting edge form of advertising that plays on the popular thought of the time.
Marshall Mathers is undoubtedly one of the most popular and critically celebrated rappers of all time. He’s reached a sort of fame that very few in any artistic medium can claim to understand. He’s been in the middle of countless controversies and generally escaped unscathed. Most importantly, he's managed to face his own inner demons, namely prescription drug addiction, and come out on the other side. There’s only one problem: Eminem still reads his reviews.
Maybe it was the way David Fincher’s “The Social Network” framed the Facebook story, with a Sorkin screenplay to boot. The news reports of spas and balls pits at Google definitely went a long way to help. However it happened, as we stumbled out of the dot-com bubble into the age of social media, major new networks had shockingly little coverage on the alarming ways that giant tech companies could be used to subvert notions of privacy and democracy.
The Rutgers athletic department has partnered with Adidas Basketball to celebrate Black History Month by having the men’s and women’s teams suit up in uniforms inspired by the Harlem Renaissance. The uniforms made their debut last night in front of a sold-out Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC), when the Rutgers men’s basketball team took on No. 7 Michigan.
The news cycle is a never-ending flood of information, some of it inspiring and most of it depressing. From TV to radio — and especially with social media — the news, whether political or more lighthearted, is nearly an omnipresent force in our day-to-day lives. Among all the news over winter recess, there was one story that managed to turn heads and garner amazement, partly due to its sheer absurdity. Not the tiresome persistence of the government shutdown or of Tom Brady Super Bowl appearances, but an egg. More specifically, a picture of an egg, which became the most liked Instagram picture of all time.
The end is near. Well, the end of the semester at least. In a few weeks, choosing to chill out and watch a movie won’t feel like a shameful act of procrastination, because we’ll actually be on break. To help prepare for a month of leisure time, it might be worth checking out what’s new on Netflix this month. Here are four programs that'll surely keep you occupied over break.
There are few skills more imperative to success than the ability to write, which is celebrated in many forms. Fiction writing and life writing are specifically recognized in the month of November, as both styles are integral to culture as a whole, in different ways.
In the 70s and 80s, genres of music like electronic and hip-hop were still local burgeoning movements. Like any new form, there needed to be a connection to the music of the past to draw listeners in. While styles like jazz and blues blossomed from prior advancements in folk traditions, the new genres of the late 20th century had a new advantage: technology. In hip-hop, the turntables recontextualized funk and disco breaks, creating a space for MCs to rhyme. Electronic music benefited from turntables and mixing consoles differently, making mash-ups and essentially crafting new songs. Today that tradition is still strong, but what constitutes a remix has changed.
Celebrity activism is far from a new concept, and one of Rutgers’ most prestigious graduates is a prime example of star power attempting to beget political power. Paul Robeson was an incredibly outspoken celebrity, advocating for workers' rights and civil rights throughout his career. Harry Belafonte, James Brown, Jane Fonda and more were also part of the 20th century wave of celebrity activism. While at first the practice was idiosyncratic, now celebrity endorsements are commonplace and essentially expected. The 2018 midterms were par for the course, with icons like Oprah, Taylor Swift, Dave Chappelle and more hitting the campaign trail and making public endorsements, all for Democrats. While it’s what we’ve deemed normal in politics, is celebrity activism effective?
It’s ironic that there is an institution, unaffiliated with Rutgers, in New Brunswick called The Stress Factory. College often seems to be synonymous with stress, due to classes, relationships, clubs and more. Still there are plenty of ways to combat the pressures we face everyday. There’s no better time than today, National Stress Day, to explore the topic a little bit more.