Lamar under scrutiny with ‘Humble’


Seven-time Grammy award winner, Kendrick Lamar, is under scrutiny for his new rap song, “Humble.”

The music video to “Humble” was released last week. The lyrics read “I’m so f***in’ sick and tired of the Photoshop, show me somethin’ natural like the afro on Richard Pryor, show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks.” The music video mirrors the lyrics with images of a black woman with a bare face and stretch marks.

Unhappy women took to scrutinizing Lamar over these lyrics on Twitter. Stating that “black women are not here for your visual or sexual pleasure.” And that this song is “just another example of Black men giving women directives on how to present themselves to the world based on what men find attractive.”

However, in a world where we as women feel incredible pressure to live up to advertisements, magazines and our favorite billion-dollar bodied celebs, could Lamar just be telling us to love ourselves the way we are?

Many women are ashamed of stretch marks, afraid to wear their hair natural, and are too insecure to walk out of the house without makeup. And while wearing weave or extensions, makeup or deciding to get rid of your stretch marks doesn’t make you any less of a woman … embracing natural beauty doesn’t make you any less of a woman either.

In fact, I don’t believe that Lamar was victimizing or demeaning women who aren’t natural, but rather pointing out Photoshop means being something online or in print that you are not in person. Pointing out that Photoshop being a cheap quick fix for what one deems a flaw or a personal insecurity that puts unrealistic beauty standards on women.

In 2014, The Renfrew Center conducted a survey that said that 48 percent of adults Photoshop their pictures before posting them online. In 2015, that went up to 68 percent and recently Snapchat just posted an article speaking about Photoshop’s impact on body image in young people stating that more than 80 percent of images we see online are retouched in some way.

There have been many campaigns embracing body image in women such as Lane Bryant’s “I’m No Angel” campaign, Dove’s “Redefine beauty”, Aerie “Aerie Real” the “Body Gossip” campaign. These all embrace women of all colors, heights, sizes, ages, and so forth.

Specifically, Dove’s “Redefine Beauty” campaign took middle school aged girls and had them pick something they normally hide about themselves in a selfie, embrace it, and post it. It also ignited discussion between the daughters and mothers.

Lamar is stating in his song for women to embrace themselves without the unrealistic beauty standards Photoshop sets, just as these campaigns are. And he deserves credit, not scrutiny.

Bicycles add to Friday Fun


The Miami Bike Scene is holding its monthly bicycle event this Friday at 7:15. The admission for the bicycle event is free and there is a party following the event from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Omni Park.

The tickets for the free event can be bought at eventbright. They ask that all bicycle riders sign in at 6:30 at the Miami Critical Mass – Government Center at 150 NW 1ST St.  This gives bikers a chance to socialize and prepare physically before the event. A good long distance bicycle ride needs a good stretch session beforehand!

The bike ride will be 20 miles in length and go through all types of Miami’s neighborhoods. From Overtown to Little Haiti to Wynwood and Miami Beach, you are sure to come across brand new areas you may have never seen before.

Miami-Dade County says the event will impact traffic for at least three hours., which means if you are a driver in Miami, your Friday night post-work/pre-weekend traffic just got worse.

The Miami Bike Scene holds this event to make people more aware of the lack of bike lanes within Miami-Dade County. This is not to make an inconvenience for the cars, but rather make the cars understand that more bike lanes are needed so as to not inconvenience or danger bicyclists.

If you’re on campus and ride a bike, this might be a great opportunity to meet other cyclists who share your passion as well as take your bike out for a view other than the University.

No spring game for Miami Hurricanes


Last year, Miami Hurricanes held two scrimmages leading up to the traditional spring football game at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

This year, the team announced that due to the renovations at Hard Rock Stadium, there will be no spring football game.

Instead, the team is having 13 open practices that are open to news media only, which means fans are out of luck.

  •        Saturday, March 25, 9:30 a.m.
  •        Tuesday, March 28, 9:30 a.m.
  •        Thursday, March 30, 9:30 a.m.
  •        Saturday, April 1, 9:30 a.m.
  •        Tuesday, April 4, 9:30 a.m.
  •        Thursday, April 6, 9:30 a.m.
  •        Tuesday, April 11, 9:30 a.m.
  •        Thursday, April 13, 9:30 a.m.
  •        Tuesday, April 18, 9:30 a.m.
  •        Thursday, April 20, 9:30 a.m.
  •        Saturday, April 22, 12 p.m.

The Hurricanes went through a similar situation last football season. The team was unsure if the first game against the FAMU Rattlers would be able to be held at Hard Rock Stadium, also due to renovations.

The renovations at Hard Rock Stadium were a $500 million project. The new stadium includes shade over most of the seating, which is great for the unpredictable Miami weather, as well as four brand new jumbotrons in each corner of the stadium. They also created a designated space for fans that Uber, which is a smart move to prevent drinking and driving.

This year marks the third phase of the renovations, which will mostly be final touches and club level upgrades.

These new renovations unfortunately mean no spring game for the Miami Hurricanes this year, however this does mean more non-sporting related events such as concerts. The renovations to the new stadium also allowed Miami to secure the 2020 Super Bowl.

From the finished renovations I was able to see last football season, the new stadium looks gorgeous and it’s much more enjoyable not having the sun on the back of your neck while cheering on your favorite team. Hopefully, this season people are able to enjoy the new multi-million dollar amenities.

Nike reveals ‘Pro Hijab’


In a nation that has become increasingly biased towards Muslims (I would say somewhat due to the new administration but, I digress), Nike is fighting back through product to show its support for athletes everywhere.

You may have heard of President Trump’s travel ban he implemented at the beginning of his administration. Many athletes were speaking up against this act of racism and bigotry, including Olympic medalist, Ibtihaj Muhammad, who was the first woman to ever compete for the USA wearing a Hijab.

Many companies in positions of power, have been asked where they stand on the entire situation regarding the election and the new president. Some have, some haven’t, and some are able to make it abundantly clear where they stand without actually saying a word.

Nike released a campaign on Feb. 17 that featured athletes from the Middle East and North Africa, tying into the Syrian refugee crisis. This new advertisement features strictly female athletes, and has a powerful message to women. The message also has an audio overlay of a woman speaking in Arabic. This specific advertisement now has over two million views.

Nike made their stance even more clear on Monday, releasing details on the new Pro Hijab. The Nike Pro Hijab is set for release in spring 2018 and has created a lot of buzz on social media. Nike stated that it has been working on the idea since 2012 when Sarah Attar represented Saudi Arabia in the Olympics.

People tend to follow companies that are in higher positions of power. Even though Nike is not the first company to include the idea of hijabs in sportswear, I’m excited that such a big corporation is stepping up to the plate to combat all the recent xenophobia. Hopefully more corporations will follow suit and the bigotry can be combated.

Will ‘Get Out’ become the best?


By now, you might’ve heard of Jordan Peele’s intellectual thriller, “Get Out.” It’s been a trend on the news, social media, and even celebrities like Chance The Rapper and The Game are igniting conversation surrounding the film by giving out free tickets. I’m here to break down not only the finances, but the incredible intellect that went into creating this film. Note: spoilers ahead in chronological order of the movie.

Right now, according to Box Office Mojo, the highest grossing horror film of all time is M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense” at $293,506,292 in it’s “lifetime” of 18 years. You may have heard of Shyamalan earlier this year for his horror film “Split.” Opening weekend in 1999, “The Sixth Sense” made $26,681,262. “Get Out” made $33,377,060 opening weekend. Over the course of 18 years, will “Get Out” surpass “The Sixth Sense”?

The thing that is the most terrifying about “Get Out” is that it conceptualizes the actual reality of racism in America all while entertaining you for 103 minutes. If you look for the subtle foreshadowing from the beginning, you’ll see a bunch of clues leading up to the bigger story line.

In the opening credits of the movie, they show a bunch of black and white photography, representing the initial contrast between colors, drawing you to think about the lines between black and white society. They show these images as Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” plays in the background. Lyrics state:

n***** creepin’,
they gon’ find you,
gon’ catch you sleepin’,
now stay woke,
n***** creepin’,
now don’t close your eyes

The lyrics alone play into the idea of staying “woke” in a white America as a black person. The lyric of sleeping and closing your eyes connects to the movie from the very beginning. The two main characters are Chris, the black boyfriend in an inter-racial relationship with white girlfriend, Rose.

The couple goes to visit Rose’s family. On their way there, they hit a deer and the police are called. The police officer gives Chris a hard time. This represents subtly the police brutality and differences in treatment due to race.

Upon arrival to the house, we learn that Rose’s family has a black groundskeeper and a black maid. Upon Chris’s initial bonding with Rose’s father, he learns that Rose’s grandfather was a white supremacist who was beat out in the track finals to be invited to the Olympics by a black man. This is foreshadowing for what we learn down the road about Rose’s grandfather switching minds with the groundskeeper, who is shown doing sprints in the middle of the night in the back yard.

This ties into black athletes having an outstanding natural athletic ability. Which is actually blatantly said by Rose’s brother at the dinner table with Chris. This “natural” ability is still currently showing in numbers in basketball, track, tennis and American football. I feel like Peele was tying athletic ability in relation to race in with the 2016 Olympic games when Usain Bolt proved he was truly the fastest man in the world. I think this also subliminally sheds light on athletes speaking up against racial injustices such as Colin Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement during the 2016 NFL season.

Other points within the conversation that Chris has with Rose’s father is that Rose’s white father would have “voted for Obama for a third term.”

If you’re a person of color, some white Americans will use Obama to discredit the reality of racism in America. I’ve heard the words “but how can racism still exist when we have a black president?” come out of the mouths of white Americans way too often.

Jordan Peele is stating very clearly, voting for Obama does not mean you care about the black struggle or that you are not racist. Actually, after Obama was elected in 2008, KKK submissions grew tremendously.

From 2014 to 2015, active hate groups had a 14 percent increase. There are 917 active hate groups in America to date, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

During the couple’s visit at Rose’s parent’s house, they announce a party that they’ll be having for her grandfather, that includes many friends of Rose’s family.

Rose proceeds to introduce Chris to all her family friends, almost all of which are white. They each had something to ask him that is stereotypical to the black community, athletics, art, and even if the sex is better.

New England Patriots tight-end, Martellus Bennett, touched on this earlier in the year with a series of tweets capitalizing on the fact that black children too often are pushed into thinking being a pro-athlete or a rapper is the only way of life.

And too often you hear the phrase “once you go black you never go back” putting potentially unattainable sex standards on black men.

Chris decides he needs a breather, and goes out into the woods to photograph. While this is happening, he and Rose have a conversation about the strange events happening at the house. While they are having this conversation, the movie switches to the father auctioning off Chris to his party goers. There is a photo of Chris and they are auctioning his body off without him knowing in complete silence.

This silence represents how quiet society and the government is in regards to the treatment of black life. That even in modern day, black people are still considered property by some and are in less control of their own life.

They are hosting a modern-day auction of Chris’s body to their guests, just as what was done in slave days, tying in black history.

Within the group of people at the party, there are two people of color. One Asian man, and one black man. The Asian man represents the blind eye that other people of color have towards the black community. The black man’s demeanor represents how it seems white people would prefer blacks to be in America to gain respect.

Once Chris flashes the camera towards the black man, character name billed as Andrew Logan King, he warns Chris about the mental manipulation that is taking place. The camera flash eventually saves Chris’s life at the end of the movie as well. The flash triggers their true self. This represents people being able to “see the light” and “be enlightened.”

Near the end of the movie you learn that Rose’s mother has hypnotized each black man and women that they have kidnapped and enslaved, and brainwashed them into believing that they are doing these actions out of their own free will. Meanwhile, their soul is in “the sunken place” longing to “get out.”

This represents the brainwashing of black America into believing that the system is truly set for everyone to succeed, and that all men are treated equal, as well as believing in “truth liberty and justice for all,” when there are so many injustices done to black America on the daily.

The reason why the family kidnaps, brainwashes, and experiments on black people is because there is an obsession in the white community with certain aspects of black culture. There is a fear of greatness in people of color and a need to continue to suppress and yet attain themselves. There is such a power within, that there are continual campaigns to diminish it.

This continues in society, and we must truly “stay woke” and fight against this oppression and division within society.

Chance demands his independence


You may have heard of an unconventional rapper out of Chicago named Chance The Rapper. He did a song with Kanye West on West’s “Life Of Pablo” album in 2016 called “Ultralight Beam” that gained lots of attention in the music industry.

Chance The Rapper’s album cover.

That being said, Chance The Rapper dropped his third mix tape in 2016, “Coloring Book,” and was nominated for seven Grammys in this past awards show, according to the New York Daily News.

Well, Chancelor Johnathan Bennett, aka Chance The Rapper, took home three of those seven Grammy’s without even dropping an album yet.

One of those wins was Best New Artist, which has not been received by a black artist since Lauryn Hill in 1999.

The most insane part about all of this, is that Chance The Rapper is still labeled an independent artist.

Chance The Rapper.

Despite sources saying Chance was turning down $5 million signing deals with major record labels before his Grammy wins, the artist is choosing to hold on to his freedom.

Chance The Rapper addressed the choice in staying an independent artist in one of his acceptance speeches saying “I know that people think independence means you do it by yourself but independence means freedom.”

Essence magazine, one of the pioneers in black magazines, reported that Chance The Rapper is now turning down deals since his three Grammy wins that are twice the amount of the deals before. Labels are offering him $10 million to sign with them.

Lauryn Hill.

However, could his reasoning for staying independent be linked to his pride in his blackness? The 23-year-old rapper is very involved in social justice issues.

“I think #BlackLivesMatter is a huge campaign that is important and integral to our advancement as a people,” he said in an interview with Hot 97.

Being from Chicago, he’s also addressed gun violence, as well as colorism and discrimination against the beauty of black women. In one of his songs he even refers to the mother of his child as his “black queen.”

The music industry, like the rest of the world, is white washed. The award with the most extreme racial divide, Best New Artist, has white artists winning the award 77 percent of the time historically.

From left, Beyonce, Chance and Jay-Z.

In addition, Solange Knowles, addressed the white washing of the Grammy’s in a tweet saying “There have only been two black winners in the last 20 years for album of the year there have been over 200 black artist who have performed.”

Chance The Rapper is very close to the Knowles and the Carters, even calling Beyoncé his auntie, and Jay-Z unc.

By staying independent, Chance can attribute his success only to the people that he chooses to surround himself by, and not an organization that is so blatantly white washed and bias, two things he speaks up against frequently.

Covergirl’s model tweets racist remarks


You may have heard about Covergirl’s first male model back in October 2016. Today, the same spokesperson that social media crazed over, James Charles, received backlash after he tweeted about all of Africa having Ebola.

The tweet read “’I can’t believe we’re going to Africa today omg what if we get Ebola’ ‘James we’re fine we could’ve gotten it at chipotle last year’….”.

The Covergirl model explained that he and his friends were traveling to South Africa on a school trip and that it wasn’t his intention to offend anyone.

Although, in his apology letter that’s posted below, he makes one large mistake. James called Africa a country and Twitter took notice.

Tweets started flying regarding the continuation of the negative stereotype of Africa being ridden with disease, starving children and poverty.

People also started looking deeper into James Charles’s tweets, and found more (not so shocking) racist remarks.

His actions were then compared to makeup mogul Jeffree Star, who was called out for his racist remarks and use of the n word in summer 2016.

Affinity Magazine quickly latched onto the Twitter drama surrounding these comments and made an article, which they said Charles’s management had asked them to take down, an order that they proudly declined.

Twitter makeup goddess and black beauty activist @imthebombdotcom lead the pack against the racist and stereotypical remarks, demanding that Covergirl’s PR team issue a response. Charles tweeted the controversial tweet at 3:37 p.m. Covergirl did not issue a response until 5:55 p.m., and that was not good enough for Twitter.

Tweets flew to Covergirl from women and men of all races, saying that Covergirl needs to rid their company of the young James Charles and, until they do so, they will not get the support/business of many.

I, for one, agree with the need to dismiss James Charles from the Covergirl brand. In a society that already contains racism and European-centric beauty standards, there’s no need for discrimination. Hopefully the 17-year-old Charles can educate himself on the culture and beauty of the continent of Africa.

Cheers for a future fair wage


Four former NFL cheerleaders are tackling the league this week over unfair wages. The four women filed a lawsuit against the NFL and named 26 teams that they say planned to underpay and make salaries non-negotiable. They’re seeking between $100 million to $300 million worth of damages.

Cheerleaders appear in much more than just the games. Some teams plan multiple mandatory events throughout season, that the cheerleaders are required to be at. The routines for the games, as well as halftime performances, are all rehearsed at other points during the week. It is claimed in the lawsuit that there have been instances where NFL cheerleaders were not paid for their mandatory appearances nor their rehearsal time.

This lawsuit is not the first time the cheerleaders have targeted the NFL. In 2014, a class action lawsuit filed by members of the Raiderettes against the NFL’s Oakland Raiders resulted in $1.25 million worth of damages. This 2014 lawsuit also forced a new California law into effect, recognizing professional cheerleaders as employees and providing them with certain ethical benefits such as overtime and sick pay.

Let’s break down these numbers. The NFL has 32 teams that have a combined value of $74.8 billion in 2016 according to Forbes. NFL players made $6.4 billion of that value in 2016. NFL mascots are on salary with benefits and can earn between $25,000 and $60,000 per year. NFL cheerleaders are on an hourly pay, with the highest of that pay going to the team captains at $15 per hour.

It doesn’t stop there. Just as the players can get fined, the cheerleaders can get fined too. NFL cheerleaders receive a lump sum for their efforts at the end of the season with fines taken out. With such a small wage to begin with, none of the cheerleaders are pulling a Odell Beckham, Jr., and writing the NFL a check for $50,000.

Most of these beautiful girls are using this extremely demanding job as a supplement to another job, or even school.The 2017 Pro-Bowl cheerleaders contained graduates in industrial engineering (Ravens, Dana), business marketing (Buccaneers, Chelsea), psychology (Patriots, Hannah), music business (Titans, Anne), health science (Eagles, Amanda), and Toni of the Denver Broncos even has her masters in counseling psychology … and this is just the pro team! You go girls!

Now that the Super Bowl is over, hopefully the league can turn its attention to the channel of fair wage and equal pay for women.

St. Thomas Aquinas masters signing day


The nationally renowned and state title holding St. Thomas Aquinas High School impressed the community once again with their incredibly versatile group of 2017 signees.

There is no wonder why the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders are the most represented high school among current NFL players.

St. Thomas Aquinas always brings a news media storm surrounding athletics. So naturally, on the most important day of the year for high school senior athletes, their National Signing Day ceremony was live streamed. They are known for top recruits and making national headlines, such as going into triple overtime earlier in the year against the nation’s No.1 ranked high school, Bishop Gorman.

Their gymnasium was jam-packed with people on every level of the bleachers reaching over each other to take photos. Families of the signees were seated in floor seats all dressed in their son or daughters school colors, or clothes containing their signing school’s logo.

In total, St. Thomas had 63 student athletes sign to their respective colleges on Wednesday, 21 of those being football players.

This year, there was little left to the imagination in the 2017 signee class. Almost all of the 21 football players that signed from St. Thomas had been committed to their respective college or university for quite some time.

Linebacker Tyler Dunning de-committed from Miami in 2016 and pledged his commitment to his future school, Mississippi State. Quarterback Jake Allen announced earlier in the 2016 season that he would become a Florida Gator. Defensive tackle Kivon Bennet shocked Alabama fans everywhere earlier in the season by not committing to his father’s national championship winning alma mater, he signed with Tennessee.

Both Notre Dame and Miami got day-of commitments from members of the Raiders football team. Notre Dame received three-star inside linebacker Andrew White. Miami received four-star wide receiver and Army All American Michael Harley. With the Notre Dame-Miami rivalry heating up again this 2017 season, it will be interesting to watch these two former teammates on the field again.

The Raiders wish their senior athletes the best of luck in their future endeavors. The focus will now shift to getting their next batch of top-notch recruits ready for spring football and hopefully, another state championship.