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Table of Contents
9 DLO / Enter The Bop King
41 Don’t Mistake My Kindness for Flirting
8 Sicko Mob / On A Mission To Make You Dance
22 SPENZO’s Perspective
10 Who Is Jean Deaux
24-29 ON A High Note
11 Mobo the Great
40 “I’m sorry, but IT’S OVER!”
42 Business Majors: Is One For You?
30 Like It Was Never There Is College Really Worth It? 31 Nelson Mandela
12 Nex2Kin Is About To Get The Party Started
43 Do Standardized Test Scores Affect Merit-Based Scholarships?
32 From Selfies to Self-Obsession
13 Thomas Mac Start Saving by Smart Spending!
WHY NEWS MATTERS
34 Jesse White
14 Mick Jenkins Making His mark in music
INSIDE & OUT
35 Is the Reign of the Black R&B Artist Over?
15 St. Millie Vic Spencer 16 Lil Bibby / Storyteller of the Streets
44 Cancer Cognizance 45 The Problem With Skin Bleaching
TECHNOLOGY 36 Behold: Google Glass
46 Beauty Products for the Beast
Phones! Phones! Phones!
47 Are Chicago’s Food Deserts Decreasing?
37 Are Your Headphones Too Loud? The Basics on GMO’s
18 Max Wonders / Wonderfully Inspired
THRU DA WIRE
on the court
38 Chicago State Theatre Program
19 Nick Astro
48 McDonald’s All-American Games Showcases Legends In The Making
Martin $ky 39 Miley Cyrus 20 Ern Coba in / A Turn of Events
Tinashe is “2 On”
50 The Great Shame, The Great Triumph
21 Julian Malone Roman Flowrs True Star Magazine
1130 South Wabash Suite 302
Chicago, Il 60605
Editor’s Letter Jessica Jackson Junior Morgan Park
Ready or not, spring is here, and once again, True Star is back with a new issue. While looking fresh this spring, you can enjoy the newest issue of True Star which introduces music lovers to some of the new talent that the Windy City has to offer. The up-and-coming artists featured in this issue include Lil Bibby, MoBo The Great, Max Wonders, Jean Deux and Spenzo who is our cover story. Catch up on the latest in teen conversations by reading our Real Talk section, which asks readers if the reign of the black R&B artist is over. Also, read up on selfies and how they can affect your self-esteem. Our Tech section spotlights the new Google Glass gadget. Will you be one of the first to rock a pair? If you listen to music all the time, read up on what the negative effects of having earphones too loud can do to your hearing. Thinking about breaking it off with your bae? We give you a few good reasons why you should do it in our Young Luv section. If you are still thinking about a college major, take a look at the Teen Biz section to learn about some business majors that might be a match for you. In our Inside & Out section, you will read about a courageous breast cancer survivor and the horrible side effects of skin bleaching. Finally, basketball fans can get a full recap of what went down at this year’s McDonald’s All-American Game. The article spotlights athletes who many believe are legends in the making. We hope you enjoy our articles, and thank you all for the love and support for our magazine. Make sure you get out and enjoy the spring weather – once you’ve finished reading True Star of course. PLEASE LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON TRUE STAR MAGAZINE Letters to True Star • 1130 South Wabash • Suite 302 • Chicago, Il 60605-2717 Letters become the property of True Star and may be edited for publication. EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
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6 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Executive Directors J. Na-Tae’ Thompson & DeAnna McLeary-Sherman Managing Editor Marti Parham Assistant Editor Lenox Magee Art Direction Design and Illustration Angel D’Amico-Bauer Promotions Manager DeShaun Adams Special Projects Manager Philistine Thompson Web Content Manager Joi Mitchell Editorial Assistant Alexander Stockstell Web Content Assistant Henry Collins Promotions Assistant Daneisha Goodman Digital Media at South Shore Int College Prep Instructor: Kamaya Thompson Derrick Allen Angelina Patrick David Foster Michael Green Ronald Hampton Ashley Little Christian Moore Jahmanley Needham Raquan Thompson Dorothy Usher Jalica Usher Editorial at Thorton Fractions South Instructor: Evan Moore Jaylin Holland Diavian Curry Nahshon Kelly Jr. Tierra Carpenter Jeanetta Roland John Guydon Braxton Washington Radio Broadcasting at Chicago State Univ Instructor: Trey Da Choklit Joc Assistant: LaSandra Spencer Donnell Ashford Marcus Bommon Tytiana Coats Joshua Coleman Jasmine Davis Terrance Fullilove Morgan Hall Arianna Kelley-Lomax Jacqueline Kidd Julian King Tahira Moon Shazea Nathan Kennedy Pulliam Amber Sample DeQuann Vaughn Denzel Washington Brian Williams-Alexander Graphic Design at Harper High School Instructor: Polina Zionts Christopher Allen Antwan Bailey Antwainette Broadway Crystal Garcia Briana Green Brandon Hurt Daniel McGary Juwana Mitchell Mack Owens, Breanna Swift Nyzerria Walker
Freelance Graphic Design Team Aaron Christopher Flowers Anshaunti Hillery Devanta Hillery Pierre Seaton Channa Smith Editorial at Morgan Park HS Instructor: Marti Parham Briana Amerson Eddie Baker Dashaniqua Bond Jacob Bonds Kenneth Booker Kayla Edwards Alexis Estes Ahnnyshia Hibler Jessica Hickman Jessica Hill Jackson Ahlexzandra Kokuro Lauren Randle BreNae Scott Tionna Smith Makela Vaughn Christopher Watkins TF North Editorial Instructor: Lenox Magee Cyara Ward Makiyah Thurman Tamela White Bianca Trice Shacara Shaw Skye Simmons Reyona Warrior Seirra Goode Jada Gibbs Karina Stevens Cassady Jackson Dontrey Beane Maya McReynolds Aminah Rollins Amy Salgado Ariel Powell Darius McBride Freelance Editorial Instructor: Lenox Magee Assistant: Alexander Stockstell Christopher Brown Kristin Brown Maya Bryant Kayla Crittle Akia Davis Shakrya Dunn Sade Fadahunsi Nami Gallardo Samantha Garcia Staiden (Aiden) Pipes Vinessa Russell Mina Waight Michael Walton
Contributors Jacob Bonds Sophomore Morgan Park South Side Editorial
1. Yes, certain songs promote violence. As a person, your behavior is affected by a lot of things, music included. If you’re constantly listening to violent and negative music your actions will be, or promote, violence or negativity. 2. My favorite Chicago artist is Kanye West, mainly because of his messages. Some of his songs, I’ll admit, are a bit explicit, but if you listen to songs like “New Slaves,” you’ll notice, he’s an influential voice in African-American culture. But that’s just my opinion. 3. My advice is for youth to know their surroundings. I understand it’s summer and you want to just be about town, however, it’s possible to find yourself at the wrong place at the wrong times if you’re not wise about your travels.
Antwan Bailey Senior Harper Graphic Design
1. People are killing each other over copying music, so yes, music is affecting youth violence in Chicago. 2. Michael Jackson is my favorite artist because he was a caring and loving person. 3. Good advice for staying safe in the summer is to stay in the house, be around your family and stay out of trouble.
Junior South Shore International College Prep Digital Media 1. Chicago music does have an effect on youth violence because of the type of message it portrays. Chicago artists mostly talk about killing and violence and that’s all. 2. My favorite Chicago artist is a female named Dreezy because she talks about real
life problems and the struggles. 3. The only thing I have to say is to be careful of your surroundings and the neighborhoods.
Freshman Thorton Fractional South (TF South) South Side Editorial 1.Chicago’s music today can have a great impact on youth. The wrong type of music or the wrong ideas stated in music can easily dictate the way someone thinks or behaves. This is especially true if a teenager that is
1. Does Chicago music have any effect on youth violence? Why or Why not? 2. Who is your favorite artist past or present and why? 3. As summer approaches, what advice do you have for youth to stay safe?
impressionable takes to heart things said by their favorite celebrity or artist. 2.My favorite artist, even though he is not in the music industry, would be Walt Disney. He is my favorite “artist” because he was able to take a small idea and turned it into a way of life. He gave us all something that would forever be a part of our childhood. 3.The best way to stay safe during the summer is to stay active and to only surround yourself with people you know are responsible. Hanging with the wrong people can get you into a lot of trouble. A good group of friends won’t let you do anything dangerous or stupid.
Sophomore Marist Freelance Editorial 1.Music affects youth violence by its lyrics. Sometimes song lyrics talk about shooting, killing, and gangs. That can entice others to react. Artists also influence their fans. 2. Love Kanye West. I loved his last album with Jay-Z and his family. 3.Teens should find something interesting like sports, photography, or anything they like to keep themselves busy and out of trouble and out of danger.
Sophomore Thorton Fractional North (TF North) South Side Editorial 1. Yes, I believe it does because the artists that are writing these so called “songs” are a part of this generation. The only thing they advertise in those songs and music videos are smoking and killing “opps,” which are other gangs they have a conflict with. 2.Common because he doesn’t have the mindset to kill or even hurt a fly. His music gets to me as in, it keeps me calm; especially his song with Mary J. Blige called “Come Close.” 3. Please be aware of your surroundings and keep track of the time so you can get in on curfew. Also, let someone, like an adult, know where you are just in case something happens.
Sophomore Lane Tech Freelance Editorial 1. I don’t think music makes people to do things they wouldn’t normally do. Music isn’t going to make me go out and punch someone in the face; I’d do it because that’s just what I do. 2. My favorite band to come from Chicago would definitely be Rise Against. I just really like how a lot of their music actually has real meaning behind it, or tells a story. 3. Just don’t hang around people you don’t trust. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 7
The Power of Music
Chaka Khan, R. Kelly, Common and Kanye West are just a few entertainers that have come out of Chicago and left their mark on the entire world through their music. In our second annual music issue True Star will put you up on the names you should know that are keeping the tradition of home-grown and transplanted talent alive and well in the Windy City.
On A Mission To Make You Dance by Christopher “ThoughtPoet” Brown, Sophomore, Columbia College
he city of wind has been known for quite a lot of things lately. However, the West Side has birth some unique and well put together individuals that are building a movement based off fun. Sicko Mobb, which consists of Lil Trav and Lil Cease, are some of the individuals creating the phenomenon based off the power of the Bop dance craze. What a lot of people don’t realize is that there’s a lot more involved in Sicko Mobb than a hit song. “Sicko Mobb is something me and Trav created through the neighborhood. It’s bigger than music, it’s a family,” says Cease who’s slouched on the couch, tired from all the meet and greets they both have done today. Their hit song “Fiesta” has impressed the right type of people and has cultivated a movement that has a place in the world of dance culture. It was so impressive that A$AP mob affiliate A$AP Ferg helped them create a remix, which led them to being signed to Atlantic Records. And all of this was constructed before their project Super Sayian Vol 1. If you talk to the duo, however, their only focus is to keep pushing their music to a broader audience. “There’s still a lot of people that haven’t heard this new type of sound that we have put together,” says Lil Trav. “Our plans are to take this music around the world and let them take it in and to just have fun.” With great reviews from their first SXSW experience, these two are doing exactly what they have planned out to do.
“We’ve known each other since kindergarten,” says Cease. “Trav started rapping first but he couldn’t get into a studio all the time, but 8 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
when we both saw how our music could turn up house parties in the hood, that’s when we started taking things serious.” With a bond that’s been constructed since little kids, and a new project, Super Sayian Vol. 2, which will impact the masses by the end of April, the duo is ready to show the world, and everyone that’s watching them, that they have much more to offer than bopping music. “I can’t get into exactly what you’re gonna hear on the new tape,” says Trav. “Just know that the sound has evolved dramatically and everyone will be rocking with it.” Twitter: @SICKOWORLDFP
Dlow: Enter the Bop King by Christopher “ThoughtPoet” Brown, Sophomore, Columbia College
hen Dlow first walked into True Star’s office his demeanor was very relaxed but cautious. This has become his new concept to all of the success he has been confronting within the last year. From keeping his position in tip top shape as one of the leaders of the Bop movement, Dlow embraces the national attention that has begun to construct his image, including a tutorial of his abilities on the “Steve Harvey” show. Dlow has changed a lot of the ways he addresses anything that comes his way. Coming from the West Side of Chicago, Dlow began to carve a buzz that can’t be duplicated by any other artist in the city. What’s the difference between him and the other artists that have begun to push the newest dance craze from Chicago? He strategically created a new dance from a collection of dances already popular by the masses, the “Dlow Shuffle.” But, don’t get his love for having fun confused with him being a genuine artist. “My plans are to create more music that will impact people just as much as the shuffle,” he said. With him being freshly signed to Atlantic Records and about to start a national tour with the famous shuffle, he plans to spread positivity and fun to all.
“I want everyone to know that where I’m from violence doesn’t rule everything. I’m an example of this.” With a Pelle jacket on resembling the style of the late Michael Jackson and a distinguished grin on his face, his determination is visible to all that cross his path. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 9
Who is Jean Deaux?
by Christopher “ThoughtPoetic” Brown, Sophomore, Columbia College
here are many words that can be used when mentioning the eccentric song bird and “Village” affiliate Jean Deaux. One of them might be potential, two more might be genuine passion, and another one may be progression. The word progression, however, is something that Deaux is very familiar with and connected to as she continues to construct not only her upcoming project Soular System, but also herself as an individual. “My name is my name. It’s as simple as that,” she says while messing with her nails and staring at the ceiling and back at the table. The name “Jean Deaux” has much history even though many won’t believe it at first, but it’s a name she created from what she calls her “Twitter days.” “I’ve actually grown a strong connection with the name. People should respect that that’s what I want to be called.” As beautiful and strong-minded as Deaux is, she is very shy, but her team, she says, helps her with her creative process. “I could’ve dropped my project last March but I wasn’t ready for the world and what could’ve been thrown at me,” she says with visible passion. The project Soular System was supposed to make an impact on the masses last year, but because of how Deaux thinks and how she wants her music to be received, she decided to hold back on releasing it. There are many reasons why she didn’t drop her project, but the main factor was that she wasn’t in the right place at the time. “My project will tell a story, even though love will be one of the biggest topics on the tape, it’s genuinely a story that is slowly coming to life.” With the help of her “Raw” series, which includes songs from artists such as Sampha and collaborations with other artists such as Top Dawg Entertainment affiliate Issiah Rashaad, her upcoming project is becoming just that – raw.
10 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Raised on the West Side of Chicago and introduced to integrated education at such a young age, Deaux learned pretty early that she wanted to live a life that dealt with more than just living the “American Dream.” Now, she’s ready to show the world that her growth as a young lady has cultivated tremendous results to her music. Be patient with Ms. Jean Deaux, and be assured that the patience will pay off. Twitter: @ThatsJeanDeaux SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/thatsjeandeaux
the great by Christopher “ThoughtPoet” Brown Sophomore, Columbia College
oBo The Great is the perfect example of how persistence and dedication can help an artist on their path to becoming more well known and successful. The Kankakee native has accomplished a great deal within a three-year period that will put a lot of local veteran artists to shame. At the age of 16 MoBo was given the opportunity to rap on stage with hip-hop legend Jay-Z during his Blueprint 3 tour. To many this would’ve been a good enough reason to relax and let opportunities come to them. MoBo however, whose real name is Monique Burrell, kept pushing to get the attention and respect she deserves. Within a year’s period she performed in front of legendary producer and record label vice president No I.D., built a very bold marketing statement and movement entitled “F@*# The Public,” and gained respect from other Chicago up-and-coming stars such as Taylor Bennett and St. Millie. On that same token, her moment of recognition came this past year when she was given the opportunity to come on stage and perform for Jay-Z yet a second time during his Magna-Carter tour. Since then her basket of opportunities has been growing steadily and yet the only thing that keeps her on guard is knowing that she’s putting more work into what she has started. Now 19, she is planning to release her debut project F*#% The Public and continue building her brand. The conversations lately have been if the Roc-A-Fella legend will give her a record deal. “Let’s be honest, that is a grown man. He doesn’t have to lie to me. My skills show for what I’m capable of doing.” Only time will tell, but many are confident that this will be the next plan of action for the young artist. Keep an eye on her and find out for yourself. Twitter: @MoBoTheGreat
by Kristin Brown, Sophomore, Columbia College
aryn Alexus is a 23-year-old singer/songwriter hailing from Washington, D.C. She got her start singing in musicals as a child and began writing her own songs when she was about 18 and during her freshman year at Columbia College Chicago. Although admittedly, she wasn’t the best writer, she kept at it following a two-year hiatus. She released her first two projects Vintage Heart Modern Love Vol. 1 and 2 in 2012 and 2013. Her third project Green is set to release this year. She says her first project was more about fitting in with the Chicago music scene, doing what she didn’t really like in order to be liked. She described her second project as a rebellious one. Its purpose was to attempt to set her apart from others. She says her new project will be about change and balance because she is changing and creating a balance between who she is, who she wants to be and who she is becoming. “I feel like this will be my most genuine project to date,” says Alexus. She adds that although she is still finding her sound, she would describe it as the super girl next door – eclectic, classic and unique to her. Though she feels like an outsider to the Chicago music scene, Alexus wants Chicago to know that she’s here. “I’m talented, I’m alive and I’m just as good as anybody else.” Her advice to other up-and-coming artists is “Just do it. Being an artist is probably the scariest thing ever because you make yourself vulnerable to other people. You should never care about what other people think about you, but with singing it matters. If they don’t like your music it can make or break your career. But that’s what you signed up for, so take their opinions, whether good or bad, but keep going. Don’t let that stop you. Do it afraid.” Twitter: @DARYNALEXUS Contact Info: SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/darynalexus TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 11
Chicago’s Best Kept Secret
by Alexander Stockstell, Sophmore, Columbia College Chicago
ny young person who parties in the city of Chicago knows that drill music is used as the “turn up” music for parties. Nex2Kin is trying to wedge in between that ideology of drill and party craving in hopes of making music that gets the party cracking. Nex2Kin is comprised of producer/rappers Rich-an-Yung (in blue), 23, and Bligg (in red), 26. Bliggs said, “We want to carve out our own lane in Chicago by making this clubish, party type music. Something you can throw on while you’re getting ready to go out, ride to in the car to the party, and walk in and hear at the party all in one.” Rich-an-Yung said, “We versatile. Each song we will have a different theme, but it’s always going to put you in this upbeat, want-to-jump-up-and-down mood. We want people to have positive feelings when they are listening to our music.” Nex2Kin has been received well with their first music video, “Bad Than a Mutha,” which was released last year. It featured Twista and racked up 400,000 views to date. It played on the radio for over a year and now they have released their recent single, “I Ain’t Wit It,” whose music video has reached half a million views in just a month. Rich-an-Yung said, “The great thing about our music is that it can cross over to the 12 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
bop sound coming out of Chicago. That is why we got Lil’ Kemo in the ‘I Ain’t Wit It’ music video. I think the music we all make is innovative, and it’s fun seeing the kids dancing to it and stuff. [That’s] how I know the music I am making has its purpose.” Nex2Kin members are actually cousins who met at a family reunion and both realized they were into music. The South Side-bred duo is managed by Cole City Music’s Ray Gregory, former manager for the rap group Do or Die, who discovered Nex2Kin. Gregory, was instrumental in getting the group’s career off the ground. “There is a void in the music marketplace and the Daniels’s saw that and saw us and decided to bet on us to fill it,” Bliggs said. “You are going to get real talent and good music from us each and every time. We are trying to bring people up with us. We have a show, we let people open up for us, and we give away free beats. We all about making the music culture in Chicago better.” Nex2Kin is not done turning up until you turn up, literally. Be on the lookout for their songs off their project Cheeks & Drinks. Website: www.nex2kin.com
by Christopher “ThoughtPoet” Brown Sophomore, Columbia College
by Kristin Brown, Sophomore, Columbia College
s powerful as the Chicago music scene is becoming, there’s a great lack of good R&B music. Some individuals, however, are no longer making that statement true thanks to the unique style they bring to their sound. Thomas Mac is one of those musicians.
Mac comes from a pretty honest background that would have people wondering what his purpose is for transitioning into music. His passion for music began to overshadow any simple occupation he was focused on, which in turn gave him motivation to push for what he truly wants. “My determination is completely on trying to make people see that my inspirations of music and my style is something to take notice of,” he says without hesitation.
Ruff attended Roosevelt University as a jazz vocal major before leaving after only a year. He decided to stay in Chicago to pursue his dreams because he felt the same opportunities weren’t afforded to him in Ohio. Ruff draws inspiration from the likes of Maxwell, Prince, D’Angelo, Robin Thicke, Charles Barker and Ella Fitzgerald. He’s also inspired by his family. He says, “I grew up in a single parent household, low income, myself, three siblings and my mom. We struggled a lot, but we always made a way, so they’re my biggest inspiration.”
Mac might be new to the Chicago scene but his list of accomplishments are already a mile long. With great songs constructed with SaveMoney affiliates Brian Fresco and Vic Spencer, Mac is slowly but surely bringing back the image of the “real man of R&B.” “I’m trying to become the modernized Marvin Gaye. A lot of artists take on the roll of music because, to them, it’s a trend. I’m trying to break that.” With great reviews from his SXSW experience and a debut project, Love, Lust and Luxury, coming out in May, Mac has already began to set a high standard for himself and what other so-called R&B artists should be aiming for. “My confidence has taken me through a lot of times where people didn’t believe that I could prosper as an artist. I’m just proving to everyone that a little motivation and a lot of hard work in the right ways can take you to that next level as a musician.”
Show and prove.
or 12 years, Justin Ruff has been “crooning” his way into the hearts of many. The 23-year-old Cincinnati, Ohio, native began singing when he was only 3 years old but started to take it more seriously when he realized the extent of his talents.
Last March Ruff released his first EP titled Introducing Justin Ruff. His second EP, The Ruff Draft, is set to be released this summer. Aside from releasing his EP, Ruff competed on “Windy City Live” last year and was a finalist. He says he’s also been taking advantage of online media outlets like SoundCloud, Facebook, Twitter and Reverbnation. His first single “Take My Time” was featured on WGCI, and on Maybach Music’s Gun Play’s latest mixtape. Ruff says that he writes from experiences because he knows there are others who share them and, he feels that’s what makes his music real. “I want my music to be representative of what R&B music used to be. It was meaningful and heartfelt. It was just good music. So my main goal is to get back to that and I hope people will listen to me. I hope they will take from it.” His advice to other artists?
Twitter: @hellabeard SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/thomasmacmusic
Just be true to yourself.
Website: justinruffmusic.com TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 13
“When asked how Chicago affected his music, Jenkins said “I grew up here, it is my music. It’s who I am.”
Making His Mark in Music
by Sydney Shaw, Junior, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
e asked him what was his first memory of hip-hop?
Mick Jenkins, without apprehension replied, “‘Brown Sugar.’ My mom used to play ‘Juicy’ by Biggie while I sat in the backseat and I knew all the words.” The Chicago-bred artist arrived on the scene with a soulful sound intertwined with intricate lyricism that captured the ears of many fans and other artists from the Chi. What seemed like an overnight buzz was developed with consistent underground mixtapes, such as the Hot Crunch Cheese Curls EP, The Mickstape and The Pursuit of Happyness. With his musical growth, his sound developed into his latest project, Trees and Truths, which not only increased his fan base, but embodied what he wants to portray through his music as an artist. He expects to expose truth, change perspectives and “wake people up” through his art. When asked to summarize his sound, the versatile artist simply replied, “I wouldn’t.” Jenkins moved from Alabama to Chicago at the age of 7, soon traveling between the two places often. He again moved to Huntsville, Alabama, where he attended college at Oakley University, leaving after the first semester of his junior year due to finances. His major was public relations but, Jenkins had dreams of being an aspiring journalist. “My mother was a writer,” he told us when asked when he first began writing. “Me and a few other guys were in a competition called Who Got Bars and we started taking it seriously.” 14 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Jenkins’s crew goes by the name Free Nation, consisting of a couple guys from Oakley that participated in the competition with him. Coming from Christian beliefs, they aren’t just rapping. They’re a “collective of free thinkers trying to live outside the system.” They all believe that society limits us to a routine cycle no matter what class level you are. Putting this message in their music, they intend to make other people aware of it as well. Jenkins moved back to Chicago, where it was a “much faster environment” from the transition of a small town like Huntsville. He was immediately swept into the music buzz the city had been receiving. He began collaborating with artists like Alex Wiley, Saba Pivot, Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa and many more. “I’d like to work with Lili K, she’s dope,” he said. Chicago is getting a lot of attention from its “drill music” scene as it becomes more and more popular amongst mass media. With such a different sound, the artist retains his individuality without losing the soul of his city. Inspired by a wide range of artists anywhere from Lauryn Hill to Andre 3000, to Corrine Bailey Rae and Kendrick Lamar, the artist adopted a conscious style of rap early on. When asked how Chicago affected his music, Jenkins said “I grew up here, it is my music. It’s who I am.” With songs releases here and there, the streets are buzzing with anticipation for Jenkins’s upcoming project, The Waters. This young artist has something to say, and fans are willing to listen. Twitter: @MickalasCage
vic St. Millie
by Sydney Shaw, Junior, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
by Gabrielle London, Sophomore, Columbia College
o what’s been up with St. Millie? Well, besides working on his newest project Road to Glory, and doing press interviews with Windy City Radio, as well as performing at this year’s SXSW and Chicago’s Hard Rock Hotel, Millie has been making some major moves. Road to Glory is St. Millie’s EP that was released as an introduction to his album, Glory. Previous projects such as No Religion But Up differ from Road to Glory simply because, he says, “it’s more fun. I tried to have a lot of fun with this one. We didn’t really take too much time on anything else but recording it and mixing it. I did it in like a week.” Back in March of this year he revealed a sneak peek to his music video “Dream 312.” The video showcases him in his hometown, rapping, walking around in his neighborhood on the West Side, proving that dreams can become a reality.
Showing his interest in rapping since the 6th grade, St. Millie knew that he wanted to be a rapper, however, he just began to get more serious about the rap game about two years ago. Some of his inspiration comes from different rap creators who are gifted musically such as Kanye and Jay-Z. “They’re a big inspiration just because I know how hard they work and I try to apply that same work ethic to my music,” Millie confesses.
ic Spencer, who describes himself as “a funny character” who is “free spirited,” is one of the OG’s of Chicago music. He has been on the scene for a while and serves as a mentor to a handful of Chicago artists while creating his own music. “Brian Fresco, Sterling Hayes, and really all of the Savemoney guys; They were around me before all of the fame and names started to get big,” said Spencer. “I was the only one consistently in the studio at that time so you know, it could’ve been me or it could’ve been Chano [Chance The Rapper]. I’d help them get whatever they decided to do musically out, but that was then.” Spencer revealed to us what went into constructing the project Rapping Bastard. “The concept of it was to not be fathered by anybody in the rap game. …The illustration behind that was me taking over the rap game without using my hands to bully these cats in the game now, and to do it with my brain,” he said. “I was in a very angry state on that project because people were taking from me and not paying the homage back. Most people label that with Chance and Vic Mensa, but there are lots of artists that I’ve worked with and once they expanded they forgot about me, but that’s not why I do music anyway...” Spencer added, “I think Chicago wants Vic Spencer OUT. I could be what Ye is to fashion to Chicago music. There’s a time and place for that, and that place is within my music.”
St. Millie describes his music style as a blues-meets-soul-meets-futuristic collage. Besides having such an aspiring taste to his music, St. Millie is ready to reveal his new sound to his fans. This summer St. Millie will definitely be in his glory, so make sure you stay alert when you hear his name.
The next projects for Spencer are Vision Pipes, a seven-track collaboration with Johnny Rocket, The Women’s Bathroom featuring 25 various female artists, and his solo album, The Cost of Victory.
Twitter: @VicSpencer TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 15
Storyteller of the Streets
by Christopher “ThoughtPoetic” Brown, Sophomore, Columbia College
hen you see or approach Lil Bibby you wouldn’t think he’s the same person that’s represented in his music. His demeanor is very quiet and reserved. However, the true definition of Bibby is a storyteller. The 19-year-old has been through a lot within this past year, but his music tells you what he has been through his entire life. The name “Bibby” comes from a nickname that he received from playing basketball when he was younger; his passion for music, however, became clear when his friend died. “When he passed away that became incentive for me to take this music thing seriously,” he says. “That and the fact that I was on probation, and I didn’t want to be in school hearing things that I already know.” With that being said, Bibby started creating a name for himself on tracks by himself and with his close friend and fellow artist Lil Herb. When the message spread that Drake deemed him and Herb as the next artists to tell a story about the streets, Bibby, whose real name is Brandon Dickinson, was a bit overwhelmed but ready to take his place at the roundtable and prove his abilities as a MC.
Bibby comes from the East Side of Chicago where a lot of the violence over the last two years has come from. To him it’s not a job to tell his audience about this life. It’s just him stating what he has been through coming from an area like his.
“I’m not a real talkative person,” says Bibby. “I let my music handle what needs to be said.” With a new EP on the way entitled The Book, which will have collaborations from Jadakiss and Keyshia Cole, his current project that’s already out entitled Free Crack is making a lot of individuals want more. In addition to that, he has an upcoming tour with “Trae the Truth” in the works. Bibby has created a lane only to be traveled by him and no one else. “What I go through is what you’ll hear from me in my music, nothing more.” Honesty, it seems, that is the key.
“My music is about what I see and hear every day. I don’t know many that have made it to this type of success from where I’m from, in fact, I don’t know any.” 16 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
by Mina Waight, Junior, Kenwood Academy
Logan by Alexander Stockstell, Sophomore, Columbia College
y inspiration is my mom and our tough situation in general. My situation is messed up. People see white skin and this guy trying to rap and they automatically put me in this box that I ‘come from money’ or something like that. No, my story is not flawed like that, my life is not sweet,” Logan said. “Me doing this is to get my story out in all of its truths. Speak for the kids going through the same rough times as me.”
Logan, 19, is a Latino rapper raised in the Little Village area of Chicago. His high school years were full of bad grades, tough choices and many school transfers. After a few cracks at rap, he snuck on the scene with his first viral music video, “2 Minute Warning,” which sits at 45,000 views and counting. “J. Krown and I actually met in high school and I originally came to him for beats. He made the ‘2 Minute Warning’ beat and then he shot the video. After it got around, I just straight up asked J. Krown to be in my crew. So now J. Krown does all of my music videos. Then, recently when I started working on my project I added the producer Flight to my crew as well. He does all of my beats now. We’re a trio and we are Feo Mob,” Logan said. Logan’s crew is named in honor of his close friend Feo who was shot and killed in the summer of 2013. In Logan’s music video “Came Up,” he visits the grave of Feo, keeping his promise to “put Feo in the next music video” since he passed before it was made. Logan’s project to drop this year is 1636. The numbers are of an address where most of his family lived in Chicago before they broke apart. With his most recent song releases like “Intro 36” and its official single “The Mob,” Logan has some things he wants to get of his chest with this debut.
espite growing up in Monticello, Illinois, Frank Leone has managed to make his way into the Chicago music scene and create a name for himself. Growing up in Monticello was different, but it was having an entirely different childhood experience that shaped his unique perspective on life. “[Monticello] greatly [affects my sound.] There’s this park five minutes from where I grew up named Allerton Park where I went all the time. …It’s gorgeous and that’s the inspiration behind ‘Enter Wild.’” Music became like second nature to Leone early in life. “I started singing when I was 3 years old. My mom always said I was pretty good at singing full songs when I was younger and I had an ear for things.” He later said, “I don’t know [why I chose to be a musician,] I thought I would be an engineer or something. [I think I really got my start] when Vic [Mensa] tweeted one of my old mixtapes back in like 2012 and Kids These Days was my favorite band, so I thought if they like it then I must be doing something right.” Leone has since released multiple projects and has been making changes to improve. “I don’t think I have an overall sound yet because I try to experiment with many different sounds [and] I’m very selective. I try to not let things influence my sound unless I choose for it to influence me.” Leone later said, “[My music] represents a generations of kids that were diagnosed with ADHD. Some grew up subjective to violence, depending on where you live, and they were told that they were special, but entering the real world you learn that that’s not necessarily true.” As of now, Leone has been experiencing the real world and learning from life and its challenges. From these experiences he simply wrapped up his goals. “I want ‘Enter Wild’ to be played in a stadium full of people, a Nardwuar interview and a tour with M.I.A.” We think he can do it. Twitter: @franklynRaps TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 17
by Mina Waight, Junior, Kenwood Academy
onder is defined as to think or speculate curiously. Curiosity is defined as the desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitiveness. When you add an “s” to wonder, you get Treated Crew and Void Squad affiliate, Max Wonders, from the South Side of Chicago. Wonders has been rapping for about seven years but didn’t start seriously rapping until 2013 when he released his second project Complicated Simplicity. “What made me start rapping was just being around [rap] and hearing it on the radio and putting bars together and all that. It really just…came together. It was more so a thing that you wanted to do because it was so fun to do and just learning that I can actually flip words and stuff like that, that was really cool to me.” Wonders was sure to make it clear that he thinks for himself and does whatever he feels. “I take things for what they are and I take what I like out of certain situations. Like, when I hear certain things I might take what I like out of it, but I’m not really easily influenced. …I was never that person, because those people don’t even really have a mind for themselves; you have to choose what you want to do and choose what you like.” Wonders says, “Being from Chicago influences my music style. You know, you see a lot of stuff [and] you hear a lot of stuff from the whole music style from Chicago;
18 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
the whole blues, jazz [etc.] that is in Chicago or has derived from Chicago; it all influences you.” He adds, “[My sound] is rapstract. Like abstract [rap], it’s just like my sound; the ‘Max Wonders’ sound. There’s no describing it. I don’t pin myself down to one thing. I kind of explore all the sounds. I love listening to different sounds, so it’s kind of like alternative, neo-soulish, hip-hop.” He likes to believe that his music reflects who he is and who he wants to be as a person. “I put my whole heart into my music and it’s all about my experience; what I see around me, what my friends go through, what my family goes through [and] what I think. It reflects my true self and I feel like I try to put that into my artistry at all costs.” Wonders says that he can find inspiration anywhere regardless of what he’s doing. Some inspirations include Basquiat, Outkast, Stevie Wonder, his greatgrandmother and his grandmother. Wonders went on to wrap up his career goal simply as “just to make the best music possible. I don’t really have any other goals but to just be the happiest I can be and to make other people happy. I just want to be the best Max Wonders that I can be and besides that, everything else comes in second.” Twitter: @maxwonders Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/lilmax
astro by Gabrielle London, Sophomore, Columbia College
magine tasting Nick Astro’s music for the first time. According to him, it would taste like a glass of lemonade on a sunny day. His newest project, Listen to New Music, which is scheduled to come out this year, is already getting buzz. “The concept has layers. Listen to New Music is one of those one-layered type mixtapes. It doesn’t mean listen to new music, though,” Astro says. Take it as his way of encouraging the new generation to stop listening to just one artist and one playlist; otherwise you will never know what “new music” is out there. At first, Astro was going to sample old songs and create new records out of them, instead, he decided to just make music. It sounds nothing like #Super16 – which was musically colorful and made like a musical collage. This new project is going to be more soul focused, not really a mixtape like last time, but it will have more of a theme than his last album. “I’m performing at more shows now and getting more exposure,” Astro says. He admits those performances have helped him be less nervous. “Performing is so intimate to me... it’s like there’s sex and then there is performing.” Astro sees Chicago’s music scene as becoming a melting pot, because it’s already so cultured. “A microscope is now looking over Chicago,” he says. “When people think of Chicago [artists] they think of Kanye, Common, and so forth. Now you can think of so many people.” Astro is willing to work with other artists, but he is really focused on improving himself. Currently, he is working with Dee Lily and Daryn Alexus, and he plans on just sticking to the basics and not too much on features. IG: @nickastro Youtube: NiCK ASTRO
by Michael Walton II, Freshman, Truman College
hicago’s hip-hop scene has been thriving as of late, but there have been some general concerns that have scared the masses. Some fans have been worried that our music will become stale and that Chicago will become a scene dominated by one style of music. Whether it be drill music, alternative hip-hop, or boombap, Chicago doesn’t like or want to be pigeonholed when it comes to artistic expression. There is a heavy weight that comes from this possible suffocation of Chicago’s music. But the weight of that worry is completely lifted when you hear the excellent work of Martin $ky. Each of his music videos have a unique vibe that separates itself from the overused (and overly simple) “trippy” visuals that artists seem to crave so much these days. If his videos don’t impress you, then surely his music will. Most artists have a “sound.” Some people will say, “Oh this trap beat has a nice buildup, it must be Lex Luger.” But Martin $ky insist that he doesn’t have a sound because of the diversity of music. To elaborate he said, “I really wouldn’t say I have a sound so much as quality.” He went on to mention specifically his taste for “hard hittin’ drums” and even more specifically “crisp snares.” When asked to describe the Chicago hip-hop scene, $ky responded with one word: “Divided.” He felt that while Chicago did have a thriving musical community, there are an abundance of cliques. He doesn’t really assign himself to any particular group, but he isn’t opposed to working with people. He just likes to be in control of his artistic vision. With a dedication to producing the best possible product, it is fair to say that for young Martin, the $ky is the limit. Twitter: @martinxsky TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 19
A turn of events by Mina Waight, Junior, Kenwood Academy
hicago is known for being the home of many diverse groups of people and bringing these people together, regardless of how it’s done. Every day people with all sorts of talents come together to create great things for the masses and this is especially true for Wealth Worthy Republic’s (WWR) very own Ern Cobain. The journey began when Cobain was about 17 years old when he met fellow WWR member Jay Fresco in high school and started working with a vocalist by the name of Gabrielle Shante. “Me and Jay Fresco went to high school together and we rapped, but when we graduated we didn’t really do any music, but I heard a song that he did called ‘H.I.P.’ and I was like [dang, this dude] Fresco going hard. So, we just linked up and then we started doing records. I’ve known [Gabrielle Shante] since I was 10 years old so, I just brought her in and let her sing and stuff then we all just came together and started making music.” Cobain, however, got his start rapping in a more unique way than most artists. “I didn’t really listen to rap when I was little. I was listening to alternative rock songs and stuff like that.” When questioned about growing up listening to rock, he said, “I didn’t grow up listening to [only] rock; I was riding to ‘Ready to Die’ and ‘Eminem Show’ but I didn’t really like rap,” and it is that lack of love for rap that allows him to be outside the box. 20 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
“...I don’t know what my sound is because I feel like if I have a sound, you’ll know how I’m coming every track, and that’s not how it is.” Cobain has a tendency to do things that many other people aren’t thinking about, which is why he cannot truly define who he is. “I have no sound; it’s really about what I feel would be the most difficult for me at that time. The hardest beats I had were the ones that I didn’t know what to do with at the time, but they came out to be the best songs. It was just natural so, I don’t know what my sound is because I feel like if I have a sound, you’ll know how I’m coming every track, and that’s not how it is.” In addition, Cobain’s idea of having no set rap style separates him from others and keeps him original in his own craft. “The way I see rap, like the way I have seen rap before, is not how I see myself rap.” He went on to say, “I feel like you have to be musical. Rapping is a standard and you should know how to rap; everybody should know how to rap; everybody should come with something dope, and if you’re not making songs, like if you’re not being musical, I just think it’s like you are selling yourself short and you are not trying to push what you are doing; you are just trying to rap. I just want people to see that there is no boundary.” Twitter: @ErnCobain
malone by Mina Waight, Junior, Kenwood Academy
ike any other city, Chicago is constantly changing and new things emerge all the time. Things like lingo, music, fashion, and popular places all evolve constantly. The 2008ighties crew is a Chicago group of musicians and artists, and each artist within the group has evolved and has shown much progression. Julian Malone is no exception. Malone got his start with music early on. “[Music] chose me,” he said. “I learned how to engineer on my own. It was always something I enjoyed trying to figure out and understand. Plus, I sort of had to, because I knew to get my songs to sound like the songs on the albums I listen to, I had to either figure it out or pay 300 plus for one song to get mixed and mastered how I wanted it. [Also,] I knew [there] wasn’t an engineer [that would] mix a 15-year-old black kid’s song that he made in his bedroom.” Malone has persevered to get where he is now. When asked about the challenges of doing everything himself he said, “It’s tough, but I do it.” He went on to say, “Doing everything myself also slowed my stuff down. It’s crazy when you [have] to do all the geek [stuff] as well as the fly rapper [stuff], as well as the politicking, [but] it’s super worth it when the magic can be heard in the music.”
flowrs by Mina Waight, Junior, Kenwood Academy
ne of the great characteristics about the Windy City is the amount of talent and passion that you’ll find within the people that reside here. Regardless of what art form people take on, creativity is endless, limits become non-existent and every moment becomes an opportunity. As people grow, they figure out what they love. Roman Flowrs did just that when he found his love in the music industry. Flowrs, 22, started making music around age 16. Back then, he mostly made beats, but says both his beats and raps were “terrible,” however, he pushed through. Initially he started off doing production with “FL studio 4” and after that everything became natural to him. “I just studied it. I’m still learning today,” said Flowrs. “I came a long way because I’m at a space where I just like to make music that I like.” Present day Flowrs is working his artistic abilities to the max and ensures originality in everything he does from making beats to songwriting, and directing. His talents lie in his versatility to create different styles and his ability to flow multiple sounds together. “I’m inspired by a lot of nostalgic things from my childhood, like when I hear an old song I haven’t heard in years, it brings back memories, good or bad, and I channel it into my music, especially when it comes to production.”
Since, Malone has been making music for seven plus years, he has not only improved but also gained an understanding about the music industry. He said that the criticism showed him that not everyone will understand or feel the music, so he continues to stay focused, spread love through his music and advises upcoming artists to “focus and master your craft.”
He remains true to himself and his sound but sites producers and writers like The Neptunes, Timbaland, The Roots or anything from the soul, funk, Bad Boy and RocA-Fella era as inspirational. Flowrs tells people that are just starting out to “Stay true to your sound. Don’t let your manager or friends tell you different. If it’s not your vision, don’t do it. I didn’t have anybody mentoring me and I’m still learning, so don’t be afraid to take risks; something small can become whatever you want it to be. There are no boundaries.”
Twitter: @JuMalone SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/jumalone
Twitter: RomanFlowrs Website: Romanflowrs.com TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 21
How life in the hood shaped his sound by Mina Waight, Junior, Kenwood Academy Cover Photo by Jordan Clark & Mitch Clark Elevatormag.com
ately, Chicago’s trap and drill music have been getting a lot of attention from all across the nation. To mention artists such as Chief Keef, Lil Herb, King Louie and Lil Durk would be just naming a few of the various talents that have risen to spread their sound to the masses. Recently, however, R.I.C.H. Crew affiliate, Spenzo, has been getting more recognition and is slowly but surely making his mark on the music scene. Lingo like: “Spenzo got off,” “He snapped,” “This go hard,” “Spenzo raw,” and “Spenzo go in” are some common phrases that you are bound to see in the comments when watching one of his many music videos on YouTube. When his mixtape, In Spenzo We Trust, dropped last July the rapper received national attention from various media outlets including MTV.com. The song “Wife Er,” also from the mixtape, is still a fan favorite. Spenzo has since signed a record deal with Atlantic Records. 22 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
With his mother being a gospel singer in their church choir and his stepfather being a “ghetto house music DJ,” Spenzo’s start in the music industry was inevitable. He began rapping as a freestyler in high school but soon started to take his music more seriously to tell his story. “Growing up in Englewood and seeing violence every second affected my music in a way that I could only put it in music for you to understand,” he said. “From prostitution, to drug trafficking, fights, you know, robberies, break-in’s; just all of that, and seeing that as a teenager just changes your whole mind set. [Once, there] was a dead body behind my school when I was going [to Randolph Elementary School] – a girl at that. So, just seeing stuff like that opened your eyes to the real world at a young age [because you saw] the type of stuff that people normally do not see.”
“Growing up in Englewood and seeing violence every second affected my music in a way that I could only put it in music for you to understand.”
Spenzo did make his way out of his neighborhood, and was exposed to a new world, when he decided to attend King College Prep instead of Simeon High School. “King was based upon academics and testing, like I had to test to get into King, so once I got there it was like a whole new experience. It was on 44th and Drexel [and] by me living in Englewood, you know two different neighborhoods, new people, I got to meet new girls, and you know they start off like, ‘Hey, it’s a new dude and whatever, not from around here.’ So, people kind of took notice of that and just kind of embraced me, but I was always an outsider.”
just [was] not doing things that I [was] not really supposed to do so; that is what really made me realize like man, you have something to live for.”
From these combined experiences and his home life, it came together to become a story to be told through his music. “[My music] definitely [is] like serving someone good food. [It is] like soul food on a garbage lid because I come from the hood and I’m letting you know everything.”
There’s been no word on whether any particular projects from the rapper will reach the masses in the near future. But, chances are Spenzo is sure to have something great up his sleeve. “As far as my next project, it’s coming soon,” he told Rolling Stone. “I’m working, taking it day by day, trying to coordinate the best music I can right now. Trying to dig it out.”
He described his life as being kind of rough but he managed to push through while remaining humble and appreciative of what he has. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. So, by me going through what I went through in grammar school, then going to high school and seeing everything that I saw, made me tougher in a sense. My mentality was being more focused on what I needed to be focused on and not on girls all the time or going to hang out with the guys or shooting dice; [I]
Spenzo said that he doesn’t care about fame but cares more about the experience as well as spreading his message of self-improvement and gaining knowledge in any way possible. “When I first meet someone, I want them to know that I’m not anything to play with so, don’t try to play with me, [but] you [can] give me some knowledge [and] I hope that some of what you have can rub off on me. But I [also] want people to know that I’m a cool dude, I’m [just] not for the mess.”
There’s no doubt that Spenzo’s music is giving his generation something they can relate to. With his hard lyrics and catchy melodies, Spenzo is simply taking the world by storm – one lyric at a time.
Website: www.aintuspenzo.com TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 23
On A High Note Music has a way of influencing many aspects of our lives including our mood and even the clothes we wear. A tune that makes you happy might inspire you to put on something bright and colorful, while a song with a funky beat could drive you to be more dark and daring with your style. Before you pick out your next outfit, check out these looks put together by True Star and the fashion studies students from Columbia College Chicago. There just may be something here you want to add to your wardrobe.
Sometimes a little color can go a long way. Tevian shows of this vibrant zip-front jacket by combining it with dark rinse jeans, a basic white tee and white gym shoes. Asia lets her accessories do all the talking when she pairs a bold colorful necklace with a white dress and jacket. Retail Info: On Tevian: Jacket (Jordan Brand - Succezz) / T-shirt (Vanity Fever IG @ vanityfever) / Jeans (Jordan Retro 5) / Shoes // On Asia: Dress (Agaci) / Accessories (Stylist’s Own) / Shoes (Model’s Own) Stylists: Columbia College Chicago Fashion Studies Students Make Up: Brittany Beach of Beauty Boulevard Hair: Jori Thorns Photographer: Jordon Clark & Mitch Clark, Elevatormag.com
“The music I listen to is really influential and inspires me to follow my dreams and pursue whatever I desire.” - Tevian
“I love artists from Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, and India Arie to artists such as the Internet, Hiatus Kaiyote, and XXYYXX. I’d say these genres definitely inspire my style of dress, especially when I go out to hang with friends or even birthday parties. I love for my clothes to be very chill, simple, and chic, yet I also like for them to be bright, retro, and skaterboyish at times.” - Asia
The beauty of the color white is that it goes with everything. Here Tevian rocks a colorful graphic white tee with an acid wash denim jacket, a cap and jeans. Asia balances him out with a white lace mini dress and bright accessories. Retail Info: On Tevian: T-shirt (Vanity Fever IG @ vanityfever) / Brand Jordan Jacket (Succezz) / Jeans (Models Own) / Cap (Leaders) // On Asia: Dress White (Agaci) / Necklace & Purse (OMG! Accessories)
“I love the fact that I can relate to the music that I listen to. No matter what region the music comes from, I can always find something that matches my situation.” - Jamel
Mina and Jamel get things poppin with a pop of color and dark bottoms. Mina is guaranteed to turn heads in this lime green sweatshirt with graphics, and Jamel will no doubt get his fair share of attention in this bright blue Air Jordan sweatshirt. Retail Info: On Mina: Sweatshirt (Protocol) / Pants (True Star Closet) // On Jamel: Sweatshirt (Succezz) / Jeans & Cap (Model’s Own)
â€œI love that the music I listen to is so versatile and it can compliment my moods and personality so well. I love that I can listen to something and hear so many different things and understand what went into creating that song to appreciate it on a deeper level. - Mina
Whether itâ€™s brightly colored, dark or faded, denim will forever be in fashion. Mina shows off a denim and leather jacket embellished with letterman graphics and worn with a white tee and white bottoms. Jamel layers a sleeveless denim jacket with a black and white graphic tee and dark rinse jeans. Retail Info: On Mina: Denim Protocol Jacket (Succezz) // On Jamel: Denim Jacket (Modelâ€™s Own) T-shirt (Villa) / Jeans (Villa)
Byron and Briana look crisp and cool in white denim. To complete his look Byron adds a white tee and a black jacket with leather trimmings to the mix. Briana keeps it casual with a cap and white baseball tee with contrast color sleeves that add some pop.
“I feel like my style is like a A$AP Rocky/ Wiz Khalifa/Tyga all merged together.” - Byron
Retail Info: On Byron: T-shirt (T. J. Maxx) / Jeans (Macy’s) / Jacket (Model’s Own) // On Briana: T-shirt (Diamond Supply – Succezz) / Jeans (True Star Closet) / Cap (Leaders)
“The music that inspires my clothing is hip-hop, R & B, soul, reggae and alternative rap. These genres inspire me to do a mix of different styles.” - Briana
Briana makes a simple style statement with this graphic L’Amour sweatshirt, jeans and bright clutch purse. Retail Info: On Briana: Shirt (H&M) / Jeans (T.J. Maxx ) / Purse (OMG! Accessories)
Byron mixes things up by teaming a camouflage jacket with a graphic tee, dark denim and bright colored graphic cap. Retail Info: On Byron: T-shirt & Jeans (Succezz) / Jacket & Cap (Villa)
Special thanks to: Center for Community Arts Partnerships – Columbia College Chicago Decision Making for Fashion Business – Fashion Studies Dr. Julie, Hillery, Professor Molly Chanthavong, Sienna Chesters, Stephanie Clark, Sarah Gaurkee, Ewelina Grabowska, Bethany Happach, Kelsey Kellgren, Virginia Laskowska, Jennifer Perkins, Hilary Reagan, Ashley Salazar, Lily Schnitzius
LIKE IT WAS Never There by Tamela White & Cyara Ward, Sophomore, Thornton Fractional North
xpungement is a lawsuit in which a first time offender of a prior criminal conviction seeks that the records of that earlier process be sealed, thereby making the records unavailable through the state or federal repositories. In other words, expungement means if you commit a felony, depending on what you do, there is a possibility you can get your records ERASED! Not many teens have heard of this term but, many teens don’t know that having a record can ruin your future.
Ward, a freshman at Thornton Fractional North (T.F. North) High School. Ward believes that young high school students who have made mistakes in the past want to get a fresh start and a clean record.
“If you have a criminal record, there’s no doubt it will affect your employment options,” said Jesus Medina, a senior at Washington High School. “It’s going to limit where you can work as well as when you’re applying to schools.”
“There’s no point because it’s still going to follow you, and if the federal government was to look it up they will realize I got my records expunged.”
Sharlyn Grace, coordinator of the Juvenile Legal Agency in Cook County, explained how expungement works. To have your records expunged you have to be at the age of 18, or sometimes at the age of 21. Your case or cases MUST also be closed. Grace helps juveniles because she enjoys getting involved and helping people improve their lives. Grace offered her opinion on whether or not there should be a limit of crimes being erased. “The worst crimes committed [by] someone should not be the end of the road. Everyone should be granted a second chance in life.” Many students gave their opinions on expungement and one student responded by saying, “It’s the bomb. Everyone deserves a second chance,” says Taimyar 30 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Another student at T.F. North, who chose not to reveal their name, believes that there may not even be a point to expungement.
But, that’s not true. Grace explains that the FBI cannot share that information with the federal government as of a 2010 legislative law, which the law states that the police force cannot share the information received from a crime scene with the FBI, unless they have a right to do a computer/database check. Then again, police enforcement will always be able to see the arrest. You are probably wondering if crimes such as murder would even be allowed the chance to be erased. The answer is yes. According to Grace, a woman who committed second degree murder wanted her records erased, and they were. As you see many people with different backgrounds are now being able to erase their records and start over. Everybody deserves a second chance at life. For more information about expungement email your questions to the Office of the State Appellate Defender at this email address: Expungement@osad.state.il.us.
Stop Downgrading Your Race by Akia Davis, Sophomore, Marist High School
elson Mandela, a true image of greatness, proved to the world that change can happen if people are willing to work for it. He endured many hardships growing up. His father died when he was only 9 years old, he was expelled from school due to joining protests, and he suffered a 27-year imprisonment.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela
Mandela could have grown up to be a malicious, vile man, but was the complete opposite. For years he peacefully protested against the South African government which landed him jail time. While imprisoned, he was offered many deals that degraded his integrity and he denied them all. It wasn’t until 1990, when F.W. de Klerk became president that he was freed. Klerk and Mandela then began to change the racial policies and segregations in South Africa, which they received a Nobel Peace Prize for in 1993. In 1994, he was awarded presidency, becoming South Africa’s first black president. While he was evolving South Africa’s government into becoming multi-racial, he encountered many problems from both sides. Whites were willing to share power, but blacks wanted an entire transfer of power. To fix this, he used sports as a common ground for the races to unite.
Mandela retired from politics in 1999, but kept changing South Africa for the better. He raised money to build schools and clinics, and he developed a foundation. However, he became very sick due to prostate cancer, and lung infections. He died on December 5, 2013. During his fight to improve South Africa Mandela impacted many people worldwide. Racism towards blacks still occurs today. The only way to change racism would be to change the way people perceive blacks. To change that, blacks must change the way they behave.
illustration by Pierre Seaton
Mandela also worked to cease South Africa’s economy from collapsing. During his term he created a plan called the Reconstruction and Development Plan, which funded the creation of jobs, housing, and basic health care. In 1996, Mandela signed a new constitution which established a stronger government based on a majority rule, and guaranteed rights of minorities and the freedom of expression.
Among black youth, there is controversy about trivial things such as being light or dark skinned, or having the best pair of Jordan’s. There are many other things to worry about that influence our world’s present and future. Blacks should be striving to get an education to become respected in the world and conquer stereotypes. Not to destroy someone’s dream, but not everyone can become a famous basketball player or an actor. So many people live in an idealistic world trying to “get rich,” instead of planning accordingly and working their way up. Mandela and so many other activists fought for equality and our generation lacks to show appreciation. Mandela is a role model of change, but role models can only persuade, not force. Its left in the hands of today’s generation, and until the majority decides to improve, the unfortunate others are left to be unfairly categorized because of their people. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 31
to Self-Obsession by Tierra Carpenter, Senior, TF South
ccording to the Oxford English Dictionary, “Selfie” was the top word of 2013. The definition of the word is, “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” When people are taking pictures with their phone, they can get carried away with the ease of clicking and posting. Then, they’re scrolling through their camera and the amount of pictures has gone up. That is one of the lines someone can cross when taking selfies can turn into selfobsession. This kind of behavior has become more and more acceptable. If someone does not like the way they appear on social media, it can make them insecure until they receive validation that they look good. Feeling the need to often take selfies will also pressure someone to look perfect, which is impossible. Not only can that give some false perceptions of themselves through pictures, they can also receive them. People have stopped judging themselves by what they see in the mirror and started to base their looks on what they see through their pictures and the reactions they receive on social media. Psychologist Jill Weber, Ph.D., told Teen Vogue in an article called, “The good, the bad, and the unexpected consequences of selfie-obsession,” that selfies can have an adverse effect on someone. “There’s a danger that your self-esteem may start to be tied to the comments and likes you get when you post a selfie, and they aren’t based on who you are— they’re based on what you look like.” People have the opportunity to make both their appearance and their lives look completely different online. They can be selective about what moments they choose to capture and share, usually making their lives seem more glamorous than it actually is. By putting up a facade on a social media website such as Instagram, selfies display a false sense of reality. Instagram is an app that allows people to edit a picture before it is posted. It is also one of the most common places on the Internet for selfies to be uploaded. Photos can be posted to make someone look however they want through cropping and special effects.
interaction with the social medium, the real and ideal selves intersect; and the ideal self is at least partially actualized.” Green went on to say that someone’s online persona can take over their real life one.
“In essence, our online selves represent our ideals and eliminate many of our other real components.”
Dr. R. Kay Green, Ph.D. said this about Instagram users altering their appearance:
People can learn to be less self-conscious and more self-aware. Spending too much time in front of a camera can definitely change your feelings about your appearance in a positive or a negative way. However, someone’s outer appearance should not be their biggest concern in life. Taking too many selfies is a bad habit that can lead someone to questioning their appearance.
“Consider the fact that on social media sites, we consider our profiles to be presentations of who we are,” Green told the Huffington Post. “Therefore, through
Through the advancement of technology, cameras are on almost every device that we own. However, that does not mean every moment is photo worthy.
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NO HANDS T
Illinois Hands-Free Driving Law
he year 2014 ushered in a big change for drivers in Illinois. It is now illegal to hold a cell phone in your hands while driving. Throughout Illinois and across Chicago, drivers are faced with a fine of $75-$150 for breaking this law. In the U.S., motor vehicle crashes are the No.1 cause of death among 15 to 19-year-olds. Even talking on a cell phone increases the chances of getting into an accident, and that’s when your eyes are actually on the road. When you text, your eyes aren’t fully watching the road. Those few seconds back and forth can be the difference between life and death. There are apps, phone settings and accessories that allow you to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Instead of looking at your phone, skipping to the next song, eating or applying makeup, here are a few apps and accessories that will allow you to focus ALL of your attention on driving.
Top Hands-free Apps & Features: •Android Hands-free and Apple Car Mode (Free) – All you have to do is select the mode and just like that, it will read text messages aloud to you then ask if you want to respond or ignore, and it announces whose calling while letting you accept or reject too! •DriveSafe.ly (Free - $14.00/yr) – Download the app and switch the “Off” button to “On” and you’re set to have text messages and emails read out loud. The paid version automatically responds to messages and lets you pick a voice. • tXtBlocker (Free 30 Day Trial, $6.99/mth or $69.99mth) –Just like the “it can wait” solution, this device will send an automatic text to people to let them know that tXtBlocker is active and all phone calls will be sent to voicemail. You could try it for 30 days then decide if you want to pay to have it completely. • Voice Assist (Free) – Download and try this app for free. You could tell it to make a call, answer a call and send or reply to a text. • Vlingo (Free) – This free app lets you search the Internet, text people, update social media statuses, or find somewhere to eat.
Top Hands-free Accessories: •Vehicle Bluetooth Syncing – You could connect your phone to yourself or your parents’ car via bluetooth to not only listen to music wirelessly but make phone calls too! •Auxiliary Cord – All you have to do is plug the auxiliary cord into your phones’ headset jack and you’re ready to have conversations through the car speakers! It’s also great for connecting to a music playlist, so if the phone rings it’s already loud and clear. •Hands-free Stereo Headset – This already comes packaged with your phone, so why not put it to use walking down the street or in the car. •Hands-free Car Mount for Dashboard or Windshield – Your phone will already be in sight so there’s no need to constantly look down in your lap or have your phone in one hand while driving with the other. •Bluetooth Headset – It gives you the wireless capabilities of headphones minus the wires; you’ll probably forget you have it on until the phone rings in your ear.
True Star’s Teen Driving Safety Programming is possible due to a donation made by:
Why News Matters
Catching Up with the Secretary of State
Jesse White By Alexander Stockstell, Sophomore, Columbia College
esse White has held the office of Secretary of State in Illinois for 16 years. He has been re-elected for four terms and is looking for another re-election at the end of this year. The duty of the Secretary in Illinois is to oversee the driving database of all registered motorists, making sure our roads are safe by enacting laws based on the ever-changing driving patterns and behaviors of over 8.7 million drivers. However, Sec. White wants to shift the focus of his office to the youth in Illinois, particularly in the Chicagoland area. “I believe in starting children with reading as early as possible and having them reading as often as possible. Libraries are going to be with us forever and children need to know this as a fact,” said Sec. White. Last year, Sec. White started Project Next Generation to be implemented into Illinois’ state libraries. The program’s purpose is to provide the technologies needed in libraries in order to receive the most up-to-date information readily available in the 21st century. Each library got new computers and tablet devices. Students in the area were chosen for the mentor part of the program where they learned from library staff how to use the technology available. The project’s overall goal was to introduce students to libraries as a place to use computers efficiently if they did not have them at home. Students from 3rd-12th grade are eligible for the program. Last year Project Next Generation received over $200,000 in grants, which went on to serve 19 libraries across the state and 800 students along with their 70 mentors. “I am open to solving new issues. I am also a firm believer in volunteerism. I feel it is my duty that I provide the people an outlet in which they can learn to read
34 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
and write English so that they may increase their chances of being successful in this country. Believe it or not, there are others who feel the same as me and volunteer the time and expertise to see that this happens,” said Sec. White. Sec. White is speaking on his Adult Volunteer Literacy Program. It is a program that uses former educators and public officials to combat the 1.1 million Illinois residents who say they speak English less than well and 500,000 who have less than a 9th grade education. Illinois is one of the largest immigration gateway states and also has 200 agencies that work hands-on with refugees from international warzones. Even though the program is for adults and their children, Sec. White describes this program as “Getting down to the detailed areas of society.” Last year the program serviced 13,000 adult learners with about 8,000 volunteer teachers. The program seeks to help young people who are now bilingual and can land a job so that the children of the family can simply eat every day. Sec. White is clearly increasing his efforts to combat some of the problems the youth face in the state of Illinois. He chimed in positively when asked about why news matters. “Young people should not be afraid of the news. They must learn the news is there to help them understand the unexplainable in the world. Information is everything; one who knows better does better.” Contact 217−785−6921 or email email@example.com for volunteer opportunities or to sign up for the program.
Is the Reign of the
Black R&B Artist Over? by Alexis Estes, Senior & Jacob Bonds, Sophomore, Morgan Park High School
s it better to be white in the R&B music genre? Rhythm and blues has been dominated by black artists forever, however, now there’s the question of whether or not black artists have lost their touch. Apparently, there seems to be a large barrier between “No.1” and the black R&B singer. According to a recent article on billboard.com, in 2013 there was not a “single black artist [to] top the Hot 100 as a lead performer,” – a first for the chart’s 55-year history. Performers like Adele, Justin Timberlake, Lorde, Robin Thicke, and Macklemore have risen to the top, beating out established and new black entertainers in this genre. Could it be that the black R&B artist just isn’t what’s hot anymore? Johnny Bonds, a sophomore at the Illinois Art Institute, offers his view on the topic. “I feel today’s R&B music is slim to none and also very poor. [We] have adapted to the everyday rapper talking about guns and h*es. I’ve noticed R&B artists aren’t getting a lot of attention and I feel the music industry purposely made that happen. … I feel it’s wrong and the music industry’s missing out on true R&B talent and lots of money.” Radio, the world’s “ears for music,” has a great influence on what listeners are exposed to. We cannot control what music producers put in front of us; all we can do is listen. It seems our only real choice is to choose the music we like best. This choice alone has a huge impact on the success of an artist’s music career.
Some black artists have made their way to R&B and pop radio stations, but few are privileged enough to have this crossover appeal. DJ Que Eleven of Know1radio.com believes that this appeal is exactly what artists need to land at No. 1. “I think [artists like] Adele get more radio play over artists like Jill Scott and India.Arie because they are not just considered to be R&B, but in a crossover genre. The audience is different and [so they] get more play on pop stations than anything.” To make the music of the black R&B singer more appealing WGCI radio personality Teefa thinks that some changes need to be made in the genre. “Black R&B artists should continue to work at being more creative in song content and experimenting with crossing R&B with other genres of music. R&B songs are often about love, but there are so many facets of love that can be addressed to make the content refreshing and more relevant to life today.” Power 92 midday radio personality Frankie Robinson is optimistic that charttopping R&B from blacks will make a comeback. “Everything has its time. There’s always been a down time in R&B music, [however], it’s still alive with artists like Ledisi, Jhene Aiko [and more]. Yes, hip-hop is in the forefront, but there will always be an open lane for R&B music, and with an emergence of new artists we will see a steady improvement.” TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 35
by Gabrielle London, Sophomore, Columbia College
By Jaylin Holland, Freshman, TF North High School
hether you are a “techie” who is looking for a stable device with amazing features or you are looking for the best device to keep in touch with friends and family, here’s some helpful information regarding the latest in smartphones.
t seems that Google will stop at nothing when it comes to new inventions. Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD). The idea sparked developers approximately a year ago and was set to release this year to consumers, once the prototype was finalized and all the touches were perfected. The purpose of Google Glass is to display information like a smart-phone, however, the format is hands-free. Here’s how it works: The Glass is voice activated, so if you want to take a picture you can just say “take a picture.” It sets up the camera and you blink when you are ready to capture that moment. Pretty cool, right? Record a video hands-free just by using your voice. Video chat live with friends so they can see what you are up to. Get directions when you’re lost and see those directions while you are headed towards your destination. Send a message and ask whatever is on your mind, translate your voice, as well as pull up answers without having to ask. Now you can buy a certain frame or pair of shades to go with your Google Glass so you can look even more stylish. They recently partnering up with Luxottica, the owners of Ray-Ban, Oakley, and other brands to expand the variety of frames and designs. Retailing at $1,500 and/or less, rumors has it that Google Glass will go down in the price. Some of the applications include free apps designed by their third-party developers as well as Google Maps and Google+. Livestream, an application that allows you to stream live video from any destination, just announced they will join Google Glass. The Google evolution is becoming a part of our daily lives and is kicking Apple’s butt when it comes to technology. Good luck with keeping up with Google Glass. 36 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Samsung and Apple are the top phone companies currently. A survey done at T.F. North High School found that 70 percent of students preferred an Apple device. Five percent preferred Samsung, while the remaining 25 percent choose phones manufactured by other companies. Freshman Linesse Salome said that she would like a phone that would offer a front camera flash, a higher amount of storage space and no security questions. Senior Tierra Carpenter believes that a good phone should have a touch screen, good battery life, nice screen resolution and be unbreakable. Phone protection was also important to phone users. Overstock.com lists things to look for in a phone case. First, a good phone case should have a cushion for the phone; second, access to your controls/ports; next, a screen protector. Finally, a case should be customizable to fit the consumer’s personality. Last but not least, apps can help get the most out of a phone. According to Kevin Smith, of Business Insider, Android’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store have a combined app count of over one million. Which ones will help the most in our daily lives? For starters, an app that will allow students to take notes such as Evernote and Everest are good options. Next, it is always good to have a few social media apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Finally, it is good to have games. The Candy Crush Saga and the infamous Flappy Bird are good too. These apps, along with phone protection, can create a device that best suits today’s consumer.
Are your headphones
too loud? By Dashaniqua Bonds, Sophomore, Morgan Park High School
ou’re on the bus or train headed to school and don’t want to be bothered with the conversation of anyone. To avoid the chatter you stick in your earbuds and turn up your iPod as loud as it can go to drown out any and everybody. While watching the mouths and faces of the people around you don’t notice the damage you’re doing to yourself. You may not want to believe it, but one day that damage will come back to haunt you. Can you hear your mom calling you from the kitchen of your house when you’re in your room with the door closed? If not, there is a possibility that you’re experiencing hearing loss already. According to the website Dangerous Decibels, a normal conversation is between 60-65dB (a unit used to measure the intensity of a sound or the power level of an electrical signal by comparing it with a given level on a logarithmic scale). This is considered a moderate to low volume – something many teens would consider faint. This is because the average teenager is exposed to extremely dangerous levels of sound on a daily basis. Imagine what you are doing to your ears if you’re blasting your headphones the majority of the day. Headphones at their loudest volume can reach a decibel level up to 104dB, which is the same as standing next to a power drill (110dB). This is way too loud. To wake up a sleeping person a minimal decibel level of 40 can be used. Dangerous Decibels reports that the noise level of 100dB can begin to cause permanent damage after the minimum of 15 minutes of consistent listening. The average human is supposed to be able to hear a scratching noise when the index finger and thumb are rubbed a few inches from the ear. If you can’t hear it, most likely you’re experiencing hearing loss. Ashley St. Peter, a doctor of audiology at the Hearing Center in Highland, IL, says that some of the signs of hearing loss are when you have to ask someone to repeat themselves often during conversations, turning up the volume on the television and hearing ringing or buzzing in your ears. “If a teen is experiencing ringing in the ears it means they’ve done damage to their hearing,” says St. Peter. “The ringing may stop and no changes may be noticed right away, but the damage is done.” If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned you should consult a hearing specialist.
When listening to music, experts suggest keeping the volume low. If the person next to you can hear your music it’s too loud. If headphones are a must, in-ear or over-ear sound isolating headphones are the best choice for a healthy ear. They are made to seal the inside of the ear and keep the noise out. Prices may vary from around $10 to over $200 depending on the quality and fit. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 37
THRU DA WIRE
Chicago State University
Prepares Students to be the Best By Andrea Alcantar, Junior, Morgan Park High School
f you are looking for a career in the performing arts, Chicago State University (CSU) may be the place for you. Before you begin taking steps toward your acting career at the school you must first become part of CSU’s Department of Communications, Media Arts and Theatre (CMAT). Here students have an opportunity to learn more about a variety of careers including public relations, radio, television, performance, digital filmmaking, screenwriting, media management, directing and of course acting. While there are other competitive schools with performing arts majors, CSU is the one to choose. Kamesha Khan, CSU theatre coordinator and associate professor of theatre, says that their graduates finish the program with the ability to compete with the best of the best. “The balance found on our teaching staff between professional theatre artists and theatre scholars makes our program an ideal choice for students who wish to gain a well-rounded introduction to the theatre. Because of our small class sizes, students who attend Chicago State University are given lots of individual attention.” The CSU staff does not hide the fact that careers in acting are becoming tougher. The industry wants people who are versatile, unique and stand out from others. Students at CSU stand out because of their diverse areas of study.
“We are a part of the CMAT program; therefore, our students also gain experience in television and radio. Because our program is made up of those actively working in the field, faculty can use their connections to get work for students in professional theatre settings.” CMAT student Corey Bailey speaks highly of the program and its staff. “I am fortunate enough to have meticulous, strict, and attention to detailed instructors who instill in us the techniques of the craft. They are able to provide actual examples by getting their hands dirty and illustrating, if need be, the levels and viewpoints and other acting techniques as well. So, when we have to audition for someone, whether it’s LA, New York or even Chicago, we have practiced everything so much that it is a part of our natural acting mannerisms.” 38 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
CSU’s CMAT program is different from other schools because the students are encouraged to look at what they are learning from different perspectives. Shonda Royall, a senior in the CMAT program, says, “I enjoy the material we’re introduced to while in our theatre program. The productions we’re exposed to force us to look at theatre in a different way, and from that, learn to appreciate theatre in a new way. It also forces us to step outside our comfort zone when it comes to what we define as a theatrical production.” When it comes down to it, the CSU theatre program offers a one-of-a-kind experience that will prepare you to compete with the best in the industry, near and far. For more information about the theatre department or any of the CMAT programs at CSU visit www.csu.edu/cas/artanddesignandCMAT/CMAT/.
The Good, the Bad and
by Makiyah Thurman, Sophomore,
by Gabrielle London, Sophomore, Columbia College
the Twerky Thornton Fractional North
iley Cyrus has gone from southern pop star sweetheart to twerking sensation. We all remember her from her hit Disney Channel show “Hannah Montana,” but Cyrus has completely transformed since then, if you haven’t noticed. She has even publically admitted to using drugs and drinking. Cyrus’s new album Bangerz has been a big success. Songs such as “Wreaking Ball” and “We can’t Stop” have been huge hits. Though her album has faced some criticism, it still made No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 270,000 copies within the very first week. Her concerts also do not disappoint. Twerking on stage with giant hot dogs and teddy bears seem to be great entertainment for millions. Time magazine even called her “one of the most dynamic performers of her generation.” While many agree that she’s transformed music, Ragine Houston, a sophomore at TF North, thinks her new style and music is not for attention but, that she’s finally being herself. “She’s being who she really is,” Houston said. “She already had attention with Disney being Hannah Montana, so, I strongly feel now she’s being herself.” Since Cyrus has made her transition, she was interviewed by Rolling Stone about her use of drugs. She told the magazine “I think weed is the best drug on earth...” and that marijuana and molly (ecstasy) are “happy” and “social” drugs that “make you want to be with your friends.”
is “2 On”
inashe is one of the tastiest new R&B and pop singers in the game who is newly signed to RC A Records. With her first solo album, Aquarius, in the works, Tinashe is looking forward to this new year devoted to working with new artists and collaborating with some of the greats. You will find such artists like A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott, and Schoolboy Q on her album. Her top single right now, “2 On,” is climbing the charts and encouraging her fans to feel lively when listening to her music. “[The song] is about being superhype and just living it up,” Tinashe explains. “So, it can apply to different scenarios and different situations.” Tinashe reveals that she’s always dreamed of becoming a solo artist, even during her Stunners girl group days. Tinashe has expanded her musical talent and showcased her effort in her music entirely. Describing her music to be a mixture of R&B and hip-hop, she claims her style is more fresh. She looks forward to collaborating with artists from all genres of music and is excited about perfecting her craft and being able to focus on herself musically.
When creating her music Tinashe says she had a goal in mind when it came to her fans. “I want them to get a sense of who I am as a person.”
There’s been a lot of debate about whether Cyrus’s family has played a huge role in her transition. Some feel that her father doesn’t support her and, their fragile relationship has made her the person she is today.
If you were able to taste her music, the Kentucky native nonchalantly says her songs would taste like a steak because of its tenderness. If you’re looking forward to more from Tinashe you will start to notice her everywhere, including commercials for X Out! – an acne treatment used to promote clear and glowing skin.
“Her daddy does not support her and it has ruined her life,” said Dashane Brown, a sophomore at TF North.
With future projects on the way and more new music to be released, Tinashe is definitely feeling herself.
Overall Cyrus has truly brightened her horizon, and has broken COMPLETELY out of her shell. She has totally transformed into a new person, but is it for the better?
Twitter: @Tinashe Website: www.tinashe2on.com TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 39
“I’m sorry, but It’s Over!”
You Should Call It Quits By BreNae Scott, Junior, Morgan Park High School
lmost everyone can relate to having that very first boyfriend or girlfriend. For some it may have been in kindergarten; for others it may have been in middle school or even high school. Unless that love was strong enough to last until this very day, chances are you two broke up. But was the cause of the break-up petty or for good reason? This question is something to think about if ending a relationship is on your mind. Dr. D Ivan Young (drdivanyoung.com), a professional motivation speaker and relationship coach, believes that young love should be looked at as a teaching tool. He says, “People come into your life for a reason, a season, a lesson or a combination of all three. [When you are young] relationships are about learning what you do and don’t want in life, more than they are about anything else.” If you have been going back and forth on whether or not to stay together or breakup with your boo, consider the following examples as valid reasons to call it quits.
You’ve lost that loving feeling. Initially you were head over heels and 100 percent on “Team Bae,” but as the relationship progressed the things they did got on your nerves and your spark for him or her burned out. There’s no need to drag someone along emotionally when you don’t feel the same way as they do. Dr. Young says, “Don’t force something that’s not in your best interest. If something has run its course then it’s time to let it go.”
Trust Issues. No one wants to question everything their partner does or tells them. Once you lose somebody’s trust you may never get it back, and if you do, it may be hard to trust that person again. If you feel you have reached that point, then it’s time to say goodbye.
Mental, Emotion, and Physical Abuse. This is a very important reason to end a relationship. This may seem like a very adult thing to discuss, but these things happen in teen relationships all the time. If a male or female claims they love you but will put their hands on you inappropriately, openly slander your character, and make you feel worthless then that’s a relationship you don’t need to be in. 40 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
You have different preferences in life. You like horror movies and bae prefers romantic comedy’s; you like spending time together going on dates, but bae prefers sitting in the house all day. If your partner and you don’t have anything in common then more than likely it’s time to end it.
Peer Pressure. Sometimes relationships happen because your friends think you and someone make a cute couple, so you give in. If you know you aren’t falling for him or her as they are for you, pump the breaks on the relationship now instead of hurting their feelings later. Breaking up may be hard to do, but sometimes you have to do it in order to be happy.
Don’t Mistake My Kindness
for Flirting by Kenneth Booker, Senior, Morgan Park High School
any of us have been there. You’re in a friendship with someone where one of you finds yourself helplessly attracted to the other, and it seems mutual. Everything is smooth until you try to make a move and end up finding out the hard way that you were wrong. In your mind they gave you false signs and led you on. Why else would he or she be that nice and flirty with you? They’re obviously attracted to you right? Wrong. Often times, one’s kindness is often mistaken for flirting or perceived as an underlying implication of attraction. But, things aren’t always what they seem. Some people come off as flirty because of the things they do or the way they act. “I think flirting is pretty much anything from compliments to touching. Especially when it sort of comes out of nowhere,” says Chakeya Ward, 17, a senior from Morgan Park High School. “Like, when someone who normally doesn’t talk to you just randomly starts giving you attention, something’s up.” While this can be true, it can be a coin flip. Some people are just naturally kind, and/or playful with everyone, and some people only do this with crushes or close friends. A central theme here is attention. Attention itself is one of the biggest misinterpreted actions, because many believe that kindness is only kindness when it comes from someone you are not attracted to. Not everyone who shows you attention has a crush on you, but it’s really hard to distinguish between kindness
and flirting sometimes, because it can mean different things coming from different people. Morgan Park senior Curtis Mitchell, 17, experienced this with a female friend. “I said ‘Hi’ to her every day and she thought I was crazy for her. I just had to let her know I didn’t like her in that way.” Dr. Jeffery A. Hall, author of The Five Flirting Styles, says “The reason that kindness, or just being nice, is mistaken for flirting is that the vast majority of relationships start by people just talking to get to know each other. If someone is talking to another person, often just to be nice or polite, but don’t actually like [that person], it can be confusing and lead to hurt feelings.” According to Dr. Hall, who is also a communications expert at The University of Kansas, “A coy smile, direct and sustained eye contact, touching one’s hair or adjusting clothes, and talking expressively with your hands” are some signs you can look for to identify a real crush. But beware, as Hall warns “…even knowing these signs doesn’t mean the person is ‘certainly’ attracted. It just means it is more likely.” Before you jump to conclusions, do your research on your potential admirer. Learn who they are. Learn their personality. Talk to their friends, or better yet, talk to them yourself. On the other hand, if you are the person that has often been accused of being flirtatious, consider Mitchell’s advice. “The best thing to do, even though it can be hurtful, is to be clear and say ‘I’m not interested in you in that way.’” TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 41
TEEN TEEN BIZBIZ
Business Majors: Is One for You? by Amy Jin, Senior, Whitney Young
B Chicago Recognizes Being Money Smart “Money Smart Week has been a great platform to raise the importance of learning financial life skills in the minds of young people and their parents. [Being money smart is] a tremendous opportunity for families to learn and discuss everything from learning good savings habits to how to fund a college education.” Why does financial education matter for students? “At each stage of school, students are preparing for life as an adult. They not only need to learn important skills to achieve their career aspirations, but life skills to help them manage adulthood. One of the most important life skills is how to manage personal finances. Too many young people enter adult life not knowing how to use a bank, to spend wisely, or the importance of a credit report and lose control of their financial lives.” What does being financially literate mean to you and what are your hopes for financial education in the City of Chicago? “A financially literate person is someone who has the skills and knowledge to make good financial decisions regardless of the situation. Becoming financially literate is a process that begins at a young age where a child learns the difference between needs and wants, the value of delayed gratification and the value of money. Then it moves to learning tangible skills such as what to do with your first paycheck from a summer job and how to pay for college. And finally, learning about adult decisions such as insurance, taxes, homeownership, and retirement planning. “It is my goal to help provide opportunities to improve literacy at every stage of life by empowering our teachers to incorporate personal finance concepts in the classroom and working with community-based organizations to provide more opportunities for adults to build their financial capability.”
Stephanie D. Neely Treasurer, City of Chicago
efore starting the collegiate journey, we must first sift through hundreds of courses to find the ones that appeal to us the most. The National Center for Educating Students states that out of the 1,650,000 bachelor’s degrees conferred in 2009-10, the largest numbers of degrees obtained were in the business field. Which one is for you? Accounting: Do you have an aptitude for numbers and a skill in staying organized? Then accounting may be for you. From creating tables of accounts to generating reports on the financial health of a company, you will need control and structure in daily tasks working with lots of numbers. Finance: This could be your future if you can embrace cognitive-thinking skills and enjoy analyzing data. You will be drawing conclusions from financial evidence and using the findings to improve a business. Information Technology (IT): Do you have a knack for coding, programming, and possess a mindset for problem solving? If you find interest in utilizing technological advances to enhance business operations major in IT.
Management: If you hold leadership abilities and are able to handle lots of responsibility, then choose management. Strong communication skills are a must, as you will be negotiating agreements with other organizations, and collaborating with others to resolve issues. David Borom, a business valuation intern at Loop Capital, states that he got into this field of study because “...it’s all about the people. Tasks such as communicating to turn around a failing business give you an opportunity to help the clients on a human level.” Marketing: Like conducting research and strategizing ideas to improve brand positioning? Want to apply psychology and sociology to assess effectiveness and customer satisfaction? If so, marketing should be your major. In college, students can seize the opportunity to explore different courses in each field until they find what suits them best. (Source: Business Degree, bls.gov)
Is College Really Worth It? by Kimo Cox, Senior Urban Prep -West
magine an America where crime and poverty are a rarity. Imagine a United States where everyone could support their families with relative comfort, without the need to lean on anyone else to help them make ends meet. This country is not some distant utopia, but a possible reality through a college education. College education is becoming a staple in America’s economy as more businesses require a degree through higher education to be employed. However, the ever looming question on the minds of many is: “Is college really worth it?” College provides many opportunities that are nearly unattainable elsewhere, including networking opportunities with fellow students, professors and visiting guests, as well as exposure to a variety of subjects you may not have otherwise considered learning about. Mario Gage, a senior at the University of Chicago, believes that his decision to continue his education after high school was a wise one. When asked if college opened any opportunities for him, he stated, “I definitely feel
that attending college has opened a lot of doors for me and that my degree will continue to open doors for me in the future.” In 2011 the median earnings of bachelor’s degree recipients who had no advanced degree, but were working full-time, was $56,500; $21,100 more than the median earnings of working high school graduates who had no degree. Today, four years of college at an in-state public college or university costs about $36,000 on average, according to The College Board. While college is expensive, there are many scholarships and loan opportunities available for college students. College, like everything else, has its setbacks; however, the long term benefits of being college educated vastly outweigh the risks. The higher the degree level, the greater your financial potential is and the greater your chance to live in comfort.
Do Standardized Test Scores Affect Merit-Based Scholarships? by Kendall Nelson, Sophomore, Urban Prep Bronzeville
f you’re a bad test taker, you’re probably praying that the answer to this question in the article’s title is no. A lot of people believe that you need to get a crazy, high score in order to get money for school. In fact, you probably know people who would say their G.P.A. loud and proud, but when it comes to saying their ACT or SAT score they claim that they “don’t remember” as an excuse. It’s pretty alarming that colleges would give a student, on average, 25 percent of their entire financial aid package. That’s a lot huh? Well, there are other ways to get your money without a high standardized test score. For those people who already know that they don’t test well, rest assured in knowing that all hope is not lost. Urban Prep - Bronzeville’s college counselor, Marshall Hatch, says, “If you’re not a good test taker, it is essential that you participate in extracurricular activities or have high grades. If you can combine both of these two, then a low standardized test score can be overlooked.” There are some scholarships out there that have nothing to do with standardized test scores. According to scholarships.com, these types of scholarships are called merit scholarships. You have a greater chance at winning scholarships like these if you have good grades, either generally or in the area of study you plan to major in, and if you’re heavily involved in community service and extracurricular activities.
A recent PR Web article explains that the Posse Scholarship and the Bill Gates Scholarship are some of the United States leading scholarship foundations. In fact, the Gates and the Posse Scholarships combined have over 9,000 scholars to date. So, it is important that if you want a full scholarship, foundations like these are life savers, especially if your test scores aren’t very high.
Start Saving by Smart Spending! By Tyreesha Owens, Simeon Academy
here are many factors that encourage teens to spend money, such as peer pressure and family income, but advertisements also have a big influence on our spending habits. Most teens may not realize how big of an influence ads have on their every day decisions.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Young people view more than 40,000 ads per year on television. The average young person views more than 3000 ads per day on TV, the Internet, on billboards and in magazines.” Just think about how much money you could save if you set a budget and spent less money on advertised products.
According to the AAP, “Advertising is a $250 billion a year industry with 900,000 brands to sell....” The comparison between the amounts of money spent by teens is $155 billion to the amount spent by children under 12, which is $25 billion. The amount of money teens and children influence their parents to spend is $200 billion.
Teens spend most of their money on clothes and food. Tiffany Brown, 17, a Kelly High School junior, said, “Sometimes even if I’m not hungry, I will buy food because it looks good on paper.” In most cases teens spend before they think. Most teens do not take the time to evaluate if the item they would like to buy is a need or a want.
Mariah Collins, 18, a Simeon senior, said, “I buy clothes just because I have the money to spend and they look nice when I see [the ads].” You can save a lot of money if you budget, and you do not have to buy everything you see in ads. Always ask yourself, “Is this something I want or is this something I need?” before you purchase anything. Do not let advertising stop you from saving.
inside & out
“My initial reaction to hearing I have cancer was fear and death. I don’t want anyone else to feel that way. I want to change the fear and death to life.”
By Akia Davis, Sophomore, Marist High School
want to empower, encourage, and inspire,” said cancer survivor Erika Bracey. In June of 2010, Bracey received the news that she had breast cancer. One afternoon as she watched television, she felt the need to check her breasts. She did so and felt a lump on her left breast. Bracey went to the doctor and they did a mammogram. The doctors found nothing, nor did they find anything after doing an ultrasound. Bracey still felt unsure, so a biopsy was done. A lump was found and Bracey felt scared. “I thought I was going to die,” she said. No one knew about her condition except her aunt who accompanied her. She started to tell more people, but was afraid to tell her mom. “I was protecting my mom. I waited until I was strong enough. I wanted her to feel the power in my words, ‘I am going to live’,” said Bracey. Before Bracey’s first procedure, she had several doctors and she met and befriended other patients. She met many women who couldn’t afford medication, didn’t have enough insurance, and couldn’t afford the treatments needed. Her heart felt for them. Bracey wanted to help these people, somehow, some way. She developed a plan of making bracelets, which she calls Blest Bracelets. “Through these bracelets I tell the story of cancer journeys. Each bracelet has a name and story behind it,” said Bracey. Bracey also brought to life an empowered woman by the name of Brave Chick. Brave Chick is a warrior. She uses Brave Chick when she hosts seminars to empower young girls. During these seminars, Bracey tries to change the psyche of cancer. She doesn’t want girls to feel indifferent. 44 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
“My initial reaction to hearing I have cancer was fear and death. I don’t want anyone else to feel that way. I want to change the fear and death to life,” said Bracey. To live and survive, Bracey had to change the way she ate. She turned vegan the day after her diagnosis and is currently a pescatarian. Bracey feels that African-American cancer patients are dying off more than any other race. She believes it’s to the lack of awareness and the lack of preventive measures. When people catch colds, or break their bones, they head to the doctor and no one is uneasy about talking about it. Bracey feels cancer should be treated the same way. “So many people dislike talking about cancer, but cancer needs to be talked about. If more people are educated about it, things may change,” said Bracey. Everyone should be more aware of cancer all the time, not just in October. Bracey, herself, wasn’t aware of many things. She didn’t think cancer affected younger girls until she witnessed them in the hospital alongside her. She was young. She had no history of cancer in her family and before she had cancer she didn’t personally know anyone who had it. However, through this journey she has learned “I have to take care of myself.” She did so, and as of December 28, 2013, she won this battle. Though that was her last day of treatment, she’s not done yet. “Cancer is a lifetime. Every day you can wake up and cancer can be back. Everything now is about empowering and uplifting the community through my voice and using my image.”
The Problem With Skin
Bleaching by Ahlexzandra Kokuro, Senior, Morgan Park High School
“…consistent usage of bleaching products over a long period of time could lead to kidney failure, osteoporosis, cancer and infertility.”
he intended use for skin bleaching products is to reduce the visibility of scars or blemishes on the skin, most commonly for people with hyper pigmentation. The product, often a cream, should also only be used in small portions on the affected area. However, not everyone uses these products for problem areas only. Many people abuse the use of these creams in order to change what they look like completely. One such person making headlines for allegedly doing this is African pop star Dencia.
Dencia’s Bleached skin look
When advertisement pictures of Dencia’s new skin bleaching product, Whitenicious, went viral online social media sites had many people in an uproar. The once deep mahogany skinned singer with dark hair was the poster-child of her own product, only now she was a blonde with a pasty, white complexion. Many people believe that Dencia has used her own product to bleach her entire body, however she blatantly denied these claims in an interview with Ebony Magazine stating that, “I was never that dark in real life and I can send Ebony pictures of me when I was like 15, 16.” Dencia launched her controversial skin bleaching cream Whitenicious in December 2013. The product didn’t start to get viral buzz until late January going into February. The product’s website has customer reviews and pictures of drastic changes in people’s overall skin color. Critics have spoken negatively about the product saying that it teaches girls/ women of color to be ashamed of their skin. During award season, Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o spoke of a letter she received from a young girl who contemplated using the cream, but changed her mind thanks to the proud actress and her unashamedly dark skin tone. The incident sent Dencia on a Twitter rant mocking Nyong’o’s statements. The gossip website Bossip reported that the users of Whitenicious shared and documented their reviews on the product on skincaretalk.com to voice complaints about the cream that caused headaches, pimples and unwanted facial hair. According to the National Daily Newspaper, Dr. Akinlolu Siyanbola, a dermatologist at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Hospital in Osogbo, Nigeria, and Dr. Abimbola Ibrahim did research stating that consistent usage of bleaching products over a long period of time could lead to kidney failure, osteoporosis, cancer and infertility. Dencia, is not the only celebrity suspected of lightening their skin. In 2009 during the Las Vegas Grammy Latino Awards ceremony, baseball player Sammy Sosa graced the red carpet looking almost unrecognizable. His skin had lightened drastically and everyone suspected that he didn’t like his skin and he wanted to be white, but he denied those claims only stating, “It’s a bleaching cream that I apply before going to bed and whitens my skin some.” Other celebrities, including Beyonce and Lil Kim, have been accused of bleaching their skin to become lighter for whatever reason. Some advice to students pondering on bleaching their skin to be more like someone else: PLEASE DON’T! Be proud of whatever color you are and accept the skin you are in.
Lupita Nyong - Kenyan-Mexican actress and model TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 45
Beauty Products for the Beast By Michael Trailer, Sophomore, International Academy for Design and Technology
n my journey to becoming a well-adjusted man of the 21st century, I have come to the conclusion that I have amassed a collection of products I use for my own beautification. Previously, I would have never associated myself with the world of beauty or beauty products; but I have to admit, these days, men are using products just as much as women. Originally, I figured I use one or two beauty products; I now know it goes much deeper than that. After doing a bit of highly unscientific research, I was able to determine that the average man polled (ages 23-28) uses at least four to five beauty products daily. When assessing my own use of beauty products I realized my infatuation lies within my hair. In recent months, I have become more aware of hair care in terms of maintenance and upkeep. I’ve become adventurous in trying new products and being cognoscente of what is and isn’t in the products I use. For example, I have replaced all of my bargain brand shampoo with Motions Conditioner and Cleansing Shampoo. These products do not contain sulfates or other chemicals which may be harmful. After months of trying various products, I feel like I may have the right combination for me. It includes: Motions Shampoo and Conditioner, a Mango Butter Moisturizer by Softee, Aloe Vera styling gel by Pro-Style, and lastly, Curl & Styling Milk by Shea Moisture. Each product has its purpose, and the end result is me feeling more confident in my appearance. No longer does there seem to be a stigma about real men being unkempt sloppy beasts, but it is more popular and socially acceptable to be wellgroomed. With the onset of popular shows like “Mad Men,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Suits,” it has now become cool to be dapper. My research showed that guys have taken an extra step when choosing hair products, soap/ body wash and oral care. Some even admitted to purchasing teeth whitening kits. Most of the guys polled had some hair care routine they’d been using for years. The biggest concern was the scent and how well the product held up through the day. For the short-haired African-American guys, they went straight to their favorite grease, 360 styling and a lone vote for Black Magic. Caucasian guys went towards a styling gel. They noted the Axe brand for best scent and the Jack Black brand for hold. When it comes to soap, body wash, facial cleansers and shower moisturizers, men consume them in masses. It seems that most guys are completely open to trying new options when it comes to body wash, and many said they were prompted by a significant other to start using these products, which were generally given as a gift. Sephora, Kiehl’s, Lush, Aesop and H2O Plus are no longer stores for just the ladies. Many of the panelist preferred to grab their products from a Walgreens or Walmart, but none said they were embarrassed to shop in a beauty store. All the research and debating came down to one factor; everyone wants to look good. Smelling and looking good all translate into confidence. It’s the most attractive trait a person can have, and it just may start with a small change in the way you view the use of beauty products. 46 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Are Chicago’s Food Deserts Decreasing? by Kristin Brown, Junior, Columbia College
ost of the people in African-American communities in Chicago live in food deserts. According to Chon Tomlin, a Save-A-Lot representative, a food desert is when you have a general population of people who have to travel a significant distance to have fresh and healthy food options available to them. In other words, a neighborhood with liquor stores and gas stations on every other corner that requires you to take buses and/or trains to get to the nearest grocery store is considered a food desert. Chicago is the seventh most segregated city in the country with nearly 95 percent of black residents living on the South and West Sides, according to blackdemographic.com. Of that 95 percent, over half of those residents fall below the national poverty line. In addition to this, mostly all the neighborhood grocery stores are not able to provide the healthiest of food options. They don’t offer a wide variety of fresh fruit, organic foods or vegan/vegetarian food options. Even when they do, they tend to be extremely overpriced often leaving people with no choice but to purchase the less healthy, less expensive options. Most stores in these neighborhoods are typically either Jewel-Osco or Dominick’s, many of which are being closed down or forced to sell lower quality products. According to Tomlin, Save-A-Lot is helping combat this problem by opening more
stores in urban neighborhoods so residents don’t have to travel far. She also says that the franchise purposely orders small amounts of food options so customers have only the freshest options available to them. There are some people who are offering solutions to the problem. A non-profit organization called Fresh Moves rented an old CTA bus, loaded it with fresh fruits and vegetables and began selling them in impoverished neighborhoods. Even more recently, Whole Foods announced they will be opening a new store in Englewood and with a grant from the government will make food more affordable for residents.
The Basics on GMO’s By Alexis Estes, Senior, Morgan Park High School
ow would you feel to know that the foods you love eating have been “changed” or “modified” in some way? The thought is a little creepy, but evolution in science and technology has allowed scientists to create genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and they are around more than you think. According to Torey Jones Armul, a registered dietitian in Chicago, a GMO is an organism, “made by crossing and combining genes to create new products… GMO foods are created to have desirable traits, like being resistant to insects out in the fields or boosting vitamin and minerals… Scientists and farmers have been selectively cross-breeding plants for many years.” Though many have never even heard of genetically modified foods and organisms, they are everywhere. “We eat foods with GMOs every day,” Jones Armul explains. “[GMOs are] in corn, canola oil, vegetable oil, potatoes, and dairy products. [These are all] ingredients in thousands of processed foods, like chips and cookies, and fast food.” Not everyone is happy with GMO products. According to the website, Non GMO Project, in the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food. The website also states, “A growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.”
Unlike the U.S., many other countries consider GMO’S to be dangerous and have created bans and restrictions from them. However, here in the United States, these products are allowed and promoted by big companies. Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, reports on their website that genetically engineered foods are “generally regarded” as safe, but that there has been no adequate testing to ensure “complete safety.” To really be safe, avoid processed foods and eat foods labeled “100% Organic.”
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 47
on the court
All American games
Showcases Legends In The Making by Michael Walton II, Freshman, Truman College
Okafor’s shoulder. His amazing display of aerial acrobatics let anyone who hadn’t been exposed to the Grayson Allen phenomenon know that the hype is real.
Legacy. Now I fast forward to the night of the games. The air was thick with excitement and anticipation, as everyone was finally looking forward to seeing these great athletes in some actual game-action. The girls game carried on exactly as I expected. The game was a back-and-forth affair, with the East squad getting incredible play from Florida State bound-Shakayla Thomas (19 pts, 4 reb) and the best undeclared player in the nation, A’Ja Wilson (10 pts, 9 reb). The West offense attack was led by top-wing player in the nation Jaime Nared. She had 15pts and will be taking her talents to Tennessee next year. However, the game was controlled by West team members Jordin Canada (UCLA) and Brianna Turner (Notre Dame). Turner was impressive, finishing with a well-deserved double-double (10pts, 10 reb). Canada controlled the tempo of the game the way a great lead guard should and in the process broke the assists record (with seven assists). Of course in fitting fashion, the most exciting sequence of the game involved these two players. With the score tied at 78, Canada made sure to stay aggressive and attack the paint. This smart decision led to a defensive breakdown. Canada drew the extra defender and then dished out to Turner who spotted up and drained a gamewinning free-throw line jumper. It was a great end to the most competitive girls McDonald’s All-American game in history.
“I’ve definitely been thinking about my legacy.” The words uttered by Jahlil Okafor were part of a fitting close to the event. Okafor, the top recruit in the nation, has been asked about his thoughts on his legacy as often as Obama has been criticized during his presidency. But that quote embodies the motif for the entirety of the 37th McDonald’s All-American games. “Legacy” seemed to be a recurring thought in my head. It started with the (2014) Powerade Jamfest. The Jamfest - dunk contest for those of you who don’t follow - had a loaded field, featuring a slew of kids with ridiculous hops (shout out to the lone female participant A’ja Wilson). Perhaps lost amongst the crowd was Duke-bound guard Grayson Allen. He was one of four Duke recruits selected to be McDonald’s All-Americans. He also came into the contest being labeled as a much better shooter than he was a dunker (despite YouTube proving quite the opposite), but now that belief has definitely got to be questioned. While the soft-spoken Allen didn’t make any especially note-worthy statements on the idea of legacies, his actions seemed to reflect his attitude on the topic. Allen had possibly the best Powerade Jamfest performance of any contestant in the history of the event. For his first dunk he jumped over fellow Duke signees Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones. Next he threw down a ferocious windmill dunk. After that? He nailed a through-the-legs dunk on his first try. And for the titleclinching dunk he donned a throwback Jay Williams Duke jersey and easily leapt over Okafor, who’s 6’10, not even using his off-hand to brace himself against 48 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Legacy. Canada will be looking to bring back prestige to a UCLA squad that went 13-18 and missed the tournament last year. And Turner will be looking to help boost a Notre Dame team that went undefeated up until a heartbreaking blowout at the hands of UConn.
Legacy. Heading into the boys game I didn’t know what to expect. Always great on entertainment value, but sometimes low on effort, I thought that this year would be a tightly contested slow-down affair because of the abundance of talented players. I couldn’t have been more incorrect in that assessment. This was perhaps the most up-tempo game to ever take place at the United Center at any level. The players seemed locked into a never-ending suicide-drill. While the fast pace obviously suited the guards, the big guys managed to keep up. The West won the intense rebounding battle. Cliff Alexander and Kevon Looney combined grabbed 22 rebounds. The East had the game’s leading scorer in North Carolina-commit Justin Jackson, who finished with 23 pts. The lanky Jackson scored in a variety of ways, showing off why some call him the most versatile prospect in the class. The most economical performance came from UNLV-commit Rashad Vaughn. He poured in 14 pts in 15 minutes. However Okafor dominated with 17 pts and 7 reb. And as he usually does, he shot a great percentage from the field (8 out of 15 from the field, 53%). James Blackmon Jr. missed a potential game-tying three pointer and left the West with a 105-102 victory.
The MVPs were Jackson for the East and Chicago’s very-own Okafor for the West – a North Carolina player and a Duke player respectively. Of course in the post-game press conference they were asked about their role in the Tobacco Road rivalry (DUKE-UNC). Okafor said he was “excited to get down to Durham and be part of the greatest college basketball rivalry.” Jackson responded with an honest statement that shows the heart of the rivalry. He said, “We’re looking forward to getting to North Carolina, but once we [get] on the court that friendship kind of [goes] out the window.” Why you ask?
There is a reason the McDonald’s All-American game is so successful every year. It is much bigger than just a single game. It gives these young men and women a chance to add another impressive chapter to the legacies, which are constantly changing as time passes in their careers. So whenever an athlete says that their legacy is not on their mind, I can’t help but to think back to Okafor’s simple, yet very endearing response. “I’ve definitely been thinking about my legacy.”
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 49
The Great Shame,
Triumph by Michael Walton II, Freshman, Truman College
’m a college graduate. I’m African-American, and I’m gay. I’m comfortable in my skin.” It was an extremely powerful moment, and just perhaps, that was not a good thing. It was a pivotal moment in the sports world. It was a moment in which the sportsloving public was finally forced to face one of the biggest taboos out there.
Homosexuality in sports. The norm was that if a player was gay, he simply didn’t tell anyone until his career was over. There was no support system set up to help a player deal with the intense pressure and scrutiny that would come from the situation. But hopefully Jason Collins’s courage will help change the way society views homosexuality. One of the reasons I (as well as many others) became a sports fan is because athletics are one of the few places you can escape all of the troubles of the world. While sports and politics can often become intertwined, it is safe to say that when watching some of your favorite athletes do what they do best, you don’t worry so much about your problems. Yet, I fear that one of the great sanctuaries we have in this world is being hurt by an almost hysterical bout of xenophobia. It is quite telling that NFL executives chose to speak anonymously when answering how they felt about Mizzou All-American defensive lineman Michael Sam’s announcement that he was gay. It shows that while Collins’s announcement back in April did a lot of good, it also shed light on some of the hurdles we will face as a society while moving forward with this debate. But we should not forget to appreciate the strides the sports world has made in the right direction. Collins signed with the Brooklyn Nets back in February, becoming the first openly-gay athlete in the NBA. A month after that, UMass guard Derrick Gordon became the first openly-gay athlete in college basketball. Gordon said he drew courage from fellow gay athletes Sam and Collins, and he regularly talks to Collins for advice. Last year I said that if one person was helped by Collins’s courage, then his decision to go public would be worthwhile. We have had athletes come out in soccer, basketball, football, and at both the college and pro levels.
The progress that has been made in just one year has been staggering. Hopefully in the next year we will see even more progress. 50 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
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