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FALL 2018


EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Cassandra Cassidy Patrick Rosemond ASSOCIATE EDITOR Caroline Farrell DESIGN

Editor • Anna Bradsher Editor • Emily Cunningham Editor • Carter Frye


Editor • Sabah Kadir Editor • Addy Lee Liu


Director • Susie Altz Director • Brinson Willis


Editor • Christine Dequito Editor • Clara Matthews Editor • Halee Smith


Director • Maia Guterbock Director • Margaret Cullum


Director • Sydney Wood Associate Director • Kat Miles


Editor • Claire Ruch Editor • Joanna Zhang Associate Editor • Drew Wayland


Editor • Sterling Sidebottom Associate Editor • Ami Patel


Editor • Joseph Held Editor • Chloe Williams Associate Editor • Ruth Samuel


Editor • Liz Chen


Director • Delainey Kirkwood Director • Caroline Sink


Director • Shadi Bakhtiyari Director • Maddie Dyer Director • Kelsey Jackson Director • Sarah Lundgren Director • Sidney Morris Director • Shephard Sullivan


Director • JoLynn Smith


Editor • Molly Weisner Associate Editor • Michelle Li

FACULTY ADVISORS Dana McMahan Chris Roush



ARTS Mingxuan Shen Delaney Dodge Janet Alsas Miranda DiPaolo Ellie Glass Ares Zerunyan Caroline Levine

BEAUTY Natalia Brache Emmy Smith Shelby Brown Rachel Putnam Venetia Busby Charity Frye Lindsay Rusczak Mitva Patel Madelyn Welch Jasmine Wilson Sophia Ong COPYEDITING Shelby Voss Natalie Plahuta Maddie Fetsko Emily Siegmund

DEVELOPMENT Julia Slawek Kathryn Kelly Ann Mariah Burton Julia Zanzot Madison Blevins Caroline Willard Olivia Cohen Lizzy Laufters Helen Johnston Amelia Taylor Madison Carr Briana Humes Alexandra Sacristan Xinyu Xu Gabby Kromah LeighAnn Halik Blair Gattis Ann Rogers Emily Holler Nina Dakoriya Claire Blossom Haley Creech Isley Jepko Tanya Slehria Taylor Bolden Madison Nance Kennedy Meehan Lucia Hagert Lucy Rose Anna Patricios Morgan Pestyk Laura Shanahan Hailey Hawkins Isobel Bookman Tanya Slehria

DIGITAL Sarah Park Sofia Wieland Alexa Cardoso Kate Meadows Janis Arrojado FASHION NEWS Amanda Cheung Philecia Klein FINANCE Alyssa Floyd Amanda Cheung Lindsay Hoyt Emily Gotschalk Norma Techarukpong GRAPHIC DESIGN Maxwell Bryn Will Hausen Cori Patrick Zoe Hambley Annie Rudisill Shephard Sullivan Kaki McNeel Wesley Harwood Kirami Bah Lauren Wilkinson Parrish Alto Rachael Head Elizabeth Bryant Briana Merrigan FEATURES Catherine Earp Virginia Blanton Olivia Kupec Liz Johnson

HEALTH Hannah Keel Emma Ravenberg Carolyn Blackburn PHOTOGRAPHY Jordyn Burrell Travis Cheung Barron Northrup Landon Cooper Helen Hong Makiah Belk Lawson Brooks Sydney Farris Sarah Kreitzer Nash Consing Tristan Brown STYLE Olivia Gibson Ian Dowling Cecilia Fang Samantha Ferris Caroline Kloster Elizabeth Baron Collin Flynn Martha Pope George Adanuty Avanish Madhavaram Eleanor Fayette Plambeck Juliana Koricke Margaret Cullum VIDEOGRAPHY Anabelle Scarborough Alex Manwill Vanessa Agunobi Savannah Sowers Lizzy Campbell John Bigelow Chrissy Humphrey WEB DESIGN Natalie Russell Marigrace Seaton John Bigelow


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This role isn’t always easy, but that’s exactly why it’s fun. The theme “borders” came to us each over the summer as we thought about what’s happening around us. One of us was in New York hating their internship while one of us was in Chapel Hill trying to understand economics. We saw that everything seemed to exist in a binary; you’re either an introvert or an extrovert, you’re straight or gay, you’re a man or a woman, you’re an immigrant or you’re not. We put ourselves in boxes, or maybe someone else puts us in a box, but there’s a lot that can happen in the in-between. Why not talk about that? We each have personal borders that deserve to be respected; we each have certain borders that we only let down for certain people. Some of our parents, and indeed some of us, have had to cross a physical border. Maybe you had to cross more than one. Maybe borders confine you, or maybe they comfort you. You might know the liberating feeling of being free from a border. You might not. We were entering new territory when we came back to school this fall. The original founders of Coulture graduated and what would happen with this magazine—with this thing that over 200 people have a stake in—was up to us. Our first meeting with every team director didn’t go as expected because we didn’t know what to expect. A lot of directors hadn’t met

each other yet, and we were both nervous about how we were going to gain their trust. We asked for more from our team members. Our graphic design directors created a new logo, and with that, we created a new brand. We had always claimed that we were a magazine with a globallyminded, accessible and relatable perspective, but were we? Did we hold those values close to our hearts, or were we just pretending we did to check off a box? As two white, privileged editors of this magazine, were we being the best allies we could be? We cut the fluff and decided every story would pass the mic. We changed our fonts to represent the bold type of person that each of our team members and readers represent. And, as long as someone feels a little less alone after spending time with an issue of our magazine, we’ll have done our job right (at least for now). We spent a lot of time on this issue. Our office is right above Goodfellows, which means that often while we’re working on a Friday night, we hear the music of the bar and the eruption of fun when Mr. Brightside comes on. When this happens, we look at each other and laugh. This is our Goodfellows, our own place to dance and sing and hope that when someone reads or sees our magazine, something will resonate. Feel free to drop in. With Love,




Sonically intricate and visually dazzling, Janelle Monae’s “Dirty Computer” is a world of its own. Her third studio album, released in April 2018, mesmerizes listeners with upbeat anthems, bass-heavy bops and introspective ballads. As an openly pansexual Black woman, Monae invites us to see society through her own eyes, showing equal amounts vulnerability and strength. An exploration of her identity and what it means to be labeled dirty or other, Monae’s conceptual album splits into three parts: the reckoning, the celebration and the reclamation. Her lyrics follow the experiences of queer people of color who collectively wrestle with their status as social ‘viruses,’ proclaim their differences as virtues and redefine what it means to be American. Featuring artists like Zoë Kravitz, Pharrell Williams and Grimes, each song builds on the next, sending messages of freedom, self-love, racial liberation and sexual empowerment. Monae’s voice exudes Black girl magic on every track. A short film of the same name, which Monae deems an “emotion picture,” accompanies the album. The 48-minute narrative is set in a dystopian state where queer people of color are persecuted by the government and wiped of their supposed uncleanliness through memory erasure. Jumping from a clinically white-washed lab to Monae’s vibrantly hued flashbacks, each song

takes us to a new escape realm. In these capsules of time, queer people of color thrive in their authenticity. The plot centers on Monae’s love story with her Black female partner, Tessa Thompson, and their attempted reunion after state-enforced separation. The inset scenes of celebration act as visual eye candy, awash with luscious pink tones and funky rainbow outfits. Every detail works toward Monae’s message of love and acceptance. Her clothing even makes a statement. In “Screwed,” a carefree anthem of resistance, Monae sports a tank top with the words “subject not object” scrawled across her chest. In the sexually defiant “Pynk,” she dons blush ruffled pants that resemble a vulva, using the imagery to uplift rather than exploit the female body. Between the album and the emotion picture, Monae embraces her Blackness, queerness and womaness unapologetically. “Dirty Computer” pushes boundaries and transcends borders. Monae’s very existence as a queer Black female artist challenges a music industry conditioned to alienating people like her. While her fashion switches from androgynous powersuits to ultra feminine silhouettes, her lyrical delivery transitions from delicate falsettos to robust raps. Monae pushes against society’s arbitrarily constructed binaries because, as she sings so eloquently, “Deep inside, we’re all just pink.”



WRITTEN BY SHELBY BROWN AND CLARA WONG DESIGNED BY PARRISH ALTO In the world of beauty, the possibilities are endless. Any makeup look is something unique, a piece of art made by the creator. However, perceptions of makeup aren’t always entirely inclusive. Whereas male makeup is more acceptable in other parts of the world, Western society still considers makeup to be female-oriented. To break that boundary and welcome men who want to start experimenting with makeup, we’ve created four key tips:

1. MOISTURIZE Your skin is the canvas of your creation. Applying moisturizer to your skin will help with dryness, especially in the upcoming fall and winter seasons, when the air is drier. No matter what look you’re going for, moisturized skin is essential.

2. EVEN OUT REDNESS A green-tinted primer can even out red skin tones. Green may seem scary, but it actually subdues redness in the skin from blemishes or irritated spots. If primer is all you need to create even skin, skip the next step.


When covering up blemishes, choose a concealer closest to your skin tone . For under the eyes, try going one or two shades lighter to brighten the area and appear more alert.

4. FINALLY, BROWS Brows frame your entire face and can make a strong impression. To correct brows, you’ll need tweezers, a brow pencil and eyebrow gel. Pluck stray hairs and lightly fill in sparse areas with the pencil. Use the gel to lock the hairs in place for the day!






WRITTEN BY STERLING SIDEBOTTOM DESIGNED BY WILL HAUSEN With age comes exploration, a narrative for everything from college to fashion. At and beyond UNCChapel Hill, Coulture readers and contributors show off their style in everyday life — from the classroom to Franklin Street. Far left: @ariannavalbrun Top to bottom: @alexvndvrthegreat, @nashconsing,@alinnnaaaa Far right: @nashconsing




Photos from Vivid Emporium

WRITTEN BY HAILEY HAWKINS DESIGNED BY SHEPHARD SULLIVAN A vibrant pink African print top with an intricately dyed flower design hangs in a Chapel Hill storefront. It is tailored into a cropped, off the shoulder style with ruffle overlay. It is one of many one-of-a-kind designs morphing traditional African prints with familiar Western styles that can be found at fashion designer Kadiatu Kamara’s boutique, Vivid Emporium. Kamara’s designs transcend cultural boundaries, encouraging Americans to embrace the beauty of West African fashion without straying from their own personal tastes. Kamara is a native of Sierra Leone, who recently opened her Chapel Hill location as an outgrowth of her popular pilot shop in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The United States’ current cultural climate has made many aware to issues of cultural appropriation, especially in the fashion industry. Kamara markets her products to all people regardless of 15 COULTURE • BORDERS

race, ethnicity, or cultural background, ensuring that each sale directly benefits the West African communities she is partnered with through her nonprofit, Vivid Emporium Initiatives. “Appropriation is not wearing it, it’s exploiting it,” Kamara said. “That is the message that I want to get across. I want to see an American woman rocking an African print skirt because it’s beautiful.” Kamara built her boutique upon the mantra “fashion with a purpose.” Her purpose: promoting independence for West African artists and youth by providing them with a platform to market their creations. Through her nonprofit’s Karankay Project, or “cobbler” project, Kamara employs West Africans to produce batiks, sandals and jewelry made from high quality materials. This project began when Kamara saw the work of a talented cobbler, affectionately known as “Papa,” in Waterloo, a small town in Sierra Leone. At the time, Kamara was living with an herbal doctor, seeking treatment for an illness that medical professionals were unable to diagnose and that left her immobile for four months. On one of her first strolls once she was able to walk again, Kamara stumbled upon a pair of Papa’s sandals in the village. She was awestruck by their beauty. She could not fathom how he was able to create something so striking out of his extremely limited resources. “Those sandals were the thing that made me feel like I had to get better,” she said. “I [wanted] to help these people. I [knew] that I could. It just gave me life.” Kamara began devoting all of her time and resources to financially support Papa and his family. She provided them with food and school uniforms so that Papa could focus on pursuing his passion of sandal making without worrying about his family. In just one month, they were able to produce approximately 450 pairs of sandals for adults and children. “The product became much better. It still had its authenticity, but it became something that I would sell to my customers,” Kamara said. Healed by the work she had done with Papa and driven by her determination to help people like him, Kamara made the trek from Sierra Leone to the United States in 2009. With her, she brought only five dollars and a few suitcases of sandals and clothes made by the artists she had partnered with. She joined her mother in Chapel Hill and began selling her employees’ beautiful creations.

The opening of her storefront was not the first time that Kamara took a stand for others. Kamara was the face of the “Black but Invisible” campaign when she worked as a model in London in the late 2000s. Through this campaign, Kamara travelled throughout England and internationally to combat racism in the British fashion industry. By calling out major publications for not featuring models of color, she encouraged other models like herself to stay persistent and fight for better representation in media. The campaign became a driving force for the 2008 release of the first all-Black edition of Vogue. The Karankay Project is now partnered with over a dozen artists throughout West Africa. Kamara provides her employees the support they need to compete in an international market. “You can come into my store and try something on and as long as it looks good on you – buy it, wear it, own it, and know that you are making a direct contribution to the lives of so many people,” Kamara said. Kamara’s nonprofit also provides teens with general education classes, which are vital to helping them market their creative skills. Additionally, Kamara was recently awarded a plot of land by the chief of Waterloo as a sign of gratitude for her efforts. This land will be home to a youth training center that will teach various general education and design classes. Kamara has noticed the wariness that Americans, even African-Americans, have towards wearing her African print clothes and she wants them to know: “It’s all good.” “We live in a global village,” Kamara said. “We are all in one big melting pot, and I feel that one way to tackle these big issues is with fashion.” An appreciation for beautiful clothes is something that knows no borders, and Kadiatu Kamara makes it clear that people who appreciate her authentic designs are joining in on a celebratory dance.



Clothing with a Message WRITTEN BY CAROLINE KLOSTER DESIGNED BY MAXWELL BRYN While we strive towards selfdiscovery and cultivation of identity, clothing is a powerful tool in allowing us to display and understand our emotions, helping us to identify messages that resonate with us and create messages that resonate with others. Modern fashion is harnessing its power to help consumers amplify their voice. From sustainable collections to feminist slogan tees, fashion took on a new definition this year: clothing with a message, no matter how small.








SAINT LAURENT WRITTEN BY MARGARET CULLUM DESIGNED BY RACHAEL HEAD “I prefer to shock rather than to bore through repetition.” These famous words by French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent encapsulate his approach to fashion. Saint Laurent, universally understood as one of the most important designers of all time, undoubtedly shocked his contemporaries with his innovative, progressive designs. Saint Laurent was one of the first major designers to play with gender roles. Over the course of his 40-year career, he revolutionized women’s fashion by incorporating masculine silhouettes and garments that were typically reserved for menswear. Saint Laurent gained early recognition for his talent and began regular correspondence with Michel de Brunhoff, then editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. De Brunhoff was so impressed with the young designer, he told his successor at the magazine, Edmonde Charles-Roux, “I have never in my life met anyone more gifted,” according to the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris. De Brunhoff introduced Saint Laurent to Christian Dior, who hired him immediately. Saint Laurent had only worked at Dior for two years when Mr. Dior died in 1957. Per Dior’s wishes, 21-year-old Saint Laurent replaced him as the artistic director of the haute couture house. It was then that Saint Laurent first began to push the boundaries of traditional women’s fashion. According to the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, he defied the expectations of “1950s bourgeois elegance.” His last collection for Dior, “Souplesse, Légèreté, Vie,” (Flexibility, Light, Life) in 1960 featured

dark colors, leather and turtlenecks. This earned him the reputation of being a provocative designer, and for the first time, his work was not unanimously well received. In late 1960, Saint Laurent was drafted for military duty and subsequently hospitalized briefly for his mental health. It was then that the Dior fashion house fired him, prompting him to establish his own haute couture house. Saint Laurent, alongside his professional and romantic partner Pierre Bergé, opened the doors of the Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture House on December 4, 1961. A few years after Saint Laurent began designing for his own house, he created one of his most iconic pieces: the tuxedo. Part of the Autumn-Winter 1966 collection, Saint Laurent’s tuxedo was the first of its kind to be seen on a woman. On the tuxedo, Saint Laurent said, “For a woman, the tuxedo is an indispensable garment in which she will always feel in style, for it is a stylish garment and not a fashionable garment. Fashions fade, style is eternal,” according to the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris. The tuxedo was not the only traditionally masculine garment Saint Laurent included in his womenswear collections. Pieces like the pea coat, trench coat and safari jacket were all classically masculine garments until Saint Laurent put them on the female runway in the 1960s. Most notably, however, was Saint Laurent’s feminization of the pantsuit in Spring 1967. Until then, women’s suits were worn with skirts. Similar to his design of the female tuxedo, Saint Laurent’s pantsuit design had the same shapes as a classic men’s suit, but they were carefully tailored and adapted to flatter a woman’s body. Saint Laurent styled his models

with traditional neckties and felt hats, but kept the look feminine by adding jewelry and heels. The pantsuit became a fashion phenomenon. “American women are going to want to burn all the clothes they have when they see this...Saint Laurent’s new Vastsuits in men’s wear fabrics are the sensation of the Paris season...What a show—it could have come right off Broadway,” read one review from a 1967 issue of Women’s Wear Daily. June 2018 marked 10 years since Yves Saint Laurent’s death. But his impact on the fashion industry has never been more apparent than it is now. By today’s standards, women’s pantsuits and trench coats don’t seem like anything extraordinary, but at the time of their debut, Saint Laurent’s collections were groundbreaking. He was a trailblazer for challenging the status quo and sparking dialogue about gender roles in fashion. Fashion is a reflection of the world around us. It is influenced by culture, politics and everything happening in our communities. Society has become more progressive since Saint Laurent’s time, and so has fashion. Today, the fashion industry continues to defy gender roles on the runway. Saint Laurent focused on liberating women from societal expectations of the time by mixing masculinity and femininity, but today’s designers take that even further. As the world has become more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, many designers aim to eliminate gender from their clothes altogether and focus on gender fluidity. Just as Saint Laurent liberated women with his clothes, designers now want to liberate people of all gender identities. Some newer runway practices are as simple as having men and women walk in the same shows, while others make bigger statements, like male and female models wearing the same outfits down

the runway, or including an all-trans cast of models in shows, as seen with Marco Marco this year at New York Fashion Week. This generation’s top designers, like Jeremy Scott at Moschino, Raf Simons at Calvin Klein and Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga, often blur the lines between masculinity and femininity in their collections. The Moschino Resort 2019 collection shown in June had models walking the runway in carnival-inspired ensembles not meant for any specific gender identity — both women and men donned metallic rainbow pantsuits, animalprinted rompers and matching croptop and trouser sets. Of the collection, Jeremy Scott said, “I see my role in fashion as bringing the fun,” according to Vogue Magazine. Scott’s designs emphasize that fashion can, and should, be fun for anyone who wants to wear them, regardless of identity. Other designers, like Raf Simons, have a more minimalist approach to gender-bending fashion. The Calvin Klein Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear collection presented unisex looks including oversized blazers paired with leather pants and crochet sweaters paired with no pants at all. Many of Simons’s designs represent a more androgynous version of fashion, with loose-fitting silhouettes that don’t cater to specific body types. Balenciaga’s Fall 2019 Ready-toWear collection exhibited similarly minimalistic looks. Models both male and female sported boxy coats with pointed shoulder pads, high-collared shirts with jeans and oversized buttondown shirts with matching pants. Like Simons’s collection, many of Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga designs are loosely fitted to make the clothes wearable for anybody. As for the current designs at Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello continues to adhere to the vision of the man who founded the fashion house he now leads. The Spring 2019 Ready-toWear collection featured variations of the classic Saint Laurent tuxedo and button-down shirts accessorized with neckties and hats. Vaccarello’s take on classic Saint Laurent pieces emphasizes a new era of sexual liberation for women, reminiscent of the 60s and 70s when Saint Laurent himself designed. The recent collection combined carefully tailored trousers with sheer shirts or

open vests, and see-through flowing gowns. It perfectly embodied Saint Laurent’s love for dressing women in a way that allowed them to embrace their power and sex appeal while always remaining elegant. Saint Laurent’s influence extends far beyond the realm of haute couture. Fast fashion retailers like H&M and Forever 21 adopt runway trends and make them more accessible to the general public. Since gender fluid trends have become more mainstream, people have been able to express themselves freely without feeling judged. Jo Snow, 18, a UNC-Chapel Hill firstyear from Wake Forest, North Carolina, is openly lesbian and said she uses fashion to present her sexuality. “I’ve gotten more involved in fashion the past few years, and I’ve really enjoyed developing my style,” Snow said. Since fashion has become more progressive, “you can wear what you want and it doesn’t matter,” she said. Snow, who prefers to dress more masculine than feminine, said the deemphasis of gender roles in fashion has allowed her to feel more comfortable using her style as a form of self-expression. “Since the fashion industry has become more open to LGBT and nonbinary standards, I’ve been able to dress like that with less stigma,” she said. When Saint Laurent began dressing women in men’s clothing, he began a movement. Since then, many more cultural revolutions have taken place. Fashion, along with society, is constantly evolving. What we see on runways is always a product of what we see happening in the world because fashion is a powerful form of self-expression. We live in an era where people of all identities can embrace who they are and use fashion to express themselves freely. “I participated in the transformation of my era,” Saint Laurent said in 2002 when he retired, according to Forbes. “I did it with clothes, which is surely less important than music, architecture, painting ... but whatever it’s worth, I did it.”



FASHION’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH QUILTS WRITTEN BY AVANISH MADHAVARAM DESIGNED BY BRIANA MERRIGAN The fashion industry’s obsession with the American West, commonly known as Americana, has been well documented. These American essentials, compared to their European counterparts, have a less prescribed aesthetic, rooted in comfort and utilitarian workwear. Brands like Carhartt, Dickies and Levi’s are fundamental to a functional and casual American design perspective. These brands arose out of necessity and an understanding of the American middle class. Similarly, the best approximation of American design influence comes 25 COULTURE • BORDERS

from the time-honored craft of quilting. While not necessarily born in the United States, the craft of reworking vintage clothing into adorned, patchwork quilts found its footing here, after British and Dutch resettlement. Quilting became an “art of necessity” in the 18th and 19th centuries, simply because of the inability to waste resources. Those early quilts, some extravagantly illustrious and elaborate, became the greatest narration of heritage and culture. This one-of-a-kind, handwoven approach to fashion implores an appreciation of

artistry and an understanding of the blending of the practical and the creative into the tangible. Therefore, as the quilt trends toward high fashion, it allows for a commentary on the importance of storytelling through clothing and the international influence of an elaborate art on a classic silhouette. The best semblances of modern quilting are garments not meant for preservation, but those intended to be worn. Enter Emily Bode, a 29-year old American fashion designer, who has gained a cult following in menswear for her enchanting reworked quilts. She first started developing quilts during her time at the Parson’s School of Design. Under self-titled brand name Bode New York, her project blossomed in popular scenes at New York Fashion Week Men’s last year, immediately garnering praise for her precision and commitment to handwoven design and history. Bode tells the story of reworked vintage quilting through her one-of-akind pieces. These items, developed in timeless silhouettes with textiles from generations past, preserve history in a manner that is constantly evolving.

Each piece developed has its own complex and rich past, but upon primary examination, its figure transcends time and is inevitably as modern as it is historic. Emily Bode recently spoke to GQ Style’s podcast Corporate Lunch, noting that, “People can relate to these stories because they grew up with them, they were their grandmother’s, or because it reminds them of their childhood bedroom.” Bode seeks to exemplify the visceral effect clothing can have on creating an emotional and cultural connotation upon tangible interaction. Even beyond this, we learn that this response to textiles is borderless, and at its very base level, clothing and patterns evoke a specific base level connection universally. Vice Magazine’s Emily Manning says that Bode is a “reliquary,” that she can point to any item in her studio and speak on its historical context. Bode has also evolved past domestic textiles, developing treasures from 1920s linens, embroidered kimonos and colorful Indian fabrics. Her international travels have allowed her to pull more fabrics from more cultures to inspire design in ready-to-wear collections that feel eclectic but still call upon deep-sitting emotions during every showing. Quilting at its essence requires dedication and a strong attention to detail. These pieces are normally very time and labor intensive in high fashion because of the custom craftsmanship required and their necessity for high quality garments. Therefore, as quilting has become more common on the runway, it is important to understand how brands are incorporating these designs seamlessly within the images of the rest of their shows. Belgian designer Raf Simons, in his inaugural Calvin Klein show in 2017, sought to repurpose the American West in his pieces. Calvin Klein as a brand is an American institution, as authentically American as the history of quilting itself. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Simons would lean heavily on quilting as part of his design focus, staying true to the symbolism of the brand he represents. Simons, who often makes political statements through his work, recognized the power that quilts have on tradition and past struggles. Freedom Quilting Bee, a coalition that began in 1966, allowed Black women in the South to generate income for their families. Quilts have focused on voter rights movements and attacked the AIDS

epidemic simultaneously. Often they are considered a blanket of truth and unification upon political divide. The manner in which American quilting has been adopted in a modern sense is also symbolic of today’s climate. Therefore, seeing a prominent cosign from such a large American brand and a revered designer has only further ascended the current trend of quilting and patchwork on the runway. In recent seasons, colorful quilting and patchwork design have taken shape ostentatiously in some of the biggest houses around the world. Christian Dior’s Fall 2018 collection was inspired partly by quilting, showing cut-andsew skirts and jackets front and center. Stella McCartney has made overt references to the age old craft as well. Applications of quilting have come from around the world, but the most alluring pieces come from designers with patternmaking backgrounds who appreciate textiles first. Menswear’s coveted pieces often foundationally use patchwork and quilting. These include designs from Junya Watanabe, one of the most innovative and legendary designers from Japan. Watanabe, a disciple of Rei Kawakubo at Comme Des Garçons, shares a playful love for denim, plaids, flannels and tweeds. He is known for blending fabrics, colors and shapes all into one piece seamlessly. His signature designs are recognizable instantly as wonderfully different than the norm. During collaborations with marquee American brands like Carhartt and Brooks Brothers, Watanabe approached American design with a trained, sophisticated eye. Quilting in Japan, known as “boro” style, grew out of necessity as well and became an enormous influence on Watanabe as he grew as a designer. The nostalgia evoked from effective quilted design is one of the most powerful emotional responses. It signifies a tangible and wearable blend of history, family and trend. Designers from across the world, from small independent labels to large European houses, have recognized the importance of this traditional yet continuously refreshing approach. With it has come a revival of patchwork design on the runway, and an overt acceptance that clothing has a foundational effect on every individual and every culture it encounters.






Warning: the content of this article includes sensitive content such as self-harm, eating disorders, and assault. These topics can cause a strong emotional and/or physiological response. The scars on her face are the permanent result of an assault by two men. These men were hired by her landlord, someone who had repeatedly made sexual advances toward her and had been turned down each time. She was a model, and her face was intentionally targeted during the assault since she depended upon her physical appearance to earn a living. While one of the assailants shoved her against a wall and restrained her, the other moved his hands quickly back and forth across her face with a razor blade, “almost like an artist at a canvas.” Harming her face was the landlord’s violent response to her refusals. As a result of the attack, then 25-year-old Maria Hanson’s career as a successful model — one she had worked so hard to build — was over. Not only did the attack scar her skin, but it also scarred her image and left an irrevocable mark on her life. Although Hanson lost her physical appearance and career, she remarkably did not hold a grudge against the men that scarred her face. Rather, she strove to accept her new appearance. Hanson did not want to be defined as the model who got slashed with razors. She became an advocate for looking past one’s physical appearance and recognizing there is more to an individual than their physical beauty. Image is defined as a representation of the external form of a person or thing in art. Outward appearance has become the primary determinant of an individual’s character and significance, as opposed to their intrinsic worth as a human being. Society focuses on the act of appearing, whether it be appearing wealthy, beautiful, fun or healthy. Appearance in the 21st century has become the most important and defining aspect of an individual. Jes Baker, a popular body image blogger, changed her blog headline from “Lose the Bullshit. Love Your Body” to “Lose the Bullshit. Liberate Your Body.” “I’ve long preached the importance of body love, the proposed goal of falling head over heels with your physical appearance and celebrating it for how it looks regardless of how it fits (or doesn’t fit) into society’s definition of beauty,” said Baker. “What I have come to realize, though, is that asking someone to achieve body love can quickly become another unattainable prerequisite, much like the desire to change our body into what is deemed desirable.” Many women in the 21st century have

undergone medical procedures to change their outward appearance. While there are a myriad of reasons that women opt for cosmetic surgeries (i.e. breast reduction, gender confirmation, etc.) and their choices are completely justified, pressure from media to look skinny, sexy and youthful has caused many women to feel the need to endure painful and expensive operations. To some, changing your image with plastic surgery is destructive to your identity. Dead is that part of you that is natural, original and non-purchasable. To others, plastic surgery enhances your identity and provides a sense of relief or confidence. Yet

is good for us. We internalize these negative habits, which then causes us to restrict our food, over-exercise and hate our bodies, all under the guise of “health” and “wellness” when we are really harming our physical and mental health. The desire to shrink your body does not magically appear out of the blue; it comes from a culture that infiltrates harmful beliefs about the human body. We spend countless hours wishing for a smaller body, a different shape and a number of other unattainable features born out of a racist, sexist and Eurocentric idea of how people are “supposed” to look.

“IT IS NOT MY JOB TO FIT THE CLOTHES; IT IS THE JOB OF THE CLOTHES TO FIT ME.” the question remains, can beauty be whole if a part of you is physically cut out? Or is it merely another mechanism for people to trap themselves within the borders of society’s expectations of appearance? Amelia* liked to feel empty. Achieving the “starved” Vogue look was a daily goal. Throughout her first year of college, she thought she was heavier than most of her friends, which diminished her self-worth. She yearned for another body, one that was “runway ready” and looked great in anything. At age 18, she bought her first box of laxatives. She wanted to feel empty, bare, skinny. She slowly started skipping or skimping her meals. She would chew on gum if her stomach was vocal in class. She would run four to five miles every other day just trying to get that bump on her stomach to go away, to get her thighs to slim down. In ballet class, there was a special cardio-dance routine. After she performed the routine, she felt the life slip out of her as she dropped to the floor. Maria, her dance teacher, was spooning her peanut butter in the hallway when she woke up. “I think your blood sugar got too low.” “Maybe you’re dehydrated.” “Did you forget to eat breakfast?” Embarrassed, she responded simply, “I am not sure what happened.” Body image had become her life. She wanted to like her body, but her weight was never light enough; her size was never small enough and she was never thin enough. Diet culture is one that wants us to turn us against ourselves. It tells us we can not trust our bodily signals, that we do not know what

Contrary to popular belief, body positivity is not about confidence. It is a social justice movement that advocates for equal rights and respect for all bodies. Even though the movement is focused on loving one’s body, it comes from a place of body obsession and often puts more emphasis on looks. Stressing over loving our bodies is still stressing over our bodies. Is there nothing more to a person than their body? Recently, many non-diet dietitians and influencers of the movement have switched to the term body liberation. There are no size limits or health requirements on body liberation. Bodies of every size deserve to be accepted, respected and loved. Body liberation tells us we can live happily in any type of body—free from worrying about loving (or hating) it. I used to like the feeling of being empty. I wanted to appear healthy without actually taking care of myself mentally or physically. If my stomach could only be flatter maybe I would look good in that swimsuit. If my thighs were not so large, maybe I could wear those jeans. If I was not so short, maybe the pantsuits or midi-dresses would fit me. However, it is not my job to fit the clothes; it is the job of the clothes to fit me. We are more than a number. We are more than what is on the scale, the size or calorie intake. We are not bodies to be judged and discriminated against. We do not need to be fixed. It’s time to break boundaries and free ourselves from a world of numbers. *names have been changed to respect privacy and anonymity


What if we’re just shitty people?


WRITTEN BY CASSANDRA CASSIDY DESIGNED BY CARTER FRYE Looking at pop culture, suicide has become a common trope in music, art and film throughout the past few years, coinciding with a movement to change the perception of mental health. Multiple groups exist on campus at UNC-Chapel Hill to break the stigma around depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses. Musicians and actors have come forward with their own story. Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen takes the audience through an emotional journey around suicide and its aftermath. A Star Is Born, breakout film featuring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, ends with a tragic suicide of a main character. Then Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain both committed suicides separately within a week of each other, and some months later, Mac Miller tragically died of an overdose after a long battle with depression and substance abuse. It’s the last one that hit college students, especially students at UNCCH, harder than any other story. Many of us spent priceless high school nights listening to Miller’s music, and his voice is inexplicably tied to our memories of Friday night football games, first sips of alcohol and first tastes of rebellion. What might be the one of the worst parts about Miller’s death is that it was absolutely not out of nowhere. Many of his songs had lyrics that we heard but weren’t able to reckon with. “Come Back to Earth,” “2009” and “Perfect Circle/ God Speed” are just a few examples of his songs that have significant references to suicide, self-harm and inexplicable emptiness. We knew Miller was struggling. What did we do? What could we do? Many fans of Miller manifested their sadness after his death through anger toward Ariana Grande, who broke up with Miller a few years before his passing and had recently become engaged to

comedian Pete Davidson. To blame her for his death was a representation of our culture’s expectation of women to stay in unhealthy relationships to keep the man stable, and while it was inconceivably evil to condemn a woman for her exboyfriend’s death, it wasn’t completely misguided to blame someone. Many people say in the aftermath of a suicide, or a death stemming from mental illness, that there was nothing you could do to help them. It wasn’t your fault. They were sick. These things are true to a fairly far extent—depression, substance abuse and suicidal tendencies need to be dealt with by a professional, and no friend or parent or significant other should be expected to take on the burden of keeping another person alive. In many ways, it takes a village. Ignoring the role that other people play in the life of someone with mental illness is to ignore the possibility of recovery. If we want mental health to be treated like a true medical illness, we have to examine the way we talk about suicide and self-harm. We would never leave our loved ones to recover from a painful surgery alone, and we certainly don’t let someone with a chronic illness deal with it for themselves, even if it’s hard to look. While it is misguided to say that depression can be “cured,” it can be fought. You need people. I’ve been at absolute rock bottom and I know what it’s like down there. It’s cold and it’s lonely, but there’s some sort of sense to it; you feel like you belong there, and unless someone is there to pull you out, there’s a good chance you’re going to stay down there. I had someone who helped pull me out, but eventually it became too difficult for them, maybe as it did for Ariana Grande. And while I don’t want to admit it to myself, sometimes I want to blame them. I was incredibly lucky to have a family that stepped in when I thought it was a logical idea to harm myself and end my own life, but a lot of people don’t have that support. I shake when I think about what could have happened if I wasn’t born into a family with the mother, father


and sister that I have. It was dangerous to cling to one person as a lifeline, and I knew that. Losing that person almost cost me my life. I’m not sure who takes the blame for that. In the worst of my own depression, in moments when I swallowed too many pills or watched blood run down my arm, I would say, “I just need to go. I just need to get out of here.” I said it as casual as someone would if they were at a party that was too loud. In Mac Miller’s “Come Back to Earth,” he details his struggles with depression and isolation with the same sentiment. The lines, “I just need a way out of my head. I’ll do anything for a way out,” are a clear expression of the nagging nature of depression; it convinces you that you just need to leave, without any reason why. Miller was telling us he wanted to leave, and it’s hard to say whether or not anyone listened. In “Come Back to Earth,” Miller sings, “In my own way this feel like living. Some alternate reality,” which calls attention to the normalcy of his emptiness. People often don’t understand the gravity of depression because it’s impossible to understand a pain you have never felt, but it’s like any other ailment. Like a bad knee or bad eyesight, you adjust to depression and take it with you wherever you go. It becomes comfortable to be sad, and it is so much easier to down the bottle and hide under the covers than it is to simply get out of



bed. In some cases, you forget what it’s like to get out of bed—and eventually you think that you were never meant to. Miller in “2009” says “I was diggin’ me a hole big enough to bury my soul.” The notion of burying his soul—not just a body, but the very thing that makes a person a person—should slap anyone awake. We spend so much time encouraging people to come forward and be powerful and vulnerable about their mental illness, but it’s hard to see why in the wake of Miller’s death. Do we really want people to come forward? Or do we want people to think they should feel comfortable coming forward so that when they die we can pat ourselves on the back for at least attempting to normalize the severe distress and mind-altering, mind-numbing, excruciating pain they were going through, all while claiming that that person, now dead, couldn’t be saved? We post Instagram stories with the Suicide Hotline phone number and we tell people to “check on each other.” What if we’re just shitty people? I’m guilty of judging Mac Miller when he was alive and not giving his music a chance until he died. Hearing his words now, I wish I had listened to him. I’m lucky someone listened to me.



BÜLENT ERSOY WRITTEN BY ARES ZERUNYAN DESIGNED BY ANNIE RUDISILL For decades, Turkey’s music scene has been dominated by superstars of the LGBTQ+ community. Perhaps the most famous of them all is Bülent Ersoy, a transgender woman, one of the first people in the country to transition. Ersoy has been a mainstay in Turkish pop culture throughout the years, possibly the most prominent artist in her genre. Her story coincides with a greater struggle of gender identity and acceptance form people in Turkey. As is still the case in many societies, heteronormative values dominate Turkish cultures. Given the conservative backdrop of the past 20 years, pushing this barrier can be quite controversial. With a reinstitution of these traditional values, many in the LGBTQ+ community have been forced to go underground. Despite the backlash this tight-knit


group faces, it has not stopped people from expressing their authentic selves, and Ersoy is certainly one of them. Still, she has never publicly expressed her advocacy for improved LGBTQ+ rights whether it be through political or social activism. Nevertheless, her long legal battles in the 1980s had inherent benefits, namely for discriminated transgender people in Turkey. Ersoy drew international attention for her gender reassignment in 1981. She kept the name Bülent, despite it being a traditionally male name. Ersoy faced years of intense pressure and pushback from the Turkish government. Turkey was experiencing national unrest, as the country experienced yet another military coup. With the regime in flux, a liberal paradigm shift in society was highly unlikely. If anything, the repressive measures that followed further enforced social conformity and heteronormativity. Before her transition, Ersoy had already defied gender norms throughout the 1970s by wearing feminine clothing. This would be one of many transgressions- in the eyes of the government and society- to follow in the years to come. In 1978, Ersoy began hormone therapy in preparation for her gender confirmation surgery. After her surgery, she made her first of many appearances in court. In August 1980, she intentionally exposed her breasts during a live show, resulting in a September court trial. The same week as her trial, the leaders of the coup officialy seized power and the regime 34

sınırları zorlama changed hands. During the same time, the government prosecuted Ersoy for drunkenly berating a judge. The authorities isolated her in prison, as they were unsure of how to assign her according to gendered cellblocks. The Turkish government found her guilty in both trials and sentenced her to eleven months. Not long after, they set her free with the caveat that it would be her last chance, as any ‘misbehavior’ would not be tolerated. In January 1981, she was forced to sign a document, which prohibited males from wearing clothing that suggested at any gender ambiguity, in public or private spaces. The legal proceedings only got worse for Ersoy. In a sense, she had become a pariah. Ersoy would go through a series of trials for almost a decade, where she rallied for the proper recognition of her gender, objecting the government’s refusal to

the rugged-mustachioed look, Müren was clean shaven, his clothes and use of makeup expressing an ambiguous gender identity. Over the past decades, pop culture around the globe has carved out an arena for disputing the norms of gender and sexuality. Fast forward to today, almost 30 years later, and what might have seemed like a bright time for LGBTQ+ rights in Turkey has suddenly become a bleak one. In 2013, research conducted by Pew showed that only seven percent of Turkish society approved of LGBTQ+ rights. Citizens that identify as transgender are routinely exposed to verbal attacks and marginalization in public and private spaces. Even with the existence of icons like Ersoy and Müren, there seems to be a concerted lack of effort in championing rights for the community.


acknowledge her as a woman. In 1988, she finally achieved full and official status, as citizens who underwent reassignment would be given a pink or light blue colored identification pass. Many of Ersoy’s fans had advocated for this long overdue acknowledgment of her rights, which suggested that, societally, Turkey was becoming open to a more nuanced categorization of genders. The trials of the 80s left an indelible psychological mark on Ersoy. In 1983, when her aspirations of having her gender officially recognized were shot down, she attempted suicide. Simply being who she was made Ersoy vulnerable to constant scrutiny from the media, who picked apart her clothing at trials and criticized her roles in prominent Turkish movies. However, the tide was still turning. In a way, Ersoy had changed the precedent. She was not the only household icon of her time who had been suggestive of gender fluidity, such as fellow Turkish artist Zeki Müren. Despite being gay, Müren never faced as many difficulties in the public sphere. Unlike other male Turkish artists of the same era, Müren challenged the male machismo that dominated the Turkish music scene. Rather than going for 35 COULTURE • BORDERS

The current president of Turkey, Tayyip Erdoğan, is a major fan of Ersoy and initially promised greater rights for LGBTQ+ citizens in Turkey. His stance on the topic has always been ambiguous, and his party’s conservative position has mostly set back the status of LGBTQ+ people. Somewhat tragically, following a conflict at an LGBT rally in 2013 between police and participants of the rally, it was reported and confirmed that Ersoy had dined with the controversial, President Erdoğan. While this was not an overt disassociation from the movement, it was a huge blow for many Turkish LGBTQ+ people. And yet, Ersoy has been outspoken on other matters. Over the past decade, she has claimed on public television that she opposes sending troops to battle the Kurds. She stated that if she had a son, she would not send him to war. Her comments drew major criticism from Turkish nationalists. Although Ersoy was acquitted, the government investigated her for military opposition. She once again became a talking point after proclaiming she could not align herself with the “We are all Armenian” movement, which was a response to the assassination of a

prominent Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink. It also was a protest for more equitable treatment of Armenians, a minority population who face discrimination in Turkey. She said that as a Muslim, she could not stand in solidarity as the Christian heritage of Armenians, excluded her from truly identifying with the movement. So it seems that Bülent Ersoy, the norm-defying icon of Turkish alaturka - a genre of classical Turkish music and pop seems to be a paradox. This is neither a critique of an identity nor a hagiography portraying her as a saint of the LGBTQ+ movement. Today there is almost no connection between Bülent Ersoy and the transgender community. Many feel that she has turned her back on them, re-conforming to the rigid societal norms that existed during her transition. Many remain frustrated that Ersoy is outspoken on other matters, but not the ones that hit closest to home. The LGBTQ+ community in Turkey, is mostly left to fend for itself. There are certainly other famed individuals of extraordinary talents who actively support the Turkish LGBTQ+ community. Barbaros Şansal,

an acclaimed gay Turkish fashion designer has supported the movement. Unfortunately, his televised show on fashion critique was cancelled for promoting homosexuality to younger citizens. There has been no shortage of talented artists on the music scene in Turkey who affiliate themselves with the movement in spite of societal pressures. Elif Şafak, world famous for her novels, came out as bisexual in 2016, although she had withheld it for a long time for fear of harassment. Since the 1970s several films have normalized homosexuality and gender fluidity. Bülent Ersoy is one-of-a-kind and perhaps the only one capable of being the catalyst of any change. While Ersoy and Müren may have achieved status and fame initially as men, the eventual exposure of their respective gender identity and sexual orientation did not harm their long term popularity. Queer people have and will always exist; it is only a matter of time before Turkish society welcomes the community. While the current outlook is certainly not promising, change is possible. In a wider scope, LGBTQ+ artists are no longer isolated from the rest of the world. In the Middle East, Turkish art, film and literature continue to lead the way. The album covers showing the transformative identities of Bülent Ersoy and Zeki Müren test heteronormative ideals even today. LGBTQ+ artists no longer have to appeal to their domestic audiences, as they can reach beyond barriers to garner attention and support. With so many forms of media available, the LGBTQ+ community can channel their creative endeavors in new creative ways. Adir Jan Tekîn, a member of a Kurdish queer art rock band, proves that artists with roots in Turkey, even if living abroad can still create music and connect with their national identity. Past and future icons no longer reach just their immediate audience, but spread far beyond their borders. The perils of exclusion and discrimination will exist no matter the geographic location or social climate, but the oppressed have always found the means of expressing themselves authentically even in the harshest of circumstances. The story of Turkey’s Bülent Ersoy serves as both a triumphant story and a cautionary tale for young artists of the next generation. 36

24 Time Zones PHOTOGRAPHED BY JORDYN BURRELL, ADDY LEE LIU AND BARRON NORTHRUP MODELED BY GEORGE ADANUTY, IAN DOWLING, CHRISSY HUMPHREY, REED MACDONALD, AVANISH MADHAVARAM, ALEXIS ORTIZ, JOLYNN SMITH & RAMYA VARADARAJAN DESIGNED BY EMILY CUNNINGHAM You go to an airport to cross a border. You might be going home, you might be leaving home, but you rarely just exist at an airport. It’s a fascinating place where everyone is on their way away, but it begs the question—where is everybody going?










When you think of Japan, you probably think of Tokyo, one of the most expensive cities in the world. However, you’ve probably been sleeping on the plethora of other cities in Japan that offer just as much luxury at a much cheaper price. Just as New York City and Los Angeles are the major cities in the US, Tokyo and Osaka are the popular prefectures of Japan. Both are highly populated, have critical political influence and compete for pop culture dominance. From sightseeing, shopping and a ton of eatings, Osaka offers excitement at every corner.


UMEDA SKY BUILDING The Umeda Sky Building is one of Osaka’s most recognizable landmarks. The building’s most fascinating feature is the Kuchu Teien (Floating Garden) Observatory. The observation platform is a bridge that connects the two towers, standing at 40-stories tall. The observatory itself is over 550-feet high. From this height, tourists are able to see the entirety of Osaka.

DŌTONBURI The bright heart of Osaka. Dōtonbori is THE principal tourist destination in Osaka. The canal is an Instagram trap. Dōtonbori was originally known as a theater district, but when WWII bomb raids destroyed nearly all the theaters, it evolved into a prominent nightlife and entertainment arena. It’s one of the most extravagant areas in Osaka with countless neon lights and restaurants at every corner, ensuring its hotspot status among food gurus. Osaka even coined the term “kuidaore,” meaning “eat till you drop.” Famous restaurants include Hariju, Kukuru and Kani Douraku.

NAMBA CITY Namba City features nearly 300 stores and restaurants spreading across three shopping centers, two above ground and one below. Namba City houses one of the largest UNIQLO clothing stores. Besides shopping and eating, Namba is all about convenience. For leisure, you can find a variety of arcades, karaoke bars and high-tech movie theaters. Arcade games range from stuffed animal claw machines to pachinko, the Japanese pinball gambling obsession.

SHINSAIBASHI SHOPPING ARCADE A stream of shops and restaurants 600 meters long. This commercial avenue has a little bit of everything: high fashion stores like Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana to basics like H&M and Starbucks. Most interestingly, there’s an array of traditional kimono tailors and independent boutiques for all your Harajuku and Lolita fashion subculture needs. One of the most popular stops is the Daimaru department store where you can find anything and everything, and where one step inside ensures that you will never care to enter a Macy’s again. Within walking distance, you can also visit Amerikamura, also known as American Village. This is a perfect place if you’re interested in witnessing the culture and lifestyle that has inspired Japanese youth since the 1960s.

OSAKA CASTLE The most visited location in Osaka, and for good reason. The Osaka Castle is beyond gorgeous and has an extensive history. For ¥600, visitors can tour the castle and learn all about previous rulers and the conflicts that gripped the nation. Afterward, visitors can rest at the Osaka Castle Park and admire the 600 cherry blossom trees that bloom every spring.





WRITTEN BY CECILIA FANG DESIGNED BY KIRAMI BAH The thick stench of tofu drifts through the waves of people making their way through a humid summer night. It’s sticky, almost unbearably sticky, in the crowd of people wandering among the food stalls that overwhelm those who aren’t used to the sight of pig’s feet next to a bowl of mango shaved ice. There’s a golden rule here: If you’re still comfortable after coming to a night market, you didn’t eat enough. Taxi cabs honk in the distance as children dart through the crowd swinging yo-yo’s and candy in the air, eagerly avoiding the grandmas scowling them from afar. The noise is impenetrable and the smell of sugar mixed with spices is undescribable. Markets like these pop up nationwide and seemingly overnight, selling anything from bowls of Taiwanese braised pork rice to small bags of goldfish. But despite the chaos, there’s a sense of unity: what may look like a disaster is a story that goes back decades made up of conflict and compromise that each Taiwanese citizen can feel in their bones. While my southern roots of mango farms, mountain trails and marble monuments may be worlds apart from the skyscrapers of Taipei, the feeling of home never strays. Home is in the boba, freshly made in the street stall wedged between a

laundromat and an old bakery. Home is the teal and blue dragon scales of Taipei 101, the Taiwanese equivalent of the Statue of Liberty, that greet you as you step into a tower that seems too pristine to be real. Home is the 20 hours spent flying from the East Coast and across the Pacific, a journey that seems too long in the moment, yet not long enough when I have to leave. Decorated with mountains, oceans and endless roads weaving between towns, each famous for different foods straight out of foodie heaven, you can’t help but feel enchanted each time you step foot in a new city. The feeling of rejuvenation after each bite of fresh mango, followed by the cool sensation of condensed milk melting on your tongue. The tingle of the light rain drops that hit the windows of the cable car travelling deep into the peaks that crest the horizon. But this feeling of unity has often left me questioning my true identity. Am I the Taiwanese-American college student who can’t help but eat her mac and cheese with chopsticks? Or is my Taiwanese identity invalid because even in the eyes the United Nations, Taiwan is not an independent country? As I drive through the jungles of Taiwan, the faint smell of dirt and the sweet scent of rainfall sneaking in from the cracked car window, the question of identity is the last thing on my mind. When my grandma slices open fresh


apples plucked directly from a tree with a quick swing of a knife, I know I belong. It’s the moments when the lady at the beef noodle shack asks me how I enjoy growing up as an American and those brief seconds of awe when storekeepers realize I can speak Chinese that make me feel out of place. It’s moments like when my classmates mistake my ability to speak Chinese as a sign I’m from mainland China, and I have to explain that Taiwan isn’t the same, even if one of my passports still says the Republic of China. I may have the “Taiwanese accent” when I speak to my Chinese friends, and I may have the “American accent” when I talk to my aunt over a hot pot, but accents don’t concern me when I’m setting off fireworks with my cousins in our backyard among the lychee trees in the summer. And accents don’t matter in the temples chiseled into the mountain sides, or the small shrines that sit hidden in alleyways scattered in the city streets that remind you to stay grateful. There’s a deep history to my country that even I don’t understand. A history of the indigenous population that holds roots in the very mountains and seas that two separate governments claim to hold. A history that has seen Taiwan as a forerunner for LGBTQ+ rights in Asia after legalizing gay marriage in 2017. It has been one of very few nations to elect its first female President, Tsai Ingwen, in 2016, and a challenger against China with the student-led Sunflower Movement of 2014. 49 COULTURE • BORDERS

Despite the ever-growing progressive movement towards becoming an independent nation, the overwhelming fear of not only economic downfall, but war, overshadows many of the accomplishments of this tiny island just a mere 112 miles away from the world’s second-largest economy. Even now in the nearby Pacific Islands is a political battle for territory between the two nations, and under China’s “One China” policy, it’s not just a show of military might; it’s military ownership. And while the tension may be masked behind the glistening skyscrapers entangled with the memorials of Chiang Kai-Shek, Taiwan’s first President, those very statues and chiseled marble museums immortalizing Shek’s presence hold an eerie warning. I see the coast and ocean flats of Taiwan as the beach that never seems to stop sparkling under the dense heat and littering of ice cream stands. I remember the capital of Taipei as the first place I had ever tried “popcorn chicken,” an American name I learned only a decade later after being given some by a kind grandfather who owned the same food stand for over three decades. My memories are filled with nights of exploring old arcades and travelling from the countryside to concrete jungles. Or how my siblings and I would raid one of the thousands of 7-Elevens for snacks and ice cream at midnight, prepping for the long train ride that would take us to the South, where fresh

seafood and newly baked sweet egg tarts awaited us. My memories always include the warm smile of strangers who never failed to make me feel welcomed. But how I perceive the country that has served as the base for family reunions, where we rented out entire peking duck restaurants for five hours of endless buffets, isn’t even a living country in the eyes of some. Just down the street from the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial hall, just blocks away from the street markets that seem to appear out of thin air every night, sits the National Taiwan Museum. A giant columned marker that reminds people that the battle for recognition as an independent democracy is not over. In official terms, the world only has 195 countries, not 196. And even to this day, it’s not uncommon for my family to sit around a handmade fire pit, toasting with yogurt cups or grass jelly milk tea over how proud we are to be Taiwanese, even if others think we’re simply Chinese. My history may have roots in China, and my great-grandfather may have ties directly alongside Shek, forever memorialized in the small photograph in my grandfather’s desk that depicts Shek and my great-grandfather in a car together during a national parade, but I know my own identity. Years of questioning have taught me to no longer feel the burden of finding a definition

between who I am versus what the world perceives me to be. I am the handmade dumplings my grandmother used to make every time I hopped on the back of my dad’s motorbike to drive down to the countryside. I am the ghost stories of war and famine my grandparents would tell me that haunts their memories to this day. I am the laughter of all my cousins and I as we swam at the bottom of a waterfall, hidden in the rocky molds of mountains and forest trees that hold stories of their own. And while I’ll still get the occasional confused look when I tell people yes, I speak Chinese but I’m not Chinese. And yes, Taiwan is in fact different from Thailand. There’s still much I have to learn about the divisions and diverse history of my country, a history that is still continuing to define itself to this day. “Your history is uniquely your own,” my grandfather used to tell me over a cup of jasmine tea. I always wondered how he could laugh after retelling the story of how he ran away at 12-yearsold to be with his uncle, the same man who helped Shek establish the early beginnings of the Taiwanese government years later. Stories of how he didn’t realize it would be his last image of his mother right before he fled with his uncle to Taiwan, shaping the future of our family forever. “We come from a family of rebels, 方品心, and rebellion is what we will continue to do.”



您为什么当老师 (MANDARIN)


PHOTOGRAPHED AND WRITTEN BY ADDY LEE LIU DESIGNED BY ANNA BRADSHER This photo series is an exploration of how language mediates the relationships that children of immigrants have with their families and cultural heritage. Generational language loss can make it difficult to navigate familial relationships that are often already complicated.For these photos, we asked people for a message they’d want to express to someone in their family but wouldn’t be able to due to lack of knowledge or experience with their family’s native language.The thoughts they shared were personal and specific, yet they all spoke to universal themes of yearning: for the deeper human connections that can sometimes only be forged through meaningful conversations about regret, hopes, curiosity — emotions articulated in all their complexity and nuances.



네가 나를 위해 희생 한 모든 것에 감사드립니다. 나는 자랑스럽게 만들고 싶다. (KOREAN)



















Borders pervade every part of our lives. We place our phones in between our relationships and our fears in between where we are and where we want to be. In the months since the Trump administration’s entrance into the White House, border politics between America and Mexico have intensified due to the president’s various comments, actions, and more noticeably, his inaction. President Trump has attempted to make Mexicans the face of crime in the United States and has advocated for our government to build a physical wall separating the two countries. In June 2018, Melania Trump wore a jacket from popular retailer Zara with the words “I really don’t care, do u?” on the back while en route to and from a visit with undocumented children housed in the Upbring New Hope Children’s shelter in McAllen, Texas. As more stories surface of separated families and isolated children, people are realizing that this is beyond a 63 COULTURE • BORDERS

question of politics or blame. The events surrounding the border have implications and daily effects on people all around us, even if we don’t know it. *** While President Trump is largely known for his campaign promise to build a wall, conversations regarding immigration date all the way back to the late 18th century, when non-white immigrants could not become citizens of the U.S. In 1798, John Adams was the first president given the right to deport citizens who were considered a threat. Nearly 90 years later, in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was enforced, prohibiting the immigration of all Chinese laborers. Although there was a pause in immigration in the 1890s due to economic depression, in 1917, the U.S. banned immigration from all Asian countries except Japan and the Philippines. In 1921, the U.S. proceeded to

place different caps on the amount of immigrants that could come into America from a number of countries and still did not open its borders for the Jews trying to escape from Nazi governments. Three years later, the Johnson-Reed Act was passed in 1924, effectively keeping immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe out of the country. It was not revised until 1956, when Democratic congressmen realized they needed the votes of those immigrants. However, in 1952, the United States stopped excluding immigrants based on race. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 eliminated only allowing immigrants from certain countries, initially favoring employable immigrants. This later proved to be biased towards family unity because, ultimately, this caused the number of educated, working immigrants to decrease and caused the presence of more unskilled workers to increase. In 1990, America began to invest in border security, but still allowed 1.7

million Mexicans immigrants in over the next decade. Due to ISIS and the Syrian refugee crisis, politicians have yet again introduced the discussion of banning certain immigrants from entering the country. It is important not only to note the stories of those who have immigrated to this country, but how immigration shapes life as we know it. There are many different aspects of immigration that are interconnected to the rest of our lives. *** A refugee family walked out of the airport with exhaustion written on their faces after a four-day journey to America. Their little girl widened her eyes as she surveyed the place around her, wondering where home was. Sarah Kreitzer, senior at the UNCChapel Hill, stood outside the airport with the family and other volunteers from World Relief, a Christian organization that helps refugees settle in the Triangle. Kreitzer worked for World Relief for one year as a photographer. Her job was to take pictures of families upon their first arrival in America. The refugees were unaware that Kreitzer would be one of the people waiting to greet them, a camera in hand. “In a lot of ways I felt disrespectful and dishonoring to them to enter into their sacred space for just one moment to take pictures of it,” Kreitzer said. On her first day, she left the airport with only 10 to 20 photos. Kreitzer didn’t want her camera to be one of the first interactions the refugees had when they arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The family patriarch told Kreitzer about their long journey that included many checkpoints and uncomfortable questions. However, he still had a sense of joy and anticipation to settle in America. Kreitzer said the translator asked the parents if she could take pictures. While the family agreed to a few photos, they were clearly uncomfortable and confused. The children never left the protection of their mother’s side, and remained well behaved. The family spoke very quietly. Not using every second as a photographic opportunity when meeting

the families allowed them to experience a sense of private joy and relief. “So many moments are better off if we would just put our camera down,” Kreitzer said. A second Syrian refugee family invited Kreitzer to their apartment for supper. While the walls were bare and there was no memorabilia on their shelves, traces of their culture were found in the simplicity of dining together. Regardless of the language barrier, the family prepared food from their home and showed her genuine hospitality, even though they were in a country that was not yet their own. Many barriers marked Kreitzer’s experience as a photographer. Instead of feeling like she was helping the refugees, she sometimes left the airport racked with guilt about her photos and hesitant about her right to be present. “It was a defining experience doing that job because I realized people don’t need someone there taking their pictures,” Kreitzer said. “People need a human there to love them and give them the space to acclimate and be themselves.” *** Despite the current state of affairs, senior Jackeline Lizama remains proud of her El Salvadorian heritage. She grew up in Sanford, North Carolina, surrounded by Hispanic culture. Her caretaker was from Panama, and her entire living room was covered with trinkets and keepsakes

“SO MANY MOMENTS ARE BETTER OFF IF WE WOULD JUST PUT OUR CAMERA DOWN.” from El Salvador. Much like the aforementioned refugee family, Lizama’s own parents took great lengths to come to the United States. Her mother, Elsy Hernandez, came across the border with the help of people referred to as “Los Coyotes”, but her father, Jose Armando Lizama, did not have enough money to pay them for help and endured a long, obstacle-filled journey that included having to swim through a river. Hernandez was seeking a better life for her children as well as money that she could send back to 64


support her five-year-old daughter, Sonya. “It’s really crazy the length they went to so they could provide for our family,” Lizama said. Hernandez sacrificed seeing her daughter for 20 years as she weaved her way through the intense process of residency. By the time Hernandez saw Sonya again, she had started her own family in El Salvador. “They came from nothing for me to be here, and now I’m at UNC,” said Lizama. “Trump’s presidency has emboldened people in many ways who are racist in America. He has pushed people to the point that they showed us - and even themselves - who they really are. We can choose to fall into bigotry and racism, or we can sit down and have a conversation to move forward, as frightening as it may be.” After the election, Lizama chose to switch her degree from biology to journalism as she saw the importance of being a voice for Latinos that she said are written off as drug dealers, illegals, or non-contributors. “There are very few of us to speak on Latino issues,” said Lizama. “I have an instant connection with others because there are very few [Latino journalists at UNC-CH] and you know you grew up around the same foods [as them] and the way their traditions are.” *** While the distance from Chapel Hill to the United States’ southern border is well over a thousand miles, the effects of the conflict are still felt here on campus. Mi Pueblo is an organization at UNCCH whose mission, according to Political Action Chair Marco L. Chumbimuni, is “to serve as a safe space for Latinx students to celebrate, and get to know their culture, as well as exchange ideas and communicate to allies of different cultures and identities.” The main discussion that comes from the southern border surrounds undocumented immigrants. Chumbimuni made it clear that generalizations about the Latinx community hurt those who search for a better life in the United States by making them seem like they have ill intentions. Although there are issues within the state and country as a whole, there are still many other battles being fought on campus. Michael Sosa has been involved with Mi Pueblo since his first year at

Carolina and now serves as its president. He is pushing for the club to have a space on campus. Sosa said, “We have been pushing the platform ‘Estoy Aquí’ on campus. We have so much culture, and so many different countries here at UNC-CH that we can not fully represent on campus.” Noticing the problems that continue to arise on campus and at the border, Sosa is certain that being informed is “the first step as a citizen.” He explains that getting uncomfortable is necessary, and people must be willing to listen to what they don’t necessarily want to hear. “People aren’t watching the videos of the cries of children being separated from their parents, and children pretty much being locked in a cage,” Sosa said. Chumbimuni added that the government has an opportunity to

“WE CAN CHOOSE TO FALL INTO BIGOTRY AND RACISM, OR WE CAN SIT DOWN AND HAVE A CONVERSATION TO MOVE FORWARD, AS FRIGHTENING AS IT MAY BE.” step up as well and “demonstrate their ability to be empathetic to vulnerable communities.” These changes can come in many forms, from legislation to changing the rhetoric. In addition to the activism of Mi Pueblo, Pupusas for Education is a local nonprofit that provides scholarships to undocumented students. Seeking to end the stigma around DACA recipients and/or DREAMers, 19-year-old Marcella Pansini, a sophomore at the UNC-CH, works as executive director of Pupusas for Education. “They’re wasting our time,” Pansini said. “These are hardworking students. They have the same dreams that all of us do. The only difference is where they were born.” Pupusas for Education is the nonprofit partner of So Good Pupusas, a food truck and catering company started by UNC-CH graduate Cecilia Polanco in 2015. Pupusas for Education currently supports five students financially. In addition to its scholarships, it


has recently launched a program to place undocumented students in paid internships in the community, allowing students who financially provide for their families to have career-applicable experiences. Pansini said the current political climate has only heightened the need for work like that of Pupusas for Education. “The students are more vulnerable than they have ever been to outside hatred,” Pansini said. “The administration is actively working to take opportunity away from them rather than giving them opportunity. So, it’s important for us right now to be the support that they need.” *** As Pansini stated, the only difference for these students is where they were born. However, they are just as entitled to calling the United States home as we are. For 12 years, Sophia* has had to prove countless times that she belongs in this place she calls home. For twelve years, the government has told her that her real home is a place she can barely remember. Sophia’s family came to America from Bahrain when she was five. Her father received an opportunity through his job, and they were told becoming citizens would only take five or six years. Twelve years later, they are still at least another five years away from citizenship. Coming to America so young, Sophia adjusted to the language and culture relatively quickly. Now a freshman in college, she barely remembers life in Bahrain. But in the eyes of the law, she only became a permanent resident of North Carolina a year ago. Sophia and her family often had to tiptoe around vacations, gathering all the proper documents just so they could leave the state. “You don’t want to give people reasons for you not to get a green card in the future,” Sophia said. When her class took trips out of North Carolina, her parents had to provide documentation so that she could prove on demand her right to be in the country Last fall, Sophia learned she had to apply as an out-of-state student, despite having lived in North Carolina for twelve years. She filled out the appropriate paperwork and prepared to submit her


applications. By a stroke of luck, the paperwork that had been deferred for years finally went through and Sophia was granted a green card just before submitting her application. While this is the story of one girl, there are thousands of stories just like it. Some people, like her, are inching closer and closer to citizenship. Some, like her, are finally able to visit their native countries from time to time. Others have had their green card applications denied and some have even been forced to leave. While the conversation about immigration often centers on Latin America, people from all over the world with varying levels of documentation are affected. In the last few years, the difficulties of immigration have increased dramatically. Sophia remembers six years ago, her brother had no problem applying for college as a North Carolina resident, even without a green card. She, however, was put on the email list for international students. Sophia was granted residency just in time, but others were not as fortunate. Even direct family ties to the U.S. no longer guarantee a green card. One young man told his story of being denied a green card even though his father and step-father were U.S. citizens. His mother returned to Ireland when her temporary visa expired. She was not told until after she departed that leaving the country before the new application was approved was a violation of “visa application rules.” She was banned from the U.S. for a year. No matter where they are coming from, immigrants have felt the effects of the Trump administration’s harsh treatment. The journey to residency is fraught with tension and uncertainty. “People just don’t realize how difficult it can be, because not only is it a long process, but it’s very emotionally stressful,” Sophia said. “We’ve been here for twelve years. This is where all my memories stem from.” “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” This line from Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” is inscribed within the lower level of the Statue of Liberty. This promise of freedom welcomed immigrants to Ellis Island, New York upon completing their voyage to the States.

While the poem’s original purpose was to raise funds for the statue’s construction, American politics have alluded to it in a myriad of ways. However, the issue of the United States’ border with Mexico is much more than a talking point in a debate or an issue of policy and security. It’s about humanity — or as we have observed, the lack thereof. Since the start of his campaign in 2015, Trump has managed to demonize black and brown immigrants specifically, smearing the perception Americans have of them. From calling Mexicans rapists and criminals to claiming all Haitians have AIDS and Nigerians live in huts, he has perpetuated and amplified an internalized Western idea that immigrants are primitive and unworthy of entering this country without an arbitrary litmus test. The effects of this have spiraled, further encouraging the Trump administration to initiate stalling tactics to prohibit green card holders — of all ethnicities — from obtaining their full citizenship. Families have been separated, children have been traumatized, and yet it appears that our complacency remains the same. As a nation, we frequently question and produce statistics on how much immigrants contribute to America’s economy, but it is important to remember that their output and accomplishments is not what makes their humanity valuable. Yes, immigration looks much different now than it did when Emma Lazarus first inscribed her poem, but the question still remains: can a country embark on being “great again” while actively dehumanizing those that made this country great in the first place? Education. *name changed for anonymity



QUEER PROM MODELED BY ELISE BALLAN, JOHN BIGELOW, KIMMI CHAN-SUI, MASAAKI KAMIYA, CULLEN KEOGH, CLARA LUISA MATTHEWS, JO SNOW AND JENNIFER SU PHOTOGRAPHED BY JORDYN BURRELL, LANDON COOPER, HELEN HONG AND SABAH KADIR PRODUCTION BY KAT MILES AND SYDNEY WOOD WRITTEN BY PATRICK ROSEMOND DESIGNED BY CARTER FRYE We were born to shine. We were made to scream from the top of skyscrapers; to have our names in bold on signs visible from the West to the East coast. We were built to be heard. I sit back and reflect on my high-school self in my high-school bedroom, dancing and singing with the doors locked, thinking will I ever be happy with being myself? This was different. Instead of talking about how our prom experiences could have been, we reclaimed prom for the people we are now. We call for a toast—Here’s to all the queer kids who have come before us and who are yet to come. Here’s to the queer kids who celebrated as proudly as any other teenager would’ve during their high school prom. Here’s to the queer kid who wished they could have been that out person in high school and here’s to the queer kids who are still figuring it out.












She steps onto the court. She stands silently, but her presence speaks volumes. All eyes are on her, even though everyone is blinded by the hot summer sun of the 2018 French Open. Her sleek, jet-black catsuit embodies her power, presence and femininity. She is the second-most decorated women’s singles player, with 23 grand slam titles, and has the second longest streak as the world’s number one ranked women’s tennis player. She walks onto every court with class and style, wearing bold colors and textures as she prevails in nearly every match she plays. Serena is sexy, and she is a winner. She reaches up for the first serve. The ball hits the strings of her racket right in the sweet spot, blasting it over the net to her opponent’s forecourt. From the ground all the way up to her grip on the racket, small movements bring her finesse to fruition. The world of tennis had never seen someone play like this. Williams struggles with postpartum difficulties, including blood clots, as this is her first appearance since becoming a mother. While she may be invincible on the court, she is still susceptible to such complications. According to Vox Media, Black women are three times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications. Williams’ catsuit, which works similar to compression stockings, manages these lingering repercussions. The ball slams down on the opposite side, landing just out of Julia Görges’ reach. Later, during her opponent’s serve, nothing would stop Williams from


returning the ball with ease. Absorbing all of its ferocity, she sends it back with more intensity and speed than that with which it came. Yet, critics are focusing less on her athletic ability and more on what she is

wearing. While most like her catsuit, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) does not. The FFT is now trying to ban bodysuits, deeming them disrespectful to the sport and the place of play. The federation has publicly announced, “[bodysuits] will no longer be accepted. One must respect the

game and the place”. Yet, Nadal’s arms breaking through a tank top aren’t held to this same standard. There are no rules on men accentuating their physique. Neither are Djokovic’s shirtless victory celebrations, nor the athletes who pair sheer shorts with dark undergarments. Certain tennis organizations require that players wear tennis whites during games, despite the fact that white clothing can be particularly revealing. There has been no previous question of this disrespect. Why are Serena’s fashion choices under such intense scrutiny? Perhaps because she briefly departed to give birth; or because she elected to focus on her personal life over her quest for more titles; or simply because of the sport’s institutionally misogynistic ways. Williams had justifiable medical reasoning for her ostensibly disrespectful outfit, but the FFT still questioned her. One would think the sheer number of major titles she holds is enough to prove her place in the world of tennis. Despite this, somehow, many spectate that her game is not enough. Every stroke she played in that catsuit was driven with intense power and speed. She sent deep cross court balls and slammed overhead balls into the corners of the box. The sport had never seen anything like it, let alone in pursuit of a grand slam. Strict dress codes will never stop Williams’ domination, just as they will never stop other professional athletes from owning their game. Serena Williams is a strong woman and a strong athlete. Anyone who tries to challenge her will find failure.


Photo from StudioCanal

WRITTEN BY LIZ JOHNSON DESIGNED BY ELIZABETH BRYANT Something we all want is to protect the people we love. Something we are all afraid of is not being able to. In his memoir “Beautiful Boy,” David Sheff chronicles his son’s descent into methamphetamine addiction. He begins his narration with one of Nic’s relapses, then rewinds, weaving together the colorful tapestry of his son’s childhood. A screen adaptation of Sheff ’s memoir was released this fall, starring acclaimed actors Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. The movie also draws inspiration from Nic’s own memoir, “Tweak,” but focuses primarily on the father’s perspective. Early in the story, the audience sees Nic finger-paint in kindergarten and surf in middle school, haunted by the knowledge of what happens next. Sheff finds a bag of marijuana in his son’s backpack when Nic is in seventh grade. I wished by closing the book or pausing the movie I could delay its inevitable trajectory, a downward spiral that begins shortly after Nic’s high school graduation. Both the book and movie bring the audience to every peak and valley of Sheff ’s journey. We witness Nic’s initial arrest, his father’s frantic search the first time he goes missing, the joy of Nic’s full year of sobriety, and the heartbreak and frustration as he relapses once again. We feel betrayed when Nic steals money from his family, we feel angry when he storms out of his father’s house. More than anything, we want Nic to return safely home to his family.

The power of Sheff ’s narrative and the actors’ portrayal of his family comes from the dual ability to connect with the audience and shed light on a painfully real situation that many people do not and cannot fully comprehend. This narrative helps to remove the shroud of mystery from addiction. Through the extensive research Sheff conducts, we can better understand the science of the illness. Through Chalamet’s and Carell’s moving performance, we see the ways addiction turns life upside down in a heartbeat. When Nic is young, Sheff sings John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” to him as he falls asleep. The song gives its title to the book and movie, capturing Sheff ’s desire to protect his son at all costs. This idea persists throughout the story as Sheff desperately coaxes his son from one treatment center to the next. He admits to himself that his attempts are probably futile, but how can he give up on the person he loves most? How can he stop running after his son? Near the end of the book, Sheff describes an art therapy session in which Nic draws a bleeding heart. Sheff ’s wife draws a sunset, and Sheff draws an angry chalk line that could be a river. As they continue, the sunset turns into a storm, the river turns into a flood of tears, and the heart is scribbled over with I am sorry again and again. As they drew, I could almost hear Lennon crooning in the background. “I can hardly wait to see you come of age, but I guess we’ll both just have to be patient, cause it’s a long way to go.”


WRITTEN BY RUTH SAMUEL DESIGNED BY KAKI MCNEEL A first-generation immigrant is defined as either “a person who has immigrated to a new country and been naturalized, or to the children of such an immigrant.” One’s identity as a firstgeneration child in the United States functions frequently like a doubleedged sword. Many children of immigrants, such as myself, feel an innate desire to display their inward connection to their parents’ homeland. However, the whitewashing that westernization forces upon us specifically tends to place firstgeneration students between a rock and a hard place: either conform and lose your cultural connection, or be ostracized for proudly embracing it. Although he was born in Brooklyn, NY, Paakow Essandoh experienced this whitewashing at the tender age of 10 while briefly living in Ohio. When Essandoh moved to Texas at 11, he was 83 COULTURE • BORDERS

finally exposed to diversity and culture. There, he interacted with other African children who normalized taking pride in their heritage. Years later, at age 19, he soon built a brand called MIZIZI as “a result of a search for [his] own identity.” MIZIZI (mi-zee-zee), which means “roots” in Swahili, is dubbed “The Official Streetwear of the Diaspora.” From baseball to hockey to basketball jerseys, the brand capitalizes on sportswear as a means for children of African descent to proudly represent their culture and where they are from. On August 30, 2018, MIZIZI celebrated its third year anniversary, with approximately 30 countries represented in their clothing line. At 23-years-old, Essandoh shared his motivations for founding MIZIZI, what it means to him as a Ghanaian-American, and how his company has served as a way for people to connect with their heritage despite the physical barriers that hinder us. Essandoh attended the University of South Florida from 2013 to 2017, where



he got a Bachelor of Science in Health Science, but now, MIZIZI occupies him full-time. The idea of MIZIZI came to him during his freshman year of college. He attempted to find manufacturers in New York over the summer but was unsuccessful. He never saw himself running a fashion company and initially wanted to pursue pharmacy, but his college experience changed his trajectory. “My sophomore year, that sophomore fall, I took a break from school and I came home just because… yo, I hated USF. I really just didn’t fit in my first year out there. That freshman year, I was really depressed. I didn’t have anyone to talk to or anyone to relate to. I just felt lost in where I was and in myself,” Essandoh said. Once he returned home to Texas, he worked briefly as a pharmacy technician at CVS. That experience for him was so monotonous, yet eye-opening, that he was able to recognize he could not dedicate the rest of his life to the

pharmacy field. It gave him the extra motivation he needed to go back to school and finish MIZIZI. “There’s not very many Africans in Florida. There’s a lot of West Indians, a lot of Haitians, Jamaicans, Caribbeans,” Essandoh said, “but even at USF, all of the students that were in the ASA club, they were mostly internationals. And then, even with the African-Americans, I was just kind of somewhere in the middle.” Essandoh said it took some time for him to actually think about who he was and what it was he wanted to represent. Thus, MIZIZI was born with the intention of combining “both flavors” and bridging that cultural gap. “At the end of the day, finding yourself is going to be a continuous journey. It’s not something that’s just a ‘one and done.’ Your identity isn’t set in stone, it’s malleable, it’s always changing,” Essandoh said. Despite the fact that he eventually found a manufacturer in California and had a few mock designs, it took a few years to fully convince his mother that this was his purpose in life. He had background knowledge in finding this information due to a previous t-shirt making stint and simple Google searches. The e-book “How to Launch a Kickass T-Shirt Brand” is what he said helped him understand “the shallow basics, from legalities to manufacturing.” Most African parents expect their children to veer towards conventionally secure professions, such as medicine, law or engineering. African parents that have immigrated to the States have had to navigate a very different path to success than their children; for them, it commonly serves as a means of survival. Breaking out of that mold requires a


lot of bargaining, explaining and proof of dedication. With some persistence though, they are able to see the same view. After proposing his 50-page business plan, Essandoh’s mother invested in his vision. “Once she saw that all of the money she was sending me for food was going to redeveloping designs and putting together a business plan and once she saw that I was actually consistent with it, that’s whenever she started being a little more lenient,” Essandoh said. Years later, countless celebrities, like Snoop Dogg, Ashanti and the cast of “Black Panther,” have received MIZIZI apparel. Essandoh said the best part of his experience though, was watching peoples’ parents react. “A lot of people today who are first, second generation have a tendency to shun the African side of us due to our location and where we’re at and where we are in our social circles,” Essandoh said. “Then seeing the parents go like, ‘Damn, my child is actually reconnecting back to the place where I left and I’ve started disconnecting from,’ and seeing how proud it makes them really gets me. Because you know, that’s what I saw in my Mom.” As a Ghanaian-American, Essandoh loves how the jerseys stand out and allow him to represent his culture in a subtle yet powerful way. MIZIZI apparel is an avenue for people to create a dialogue about their country, their roots and facilitate a basic connection with a stranger — which is his hope for those who buy a jersey. “I want people to be connected. I want these jerseys to be able to bridge the Diaspora. There are these preconceptions between African Americans and Africans from the continent, but at the end of the day, does it really matter?” Essandoh asked. “All of this is nonsense. The only allies we have are ourselves. Fuck all the bullshit, be proud of who you are, and know that unity is power, man, so embrace that.”



WRITTEN BY MICHELLE DIXON DESIGNED BY EMILY CUNNINGHAM Chains clawed and ripped the skin of African slaves. They laid in their own vomit while droplets of thick, red blood wept from their flesh. Fear stung my ancestors more than whips did. Pain and apprehension coursed through them. Some fought back, and others didn’t. Trapped in the lower hold of a ship, unable to return home, I couldn’t blame them for either response. Sometimes, I daydream of a life without the impact of colonization or slavery. In this dream, I speak the dialect of my African tribe, wear my country’s traditional attire, and share about my homeland with pride. But it’s just a dream. Reality is a moment of grief when I realize documents, pictures and names have been erased from my family’s past because of slavery. Reality is a moment of embarrassment when my friends get to wave their country’s flag while I wave America’s. I can’t deny the envy I feel when my friends get to decorate their rooms with symbols and flags celebrating their homeland, while my only option is America. I don’t hate America, only the history of why a Black woman like myself is here, and its ramifications. Because of that history, I have never been able to learn about my true background. I could travel back to Africa, go from country to country to learn about its rich, deep history. But, there’s also another fear: would Africans accept me? In high school, I dated a Nigerian guy. He warned me about his mom’s feelings

toward Americans, but I thought he was being dramatic. When I met his mom, she wore a full traditional Nigerian dress. Her dark brown skin contrasted well against its loud colors. I leaned in to shake her hand, but she stepped back, scanned me up and down, and said, “Where is she from?” Her eyes were locked on me. “America,” he said. Her face tightened as if she smelled unwanted trash in her home. I just stood there and smiled, not knowing how to defend myself. We had the same skin color, but my status as American indicated that I was nothing like her. This “free” status I have as an American feels hindered by centuries of systematic oppression that lingers in almost any environment in the States. Black people call Africa “the Motherland,” but I’ve only felt neglect and rejection from Her. I’ve tried to search for a place to belong in Africa and America, but each time there’s a realization of rejection. So, each time, I’m led back to my faith. Believing in Jesus has given me an identity that’s not based on where I was born, but on what He says about me. He doesn’t call out my flaws. Instead, He calls forth my strengths. He doesn’t turn me away. Instead, He pursues me and is proud to call me His own. It honestly still hurts knowing that I don’t know my homeland. However, I know that my faith is far more secure than an earth that is withering away.


WRITTEN BY THE FEATURES TEAM DESIGNED BY ZOE HAMBLEY Apparently, it’s a very scary time for young men. That’s interesting though, because they didn’t grow up learning to constantly be on guard, to refuse open drinks at parties in case they are drugged and to not walk alone at night. As women, we came to accept that that was the way the world worked. Then the accusations against Harvey Weinstein became public, and it felt like the world changed. In October 2017, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet...Me too.” The hashtag #MeToo went viral with 1.7 million tweets. The hashtag received its name from the “me too.” movement, founded by Tarana Burke in 2006. Since its creation, the movement has helped survivors heal, as well as given them an opportunity to present their stories. As millions of survivors came 87 COULTURE • BORDERS

forward to courageously join Milano in strengthening Burke’s movement, a sense of unity developed among these strangers who realized they shared similar struggles. Through the unity of #MeToo, individuals from every demographic now felt less alone as they came forward to, for the first time, speak up for themselves. But before there was the #MeToo Movement, before women everywhere encouraged each other to acknowledge their attacks, Andrea Pino was a student at UNC-Chapel Hill. In 2012, near the end of Pino’s sophomore year, she was assaulted at a party that she had only attended to watch out for her friend. Forcibly taken to the bathroom, she was thrown against the wall with such force that she blacked out.“[There is an] obsession with taking instances and picking apart traits in the story,” Pino said in a 2016 interview

with Vanity Fair. “We focus so much on deconstructing them and disproving them, which is unlike any other crime.” Among the hundreds of thousands of students who have been sexually assaulted in college was also Annie Clark, who entered UNC-CH in fall 2006. Clark still cannot talk about her assault in much detail. She ran into a bathroom following the stranger’s attack, unable to digest what she had just endured. As fate would have it, the two former UNC-CH students finally got the opportunity to meet at an on-campus gathering held for student activists. Their shared life-altering experience brought them together. They became instant friends, keeping in constant communication. Clark and Pino now work to reclaim the confidence, as well as the basic human rights of respect and interpersonal boundaries, of countless women who have been robbed of it.

In 2013, the two women helped start End Rape on Campus (EROC), an organization offering student survivors helpful services and information on laws surrounding the sexual assault, such as Title IX. Title IX was passed in 1972 to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally-funded educational program or activity. Pino and Clark realized that their rights under this law were not being respected because, for all they knew, their attackers still walked around campus without suffering any consequences. What followed their decision to file a Title IX complaint in 2013 demonstrates the danger survivors fear if they should

assistance and resources for individuals living in the county. On their page “For Survivors,” OCRCC says, “Making the decision to reach out and tell someone about your experience can be difficult. It can also be empowering.” Sexual assault is not merely about sex; it is a matter of exerting power and force upon an individual. For far too long, society has allowed perpetrators and sexual offenders to be absolved of any responsibility and has concocted this image that those who have been violated are weak. Stories similar to Pino and Clark’s are still playing out today. While statistics and campaigns are a necessary way to inform the general public about sexual assault, they do not seem to be getting the job done on their own. Rape is not a past issue, nor can it simply be resolved overnight. The changes we need to see will not come easy. Our society has so many systemic issues that need to be resolved before we can even imagine a world with little to no assault -- from the deep-set patriarchy to the fact that so many white women have no problem supporting President Donald Trump and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The world once again shifted when Christine Blasey Ford testified in a Sneate confirmation hearing that Kavanaugh assaulted her when the two were in high school. A UNC alumnus herself, Ford said that she knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Kavanaugh had been the one to assault her. “I am here today not because I want to be,” Ford said. “I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened.” We stand with Clark, Pino, Ford and the #MeToo Movement in taking back the dignity that is rightfully theirs. Part of this reclamation is the acknowledgment that things need to change and that we are the generation that has the power to revolutionize the way assault is approached.

“SEXUAL ASSAULT IS NOT MERELY ABOUT SEX; IT IS A MATTER OF EXERTING POWER AND FORCE UPON AN INDIVIDUAL.” speak out. The women received threats via Twitter, and a stranger forced their way into Pino’s dorm room, leaving a knife covered in fake blood beside her door. Many students besides Pino and Clark have claimed that UNC-CH is not doing their utmost to protect students. In April 2018, the North Carolina Court of Appeals decided that UNC-CH would have to publicly release the names of individuals, students, and faculty alike, who have been found guilty of rape and related offenses. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 69 percent of victims are under 30-yearsold, 82 percent of juvenile victims are women and the risk of sexual violence is three times as high for college-aged individuals. Furthermore, transgender women and Native American women are the most targeted individuals. While these statistics are based off of collected data, we must not forget cases that go unreported. More local to current UNC-Chapel Hill students, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center (OCRCC) offers 24/7

Additional resources: you are ever in danger or suspect that someone else is, please call 911.



Profile for Coulture Magazine

Coulture Fall/Winter 2018  

Coulture Fall/Winter 2018