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DOW N TO EA RTH FAI RY TA L E S T YLE ME E T S RE A L I T Y

THE REVEREND AND THE REDNECK HOW A BLACK REVEREND FIGHTS RACISM IN HIS SMALL SOUTH CAROLINA TOWN

WHISPER THERAPY DIVING INTO THE SECRET WORLD OF ASMR

TRACKING TERPS THE ILLEGAL ART WE LOVE ON THE TRAINS WE HATE

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GB STUDENT MAGAZINE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF C A R O L I N E F A I R E Y CREATIVE DIRECTOR G R A C E S T E P T O E MANAGING EDITOR C H R I S T I A N C O M P T O N

PRI N T AR T I C L ES ED I TO R Jenna Schiferl D I G I TAL M ED I A ED I TO R Zoe Nicholson

DI R ECTOR OF S T UDEN T M EDI A Sarah Scarborough

STAF F W R I T ER Chandni Amin STAF F W R I T ER Courtney Carrick STAF F W R I T ER Mary-Bryant Charles STAF F W R I T ER Hallie Hayes STAF F W R I T ER Nicole Kitchens STAF F W R I T ER Sarah Nichols STAF F W R I T ER Rose Steptoe CO P Y C H I EF Cassidy Spencer AR T D I R EC TO R Gracie Newton STAF F D ESI G N ER Meredith Price STAF F D ESI G N ER Emily Schoonover STAF F D ESI G N ER Katie Slack P H OTO ED I TO R Alyssa-Leigh Willey A S S I S TA N T P H OTO ED I TO R Coleman Rojahn S TA F F P H OTO G R AP H ER Callie Hatcher S TA F F P H OTO G R AP H ER Mason Haselden S TA F F P H OTO G R AP H ER Mark Maddaloni S TAF F P H OTO G R AP H ER Anna Schoeck S TA F F P H OTO G R AP H ER Akuya Stoddard S TAF F P H OTO G R AP H ER Camila Trujillo ST Y L E ED I TO R Caroline Hart A S S I S TAN T ST Y L E ED I TO R Jasmine White PUB LI C RE L AT I O N S D I R EC TO R Brennan Booker M U LT I M ED I A D I R EC TO R Steven Tapia S O CI A L M ED I A CO O R D I N ATO R Frazier Bostic ASSISTA N T S O C I A L M ED I A CO O R D I N ATO R Callie Hatcher

CR EAT I VE DI R ECTOR Edgar Santana A DVER T I S I N G M A N AGER Patrick DiDomenico S OCI A L M EDI A M A N AGER Sydney Patterson FACULT Y A DVI S OR Scott Farrand CR EAT I VE S ER VI CES Calista Berner Abby Meyer Emily Schoonover Meagan Sigmon Katie Slack Grace Steptoe A DVER T I S I N G R EPR ES EN TAT I VES Tommy Aiken Vincent Arceo Jon Butto Barron Coleman Cal Dean Evan Johnston Cathryn Thompson Advertising: (803) 777-3018 To contact G&B, email sagandbe@mailbox.sc.edu or visit www.gandbmagazine.com Garnet & Black magazine is produced four times a year by students of the University of South Carolina and is distributed free to members of the university community. All editors and staff members can be contacted at (803) 777-1149. The office is located in Russell House room 339. Email letters to the editor to sagandbe@mailbox.sc.edu or to Garnet & Black magazine, Student Media, 1400 Greene Street, Columbia, SC 29208.


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Contents Garnet & Black Magazine Spring 2019

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24

44

FERTILE GROUND

DOWN TO EARTH

(ON/OFF)LINE

A local artist reflects on finding beauty in Columbia

Fairytale style meets reality

Is it real friendship if you can’t touch it?

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32

46

THE REVEREND AND THE REDNECK

PILLARS OF THE PAST

A look at one of the internet’s weirdest corners

The stranger-than-fiction friendship of a Black reverend and a Klan leader

A look inside the Sumter Street war memorial

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36

WHISPER THERAPY

TRACKING TERPS

NOW I JUMP TO EARTH...

You don’t know him, but you know his work

Poetry by Caroline Fairey

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38

CLEAN SLATE

BETWEEN THE STACKS

Columbia’s move to renewable energy

Insight into the rare books on campus

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41

INSTAGRAM BOOTY

CROWNING THE KING

The luxe and lies of influencers

Savannah’s JVCK on rap culture and queer identity

COVER PHOTO BY COLEMAN ROJAHN COVER DESIGN BY GRACE STEPTOE


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Letter from the Editor EDITOR-IN-CHIEF CAROLINE FAIREY

WHEN I FIRST STARTED WRITING, my stories and poems were always set in faraway cities. Apartment windows lighting up the skyline at night, car alarms and rush hour, people walking briskly to important jobs – I wrote about people in these places and what they might be doing there. Even though I spent my entire childhood in Estill, South Carolina (look us up! We have one truly excellent Mexican restaurant!) I was compelled to write about people who I had seen represented in music, TV shows, and books – people that I imagined were doing something “real” which I couldn’t access. I’m lucky to have stumbled into journalism; this field of work, unlike other forms of media, asserts the importance of the current and the local. The stories that we get to uncover – homegrown artists hitting their stride, untold histories of the university, firsthand accounts of the student experience – are vastly important, not because they could be written anywhere, but because they could only have been written here, at the University of South Carolina. I don’t hope to speak for every student. Each member of the university community comes to South Carolina with a distinct personal history, a litany of varied experiences with our state and city, and preconceptions about the culture at USC. However, drawing on my own time as a student, I’ve overheard (and participated in) far too many conversations about the lack of culture and opportunity in our corner of the world. Even though Columbia comprises multiple overlapping identities – seat of the state government, home of most state public art and educational institutions, built around the flagship public university of the state—there is a tendency to look farther away for truth. Some advice that’s served me well – the local is the universal. The universal is the local. If we continue to pay attention to the artists, the activists, the archivists who signify the potential that Columbia contains, we will see in them a mirror, not only of the events and trends that define our generation on a national level, but stories that magnify the human struggle for self-expression and personal dignity. (No one exemplifies these traits, as well as resilience, compassion, and strength in the face of targeted racism and hatred more than Reverend David Kennedy, who we were privileged to feature in this issue.) All this to say—where you are now is worth covering, and the familiar, when looked at with a discerning eye, can become fascinating and strange. One last note: my poem appears in this issue. I’m grateful to our articles editors for encouraging this inclusion, and to all the designers and photographers and stylists and writers – even though at the time of writing I have not seen a final product, the joy and beauty poured into this magazine astounds me with each successive printing, and I’m proud to be published alongside these stellar humans.


CULTIVATING COLUMBIA’S ART COMMUNITY

BY JENNA SCHIFERL • PHOTOS BY COLEMAN ROJAHN • LIGHTING BY STEVEN TAPIA • DESIGN BY MEREDITH PRICE

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When 6ixx speaks, it’s hard not to listen. The 29-year-old artist is a first generation Haitian American. His pregnant mother fled Haiti when she was only 13 years old to give birth to him in the United States. He spent his childhood growing up in Miami, helping his mother look after his two younger siblings throughout middle and high school. As a teenager, he received a football scholarship to Savannah State University, but after two years a serious leg injury put him on bed rest for 7 months. “My whole adolescent teenage years were cultivated in me being an athlete. Now that reality was no longer available to me, I felt like a broken person,” he says. During this time, he became a voracious reader and writer, filling his days with authors like Voltaire and Paulo Coelho. “That moment of stillness kind of fortified my idea that you know, if I can’t move, I can still write,” he says. 6ixx is a familiar face to many around Columbia. His work as a motivational speaker, spoken word artist, poet, writer and cinematographer has led to an extensive network of connections throughout the city. He arrived in Columbia after he was offered a second football scholarship at Benedict College. He graduated with a degree in political science and started working for the Clinton Foundation as a brand ambassador and community outreach specialist. “When I was working, it was lonely … for the majority of the time, it was me, by myself, in a cube, researching and writing. That’s when I made my little list of things I would do if I could ever pull myself away from the job.” What was on the list? “Do music and do art — It wasn’t a long list,” he says with a smile. After working 2 years and traveling to 21 states, 6ixx returned to Columbia and quickly became involved in the city’s underground art community. “That’s when my love affair with a lot of art and the city began.“ His previous projects “6ixx and The Ugly Truth” and “The Beautiful Lie” touch on large-scale topics like corporate greed and consumer superficiality, but an upcoming project titled “Some Assembly Required” is more of a celebration of Columbia, its art scene and the people that make it special. 6ixx says that “Some Assembly Required” is a video project that features interviews with Columbia residents and business owners that have cultivated and nurtured the growing arts community in the city. “It’s about community. It’s about me, as a Haitian American from Miami, coming to the south, and I never once felt Black and out of place,” he says. In a way, “Some Assembly Required” is an ode to Columbia. It’s a city that is far from perfect, but the project aims to highlight the

beauty of the city that doesn’t often get recognized. “When I talk about my development as a human, as an artist, it happened here in Columbia. It didn’t happen in Miami, it didn’t happen in any other place but Columbia, South Carolina. I found my voice and I found my passion,” 6ixx says. “I would rather develop myself in a city, in a community that will nurture me and push me and give me an opportunity to be as big as I can and build my platform as big as I can. So why not grow in a place that has enough fertile land?” His long-term vision for Columbia is for it to be recognized on a national scale as an innovative hub for artists and creatives, but he recognizes the city still has a long way to go. “Somebody has to make it big so that people look at the city, not as just a quaint little town that’s got ‘artists that are trying.’ But something comes from here that shakes the whole landscape,” he says. “It takes a different kind of person to say ‘This is where I came from. This is what made me. And I’m not ashamed of that. I don’t need to move to California or New York to be the best version of myself.’”

FERTILE GROUND 9


THERAPY DIVING INTO THE SECRET WORLD OF ASMR BY MARY-BRYANT CHARLES • PHOTOS BY ALYSSA-LEIGH WILLEY • DESIGN BY GRACE STEPTOE


T

o research this article, I had to sit in a lot of weird places at a lot of weird angles. It was a lot of trouble, but it would’ve been a lot more trouble for a bunch of strangers to look over my shoulder and see that I was watching a video of a girl chewing a plate of zucchini pasta up against a microphone with, quite frankly, an unwarranted amount of gusto. That particular video goes on for a staggering 25 minutes, but I can’t make it through the first three. For me, it’s too much. It feels really intrusive and voyeuristic, but judging by the video’s over 410,000 views and the girl’s over 210,000 YouTube subscribers, I doubt she minds the attention. She’s known to viewers as SolfridASMR. She’s a producer of ASMR, a type of video that’s exploded in popularity in the past couple of years. Videos like hers get thousands, even millions of views per upload and can be found anywhere from Instagram to Twitter to a new Nickelodeon web series. Like most trends, there are people who love it and people who passionately hate it. It’s everywhere, but also still pretty niche. It’s rare that something gets so much impassioned attention but also exists in such a shadowy space. It begs investigation. When people say ASMR, often they’re referring to a genre of video like Solfrid’s. While watching these videos is an experience in itself, what makes them special is their sounds. The chewing, the munching – it’s all highlighted to trigger a particular brain response, which is the actual definition of ASMR. ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and is characterized

by a “warm and fuzzy” feeling brought on by certain triggers, often sounds or images. Sometimes it’s stuff like in Solfrid’s video, the sounds of chewing or smacking, that triggers the sensation. Other people prefer the sounds of fingernails tapping on a table, a wet sponge getting squished, or just plain whispers. The list goes on and on, leaving something truly for everyone. From the sound of a makeup brush on a microphone, to the sound of a woman role-playing as a medieval plague doctor treating you for the Black Death, there’s no end to how you can get ASMR. It’s a tingly feeling, often described as a “head orgasm,” typically starting at the top of the head and working its way down the spine. In simplest terms, scientists think it’s the result of several different areas of the brain firing when they wouldn’t normally. Typically when you’re relaxed, the parietal and frontal lobes are active. Those are the areas of the brain responsible for perception and thought, respectively. ASMR-triggered brains, however, have their occipital cortex (responsible for vision), their primary movement cortex (responsible for movement) and their thalamus (responsible for sensory information) engaged, resulting in the tingles and feelings of euphoria. That’s pretty much where a lot of the science-y information ends. ASMR and its effects, for the most part, are still pretty unresearched. It’s only just seen a rise to mainstream prominence. Though the community it has attracted is vast, it’s still pretty self-contained, confined to the shadows of internet niche culture. Not anymore, though. In 2015 alone, searches for “ASMR” increased by 200% and are still climbing.

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12 WHISPER THERAPY


When I asked people I know about it, reactions were about as varied as the ASMR videos themselves. “Some of them are just watching someone eat in high definition and why would I ever want that?” one friend said. “It’s just so disturbing.” “It’s a fetish thing, right?” said another. “Like isn’t it always a hot girl licking a microphone? It just feels really perverted.” “I like the soap cutting videos, I think those are really satisfying, but nothing else. It’s too weird.” “That goo fad is insane.” Initially, I agreed that watching a zoomed in video of a girl munching on a chunk of honeycomb wasn’t a way I wanted to spend 10 minutes of my time. I agreed that a lot of it seemed to be geared more towards fetish or erotica. But there were several people I reached out to with a perspective I hadn’t thought about. “It was a good thing I found it when I did,” one of my high school friends told me over direct message one night. She said she has moderate to severe ADD, and while she takes medication for it, it can still make it really hard for her to focus on a particular task. “I started listening to ASMR as a joke because it was a meme on the rise,” she said. “It began to help me a lot with focusing. Once I found the right sounds, my productivity increased like crazy ... it was kind of emotional for me, finding a way to focus.” I talked to another girl who uses it as a way to cope with her anxiety. “I experienced ASMR my whole life and never knew what the tingling in my head meant,” she said. Once ASMR videos found their way into the mainstream, she was shocked to find that she wasn’t the only one who experienced it. “I feel like ASMR is like meditation for people who cannot manage to clear their heads. It offers a feeling of peace that I can’t achieve for myself.” Personally, I suffer from both anxiety and chronic insomnia. So, armed with a whole new perspective and understanding, I decided I would give it a try once I got home for winter break.

“ASMR IS LIKE MEDITATION FOR PEOPLE WHO CANNOT MANAGE TO CLEAR THEIR HEADS. IT OFFERS A FEELING OF PEACE THAT I CAN’T ACHIEVE FOR MYSELF.” I know it sounds odd, trying a new method of stress relief during a time where you’re not supposed to be under any actual stress, but it’s those times when I find it hard to get any rest. I’ve always been very skeptical of rest and breaks – I have to feel like I’ve earned them, like I’ve accomplished everything I possibly could have for that day. And even when I know I have, even the night after I finished my last final of the semester, it was still hard to quiet the voices in my head asking: “But what if you missed something?” “What if you turned in the wrong assignment?” “You didn’t work on your article today, why not when you had all that free time?” I can’t even take naps during the day because by the time I get to sleep, I’ve been lying there for two hours already. I’ve tried everything – peaceful music, waterfall sounds, guided meditation. None of it stuck. So I got settled into bed, popped in my earbuds and put on something tame, just a video of someone reading a bedtime story. Usually when I got the feeling of ASMR, it came like an unexpected guest – it was something I was never totally prepared for and didn’t really know how to respond to. But this time, I tried to relax. Be open to it. The result wasn’t exactly what I would call “nice,” but it did get me pretty sleepy and it took my focus away from those voices in my head. I entered this project with little more than what I considered a morbid curiosity, thinking I was just going to take a quick field trip into the weird, taboo corner of YouTube. In the end, it felt more like going on a treasure hunt. Sure, I encountered plenty of oddities along the way, but I left feeling like I’d stumbled on a special kind of secret. Something hidden from most of pop culture, even from science. A space for people to connect and help each other cope.

WHISPER THERAPY 13


TRACKING

THE ILLEGAL ART WE LOVE ON THE TRAINS WE HATE BY COURTNEY CARRICK • PHOTOS BY COLEMAN ROJAHN • DESIGN BY EMILY SCHOONOVER

14 HOW TO


It doesn’t take very long living in Columbia to realize trains are a big part of everyday life. They can make getting to class difficult, create a killer traffic jam and be an overall general annoyance. Yet, the echoes of their horns are enmeshed with the sound of the city – the sound that lets you know a free art exhibit is about to drive by. Graffiti art can be found scaling the walls of nearly every train car, from artists that stretch across the country to our own city of Columbia. One of those artists is Terps, a garnetand-black-blooded vandal you probably know without knowing. Or rather, you know his art: the legendary painted Terps face that can be found both on and off campus by students and citizens alike. That same painted face could also land Terps in jail, making it so I was only able to find him after a year of searching, when I eventually ran into his Instagram account, @terrps. Like many artists, Terps had simple beginnings. Some of his earliest memories in childhood are of doodling, daydreaming, and being in his favorite class – art. It was from those very art classes that the Terps we know today was born, sticking to his humble roots in the years since. “In the seventh grade we were doing portraits and my art teacher drew a really basic face, and I’ve both simplified it some and [made it] a little more complex. That’s where the face came from,” said Terps. He pointed out that originally, his tag – which is the specific marking unique to that particular artist – was merely the face. It’s a distinct face, with large “C”s as eyes framed by squiggly eyebrows, the type that was a relatively disturbing Instagram fad in early 2018. The nose is long and sloped toward the bottom, where there is the meeting of cupid’s bow and large lips in a seeming smirk. Only later did he add the name Terps to the face for branding purposes. Still, he feels as though he will always be “The Face Guy” to many people, especially since his original work sans the Terps label is still marked across the country. Terps explained, “These trains that come through Columbia, they sometimes end up across the country. I’ve heard of my tags ending up in places like Texas, California, and Oregon. Trains bring a lot of art in.” It was the trains in Beaufort that first caught the eye of Terps, who suddenly noticed an artist, Butta, whose tag was plastered all over the town. He noted that while the average person can certainly appreciate graffiti, becoming more familiar

with an artist can give said graffiti more context. “I’d noticed Avoid and Sour [in Columbia], but Butta made me look at graffiti differently. There’s a difference between just watching a train go by and actually looking and watching all these peoples’ art go past and noticing that you’ve seen that same tag elsewhere. You can put two and two together. It’s fun and like playing a game for who you can see when and where,” said Terps when discussing his greatest influences in the graffiti scene. Both Avoid and Sour’s work can be seen around the Columbia area, often beside

that of Terps, as is the case from most graffiti artists that have tagged in the same area during various periods of time. Terps explained that as artists move, so does their art. While it’s unclear when artists such as Avoid and Sour tagged in the Columbia area, the interaction between artists through art instead of face-to-face raises some questions. What does it mean to be part of an illegal community of artists? Is there friendship or rivalry? “It’s just a bunch of grown men writing on things. Sometimes people get territorial, but there’s a general respect among graffiti artists. You learn as you do it more. I made TRACKING TERPS 15


some mistakes when I first started tagging and I’ve learned from that,” stated Terps. Respect seems crucial in an art form like graffiti, where artists like Terps tag on a daily basis, with the longest Terps having ever gone without tagging being no longer than a week. When your art is a part of a constant process, finding spaces that don’t interfere with others’ work is vital. Tags are the equivalent of writing “(Blank) was here” thousands of times on various items or buildings for years, inadvertently creating an artist showcase for those willing to venture out and look. Needing to search to see the work of a particular artist may sound strange, but is essential for a great deal of graffiti art due to the practice itself being illegal. While it can be easy to associate graffiti with artists such as Banksy and Shepard Fairey, it’s important to understand that such artists are actually

street artists, not graffiti artists. Street artists use legal walls and generally make a profit. Graffiti artists are artists without a face, or rather, artists that have no choice but to be an artist without a face due to the places where they place their art being illegal, with no profit to be earned. This fact makes graffiti a controversial art form with both the public and traditional artists. “I’m not going to deny it [is vandalism], but I’m not writing on churches or businesses. I’m just trying to get my art out there, not be disrespectful. Signs, stuff kicked to the curb, trashcans, stuff I know will be power washed; that’s where I tend to go,” said Terps. Regardless of public opinion, Terps is adamant that he will continue tagging regardless of where life takes him – and he’s not the only one. If you don’t believe it, just wait for the next train.

“I’M JUST JUST TRYING TRYING TO TO GET GET “I’M MY ART ART OUT OUT THERE” THERE” MY 16 TRACKING TERPS


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CLEAN SLATE COLUMBIA IS GOING GREEN, BUT HOW LONG UNTIL WE GET THERE? BY ZOE NICHOLSON • PHOTOS BY ANNA SCHOECK • DESIGN BY KATIE SLACK


I

n 2005, more than 80 members of the United Nations ratified the Kyoto Agreement. It was an extension of a climate treaty created in the last decade, calling nations and states across the globe to commit to acknowledging and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to curb the effects of climate change. Shortly after, Columbia’s then-mayor, Bob Coble, signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. This agreement took effect in 2006 and created Columbia’s Climate Protection Action Program, or CPAC. The program has made a lot of headway since its founding. More than 95 percent of stoplights in the city are LED, the program (which is volunteer-based) hired a sustainability staffer, and the city conducted an energy audit to provide recommendations on how to further reduce CO2 emissions. When President Donald Trump pulled America out of the Paris Climate Agreement (an extension and revision of the Kyoto Agreement) in 2017, international environmental non-profit The Sierra Club was already moving to make individual states, cities and mayors stay in the agreement through their Ready for 100 initiative. “The program is a viable solution to the United States pulling out of the Paris Agreement,” said Penny Cothran, Ready for 100’s community organizer here in Columbia.

Ready for 100 sets deadlines for participating cities to rely solely on clean and renewable energy, something the Capital City was already moving towards with CPAC. Mayor Benjamin signed the pledge a little over a year ago, the first mayor in the state to do so. “The pledge walks hand in hand with our goal to reduce the City of Columbia’s emission levels,” the city’s sustainability facilitator Mary Pat Baldauf said. One way the city is going green is through Solarize SC, which has installed enough solar panels to bring over 8.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity over the next 25 years. According to Mayor Benjamin, it’s the equivalent of reducing 13 million car miles of greenhouse gas emissions. But, according to Cothran, the city could be doing more than replacing lightbulbs and hot water heaters, which is why she is using the power of the Sierra Club and other local non-profits and action groups to enact change on all levels: in communities, at city council meetings and at the state legislature. “Power is not something that flows down from some man sitting behind a desk issuing edicts. Power is bestowed upon you,” Cothran said. “And if we are unhappy we should have the power to change something.” Cothran said she’s seen the effort the city has put in with CPAC, but that all they’ve really accomplished is picking “the low-hanging

fruit” from the energy audit. They need to tackle bigger projects. “These are not insignificant things that the city of Columbia has done, but they haven’t done the things that cities comparable to ours have done,” Cothran added. Baldauf said that large, sweeping changes are happening, like the waste water treatment plant being built on Beltline, which will rely on 100 percent solar power, but the city is working within limits. “Financing is always an issue, especially in a City with a limited tax base,” Baldauf said. “The lingering impact of the flood of 2015 has been a challenge, but is also allowing for sustainable redevelopment.” Sustainable redevelopment goes beyond changing lightbulbs and installing solar panels. It involves creating more jobs in the clean energy sector, making it economically smarter to move away from fossil fuels into renewable energies, like wind and solar. Restructuring an industry like energy in a city like Columbia takes time, but they’ve given themselves plenty of time to do it – the city’s Ready for 100 deadline isn’t until 2036, its 250th birthday – but Cothran, and The Sierra Club, would like to see more from the Capital City: “There’s a little bit more in their immediate control that I’d like to see them do.”

CLEAN SLATE 19


20 HOW TO


INSTAGRAM G TWO SIDES OF FITNESS INSPO ON INSTAGRAM BY HALLIE HAYES • PHOTOS BY CALLIE HATCHER • DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATION BY GRACIE NEWTON

booty


“When we scroll through our feed, we fail to remember that every single thing we see is curated in some way … This girl in the bikini who looks flawless might’ve taken that photo 300 times before getting the perfect one at the perfect angle, but we only see the best of the best.” Chances are, you spend hours on your phone scrolling through social media every day; swiping left, double tapping your favorite photos, or perhaps comparing yourself to those in the photos you double tap. Social media platforms seem to have been taken over by many health and fitness accounts, posting photos of food or the perfect diet plan followed by captions like, “How to have a summer-ready body in 30 days.” Perhaps accounts like these are encouraging. Perhaps some view them as a representation of body positivity. Or perhaps it creates a toxic mentality of trying to achieve this idea of “the perfect body,” one that is viewed differently through the eyes of the beholder. 24-year-old Holly Heaton, an alumnus of USC, knows this all too well – the good and the bad that Instagram and these accounts can create. Heaton herself has an Instagram account promoting mental and physical health – representing body positivity in the grandest of forms. However, this came from a long journey of struggling with an eating disorder and learning the process to recovery – a journey that needs to be recognized in order to understand the significance of her body positive Instagram account. “While I acknowledge that the onset of an eating disorder is often extremely complicated and due to many factors,” Heaton explains, “the earliest I can remember it becoming an issue was in fourth grade.” As a competitive cheerleader, Heaton noticed that her body shape was different from other girls. She began 22 INSTAGRAM BOOTY

comparing herself to those around her. After being bullied by not only peers but by friends, she developed a toxic mindset of what “beautiful” meant at an early age. “I felt unnoticed. These feelings of isolation, of being left out, of feeling invisible, they all contributed to the beginning of the lifelong belief that if I was thin and beautiful, my life would be better,” she says. It was her junior year of high school when Heaton made a choice that would define the next three years of her life. She developed an addiction to Adderall, which resulted in her going hours without eating. This transformed into an obsession with becoming thinner and thinner, and she began purging to rid her body of what she was eating. Entering college at the lowest weight she had ever been, she’d developed a toxic relationship with food. She slowly began recognizing that she couldn’t continue down this narrow path that she had created. “If I kept going in the direction I was headed, living off stimulants, cigarettes and alcohol, I’m fairly certain I would’ve ended up in the hospital or with irreversible damage to my body,” she says. At age 19, Heaton fell in love with the man who would help her decide to stop harming her body. She stopped the toxic behaviors, but this translated into a new issue: she became obsessed with dieting. “After the behaviors stopped and I naturally started to gain some of the weight back, I started to panic and became obsessed with dieting … I wasn’t purging or


abusing stimulants anymore, but I was still stuck in the mental anguish of food and body obsession,” she says. It was after graduation that Heaton decided to make an honest change. She began working with dietician and food therapist, Rachel Hartley. “Working with her allowed me to no longer see food as “good” or “bad,” to honor my hunger and respect my fullness, and to finally, for the first time, learn to enjoy food and my life again.” She has spent the past two years healing: body, mind and soul. From this process came the creation of her Instagram account, formally known as @messykitchgirl but rebranded to @hollyincolor, representing what she wants her account to teach others: body positivity along with positive mental stimulation. The account started as a food blog, representing a different type of obsession she had developed with food. However, as her mind began to heal with her body, she wanted her content to change as well, representing something new. “I wanted to share all that I’d been learning about body positivity and intuitive eating and food freedom with my followers, especially when I learned the staggering statistics of women and men struggling with eating disorders.” She continues to explain the change in her Instagram account, “Additionally, I saw the struggles for myself, all around me – my friends, my mom, almost everyone I knew was struggling to accept and love their bodies in some way or another and I had the desire to talk about it, as I felt like not many people were at the time.” Unfortunately, Heaton isn’t a stranger to the fact that not all accounts represents positivity like her own. She sees the ways in which it can be a toxic place for many, specifically health and fitness accounts forcing this mentality that perfection can only look one way. “The accounts that are pushing diets or saying, ‘Buy this workout plan and you can look like me!’ not only are primarily concerned with making money and building a following, but they often manipulate and sometimes flat out lie to vulnerable people who look up to and admire them.” There is not a single definition to beauty, no matter what Instagram accounts such as the one mentioned above make you believe. “If we all ate the same exact foods and did the same exact workouts, we would all still look completely different from one another. Bodies come in endless shapes and sizes – each one completely unique and different from the next,” Heaton says, “That is something to be endlessly celebrated, not shamed.” Despite the endless accounts found on Instagram sending this toxic mentality of perfection or a perfect body, there is a positive change taking place on Instagram showing off a different perspective, Heaton explains. “Thankfully, I’m slowly starting to see this change on Instagram. More and more accounts are preaching body acceptance, food freedom and anti-diet culture messages, and it’s extremely encouraging.”

It is easy to get caught up in the toxicity of accounts on Instagram, photos of what the world defines as “perfection,” or simply what society has forced itself to believe one should look like. However, you are also able to embrace body positive accounts – accounts that teach you how you can define what is healthy and beautiful individually by accepting and loving yourself – mind, body and soul. There are two different sides to Instagram – you have to make the decision on which side you will follow. Best said by Heaton, “Spending time wishing you were someone else or that you lived in a different body is such a waste of your precious life minutes. Focus on what your body allows you to do each day – laugh, run, kiss, hug, travel, play – and say thank you.”

INSTAGRAM BOOTY 23


DOWNto

EARTH

Rodarte and Simone Rocha both made it onto Vogue’s list of the top 14 collections of Spring 2019, a testament to their unabashedly pretty dresses. A pretty dress never really goes out of style, of course, but in 2019, it has new connotations. The dresses we often see are bedecked with ruffles, puffed sleeves, and flowery prints, to the point where many of us started calling them “princess dresses.” They certainly feel plucked from a fairy tale, but the women wearing them are hyper-aware of the realities of 2019, have their feet firmly planted on the ground, and certainly don’t dream of being saved by a prince! This style shoot is all about pairing fairytale dresses with down-to-earth women.

STYLED BY JASMINE WHITE • PHOTOS BY ALYSSA-LEIGH WILLEY, CALLIE HATCHER, COLEMAN ROJAHN, & MARK MADDALONI, • DESIGN BY GRACE STEPTOE MODELS: JORDAN CASSIDY, HELENA GOOSE, & EVA MCDONALD PHOTOS TAKEN AT SEIBELS HOUSE & GARDEN


LOOK ONE (LEFT TO RIGHT): Dress, Wildflower, $86 | Necklace, Vestique, $16 Top, Sid & Nancy, $14 | Pants, Wildflower, $76 Dress, Wildflower, $54 | Purse, Vestique, $80 | Shoes, Entourage, $30 HOW TO 25


LOOK TWO: Top, Wildflower, $42 | Earrings, Fab’rik, $18 | Hat, Vestique, $36


HOW TO 27


LOOK TWO (LEFT TO RIGHT): Jacket, Sid & Nancy, $7 | Skirt, Fab’rik, $57 Top, Sid & Nancy, $12 | Dress, Wildflower, $48 Earrings, Entourage, $12 | Bangle, Fab’rik, $28 28 HOW TO


LOOK THREE (LEFT TO RIGHT): Earrings, Fab’rik, $24 Top, Wildflower, $44 | Skirt, Fab’rik, $67 | Belt, Vestique, $76 Top, Wildflower, $38 | Necklace, Vestique, $16 HOW TO 31


HOW A BLACK REVEREND FIGHTS RACISM IN HIS SMALL SOUTH CAROLINA TOWN BY SARAH NICHOLS • PHOTOS BY STEVEN TAPIA • DESIGN BY MEREDITH PRICE

Outside of the old Echo Theater in downtown Laurens, South Carolina – just an hour away from Columbia – Reverend David Kennedy points to the balcony above the marquee. “That’s where they tried to assassinate me,” he said. The “they” in this statement refers to the former building owners – John Howard and Michael Burden. Both Burden and Howard were proud Grand Dragons of the KKK in South Carolina (the equivalent to a state leader) and owners of “The Redneck Shop.” Howard and Burden often butted heads with the African American Reverend when he led Civil Rights protests – including one against this very shop. Within a few years and after several plot twists stranger than fiction, Rev. Kennedy became the owner of the building that housed The Redneck Shop. The Echo Theater has led many lives. In its original state, the Echo Theater was a segregated movie theater. African Americans had to enter in the side door and sit exclusively in the balcony. When the deed of the building got into the hands of Howard and Burden, it became what was known as “The Redneck Shop.” The storefront sold Confederate memorabilia, neo-Nazi paraphernalia, Klan robes and hoods, and many other run-of-the-mill racist novelties. During this time – 1996 to 2013 – the theater also served as a meeting space for the KKK, the Aryan Nation’s World Congress, and the headquarters for the 2008 presidential campaign for neo-Nazi John Taylor Bowles. This space was also home to the – self-boasted – ”nation’s only KKK museum.” “They had t-shirts that said, ‘This is the way you pound n*****s,’ that had a little white boy urinating on a little Black boy. It was horrific,” Rev. Kennedy said. “The Klan robes – they had it all out.”

The store was a fixture in this small town of Laurens for almost two decades. White hoods stood on display in the front of the store, and orders for local Klan robes were tacked on the walls. Even in the current desolation of the building, robe orders remain on the walls and Klan membership cards litter the ground. Right now, the building is home to nothing other than broken glass and remnants of racism. The store was not by any means the only measure of racism in the town. In order for such an institution to stay afloat, it generally takes the complicit action and silence from the rest of the community. The town itself is the namesake of a famous slave trader of the 18th century, John Laurens. Until 1985, a noose hung on one of the big oak trees in town, a constant scare tactic and reminder of the place Black people held in their society. Rev. Kennedy’s great-great uncle, Richard Puckett, was the last man lynched from this very rope. “And so we think old people created that myth that if you take that rope down, then the ghost of Richard Puckett is gonna come and hunt you,” Rev. Kennedy said. “I think they created that story to keep our young Black people from having the courage to take the rope down.” Rev. Kennedy was born and raised in the segregated projects of Laurens and grew up to become the reverend of New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church. He was involved in Civil Rights activism and protests for as long as he can remember, a cause requiring ample bravery and sacrifice. Many folks in the town who support the cause are too afraid to protest in fear of what would happen to them. Today Rev. Kennedy is the president of the Laurens County NAACP. The parallels between him and Martin Luther King Jr. are almost too easy to draw – but a worthy comparison.

THE REVEREND AND THE REDNECK 33


“I’ve been arrested several times, all the time innocent. But I guess I wasn’t born to bow down,” Rev. Kennedy said. So when The Redneck Shop opened in 1996, there was some opposition from civil rights leaders such as Rev. Kennedy, but there were also a lot of people who did not question it, or who shopped at the store for Confederate paraphernalia. In a 2012 New York Times article, two frequent shoppers at the store were quoted saying, “It’s not like we want a mask or a hood or anything. It’s a Confederate, Southern thing.” “We just country,” said the other shopper. However, the theater’s future shifted when one of the building owners, Michael Burden, met and married a woman named Judy Harbeson, who encouraged him to leave the Klan. According to a 1997 article from the Washington Post, Burden left the Klan as a “wedding present” to his wife, who shared concerns about the Klan’s anti-Native American sentiments (she herself was part Native American). As Burden announced his departure from the Klan, Howard promptly evicted Burden from the apartment he lived in above the shop. The Reverend said, “So what happened on this day – this particular day – I was on my way to the police department ... and by this time, Michael Burden was in the truck with his family, and he said, ‘Reverend Kennedy, I know you don’t trust me ... But my wife about to starve and my young ones, they about to starve, and the law, the FBI, the SLED, the local law – none of them want to give us any food. We have nothing. Can you help me please?’ I said, ‘Well, if you need food, if you serious, when I come back out of here I’ll make sure all of you have food.’ And what happened, when the wife and children raised their bodies from off that truck – it was horrific. And they had all this debris all over their flesh. And a white police officer said, ‘Reverend Kennedy, don’t help them. They make our town look bad.’ And I said, ‘Sir, our town has been looking bad a long time. It’s named after a 18th century slave-trader. Don’t blame that on these young people.’” When Rev. Kennedy left the police station, Burden was still there with his family. Rev. Kennedy made arrangements for the Burdens to stay in a nearby hotel for a week and organized a big meal to hold the family over until the church soup kitchen opened the next day. Burden and his family stuck around the church for some time as they regained their footing. “So they start hanging around us daily, and we kept assisting the best we could daily. We didn’t have much to offer, but we had a little clothing ... and they kept hanging around. And we kept talking, and kept talking, and kept talking, and I kept learning, learning, learning,” Rev. Kennedy said. “Because of it, everything was happening to the church in the negative – dead cats, snakes, rats, knocking all the windows out, putting swastikas, Nazi-like things on my door, Confederate flags on my door ... and threats, receiving hate mail ... it was a tough period. But we managed to get through that part ... And we kept working with them, and working with them, and we fell in love with all of them.” At this point, Burden was both needing cash to regain his footing while wanting to show Rev. Kennedy his appreciation. Thus, he sold the deed to the Echo Theater building to the Reverend for $1,000. The Echo Theater – and The Redneck Shop and KKK Museum within it – were now in his possession. And right around this time, Judy also guilted Michael into sharing a startling confession with Rev. Kennedy. “‘He said, ‘You’ve been real good to us,’ and I said ‘Don’t thank me, thank God and this congregation,’ and he said, ‘I had planned to assassinate you.’ I asked him when, he gave me two times and I remember I was at both of those places.” Rev. Kennedy said, “The first place, he saw two of them young white kids coming around me ... and we had a nice little time, nice little chat at this convenient

34 THE REVEREND AND THE REDNECK

moment. And so I think too many of them got around when he was gonna shoot me and kill me the first time. And so [the second] night, that was another night, he was in the balcony part of it. And he said, ‘I was gonna shoot you that night. I saw you up there.’ But John Howard told him, ‘If you do it here, they’ll know we did it. “[Burden] said, ‘you were a pain in his rowdy a**, and he wanted me to do something about you.’ He gave him guns, ammunition.” Rev. Kennedy’s response was immediate love and forgiveness. “And I hugged him and told him, ‘Hey, we have other things to do now. We gon’ focus on what we have to do. So you can get set up in life. So you can take care of your family,’” Rev. Kennedy said. “And I told him, ‘I love you, man. I love Judy, I love them children. And I think they know I love them.’” Yet things still weren’t quite happily ever after. Burden fell back into trouble after the Reverend helped him get on his feet. Shortly after, he was arrested for breaking and entering. “Well, he got in trouble after he left us, because I don’t think he knew how to live without John Howard. He took him young ... he preyed on young people. Especially young males,” Rev. Kennedy said. Rev. Kennedy had been told by Burden and other folks in the community of the way Howard treated Burden and other vulnerable young white men. He took them in, indoctrinated them with the ideals of the Klan, and instilled fear and dependency in them so they wouldn’t be able to separate themselves from Howard. “‘He used to put [Burden] on the railroad track ... and just shoot at him. Not to kill him, but to instill fear in him. He never would pay him money for his labor. But he would pay him by giving him a shirt, a pair of pants, socks and shoes, because he didn’t want him to get away from him,’” Rev. Kennedy said as he recounted what a woman in town told him. Rev. Kennedy remained and still remains in touch with Burden throughout the trials and tribulations of their lives. However, although Rev. Kennedy owned the building at this point, he wasn’t able to close down the shop just yet. The deed Burden handed over to Rev. Kennedy came with a stipulation that Howard had to be allowed to run the shop until he died. This put the Reverend in gridlock until 2012, when he won a long, drawnout legal battle. In May 2012, Rev. Kennedy was finally able to evict Howard and close the shop. Howard passed away in 2017. Flash forward to 2019: the Echo Theater is still in a state of deconstruction and transition. Rev. Kennedy has dreams of turning it into a diversity center – a space where he can hold important dialogues and space for healing for the town – but first needs fundraising and repair. Enter Regan Freeman: a December 2019 University of South Carolina graduate and an aspiring lawyer. He saw the Reverend’s story on the news, and was awestruck. He cold-called the Reverend at his church to see if they could meet, and the rest is history. Freeman has been his sidekick ever since, helping to spread the word about this project and accompanying him on trips to New York City for interviews on the Today Show. Their current hope is that folks will bear witness to their story, and volunteer their time or money if they so desire. As for the Reverend – real life happily-ever-afters are hard to come by, and near impossible when challenging a centuries-old institution like racism. But the Reverend has no plans to back down. “It’s a life most people would never understand, because the truth has never been taught in the public school system, and it never will,” Rev. Kennedy said. “I weep with the horrors of the past ... but I pledge, as I live, I will die no man’s n****. I die a man.”


THE REVEREND AND THE REDNECK 35


NOW I

JUMP

TO EARTH, CLUTCHING AN UMBRELLA

and again my avatar lands lightfooted. Unfamiliar terrain—no birdsong or windchime. When they say infinite procedural generation it means the boulders I pickaxe into oblivion will reincarnate just as each muscled mercenary rent by blue light melts and rejoins the universe of pixels. Really, the game is elegy to the sandbox. The plastic rake & the water gun. To the west, the zombie palace, and in that crunched-grass corner, the gold mine. After all the screen-adhesive hours passed, I dreamed that my brain shed its blood-pink vines & began floating, an unhanded balloon bumping the ceiling of my skull. The pebbles in my spine rolled like an abacus and I felt lightweight and bird-boned, gymnastic again. Shrunk down to my four-year-old form, I could pedal & propel wildly— and now when I wake up I feel like an empty schoolbus whose wheels don’t spin, an impossible physics keeping her afloat. When I dream now I dream about each day a miracle in a new body easily demolished and restored with blue potion, Band-Aid, butterfly kiss.

BY CAROLINE FAIREY • DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATION BY GRACIE NEWTON


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HOW TO 37


UNTOLD STORIES FROM THE IRVIN DEPARTMENT OF RARE BOOKS AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS BY ROSE STEPTOE • PHOTOS BY CAMILA TRUJILLO DESIGN BY EMILY SCHOONOVER

38 HOW TO


hat do studying students, Starbucks, Giuseppe Garibaldi’s sword and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s flask all have in common? They can all be found in the Thomas Cooper Library at the University of South Carolina. While the latter two items may be a surprise to some, they are only a couple of the countless rare items housed in the library. However, don’t go trolling around the lower floors of the library expecting to find hidden treasure – in order to find the rarities like the ones described, you’ll have to visit the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. The Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections is housed in the Hollings Library, just past the Starbucks at the back of the main floor of Thomas Cooper. In stacks underneath the library, the Irvin Department contains around 275,000 items pertaining to an endless range of subjects that are more than just books and ephemera. Students and visitors alike can use the collections for research – if they know about the collections in the first place. While many

undergraduates may not be aware of these materials, researchers travel from around the world to see the collections such as one of the largest holdings of Scottish literature, F. Scott Fitzgerald material and the Pat Conroy archive that the Irvin Department contains. What is first notable about the Irvin Department – beyond its sheer size – is its immense chronological span. According to Dr. Michael C. Weisenburg, Reference and Instruction Librarian for the department, the collections hold pieces ranging from contemporary to ancient, with the oldest items in the collections, Babylonian cuneiform tablets, clocking in at about 4,000 years old. As for more local interests, the collections house older items that are significant to the university as well. “[The Irvin Department holds] the core collections of the original South Carolina College Library. If [students] ever wondered what students were reading around 200 years ago, then we would be the place to come and see those books,” Weisenburg said. In regard to the most valuable items within the collections, Weisenburg was reluctant to assign any monetary worth because the overall historical significance of many items is priceless. Instead, he gave a few examples of culturally-significant standouts. “We have a medieval manuscript copy of Higden’s Polychronicon which contains a pre-Columbian reference to North America, Phillis Wheatley’s Poems of Various Subjects Religious and Moral is the first book published by an African American and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s manuscript ledger book is an invaluable recourse for not only his biography but also the business of authorship in the early 20th century United States.” Not only are most of the items in the collections irreplaceable, many of them are just odd. In addition to Garibaldi’s sword and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s flask, the collections also hold Fitzgerald’s mother’s wedding corset and a cast of the poet Robert Burns’ skull.

With oddities like these, some items in the department were harder to come by than others. For example, the cast of Burns’ skull raised some questions in airports. “Dr. G. Ross Roy acquired [the skull] in Scotland and carried it with him to France before coming back to the United States. French customs were a bit concerned and spent some time examining it. It’s admittedly a difficult item to explain,” Weisenburg said. While rare books might seem like more of an exciting venture for humanities students, the collections contain many sources on natural science as well. Weisenburg even recounted that he “once had a student weep tears of joy at seeing the first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.” Although biology classes are unlikely to take a trip to the Irvin Department for a class, STEM students might take note that the library, as well as the lab, could have a discovery waiting for them. Although he works with a vast variation of items – from the first editions of books, to the personal objects of renowned personalities, to a myriad of other printed materials and objects – Dr. Weisenburg was able to speak to one of his favorite items within the collections. “One of my favorite items to teach with is a 16th century Spanish nautical text. It’s great because it has elements called volvelles, which are intricate paper wheels that can move and aid in computations while at sea. They are early examples of analog, paper computers. It’s clear that the book was used at sea, and while I can’t prove it was used by pirates, the book is contemporaneous with the great age of piracy,” Weisenburg said. So, how does one visit some of the university’s hidden-but-not-so-hidden assets? Anyone who wants to conduct their own research with the collections can register with the Smith Reading Room. If you just want to visit, the Irvin Department has a rotating display of one of their own collections, or sometimes even a traveling collection, on public exhibit. And, next time you’re studying in Thomas Cooper Library, try to draw inspiration from the notion that if 4,000-year-old Babylonian cuneiform tablets can make it to a South Carolina library in 2019, then you can probably make it through your next study session.

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1


CROWNING THE KING A CONVERSATION WITH JVCK BY NICOLE KITCHENS • PHOTOS BY ALYSSA-LEIGH WILLEY • DESIGN BY KATIE SLACK


MID-INTERVIEW, JACK YOUNG PAUSES FOR A MOMENT. Just before he gives what I expect to be a definitively profound definition of his own music, he starts to laugh. “It’s like, Gay Trap. I’ll call it ‘Gap,’” he jokes before cracking up some more. But then, once again, the tone turns serious: “I just thought it would be interesting to have a gay person’s perspective on trap, which is what I wanted to do with this record.” This is generally how conversation goes with the Savannah-based rapper known as JVCK; after saying something truly prolific, his face begins to shift into a smile and he makes a lighthearted comment. But all joking aside, one thing is clear after hearing him discuss his upcoming “Yoncé Taught Me” EP. Young is demanding respect, along with a cemented place in both society and the music industry, for all marginalized groups of people. The EP is full of strong societal messages and critiques of a genre that he feels needs a much larger space for minorities, women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. On tracks like “Crown the King,” he’s also quick to call out a ridiculous streaming culture within the rap industry that has turned a blind eye to artistry and talent, treating music instead like an algorithm meant to bind an artist to the charts.

“I think it’s utter bull****. I think the way that we see music now is in charts and numbers, and through machinery. But that’s one reason why I love “Crown the King” so much,” Young says. “It’s this idea that as an independent artist, I’m more preoccupied with the quality that I can create with what I have, more so than trying to use a huge budget like a famous artist would, to enhance and be more popular.” The track also critiques just how far ironic truths can go in rap music. His lyrics ironically mimic the flex culture that he observes in most Top 40 rap songs, a strategy used by rappers meant to show off or demean critics. “I mean I do talk sh** on there, kind of, but I say things like, ‘Sporting my Versace/Haters can’t afford to live/Haters can’t afford to breathe.’ And I’m being literal when I say these things. Like, I’m not trying to say I have all of this money, but I do have a Versace cologne,” he says. But despite the parodies of ridiculous lyrics on the parts of modern rappers, the lyrics of the EP also find him demanding respect as a member of the LGBTQ+ community within the often homophobic and exclusive rap culture, especially on the song “Meditations.” The track consists of Jack’s personal thoughts on the issue, which prompted me to ask

him how the lyrics respond directly to the homophobia and marginalization within the industry’s artists. “I think, especially being a rapper and being gay, it’s important that we have people who are gay or part of the queer community that are rapping and creating that space for up-and-coming people who want to rap, and are good at it, and want to make a career out of it. ‘Meditations’ is literally a meditation of things I think about all the time, like racism, sexism, misogyny and people who are killed because of police brutality, especially people of color who are targeted,” he says. “It’s very important for me to use my voice. Being gay is one thing, but being a white male, I have a platform to use my voice so that people will listen to me. And I think it’s important to use that for the greater good. Sorry, that was a mouthful,” he laughs, once again reverting to the earlier interview pattern, but I don’t mind. He spoke like a true king. *In the interest of full disclosure, the artist interviewed is in a relationship with a non-editorial member of Garnet & Black’s staff.

He spoke like a true king. 42 CROWNING THE KING


HOW TO 43


(ON/OFF)LINE HOW TRADITIONAL FRIENDSHIPS COMPARE TO THE ONES WE MAKE ONLINE BY CHANDNI AMIN • PHOTOS BY MASON HASELDEN • DESIGN BY GRACIE NEWTON

DO ONLINE FRIENDSHIPS COUNT AS REAL FRIENDSHIPS? “Online friends are there for you when you need them emotionally, like a real friend. The only thing that differentiates an online friend from a real friend is the physical connection that you can have with someone that geographically is near you.” I have Shoraz Himmel’s contact information saved in my phone as ‘Shoraz Bhai’ – ‘bhai’ being the Gujarati term for ‘brother’ – and that’s exactly the type of friend he’s been to me: He’s seen me on my good days, my bad days, and my just plain ugly days. He’s one of my closest friends, someone tried and true. I’ve never met Shoraz in real life. “Real life friends – in my experience – are more fleeting than online friends,” Shoraz said, “Especially if you move around a lot. Online friends are fleeting too, but they stick around longer.”


After moving to New York, Shoraz left a lot of what was familiar to him – his home, friends and family – behind in Kuwait. While he keeps in close contact with his childhood friends through online gaming and calls, he also seeks out new ones (which is how we met). In the time I’ve known him, I’ve seen Shoraz through more than four different living spaces and six different jobs around New York. Keeping up steady, in-person contact with friends near him isn’t just difficult – it’s almost impossible with his pace. “While online friends, by definition, are online. So they come with you wherever you go,” he said. As I considered Shoraz’s situation, I came to understand his stance. It didn’t give me a distinctly clear answer to my question, though. Did his response mean that online friends were essentially the same as offline friends? “I think online friends are real [friends],” my friend, Bethany Simpson, said, “but I don’t think you can have as deep of a friendship with [someone online] as with someone you spend time with in person.” I came to know Bethany during the autumn of my first year at the University of South Carolina. We met when I came to a Friendsgiving celebration at the invitation of my hall’s resident mentor. As Bethany and I became fast friends in the following weeks, it was easy to see just how deeply rooted she was in the local Columbia community that surrounded her. So when I asked her about whether she thought online friendships could be considered ‘real’ friendships, she found the question to be a tough one. “Online friendships, in my outsider opinion, seem to be one-dimensional in that the only memory-making you can do is through that one means.” Playing games online together, for example, differs vastly from exercising together, cooking together, and taking care of each other when sick, she said. Sure, you can do variations of those things from a distance – paying for food to be delivered, providing encouragement in difficult times – but it just isn’t the same. “To sum it up,” Bethany said, “in-person friendships have a vastly greater potential to grow, deepen, and last than online friendships do.” And so the more I thought about Bethany’s reasoning, the more it made sense to me. After all, most of my memories of friends when growing up came from real-life interactions I had with them, versus my online interactions where I couldn’t remember one game from the next.

“I FEEL THAT ONLINE AND REAL FRIENDSHIPS CAN HAVE THE SAME CONNECTION,” SHE SAID. “I HAVE ONLINE FRIENDS WHO I CAN HONESTLY SAY HAVE BEEN THE BEST FRIENDS I COULD HAVE EVER ASKED FOR.” Was Bethany right? Like Shoraz, some say the distance makes the online friendship stronger than a traditional, in-person one. But like Bethany, others say that’s what can break an online friendship and make it weaker than a real life one. Did this simply mean that real life friendships and online friendships are too different to be compared on the same scale? What defines a friendship? Enter Hanna Trinh. “I feel that online and real friendships can have the same connection,” she said. “I have online friends who I can honestly say have been the best friends I could have ever asked for.” I first became acquainted with Hanna my third year of high school, but we didn’t become close until after I graduated. That summer was when we started playing “League of Legends” with one other and spent hours talking to each in online calls. Then, after some additional time spent at coffee shops, we became best friends. There’s a stigma surrounding friendships made or kept online, I think. It’s true that there’s a bit more danger to them than most in-person ones, and that the ways you’ll create memories are quite different from the ones you were used to growing up. That doesn’t make them any less real, though. Shoraz (online) and Bethany (offline) have both helped me through the same rough spots in my life, and Hanna (both) has seen a good portion of them all. So if it’s not where the friendship is kept, then what defines its depth? It’s the depth of the individuals, themselves. “Real friends are people who enjoy each other’s company,” Hanna said. “Real friends are people who are there for you through thick and thin.” Be it online, or IRL.

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hile it may lack as compelling a cast of heroes and villains as World War II, World War I shook the world in a way no conflict ever has in the course of human history. It took place at a turning point, at a moment where there were people still riding into battle with swords on horseback while at the same time, the first ever tanks rolled out of factories. Before then, war was quite different. Armies were small. Costs were low. No one could have predicted automatic weaponry. Dynamite. Mustard gas. Grenades and mines and missiles. No one could have foreseen the possibility of the loss of millions. Even though the United States entered the war late, it made tensions high everywhere, and nowhere was that more clear than in South Carolina. It was massively unpopular. The South as a region was still hurting from the Civil War, which ended only a few decades prior. You also had a high population of German immigrants in South Carolina who were against going to war with their home country and a large concentration of Irish who opposed anything that helped the British. They, along with the rest of the country, were forced to swallow their reservations when Congress voted to enter the war in 1917. Despite the war’s unpopularity in the state, 300,000 South Carolinians signed up for the draft. Around 52,000 were actually chosen. Eight of them received the Medal of Honor. A little over 2,000 never came home.

PILLARS OF THE PAST THE STORY OF ONE OF USC’S MOST HISTORIC BUILDINGS BY MARY-BRYANT CHARLES • PHOTOS BY MARK MADDALONI • DESIGN BY EMILY SCHOONOVER

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The end of the Great War marked the beginning of a dark chapter in South Carolina history. The economic growth spurred by the war effort was now gone, leaving inhabitants with an early taste of what would soon swell into the Great Depression. It’s not surprising that people wanted to do something, to gift something that would provide a little light after such a mass trauma. There were people who wanted to build. The Sumter Street War Memorial is one of the many products of that vision. It was the brainchild of Wyndham Manning, a South Carolina politician and son of the state’s wartime governor. Though the building was approved in 1919, construction plans were brought to a screeching halt by the Great Depression. It left the monument trapped in limbo. Resurrection came to the project in the form of a grant as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal. Manning finally set the building’s cornerstone himself on Memorial Day, 1935, amid a lively ceremony of music, flags, and wreaths to honor the fallen. The finished building now stands on the corner of Sumter and Pendleton

Street. It’s built in the style of a Roman temple, all pillars and limestone masonry. Above the main door are the words “Dedicated to the men and women of South Carolina who offered their lives in the winning of the war.” Around the side of the building, more inscriptions: “THEY STROVE THAT WAR MIGHT CEASE. THEY WERE WILLING TO DIE FOR LIBERTY AND WORLD PEACE.” It’s an ideal tribute. Something firm and timeless. Imposing but inspiring. A display of strength but also beauty. These traits are all pretty standard for a war memorial, but what makes the Sumter Street building stands out in that it’s not actually open to the public. Though the building is meant to serve as a memorial, it’s also been a museum, an archive, and currently an office space for USC’s Department of Public Affairs. It sounds a little strange, shoving laptops and cubicles into a building that looks like something plucked straight from the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It becomes less strange once you look around. With the university’s location nestled in the center of

Columbia, space is a hard resource to come by. Options are slim. Expansion is costly and when money gets spent, it tends to go towards things like university housing or the new Russell House renovations. It puts departments like Public Affairs in a rough place and with nowhere else to go. There have been goals to return the monument to a public space, but getting the necessary funds together has proven to be a massive challenge. The department estimates that it would need around 4.4 million dollars for all the upgrades needed to make it a viable public space. They’ve asked for it, but no help has come. And so, like in 1919, the monument is again stuck in the in-between; fallen to the mercy of available funding, main doors shut to the people of the state it was erected to honor. But still it stands. It’s waited for a resurgence before. Maybe another will come. In the meantime, all we can do is stop and take a look.

PILLARS OF THE PAST 47


Strom Thurmond Wellness & Fitness Center 201B

803-576-9385

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48 HOW TO

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Garnet & Black Magazine Spring 2019  

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