Diamond Magazine: Fall 2020

Page 1


Diamond Magazine Spring 2020

Volume 1 Number 1


It is when the pressure is applied that you reach your full potential



Diamond Magazine Spring 2020

Magazine Staff

Editor-In-Chief Kayla Grant

Chief Photographer Kayla Grant

Layout & Design Kayla Grant

Welcome to the first issue of the Diamond Magazine, a magazine designed for extraordinary artists from all fields. I am a senior majoring in Mass Media Arts, concentrating in print journalism, attending Clark Atlanta University. I aspire to be a cross-topic journalist with a focus on entertainment and African-American culture, while traveling the world. At a young age, growing up in the Bronx, New York, I always was fascinated with entertainment media and the world of journalism. Because of this fascination, I always knew that I wanted to become a journalist. Many may be wondering, where did the name for this magazine come from? The first reason is that diamonds are not made perfect. They must go through intense heat and pressure to become the beautiful gemstones that they are. The second reason is that due to my academic achievements, my family has started to call me “Diamond Girl.” The word “diamond” empowers me to be the greatest I can and embodies every individual and production featured in this magazine. Diamond Magazine is a seasonal magazine that highlights individuals who are doing spectacular things in their industry. This issue of the magazine will feature stories about music, theater, movies and fashion. In addition, it will feature advice from established entertainment journalists. I want my readers to learn more about the entertainment world around them. I hope that my readers enjoy Diamond Magazine and share it with others.

Thank you,

This is a project for partial fulfillment of credit in MMA 302, News Editing II, a course in the Department of Mass Media Arts at Clark Atlanta University.

Table of Contents

Music ......................................... 3 • DaQuashia Strahan Interview The Actor’s Corner ................ 4-5 • The influence and importance of an actor • Director Eve Graves inspires the next generation of student activists • Spike Lee becomes the first African-American president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival Fashion ..................................... 7 • Ché by Ché • Colé by Ami Advice ......................................



• Christopher Daniel • Jewel Wicker


Diamond Magazine Spring 2020


DaQuashia Strahan

and it’s mine -- it’s something that I can control,” Strahan stated. “It’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do, like, something I’m really passionate about. It’s just a dream that I’ve been chasing for a long time and I am finally like really, really putting myself out there.” On Feb. 21, the Clark Atlanta University senior Mass Media Arts major performed in the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center to a crowd of 110 people at “Sin For Me,” which is a concert presented by media agency AUCWHOGOTNEXT. She said that this concert gave her more confidence in her abilities as a performer. Photo credit: Kayla Grant Strahan said, “It wasn’t the first Singer and songwriter, DaQuashia Strahan. concert that I ever did, but it was like the first concert ... out of my comfort zone and By Kayla Grant I had to perform more than one song, put a lot of effort in rehearsals, so that moment For DaQuashia Strahan, singing there I was like, ‘Okay, this is something always has been her dream. During the that you can do.’” annual family reunions, her relatives would Strahan released five songs on make her get up and sing the most popular Apple Music with her latest single being song selection. At 6 years old, she was “Unconditional Love.” Her music ranges from singing Fantasia’s hit singles “When I See love to heartbreak and across different genres. You” and “Free Yourself” at the family “My music, personally, I don’t gatherings in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. want to like label it ... I don’t want to be While growing up, Strahan was boxed in, so I just do what I feel that I want surrounded by the sounds of her aunts’ to do that day,” she said. “If I want to get up R&B music, which ultimately influenced and make a rock song, i’m gonna do that. If her “R&B type vibe.” i’m going to do R&B, i’m going to do that.” “I was also raised in the church too, According to Strahan, when she so I was forced to be in a youth choir and releases a new song she feels less fear and that’s just how I started singing, but I’ve been more excitement. singing since I was able to sing,” Strahan said. “I hope [that listeners] just receive Music has always been her it the same way that I meant to put it out passion and a number one priority in her and I hope that they just enjoy it. It’s life. Her happiness is what motivates her to something that they can casually listen to continuously go after her dreams and and not just support me because I am their aspirations in the music industry. “I would friend, but I just want it to be something not be happy if I was doing ... my hobbies. that people really want to hear,” she said. I would not be happy doing that for the rest The “Love, Yourself” singer’s songs of my life,” she said. come from past experiences that she has had. Although Strahan has a multitude “When I don’t feel like going out, of hobbies, such as graphic design and I lock myself in my dorm room and it just photography, there was nothing that kept like comes to me,” she said. “I just start her attention the way music did. listening to my beats and I kind of just start “[Music is] something that I like

rambling whatever I feel at that time.” With her music, she wants her fans to feel the transparency in the songs and the vulnerability in the music. “I want them to see the vulnerability play into the music,” she said. “If they’ve been through the same things that I’ve been through, which I write about, then I would want them to relate.” With her music, Strahan is resonating with the emotions of the AUC community and providing them music similar to the R&B records of the 2000s. Hali Smith, a sophomore CAU student, stated “I think her music is soul quenching like it truly does speak from the heart and represent a part of music that is untouched. It’s raw and real.” Alexis Grace, a senior CAU student, said “She brings an early 2000s feeling to the room and has her own style. She makes music for those who are in love, have loved or want to love, but feel vulnerable.” Along with winning a Grammy, Strahan said that she aspires to bring back real R&B music and grow her following and her brand. For African-American women interested in the music industry, Strahan advised for them to be themselves. “Don’t let anybody box you in and label you ... continue doing whatever it is you want to do,” she said.

Photo credit: Kayla Grant


THE ACTOR’S The Influence and Importance of

Diamond Magazine Spring 2020

Photo courtesy of Michael Jackson III The CAU Players in its production of “Macbeth.” By Kayla Grant An early admiration of the arts is what started Katherine J. Taylor on her journey to becoming an actress. At a young age, Taylor admired the people who she saw on the television screen or on the stage.

“I would admire people who were on TV or the stage that could make me feel like they were telling the truth about whatever they were saying, doing, dancing, etc.,” she said. She was captivated by the actors and inspired to do the same thing that they were doing. During her three years at Clark Atlanta University, Taylor has participated in several plays including “For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf ” and “NAKED.” An actor or actress must possess an assortment of qualities in order to be successful and impactful. Eric Little, who has been an actor, director and theater professor at Clark Atlanta University over the last 20 years, said, “Great actors and actresses must be able to listen, be empathetic, have great analytical skills and

an awesome imagination.” Since he was a child, Little was involved in the arts because he came from a highly musical family. After facing doubts that his dream was unattainable, he decided to take his craft more seriously in college and in graduate school, which allowed him to succeed and impact different people and communities. According to Little, the main role and goal of an actor is to “serve the work.” He stated that within a society the work of an actor is vital. “Artists enlighten, entertain, educate, empower and encourage humanity with their work. This current time is actually a perfect example of how the arts serve us. D-Nice, Questlove, Anthony Hamilton and other musical artists have continued on Page 5

When Cleage wrote the play, she wanted to commemorate the civil rights movement in a different way, according to Graves. “When I saw the premiere of the play, it resonated strongly with me because my parents are very active in the civil rights movement, but then … I started thinking about the Black Lives Matter Movement, Times Up, Me Too,” Graves said. “Here it’s at the forefront of the media, but it disappears. What happens to all of those who sacrifice? That’s what this play is about.” According to Graves, this play resonated with the campus community because of the many students who are fighting for equality. “I wanted to say to the students here at Clark’s campus and throughout the AUC, I see you. I hear you. I appreciate your bravery and courage to talk about gender discrimination, sex discrimination, all of the discriminations,” Graves said. “Our students are vocal, they stand up and they speak and sometimes we push them to the side, but I wanted to say through this play that you are seen, you are heard

and you are loved.” Jackson III, who played Tyrone in the play, said “The CAU community got the chance to witness satire, dark comedy and drama all in one. It made people laugh, feel uncomfortable and emotional, and terrifyingly confused on whether they should laugh or not. These different emotions made people feel, which led them to think and critique the play.” According to several students at CAU, the play was unlike anything they have seen before. “‘Bourbon at the Boarder’ was a well-written play with a twist at the end! I enjoyed the balance between humor and history,” Queen Jonafa Tervalon, a senior Political Science major Photo credit: Kayla Grant at CAU, Reginae Butler, a CAU student, said. at opening night of the play.

Director Eve Graves inspires the next generation of student activists with “Bourbon at the Border”

Photo courtesy of Michael Jackson III

Raiyon Hunter and Michael Jackson III in the play. By Kayla Grant Audience members should have expected to learn Pearl Cleage’s story and see themselves on stage, according to Dr. Eve Graves. Graves is a professor at CAU and the director of “Bourbon at the Border,” which is a play written by Pearl Cleage. The main roles are Raiyon Hunter as May, Shamar Miles as Charlie, Karen Marion Douyon as Rosa and Michael Jackson III as Tyrone. The show ran from Feb. 27 through March 2 and included a preview day for the play on Feb. 26 in Clark Atlanta University’s Davage Auditorium.


CORNER Actors and Actresses on a society.

Diamond Magazine Spring 2020

continued from Page 5 held IG Live concerts. People are dancing in their living rooms because it’s uplifting. People are watching TV shows and movies that help them escape from watching the alarming news or social media posts regarding COVID-19,” he said. According to Taylor, actors contribute to the community around them by using their craft to tell an untold story. “Even though all theater and art is not meant for activism sake, acting is a way of advocating for those people whose stories we will never hear about,” Taylor said. Clark Atlanta University senior theater arts major Michael Jackson III said, “Actors are important because their ingenuity illustrates different stories about what’s going on in real life, especially those who feel as if they don’t have a

voice.” Actors also contribute to a community by using their craft to promote dreams, to educate and to display vulnerability, according to Jackson III. He stated, “They contribute inspiration for people to go after their dreams, edutainment, and the art of vulnerability.” Actors have the ability to influence the community around them with their performances. “A great actor and actress can captivate you with their performance and whatever their character is experiencing, you experience. That’s exhilarating,” Little said. “Off stage/off screen because people love them as performers, they can influence so many people with their activism, which is beneficial for us all.” Actors are important to society

Actors Michael Jackson III and AC Wilson acting in a student-produced film, “The Surprise.” because of the way that they represent society. “Theater in general is all about showing people that they are not alone in whatever they go through,” Taylor said. “You can’t effectively show or mimic or make fun of those different experiences without actors.”

Lee’s involvement with the Cannes Film Festival started in 1986 with his first feature film “She’s Gotta Have It.” In the following years, Lee has had six other films be chosen for the film festival. “All I can say is that I’m very honored to get that call,” Lee said. “I just want to continue to make films.” The filmmaker expressed the importance of remembering the people and ancestors who have made it possible for him to be who he is today. He said that he instills in his students at New York University to be thankful and value the history because film did not start with them. “There’s always people before you … I mean, we are standing on people’s shoulders,” Lee said. One of the people that Spike Lee always remembers to give gratitude to is Dr. Herbert Eichelberger, a professor of film at Clark Atlanta University. “This is where I became a filmmaker with that man, right there, Dr. Herbert Eichelberger,” he stated. The Atlanta University Center is where Lee’s career began. The Morehouse alumnus did not have a major or think

Photo credit: Johntavis McLean about becoming a filmmaker until the summer before his junior year. “Every time I could make it, I come back to give my man a hug,” Lee gratefully stated. “He is the one that encouraged me to do this.” The “BlacKkKlansman” director emphasized the support that he received from Eichelberger throughout his matriculation in the Atlanta University Center. “On days when Dr. E wasn’t scheduled to work, he would come in to open up the film lab for me … he did it on his own,” Lee recalled. “It all started here.”

Photo courtesy of Michael Jackson III

Spike Lee Becomes First African-American president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival By Kayla Grant

Spike Lee visited Clark Atlanta University to express gratitude to an influential professor after it was announced that he will be the first AfricanAmerican president of the jury for the 73rd annual Cannes Film Festival. The Cannes Film Festival is an annual festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres. “To me the Cannes Film Festival ... has had a great impact on my film career. You could easily say Cannes changed the trajectory of who I became in world cinema,” Lee wrote in a statement.

Photo credit: Johntavis McLean Spike Lee with a Clark Atlanta University student in front of the Mass Media Arts Department.



Diamond Magazine Spring 2020

Colé by Ami

Photo courtesy of Ami Colé Client and best friend Chioma modeling her customized blazer suit. By Kayla Grant In 2010, at the age of 12, Ami Colé officially began her journey to becoming a fashion designer. It was during the Muslim celebration of Eid where someone would wear their most extravagant dress that Colé debuted her first design. A combination of how she felt in the dress and the reactions of her family and friends officially created her love and passion for fashion. Colé’s inspiration to pursue a career in fashion stems from her grandmother. “She grew up in a small village in Africa, but she took her craft to the city where I’m from,” she said. “She was able to be so successful in it in Mali and I feel like I can make it even more successful here, so I’m just continuing on her legacy.” Colé’s fashion line combines the fabric worn by the people in her hometown of Mali, Africa, with Westernstyle. “My number one


inspiration is like the ankaras limit myself ... I don’t really and the environment that I have a label for my brand.” grew up in and then also trying Colé wants people to incorporate the Western to feel like the best version of style to the fabric designs and themselves in her clothes. stuff to make it more modern “[I want people to and more inclusive for feel] like they stand out … everyone around the world,” just like the boss that they are she said. and the confident women that Although Colé has they’re always meant to be,” been designing clothes for 13 Colé stated. “I just want people years, she officially launched to feel amazing when they her company in May 2019 wear my stuff.” after receiving an ultimatum Colé’s biggest from her best friend. challenge is recognizing that “[Her birthday] was she is solely responsible for in two days. She her clothing line was like, ‘I need and balancing my outfit. I don’t her time have anything accordingly. to wear.’ I was Colé said, “You like, ‘I’m so do everything on nervous,’ so she your own from literally put our going to get the friendship on the materials, line,” Colé said. going to clients’ “I understood fittings, making that it was all sure things are to just push me done in time and let me know [and] delivered people need to on time.” see my craft.” Although After she does face Photo courtesy of Ami Colé challenges the success and the compliments Fashion Designer Ami Colé with her that she received modeling a blazer suit. company, the from making a satisfaction blazer outfit for her friend, the of her clients drives her to fashion designer continued to continue making clothes. make clothes and develop her “The satisfaction brand. that my clients feel whenever Colé said that she they wear my stuff [keeps does not have a specific label me motivated,” she said. “It for the types of clothes that she makes them feel great about makes because she does not themselves.” want to put limitations on her One piece of advice work. that Colé had for individuals “Honestly, I make who aspire to be a fashion anything. I’m not trying to designer is to build their

confidence within. “No matter how small you are, you’re always going to have these little people on the side, who are going to try to make you feel less than,” she said. Another piece of advice for budding designers, according to Colé, is to understand what they are getting into financially. “Make sure you’re really willing to invest in yourself and in your craft,” she said. She emphiasized the importance of networking and uplifting other AfricanAmerican fashion designers and surrounding themselves around people who they trust. For the future, Colé plans to expand her company by creating clothes for males beginning this summer, participating in more college fashion shows and collaborating with other designers. To stay updated on Colé by Ami, follow the Instagram page @colebyami or visit www.colebyami.com.

Photo courtesy of Ami Colé A client, Mercy, modeling her customized dress.


Diamond Magazine Spring 2020

Ché by Ché

Photo courtesy of Ché Young Designer Ché Young modeling attire from the Ché by Ché collection. By Kayla Grant Ché Young had aspirations to become a starting quarterback for a NFL team, but one injury caused the directory of his life to change. “Before fashion, I was playing football and my goal was to be a starting quarterback for an NFL team … and then I got hurt,” he said. Due to his injury, Young lost his opportunity to get a sports scholarship to a four-year institution. He described this time in his life as a period of trying to figure out who he was. “I started [the clothing line] in a place of trying to find out who I was,” he said. “The one thing that I trained for for 16 years fell off, so with that and being in my dorm room with myself and my thoughts it was like, ‘What can I do next?’” Fascinated with the fashion industry, Young decided to begin to design clothes. It became a therapeutic outlet for Young, who begun designing clothes as a way to express himself emotionally. “That became my mood of how I felt personally and a way to express myself like people use music for their therapy sometimes,” he said. “Fashion

became that for me.” Young’s main hurdle when entering the fashion industry was learning the various aspects of the field. “That was one obstacle,” he said. “Learning the terminology, learning what a silhouette was, learning what a pattern was, learning fabrics, learning about the different types of fabrics… understanding how to put a collection together.” Although that was something that he had to overcome, he viewed each obstacle as a lesson. “I feel like there’s always a challenge every day. Every challenge is a lesson,” he said. “I don’t see them as challenges. I see them as opportunities to learn a lesson.” Young applied the knowledge he learned to continue to grow his business. He measures his success through the satisfaction of his clients. “I love that I’m able to give that [feeling] to the people who buy my stuff on a Friday night for that party that they are going to,” he said. According to Young, the competitive advantage of his company is the story behind the clothes. Ché by Ché promotes creating

Photo courtesy of Ché Young

Tiffany Imani and Jay Young wearing items from Young’s newest collection, Archive One.

Photo courtesy of Ché Young Young modeling a Ché by Ché Redesign! T-shirt and sweatpants from the F19 collection. a space for all individuals to be accepted and represents everyone’s individuality. “It derives from what I stand for and what I believe in and that’s just being yourself and being bold within your own skin,” Young stated. “Definitely just staying true to yourself.” The possibility of changing the world around him and the future of the fashion industry is Young’s motivation behind continuing to create clothing and grow his brand. “Being able to change the world. Seeing that I can really have an impact in changing the way that we shop and the way that fashion is going to be in the next 10 to 20 years. Being apart of that is the best,” he said. Young’s advice to individuals who want to start their own clothing line or break into the fashion world is to be authentic and not to get discouraged. “Never stop because fashion is definitely a subjective thing,” he said. “Whatever you believe in and however you see the world, there is always a place for it.” For more information on Ché by Ché, visit the Instragram page @chebycheofficial or the website www.chebyche.com.


Diamond Magazine Spring 2020

E n t e rta I n m e n t J o u r n a l I s m : Advice from Media Professionals Christopher Daniel By Kayla Grant

The most important thing that an aspiring entertainment journalist can do is to learn not only how to have fun, but also when to be professional, according to Christopher Daniel. For the past 15 years, Daniel has been a freelance journalist reporting on a multitude of topics. His bylines appear on a variety of different platforms and he won awards for his work. He began teaching students at CAU about the world of digital media three years ago. Daniel insisted that budding entertainment journalists should read a lot and stay abreast on current events. “A lot of what is rooted in entertainment is actually rooted in hard news. So, it is good to know what’s trending,” he said. Daniel also said to continuously practice writing. “When you practice, you’ll find that your voice will become a little bit more real and a little bit more authentic.” He said that practicing the craft is

Jewel Wicker

as simple as keeping a journal and writing down what is going on in the surrounding area. “Writing is something that you really have to make sure you’re doing everything you can to get better [at].” Another piece of advice for entertainment journalists is to network strategically. “Too many people try to get to know the whole entire room, when they should really only get to know maybe three, four or five people because … [they] can really help you execute your vision and get things done,” he said. Daniel stressed the importance of journalists being thankful for every opportunity extended to them. “Be gracious for everything that you get,” he said. “Tell everybody thank you … because they don’t have to do that.” According to Daniel, the hardest part about being an entertainment journalist is impulse. He advised not to rush any story and the importance of not taking constructive criticism personally. “It’s not taking away from what it is you’re doing. What it’s allowing you

Photo credit: Kayla Grant Professor at CAU and digitial media professional, Christopher Daniel. to do is to grow into your destiny and grow in your journey,” he stated. “It also teaches you patience.” If a budding entertainment journalist were to follow his advice, then Daniel believes that he or she will have a successful career. “If you can bounce between those and come in with something fresh, be engaging and always do what you say you are going to do, you’re going to have a wonderful career and the sky is the limit,” he said.

years since her graduation from Georgia State University in 2014. Wicker said that budding entertainment journalists be diligent. There are more general assignment reporting jobs than entertainment reporting jobs; however, Wicker said that that should not discourage anyone from trying to enter the field. “If you know you want to do it, you got to hustle. You got to work hard and just be committed to it. Be focused,” she said. Another piece of advice that she offered for entertainment journalists is to start as soon as possible. Wicker said, “Whether it is for your student paper or its blogging — some way of storytelling— you don’t have to wait until you graduated college to get a job as an entertainment reporter, you can be building those skills.”

Wicker started reporting at 16 years old with the creation of her own website. When she entered college, she joined the student newspaper and actively worked as a reporter. The work that she did contributed to the development of her personal brand. “When I was 16, I started a blog… and I kept it up until I got my job,” Wicker said. “I had traditional internships, but they didn’t always focus on entertainment, so that was my way of like still having something - Jewel Wicker that centered around the entertainment world.” According to Wicker, the hardest part about being an entertainment journalist is the limited resources. “Especially for reporters of color, it’s not many of us. We’re still obviously the minority,” Wicker stated. “I would say the limited resources and staying motivated in spite of that is like the hardest thing.”

“If you know you want to do it, you got to hustle. You got to work hard and just be committed to it. Be focused.”

Photo credit: Kayla Grant Freelance journalist Jewel Wicker at Chattahooche Coffee Company in Atlanta. By Kayla Grant

Be diligent and start as early as possible is the advice that Jewel Wicker offered aspiring entertainment journalists. Wicker is a freelance entertainment and culture reporter for local and national publications who focuses on music, film and television. She has been working full-time as a journalist for six


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.