DaisyJames issue #0
FASHION | ART | MUSIC | FILM | LIFESTYLE
TOP 5 HIP HOP ARTISTS IN THE DMV ISLAM AND RACE
MARIO EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
ON EDUCATION REVOLUTION AND RADICALISM
A Note From The Editors: The idea for Daisy James was thought up in a basement classroom in our school, The Duke Ellington School of Arts. As students, we wanted to produce a publication that went in a different direction than previous incarnations, The A-Train and The Green Chair. While we wanted to pay homage to those publications and the nature of high school journalism, we desired something bigger and better─something that would speak to youth in general. Above all given the nature of our school, we wanted something that would concentrate on the ARTS. Thus spoke Daisy James and it spoke to us. As students, we are enthused to have a project that gives us such freedom to discuss and represent our generation. Washington D.C. has an unique youth culture that is rarely discussed in either local or national conversations. We are the Nation’s Capital, home of monuments and the President; history and museums. We are also Go-Go and mambo sauce, thrift stores and the 9:30 club. It was only fitting that the Literary Media and Communications department of Duke Ellington School of the Arts showcase this youth culture. Given that this is our sampler issue, issue #0, the micro goal is local circulation and to garner support. Let us know what you think. We think this issue will give you a pretty good feel of what we hope to continually achieve with Daisy James (DJ). Thinking about the audience for our publication, our instructors encouraged us to address the issue of “language” and thankfully so. There can be a dangerous tendency to dumb stuff down when addressing teenagers and teenage culture. We are proof that young people address serious issues such as radicalism and education; the Muslim and Christian faiths; sub-cultures and the growing pains of being a teenager. We thought we would combine this with fashion, music and culture—spotlighting rising talent and the trendiest places for clothes and cheap eats. There is a whole community of young artists to whom the public has yet to be exposed. Contrary to popular belief, this is a city where individuality thrives. Instead of a magazine telling us what to wear or how to look, we want something a little less cookie cutter.
DJ illuminates much of the youth culture that already exists. We want our readers to be able to relate to us. We are sure you’ll love this issue and we look forward to hearing your feedback on how to make DJ the best student arts and lifestyle magazine. Get involved and help make Daisy James part of D.C.’s nervous system. We would like to thank our instructors in the Literary Media and Communications department (LMC), Kelli Anderson, Jade Foster, Koye Oyedeji and Mark Williams. We also want to thank the LMC Parents Committee and the Publishing Committee—Glennette Clark, Rick Weber and Kristen Hartke for their tireless support. We give a huge shout out to Kim Gaines at Sondai Expressions and to all of our contributors. Thanks to the staff at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, to Principal Rory Pullens, the Dean of Arts Tia Powell-Harris, the Dean of Students Father John Payne and Brittany Fenison. As always, we dedicate our work to the ethos of Duke Ellington School of the Arts and its founders Peggy Cooper-Cafritz and the late Mike Malone. Lastly, we want thank Virginia Ashby Sharpe and the team at the Lousie P. Zanar Fund, who without their generous support Daisy James would not have been possible. Enjoy, The Editors, Sierra Reaux-McNeil, Sarai Reed and Raven Reese P.S. To those of you that are going to ask – and you’re going to ask – why the title Daisy James? Well, the answer is…
Do you know a hot topic taking place in the D.C. youth community? Daisy James is more than open for submissions and good ideas/topics to Email us at Daisyjamesmag@gmail.com
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All of us at Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Daisy James Magazine dedicate this issue to the memory of CIRO FUENTES.
credits DAISY JAMES IS PRODUCED BY THE LITERARY MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT @ THE DUKE ELLINGTON SCHOOL OF ARTS DEPARTMENT CHAIR MARK WILLIAMS EDITORS: SIERRA REAUX-MCNEIL, RAVEN REESE & SARAI REED PHOTO EDITOR: JILLIAN BURFORD CONTACT: DAISYJAMESMAG@GMAIL.COM DESIGN: KIM GAINES FOR SONDAI EXPRESSIONS INSTRUCTOR/MANAGING EDITOR: KOYE OYEDEJI ONLINE / ASSOCIATE EDITOR: KELLI ANDERSON COPY EDITOR: RICK WEBER PUBLICITY: KRISTEN HARTKE CONTRIBUTORS: INDIA BERGER, MARCUS BLANCO, MARCUS BROWN, JILLAN BURFORD, TERRA CAMPBELL, ZACHARY CLARE, CAROL-ANN COLLINS, REGGIE CONWAY, MAX FRESHOUR, KIARA HACKLEY, KRIS HALL, MADISON HARTKE-WEBER, DESTINY JACKSON, SIERRA REAUX-MCNEIL, SARAI REED,RAVEN REESE, KRISTAN SAINT-PREUX, ASHA SHANNON, ELIZA SPIKES PHOTOGRAPHERS: SAHARA ARTIGA-OLIVER, TANISHA WALKER, JAMILLA OKUBO DAISY JAMES IS PRODUCED WITH THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF THE LOUIS P. ZANAR FUND DAISY JAMES PUBLISHING COMMITTEE: GLENNETTE CLARK, VINCENT BROWN, RICK WEBER THANKS TO JADE FOSTER, LAURA FUNDERBURK, CARA RACIN, HELEN STEINECKE, DEAN OF ARTS - TIA POWELL-HARRIS, PRINCIPAL - RORY PULLENS, VIRGINIA ASHBY SHARPE DAISY JAMES is a publication of LMC, LITERARY MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS @ DUKE ELLINGTON SCHOOL OF ARTS, 3500 R STREET NW WASHINGTON, D.C. 20007
DAISY JAMES is produced independently by students in the Literary Media & Communications Department at Duke Ellington School Of The Arts. The views expressed in DAISY JAMES are not necessarily those shared by the staff of Duke Ellington School Of The Arts, and the Duke Ellington School Of The Arts takes no responsibility for the content of work produced.
NOW PLAYING IN I-MAX
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MAX FRESHOUR’S REGULAR COLUMN ON FILM & TV. IN THE RUN-UP TO THE LONG-AWAITED RELEASE OF TOY STORY 3, 11TH GRADER AND ANIMATION FANATIC MAX FRESHOUR REMINISCES ON HIS “PREPUBESCENT” EXPERIENCE WITH THE FILM THAT STARTED IT ALL.
Allow me to recount my childhood experiences regarding Toy Story. I was but a two-year-old tyke when it came out in theatres, so my first experience with it was, sadly, not on the big screen. No, my first exposure to the film would take place several years later, by means of a crummy VHS tape and a beaten up television set, probably older than I was. The story of Toy Story is a simple, but engaging one. It centers around the idea that, whenever humans aren’t looking, toys are free to move about and talk. The main star of the film is Woody, a stuffed cowboy belonging to a young boy named Andy. Woody prides himself in being Andy’s favorite toy, but has this coveted title snatched away from him when a delusional plastic spaceman named Buzz Lightyear is thrown into the mix. In a fit of jealous rage, Woody knocks Buzz out the window, setting off a chain of events that eventually climaxes when both he and Buzz find themselves in the home of a psychopathic toy-torturing child named Sid. Toy Story became, as you have no doubt guessed, my Prepubescent Favorite. I watched that VHS tape night after night, to the point where the entire movie was rooted into my subconscious. In retrospect, I’m surprised I didn’t get sick of it, considering how often I watched the thing. Now move ahead to 2009. It had been fourteen years since the original Toy Story film was released in theaters. It had since received a syndicated cartoon series, a sequel, and a third film set to be released this year. Pixar had become one of the most respected animation studios in America. I had just begun my Junior year in high school. Pixar announced that they had plans to re-release the first two Toy Story films in theaters, for the first time in 3D. Thinking back on all the fond memories I had of the franchise, I couldn’t pass this offer up. As soon as the films hit theaters, I bought my tickets and made my way to the local cinema.
films, and to provide introductions to them, short segments were produced starring the Toy Story characters. These were nice and all, but they weren’t the reason I came. I came to see my favorite childhood movie on the big screen for the first time. Long story short? It was pure, nostalgic bliss. The first film was every bit as great as I remembered it being, possibly even more so. I found myself mouthing lines as they were read; they were still just as much drilled into my subconscious as they were when I was a kid. I didn’t even know I still remembered all the songs. As the movie progressed, I found myself picking up subtle jokes that had gone over my head as a child; jokes that I’m sure my parents were laughing at years ago. It really was a surreal experience; it was all so familiar, but there was so much new content I was catching for the first time. As the film drew to a close, I felt satisfied. I had just relived one of my most cherished childhood movies, and found that it had aged surprisingly well. After a brief interlude, the second film started up. I watched it, and I enjoyed it, but I can’t say I got the same experience out of it as I did the first. Don’t get me wrong, Toy Story 2 is an excellent movie. When compared with its predecessor, it improves upon it on pretty much every level. I just didn’t have the same nostalgia invested in it. Nostalgia’s weird like that; it tends to blur your perception a bit. Rose-tinted glasses aside, Toy Story is still an excellent film. If you haven’t seen it, I can’t recommend it enough. The second film is worth a good watch as well. I can’t personally vouch for the third one, having not seen it yet, but if it’s anything like the first two, it’s sure to be great. Toy Story 3 is out in theaters June 18th across the country
The films were shown in a double-feature format, something rarely seen today. To fill in space inbetween the
RISING TALENT: JEANIE WILLMEACU 11TH GRADER ASHA SHANNON TALKS TO YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHER JEANIE WILLMEACU ABOUT HER PASSION FOR THE LENS.
The last memory I have of Jeanie Willmeacu, also dubbed “Mama Africa” by a very close group of hipster kids of whom I was one, was on Las Olas Beach off the local cantina in Ft. Lauderdale FL. She was part of our group and our after school activities included “beach bumming” which usually centered on random singing, lounging on woven tarps, intimate snap shots, and conjoined scrimmaging for money in efforts to get veggie friendly meals. Camera of choice? Non-existent when it comes to Jeanie. Putting the term “starving artist” to the test, she would bum (borrow) the latest cameras from fellow camera-savvy compadres. One week she could have a trendy Diana, and the next week a fifteen dollar disposable Kodak or a Nikon. Born to Haitian and Dominican parents in Miami, Florida, seventeen-year-old Jeanie Willmeacu is one of the many young artists in south Florida who is out to make a name for themselves. Working with many mediums, angles and several different types of cameras, she is constantly pushing the envelope in the photography scene, proving that you don’t need a studio and a fivehundred - dollar camera to get a pretty picture. Bold and timeless describes this artist’s work. “Art has no limits, so I try to step out of the box and create something new with my photos”, says the self proclaimed “diamond in the
rough”. With aspirations of moving to the concrete jungle that is Brooklyn, NY, this Miami native is an innovative and a raw talent to look out for. Asha Shannon: What would you describe your photography style as, and what types of mediums, places, people etc. inspire your work? Jeanie Willmeacu: Like Ernst Haas said “Style has no formula but it has a secret key. It is the extension of your personality” which is true. I am free spirited, eclectic, humble, unforgettable, random and all. Maybe all those adjectives can define my photography. I search for aesthetic surroundings and people. I find beauty in everything. That’s what inspires my work. AS: Who or what are your muses? JW: The sun! Seriously! The moon too! Both of them... without the two I couldn’t do ANYTHING. AS: How did you get interested in photography and what are your future plans in that specific art field? JW: Well, since I can’t draw, paint, do all that cool artsy stuff… I needed to find a different medium, and I thought to myself photography is a form of art… So I just flipped through magazines, surfed the web, asked a few friends who had the same interest on how I
should get started. It just took off from there. This summer I am planning to get an internship, network, travel a bit, and just work more on my portfolio. Photography will be considered a job for me, but in truth it’s my life. What types of things do you like to take photos of, and who are some artists that you look up to? Hmmm, I like taking photos of people for the most part. But like I said earlier, I find beauty in everything. If you look through my work, there really isn’t just one thing I focus on. A few artists that I look up to are Kwesi Abbensetts, Juergen Teller and Hunter Savoy Jaffe.
ON EDUCATION, REVOLUTION & RADICALISM
The terms revolutionary and insurgent are synonymous. However, anyone could tell you, the two have drastically different connotations. A revolutionary is someone whose practices are radically new or beyond established principles or procedure. An insurgent is someone who behaves contrary to the policies, practices or procedures established by a governing body. The two hold some similarities and yet we praise the revolutionary and condemn the insurgent as we sit and watch CNN in the comfort of our living rooms. Perhaps what we see as the fatal difference between the two is developmental. It is common practice today to fight terrorism with terrorism. The toll of civilians maimed, terrorized and killed in our country’s efforts against insurgency is daunting and unfortunate. What is even more tragic is that those efforts will have been made in vain if the masses do not remain largely empowered and educated so that they may not fall back into the clutches of terrorists. It is revolutionary to suggest that there is a better
11TH GRADER AND 2010 CREATIVITY FOUNDATION LEGACY PRIZE WINNER SARAI REED REFLECTS ON HOW A FOCUS ON EDUCATION CAN MAKE A DEEP IMPACT ON THE FIGHT AGAINST RADICALISM.
means of fighting terrorism. It is revolutionary to suggest that Islamic extremism can be thwarted at its beginnings. It is revolutionary to suggest building schoolhouses where there exists only military check points. At the center of both the revolutionary and the insurgent is a human being with a desire to change something. Respectively, one had the opportunities to develop that desire into a benefit to society while the other was misguided. In the cradle of civilization, that opportunity can come down to a basic non-extremist Islamic education. If students are taught what they need to know first and then left to make their own decisions rather than indoctrinated from the very beginning there is a much better chance that fewer of them will choose the jihad practices taught and encouraged by Wahhabi madrassas. There, a basic education can cause a decrease in recruitments of violent militant groups. Here, that opportunity can keep young men and women out of welfare offices and central booking. Instead of a career in childrearing to look forward to, girls can aspire to be doctors, lawyers, landowners and teachers. Instead of a life of farm work or a life of violence, mothers can steer their young men towards a career that will benefit society. Groups like the Taliban prey on ignorant men and subservient women in the Middle East and right here in our own inner cities. Ignorance is vulnerability. Education is imperative for progression’s sake. In an interview with Marcia Stepanek, Greg Mortenson author of Three Cups of Tea referenced an Afghani proverb saying, “The ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr.” What this means is that a martyr who gives his life for his cause cannot affect his community more than a
good teacher. When a teacher dispels ignorance from a community, he helps generations. A martyr can only die but once. “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops”, writes Henry Brooks Adams. Studies that indicate that communities where the majority of girls are educated through just the fifth grade have a significantly reduced infant mortality rate. This is one of many factors included in the “girl effect” – an effect sparked often by one or two teachers in a single room schoolhouse. Likewise, female literacy is a fierce adversary where Muslim extremism is involved in the Middle East. Traditionally, a young man who wishes to devote his life to violent extremism or a Jihad must first seek permission from his mother. Educated mothers are far less likely to grant their blessings in these situations. The Taliban is known to recruit in areas where women’s literacy is very low. Taking all this into consideration, a teacher really does not have any way of knowing where their influence stops. A student could be deterred from a life of violence and instead go on to a life of discovery. A million young men could give their lives or take others for a cause and they would not accomplish as much as a single driven teacher. When you think of it that way, teachers are extremely integral to a community, they are revolutionaries. Education is the best means for fighting terrorism because it has the possibility to change the would-be insurgent into someone who benefits society, a doctor, a lawyer, a scientist, a politician, a revolutionary, maybe even another teacher and so the cycle continues.
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RISING TALENT: KENE P. KIARA JANAE HACKLEY IS A 10TH GRADER AT DUKE ELLINGTON SCHOOL OF THE ARTS. RECENTLY, SHE CAUGHT UP WITH ONE OF THE SCHOOL'S RISING TALENTS, VOCALIST AND PRODUCER KENE P.
If you have been to the monthly “R St. Speaks” open mic series at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, then the chances are that you’ve already heard a KenE P. production. KenE P. is Kenny Peters, a senior in the vocal department at Duke Ellington. He is also a young upcoming producer and singer, and has already produced music for young fellow artists. In May of this year, his EP Artist or Producer was released. The first track on the CD is Money In The Bag. It sports a beat familiar to the sounds of hip-hop producer DJ Khaled’s songs but it goes with KenE P.’s flow. The bridge complements the song and how he utilizes the autotune is also another positive; he doesn’t over do it like a lot of artists today. Overall this is one of my favorite songs on this album. The song Got To Have Money has a nice rhythm to it and throughout this collection there is more to enjoy. Recently I was able to interview KenE P. about his music and life as a singer/producer. As I walked in the studio to interview him, he and co-producer John Brookes were working on an upcoming song. He greeted me with a smile and hug, and led me to the back of the room to sit down for a conversation. Kiara Hackley: How long have you been producing music? KenE P: I have been producing for a year and a half, but for four years I have been making music. KH: Have you made music for artists other than those that attend Duke Ellington School of the Arts? K: Yeah I have clientele. They come to the studio I created at my house but Duke Ellington School’s studio was the first studio I ever produced in. KH: What is unique about your work? Something that’s a distinct sound of yours?
K: (Jokingly) What, like a trademark? Like how DJ Khaled says “we the best” on his tracks? (Laughs) I’m versatile, when you hear or see me, you are going to hear or see something different. Everything isn’t predictable with me. KH: Do you have a co-producer that helps you with your work? K: Yeah, sort of. I like to consider myself the person who lets the people around me do what they do…like make beats and playing the piano. So I have my friend John Brookes to help me with that. I try to organize and plan for things like booking gigs and creating a website. So I try to do a lot myself. KH: How do the people around you contribute to your projects? K: Some make beats, like Johnny Tsunami. And others just play instruments and try to add things to the songs. KH: Are there any cons that come with being both a singer and producer? K: I really try not to weigh the two. I have a love for both of them so it all depends on my mood and what I want to do, and that’s why I say artist and producer as the name of the CD. Sometimes I don't know whether to introduce myself as a singer or a producer. That is why my mixtape is named Artist or Producer because at this point I am still trying to figure out which one I am more of. KH: Does your family play a huge role in your art/ craft? How?
KIARA JANAE HACKLEY
K: At first they were only semi-supportive. But then when they saw my passion for it and how I was always working on my music, they really came around to it. Especially my mother, she helps me out a lot with getting things done. My father rapped and my mother sung. She went to Duke Ellington School but never finished. I feel like I need to accomplish what I’m doing because I don’t want to look back on it and think, “I regret doing that”. So I am definitely going to work hard and make it.
K: I got the idea from the O’Jay’s song For The Love of Money (he sings the hook). Gotta Have Money was produced completely by me. It was kind of difficult because I rewrote the hook over and changed the beat and everything, and that’s the finished product on the mix tape. I wanted to bring a different angle to the song so this is what I came up with.
KH: What inspirations did you draw on when putting together your CD?
K: Definitely rewriting and making beats. Just creating it. I had so many ideas so it was hard for me to just come up with what I did.
K: Things around me, like money, girls, relationships, and things like that. Just the every day thing. KH: Who did you collaborate with? K: I collaborated with a lot of people. I am trying to go international, so collaborating with people is a big thing for me. KH: My favorite song on the mixtape is “Gotta Have Money”, where did you get the idea for that?
KH: What were the challenges you faced while working on this CD?
KH: What helps you get through the hardships? K: Besides the money? (He laughs). The satisfaction of having something that I can show somebody. KH: What is your next step? K: Like I said before, trying to go international. I’m really going to expand on the next CD. I want to make more mix tapes and to create a street team like in NYC and DC.
The Top 5 Up-And-Coming Artists In The DMV THE INSIDE TRACK ON HIP-HOP’S RISING STARS
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For decades music in the DMV area (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) had been closely associated with the homebased genre Go-Go, but now with the emergence of Wale and Tabi Bonney in the nationwide Hip Hop scene, artists in the area are taking Rap more seriously. The DMV is tapping into a mainstream genre in a meaningful way, giving many artists a bright future in the music business beyond the District. The following artists are currently working the hardest to make their national, and possibly global, dreams a reality.
. : Born Robert Bailey in Northeast DC, Lyriciss has emerged quickly in this last year, and spends a lot of his time between DC and Prince Georges County, MD. He is the newest artist signed to Inner Loop Records, and has already collaborated with Wale, Pro’verb, X.O. and many other artists in the DMV. The amazing thing is that he has the work ethic of a musician who has been in the business for more than 50 years but he’s only 22. If he is not performing at a local bar, club, or open mic, he is in the studio working on the next beat to Rap. He recently was inducted into a group of elite musicians with URB Magazine’s Next 1000 Program, which showcases the best 1,000 underground rappers in the world. After hearing his latest song “Hard Times,” featuring label mate K-Beta and Muggsy Malone, it is evident why he is called the Lyriciss.
Second only to one artist still to be revealed on this list, X.O. is the next big thing in DC. “X.O. Baby!!” is a common adlib the rapper does before and during a rap. In April of 2009 he signed to the label Studio 43, and now that Marky (you will find out more about him shortly) is in New York doing work with his major label, X.O. has been carrying the Notorious Studio 43 torch in DC. In June of the same year, he partnered up with AB The Producer (another up-and-coming producer who didn’t make my list) in making his debut
mixtape “Monumental”. He had one of the biggest first-week impacts in all of DC music, by selling 8, 000 CDs in less than a week. A.k.a. Jamaal Walton doesn’t stop working, and he takes advantage of many of the original Hip Hop producers in the area, partnering with them when making mixtapes. He is currently hosting a weekly open mic in DC at Pure Lounge and just released his first single off of his upcoming album “Road Home”, which features famous R&B singer Raheem Devaughn and AB The Producer. Success is in his reach and he will likely obtain it if he continues down the road he’s on.
3. Phil Ade
: Other than X.O., Phil Ade has had the greatest immediate impact on the DMV HipHop scene than any other artist on this list. He is the front runner of Raheem Devaughn’s label 368 Music Group and has already performed on some of the grandest stages in the country and with some of the best artists. Just recently, he performed at home at the 9:30 Club and opened for Wale. With the help of his boss Reheem DeVaughn, Phil Ade has emerged quickly and has already shot a video for his upcoming album which is titled “Hollywood”, and has the support of many DMV celebs with Tabi Bonney having directed the video. It is just the first of hopefully many videos from him that you will see on MTV JAMS. As the first rapper to debut from this label, a lot of pressure is on him; but from the experiences he’s already had, it’s likely he’ll succeed.
Showing that this isn’t a male-only genre, RAtheMC isn’t just breaking the gender barrier, but she’s also breaking hearts in the process. From DC, RA has been a big fan of fashion and being original, and that coexists with her music. She’s had the support and help of one key DMV producer, Judah, who has worked with many famous artists such as Kanye West and hosted many of RA’s first mixtapes, including the one that jump-started her career last year,
titled “A Mixtape About Something…I Think”. Also, her mixtape “Are You Not Entertained” made her the winner of the VMA’s Breakout DMV Artist Of The Year, where she performed on the red carpet. At the end of last year, RA released her latest mixtape titled Trending Topic, in which she shot videos that featured Pro’verb, X.O., Judah, Lyriciss, and many other local artists in cameos. And she shows no signs of stopping; with the recent success of not just her music but her blog and fashion line Envious Couture, she’s a national up-and-coming artist. Her name has already become well known in L.A., Miami, and New York.
The best up-andcoming rapper out of DMV, he’s the new face of Studio 43. With a very big following online in terms of blogs, YouTube and Twitter, and well thought out and catchy verses, there’s no wonder why Marcus Plater has gotten to where he is. He is following a path similar to Wale. He has such a diverse style that he can be mistaken as a dirty South rapper, then an East Coast rapper, and then a West Coast rapper in less than two songs. At age 19, he started rapping full time and caught the attention of producers and engineers at Atlantic Records and Def Jam Records. With their help, he found his own flow, and after a couple of original tracks, the owner of Studio 43, Kenny Burns, signed him. In 2008, after Wale signed to Interscope to target a bigger demographic, the label aimed to make Marky the successor to Wale. He started 2010 with a big bang, first with the release of his newest mixtape titled “Journey 2 Markyland US Rest Stop: 1,” which instantly created a huge buzz on the Internet. Not only was this his first mixtape away from home, but this was his first mixtape that he made on his newest label Universal. Like I said, his road to success is very similar to Wale, but based on the drive he is showing he appears to be in the passing lane. “I am Marky… 10 Million Records before.”
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THE TOP 5 LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES We are aspiring artists and performers as students at the Duke Ellington School of Arts, taking the nurturing of our artistic talents seriously. That said, we cannot forget a formal college education. There are colleges with artists in mind, and not just Juilliard. There are many Liberal Arts colleges that are often not as well known as the much larger colleges and universities. Liberal arts colleges are colleges that have “one primary emphasis on the undergraduate study of the liberal arts”, and they are generally smaller and more intimate than universities. The study of the liberal arts is a “curriculum that imparts general knowledge and develops the student’s rational thought and intellectual capabilities”. The liberal arts focus is on studying literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and sciences. Traditionally, in American liberal arts colleges, students study for four full years and earn their Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Sciences degree. Some modern liberal arts colleges allow flexibility, part-time study and offer financial aid to students. Here is a guide to some of the best liberal arts colleges available to young people wishing to hone their talents. 1. Williams College is a private residential, liberal arts college located in Williamstown, MA with approximately 2000 enrolled undergraduates. Williamstown is in the Berkshires Mountains in northwestern Massachusetts, about 135 miles from Boston and 165 miles from New York City. With three academic divisions (humanities, sciences, and social sciences), Williams offers twenty-four departments and thirty-three majors with a 7:1 student to teacher ratio, desirable for the student in need of an intimate surrounding, very common among most liberal arts schools. Williams also offers study abroad opportunities and is home to the Williams Ephs and the Williams College Museum of Art. 2. Amherst College is one of the premier liberal arts schools in the nation, located in Amherst, MA, a town with a population of 35,000 people. Approximately 1700 talented students are enrolled a year, and the college offers BA degrees in thirty-four fields of study. Amherst offers an open curriculum to allow flexibility through the 800 available courses, with an 8:1 student to teacher ratio. Amherst has
over 20,000 graduates, who have gone on to prominent careers and have received very prestigious honors, including four Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, president of the National Urban League, chief justice of the US Supreme Court, several National Book Awards winners, and a US President. 3. Swarthmore College is a small private college and “one of the nation’s finest institutions of higher education”, located in Swarthmore, PA, eleven miles southwest of Philadelphia. A Swarthmore alumni has founded the first liberal arts college in Ghana, while another led the team that developed the Hubble Space Telescope. The professors are leading scholars and researchers in their specialty, offering direct knowledge to each and every student with an 8:1 student to teacher ratio per class. Swarthmore’s 399acre campus is a designated arboretum with rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails. 4. Middlebury College is located in the Champlain Valley of central Vermont, with Vermont’s Green Mountains to the east and New York’s Adirondacks to the west. The school is renowned for their leadership in language instruction and international studies. The college offers graduate and summer programs in Summer Language Schools, Bread Loaf School of English, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and Monterey Institute of International Studies. It has more than 850 courses in forty-four different majors with a 9:1 student to teacher ratio. Middlebury is nationally known for programs in environmental studies, and is home to the Middlebury Panthers (with 31 NCAA varsity teams). 5. Wellesley College is a liberal arts school for women, located in Wellesley, MA, about twelve miles west of Boston, with an average enrollment of 2300 students a year. Wellesley is home to more than 150 student organizations/ clubs and thirteen varsity teams, club teams, and recreational activities. The college also offers fifty-six departmental and interdepartmental majors with an 8:1 student to teacher ratio. Notable alumnae include Hillary Rodham Clinton (1969), Madeleine Albright (1959), Madame Chiang KaiShek (1917), and more.
INTRODUCING THE R ST. COLLECTIVE
Duke Ellington School of the Arts is a school for, well, the arts. Yet when most people think of Duke Ellington, they think solely of the performing aspect of the arts. In the past the Literary Media and Communications department has been considered by many to not be a performance department. Some people aren’t even aware Duke Ellington has a writing program, due to lack of exposure and this idea of writing as a non-performance practice. This is all changing under the leadership of Literary Media Chair Mark Williams and his small staff of teachers. Since Mark Williams was reinstated as chair of the Literary Media department in 2008, he has transformed it into the Literary Media and Communications department (LMC). The structure of the department has undergone significant changes. In 2007 the Literary Media department limited themselves to roughly five performances a year, the majority of which were coffee house performances consisting primarily of unenergetic teenagers trying to force their mumbled poems through the paper in front of them. The following year, with new leadership, there were as many performances, however, thanks to the efforts of Mr. Williams and Ms. Dilworth these coffee houses were a major step up from their stationary predecessors. The 2009/10 school year has brought the most significant change to the department, ranging from the name change to a new teaching staff, with the exception of Mr. Williams. Thanks to an increase in performances, the Literary Media and Communications’ presence in both the Duke
Ellington School and the city’s artistic community has grown exponentially. At the forefront of this movement into the spotlight has been the freshly formed R St. Collective. The brainchild of Mr. Williams and poetry instructor Jade Foster, the R St. Collective consists of a constantly changing cast of LMC students, depending on the performance. However, despite whatever combination of students takes the stage there is always one constant factor that lends itself to the strength of the R St. Collective: the principle of an ensemble. It is from this principle that Mr. Williams and Ms. Foster formed the foundation of the R St. Collective. In a video interview, Mr. Williams stressed the importance of the ensemble in the Collective (see the website link at the end of the article) stating that the students are trying to “name” something in their work. “What the ensemble does is bring their pieces together to create a performance in which the student can emphasize that which it is they are trying to name, far stronger than they would be capable of doing alone. As well, working in an ensemble gives students an opportunity to experience what it is like to have to work as a group and with other artists, and to improve their performance skills all together.” The Collective has offered an outlet for numerous students. When asked what the R St. Collective has done for him, LMC junior Marcus Blanco (17), a frequent R St. performer said “I love to perform and, in writing, you either read it or perform it, and the Collective has given me that chance to perform.” Another fellow Collective member and
junior Asha Shannon (18), responding to the same question reflected on her own personal experiences in the literary world. “I am so used to the uncut and raw version that spoken word provides but I have become fond of the more professional and outlined arena of performance literature that the R. St. Collective provides.” By and large, most of the students who have participated in the performances have good things to say. For students like Destiny Jackson (17) who struggle with performing, the Collective has been essential to her growth as a performing artist. “I’m a really bad performer and public speaker,” Destiny says, “and I really feel it’s helped me in that aspect.” However, while there is much praise to go around, there remains room for criticism. When students were asked what they would like to see improve within the collective there was a common grievance among many students: the amount of time they had to prepare for performances. One of the most remarkable things about the Literary Media and Communications department is the speed at which they can put together a performance. Within the span of merely a week or two, work will be submitted, revised, rehearsed, and performed. Yet while the final product might be good for the amount of time given, it often fails to reach its true potential and leaves you wondering what might have been achieved had there been more time in which to prepare. Some students wish that they could have more notice before shows. Sarai Reed, (17) had this to say about the
constant short notice. “Look at what we can accomplish in a week, and just think what would happen if we were given a month.” Given the short notice for most of their performances, it is remarkable the amount of substance which the R St. Collective creates. They have performed all across DC at art galleries and hotspots such as Busboys & Poets, and have even performed for the renowned poet Sonia Sanchez. The Collective’s performances have touched on sensitive issues, from peoples’ greed for money to “Anti-Black History Month.” Listening to their performances it becomes apparent that these students grasp concepts that many adults struggle to confront. There is unspeakable potential for the Literary Media and Communications department and the R St. Collective to grow and become an essential core to the literary and performance community. http://vimeo.com/10022632
Homosexuality Among Teens: Is It Easier?
Approached by one of my teachers, I was given the assignment of writing something pertaining to myself: homosexuality. Strangely, I find it harder to talk about something that is personal, but, faced with the assignment, I wondered: What difficulties do openly gay teenagers face today? To get the answer I looked toward my peers. My first interview was with Helen Steinecke, a Literary Media and Communications sophomore at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. The interview started with the personal question, “When did you discover that you were gay?” After a chuckle flipping her short blonde hair, she answered: “I was in the 7th grade. One night I had a dream. I kissed one of my girl best friends. I wasn’t scared or angry at the dream. I realized at that point I was what I was [gay]...and that’s how it is.” I shuffled through my questions and came to heart of my mission: “What dilemmas
AREA TEENS SAY BEING OPENLY GAY STILL HAS IT’S CHALLENGES AND HAZARDS.
do you face being a homosexual teenager?” “A few, none were internal. It was things like homophobia. At my old school one girl called me a dyke,” she calmly said. It wasn’t too long ago that homosexuality was outlawed and gays were forced underground. Most people tried not to talk about it. And if you were gay your family would treat you like a disease, and homosexuals were often sent to asylums. I tell these things to Helen before asking the question: “Do you think it is easier being gay at this time rather than in the 20th century?” With a sarcastic look on her face she responded: “Yes it is. It definitely is… because people became more aware of it.” Romelo, my second interview and a first-year vocalist at Duke Ellington School of the Arts,has a different perspective. “I get picked on first of all because I’m fat and secondly because I’m gay” said Romelo furiously. “What dilemmas do you face being a homosexual teenager?” I asked. I and many others sat at the now silent lunch table, waiting for his reply. Again I asked my last question: “Do you think it is easier being gay
at this time rather than in the 20th century?” “It is easier, but it will never be easy because we are going to constantly go through that hate thing”, he responded. Pondering his words, I came to realize that homosexuality is a serious and potentially dangerous issue, and I decided to take my questions to the streets to get a broader perspective. I approached a teenage boy who would like to stay anonymous. Awkwardly, and cautiously, I walked up beside him at a bus stop and asked: “Are you gay?” “Yeah. Why?” I continued, “Because I wanted to interview you for a magazine but I had to know if you were gay first. “Oh. Well what do you need to know?” “Well, it’s only a few questions basically about your sexual orientation”, I said. “Okay “, he replied. I then pulled a crumpled piece of paper out my backpack with my questions. “When did you discover you were gay?” “Well, I’m bisexual. It was when I was in the 9th grade and I was playing video games with my friend who is a
guy and we started like play fighting with each other for some odd reason. And I ended up getting an erection while we were tumbling and fighting each other,” he said. Holding my composure and trying not go off the record, I just nodded and continued with the interview. Standing at the bus stop -- hot and lugging around my huge backpack -- I felt nothing but uncomfortable, so we sat at the nearest bench, which was right across the street from the bus stop. I set my book bag down and asked my next few questions. “Do you think it is easier being gay at this time rather than in the 20th century?” “Well, yeah, because back then they were like forced to think that it was like an illness, at least from what I heard and now we even have gay marriage. Of course it’s easier.” After three interviews and three answers I was left with the conclusion that it is indeed easier being a gay teen today than it was in the 20th century. I agree with this because it no longer seems like an abnormality. Teenagers who were once in the closet are now coming out because being gay is recognized as a normal sexual preference, rather than a disease or syndrome.
THRIFT IN KIND, THRIFT IN NATURE
A BARGAIN-HUNTERS GUIDE TO DC
With the return of shoulder pads, neon colors, and skinny jeans comes thrift stores. Sure popular stores like Urban Outfitters and H&M have found their niche with revamped reasonably priced vintage-looking clothes. But the steep prices and scarce summer jobs are driving some teens to rediscover thrift stores and vintage-clothing shopping. Until a few years ago, I thought of thrift stores as an antiquated elderly pastime rather than a fashion treasure hunt. But DC has a variety of vintage shopping at prices that won’t break your bank, and some that will push you to splurge. Eastern Market is a hub for thrift shoppers and vintage-clothes lovers. Most Saturdays and Sundays the Market at 7th St. and Pennsylvania Ave. SE has a number of vendors with old clothes, purses and shoes. Some carry pricey vintage Gucci, Louis Vuitton and MCM bags. An April sale led one vendor to charge fifty dollars for anything that you could fit in a plastic shopping bag. With my experience as someone known to pack a bag, it was like a gift from the divine fashion gods. I managed to fit over eight clutches and purses, three shirts, and five dresses. I got home and sat back in satisfaction, knowing I would have to spend twice as much at Urban Outfitters to walk away with just half of what I got at Eastern Market. Across the street from the Market on Pennsylvania Ave. was a small vintage shop called Intermix that carried vintage women’s clothing and dresses. I bought a circa 1980’s Robert Nipon dress; I googled the designer and discovered that just twenty years ago he was selling dresses for ten times the mere twenty dollars I paid. Sadly, Intermix closed in April, but the dress lives on in my closet. Among other vintage shops at Eastern Market, Goodwill can be a treasure chest for that vintage look or maybe even last season’s runway favorite. A nice pair of oxfords or a summer dress is sometimes hiding in between the cheetah leggings and grandma jeans. Stores Like Mercedes Bien Vintage and Meeps cater to
a pricier vintage taste. But sometimes the higher prices are worth it for clothes that are exclusive. A couple of years ago I purchased a linen dress from Meeps and have yet to see anyone else with it on, and for a fashion lover like myself that is what I call “satisfaction”. Georgetown’s Annie Cream Cheese has gained a lot of popularity with celebrities and those of a more lucrative class. The good thing about this vintage boutique is they cater to all price ranges. On one side is the vintage Chanel, Dolce, Prada, and McQueen; on the other side you can find anonymous labels with the same vintage look for the ten to twenty dollar price range. This store is a treasure chest for accessories from sunglasses, personality glasses, earrings, necklaces, pendants -- you name it, they have it, and all for under 20 dollars. Annie Cream Cheese 3279 M Street Northwest (202) 298-5555 Mercedes Bien Vintage 2423 18th St NW (202) 360-8481 Meeps 2104 18th Street Northwest (202) 265-6546 Goodwill 2200 Dakota Avenue NE (202) 636-4225 Eastern Market 225 7th St SE Washington
SHOE SEDUCTION “Momma always says there's an awful lot you could tell about a person by their shoes. Where they're going. Where they've been.” Forest Gump A jogger will have on running shoes, and a stripper will have on knee high boots. The passing glance of another person from top to bottom is customary, is in our human nature, and is something we do without thought. This particularly rings true for us girls. But do we ever ask ourselves what we are looking for? We assess the hair, the detail in the makeup, the jewelry and by the time we reach the footwear have we found whatever it was we were looking for? The real question is: When we look down at our own feet what do we discover about ourselves? Let’s assume the shoes were characters. The high heel shoes and boots with 4” heels are sluts and hookers. The Nikes are pimps who court the attention of the aforementioned heels. Shoes made by Easy Sprit are like that old woman who has accepted that she has gone through menopause. All Star Chuck Taylors and Vans are dark, depressive suicides who dream of being high heels or Nikes. And the red and cheetah print pumps that don’t really fit just want to hang out at Go-Go spots. Now this may sound crazy, but maybe it’s not the person that makes the shoes, but it’s the shoes that make the person. The most conniving pair of shoes are the
ones that you find in a store slightly slanted on a mannequin or elevated on a wooden platform above the rest of the shoes. You see, they think they are better than all the other pairs of shoes because you see them first, or perhaps they see you first. The seduction has begun. Despite their price, you want them. Guys aren’t even safe anymore; the boys’ shoes at stores like Foot Locker are just as bold as their female counterparts. Those sneakers with the one-hundred dollar price tag that sit in the window sneering at passers-by. Vanity: it’s a two-way dialogue between shoe and customer. The indelible image of a particular brand of footwear can remain in your head until you purchase them. I admit, I constantly fall under these spells, but I also know that all things get old and wear out. The high heels and pumps are the first to fall and with this knowledge I am growing reluctant to spend my last cent on a quick fashion fix. I love shoes, but seldom do they love me back. Take this pair of black wedges I bought at Nine West, they want to go with every dress I own, no loyalty or commitment. Shoes have a mind of their own. So the next time you trip over nothing, remember it wasn’t nothing, it was most definitely something or someone, a pair of characters beneath the ankles bursting commentary.
Islam and Race: A DC Teen’s New Awareness TENTH GRADER ZACHARY CLARE ASKS A LONGTIME FRIEND ABOUT HIS CONVERSION TO ISLAM AND IS SURPRISED TO FIND THAT RACE PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE
It’s tough to ask someone about their religion. It’s even harder to ask someone why they converted from Christianity to Islam. I’ve known D’Monte, a junior at Cesar Chavez School, for years and we’ve been great friends. He wore a silver cross necklace to school everyday. He went to church every Sunday with his family. He was a Christian. But now we sit here on these bleachers, he’s in his dashiki and coofie and I’m sitting here with a notepad full of questions. The first one clumsily written: Why are you Muslim? Religion is a sensitive topic. People have been killing each other over God for hundreds of years. Remember the Crusades? People don’t generally ask questions about their peers’ religious views. Most people have the same religious views
as their parents. Among blacks in DC, about 80% percent of families are Christian, of various sects. But in the past couple years there has been an increase of young black people between the ages of 13-22 converting to the Nation of Islam. It’s not hard to spy the hoards of black youth running around in dashikis, coofies, jeans, and tennis shoes. They always seem to be in groups, whether in school or at popular hangouts like Gallery Place. At first it seemed like a new fashion trend, but when I noticed that some of these kids were reading the Qur’an, the Muslim Bible, I realized that some of them were taking religion seriously. However, Muslim teens, who have been Muslim their whole lives, think it’s nothing more than a trend.
“I think it’s a fad,” says Raven Reese, a junior at the Ellington School of the Arts who has been Muslim since she was born. “It’s a beautiful thing, when you look at the big picture, but I don’t think they’re looking into the spiritual aspect of the religion.” Most of the black youth in D.C. subscribe to trends. You have to have new shoes, the expensive brand, and shop at the right places. But religion as a trend or fad seemed odd to me. Yet, taking Raven’s words into consideration, I developed the blatant yet complex question: Why are you Muslim? D’Monte sat on the bleachers in Cesar Chavez School’s gym, sipping an “Extra Sweet Arizona Green Tea”, watching the boy’s varsity basketball team practice. “This the best Arizona right here. Always get the extra sweet,” he said, as if he wanted me to write it down. I finally ask my first question: “Why are you Muslim?” He sets his Arizona down, the first time since we’ve been sitting here. He took a second to formulate his answer. He looked up in the air as if the answer would somehow appear. “I am Muslim,” he said. “Why?” I asked again. “I’m Muslim because I choose to be. Nobody converted me or anything. I didn’t want to worship a white Jesus anymore. The Nation of Islam is for black people and we look out for each other.” He didn’t want to worship a white Jesus. Through pop culture and most paintings of Jesus Christ, he would seem to be white. But there is no actual proof of what his race was. It’s disturbing that D’Monte would think that Jesus is white and that it would play a part in his choice of faith, though the Nation of Islam has notoriously
been less than pleasant towards white people. Even the kids who have been Muslim since birth share D’Monte’s sentiments. Raven Reese said, “I have personal feelings towards the white race...due to history. I believe, though I can’t speak on the whole Nation of Islam, but the Muslims I’ve encountered share the same views as me. We look at history...anyone can look at the history and see what white Europeans have done to our people.” By “our people” she means black people. The Nation of Islam was created for black people as a response to the white man’s racism. The Nation of Islam teaches a black separatist doctrine. It teaches that blacks were the first people on Earth but were tricked out of their power by the Caucasian people and forced to live under a system of white supremacy. The Nation seeks “a full and complete freedom, equal justice under the law applied equally to all, regardless of race or class or color and equal membership in society with the best in civilized society,” according to its followers. The fact that the Nation is for black people played a big part in the decision to switch to Islam by the teens I’ve encountered. But an even bigger reason they all shared, and what I concluded to be the ultimate reason for why these teens were converting to Islam, is companionship. Companionship or protection. I hate to relate religion to gangs, but it started to look that way the more Muslims I interviewed. Christian Staton, a 7th grader at Jefferson Middle School and a Muslim, says “I want to become a Muslim so the other Muslims will help me fight. This kid at my school wanna fight me but if I become a Muslim the other Muslims gon beat him up for me.”
I found this shocking. Kids were becoming Muslim to have that companionship and protection. Christian also told me about his older brother, “He became a Muslim before he got locked up, which was real smart, ‘cause now nobody’s gon mess with him for real ‘cause they know them other Muslims got his back, even if they don’t know him. They gotta help him if he’s wearing that coofie.” Most kids get in gangs for the companionship or to fulfill the need to be part of something. They join gangs for the protection, for the collective power. They get in gangs so they know that the members will have their back no matter what. This seems to be the ultimate reason that these kids are converting to Islam. But why convert to a whole other religion just to be a part of something? Why not just join a club? What is the need for this Muslim movement? Christian put it better than I can: “What the religion says…what Allah wants…all that Allah wants is peace and equality for all. I agree with that and I like crackin’ the dashikis wit my purple 498’s(New Balance 498) too.”
TERRA TALKS! FIVE TIPS ON BECOMING A BETTER TEENAGER. MY VOICE IS YOUR VOICE - TERRA CAMPBELL INTRODUCES A NEW COLUMN ON BEING A YOUNG TEENAGER IN THE D.M.V.
Life is an experience. Whether it is good or bad is all up to you. It can be critical but let’s face it, the moment you become a pre-teen everything instantly becomes more important. Life becomes a poker game and it is impossible to know the cards you will be dealt, but it is up to you to make it the best it can be. During my long seventeen years of life (smile) I have composed various ideas and philosophies on how to survive your teenage years! And by philosophies I mean the purpose of everything teenager. That includes all the boyfriend and best-friend drama, school finals, fashion, and right on down to the music you listen to. I came up with a handbook. I compiled, then eliminated, summarized and selected some of the most important tips on being the ideal teenager. I know what some of you are thinking: You think you are the best teenager? Well, everyone can improve. So let’s just call them five tips on becoming a better teenager. 1. BE CONFIDENT. Confidence is the key to surviving as a teenager. Be sure of yourself. Self-love is the best love. More importantly, it’s the first love. It might be a cliché but you really cannot love a person or be loved until you love yourself! 2. MOVE ON! Learn to forgive. As a teenager you encounter people and circumstances that get you into unnecessary situations. You won’t like them, but the important thing is don’t let things keep you down. You can make a situation even worse by dwelling on the past. So let it go.
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SCHOOL IS IN
It’s just past 11:30 in the morning. We’re relaxing in the state-of-the-art studio at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. as R&B sensation Mario and guests gather around the piano and start laying down some notes. His comrades are all nicely dressed with slacks and buttonups. Mario is cool and casual, carrying his B-More swag with a baseball cap, black and white graphic tee, crisp dark blue jeans, red Chuck Taylors, and a white G-Shock wristwatch. Everyone in the studio is all smiles, all except the Ellington administration. Plastic smiles are glued to their faces and their anxiety is tangible. A student stands patiently in the corner waiting to get her picture taken with Mario. After he lays down a couple more notes he lends the student his attention with a hug and pausing to pose for a photo. I barge in for a quick interview. He smiles and reaches his hand out to shake mine. “Hey, I’m Mario”, he says. “Yeah, I know”, I respond, thinking how else could I not. Then I introduce myself and ask if he would mind doing a short interview. He steps back and gasps in mock offense. At this point, I’m confused. He breaks into laughter and pats my back. “Yeah. I’ll do it”. I whip out a Flip video camera and we begin. He instantly jumps in “Hey y’all. It’s your boy Mario, we are here kicking it in the studio.” Ms. Fennison, the school’s Dean of Arts’ assistant, signals me to wrap up an interview that is yet to even begin.
“So can you tell us why you’re here today?” “Well, basically I’m here to chill and kick it with all the students here at Duke Ellington. I can’t wait to see how they do things here, we should have a really good time. I love being around my peers who love the same thing as me.” I nod and smile as he speaks. Out the corner of my eye I see Ms. Fennison signaling me again; only this time with more urgency. I reassure her that I will not take up much of Mario’s time and then ask him how essential, as an established artist, he feels the arts are to youth, especially in the school system. “I think art is very, very essential you know, it’s something for kids to do to stay out of trouble, just like it helped me.” Mario was born and raised in the trying streets of Baltimore, Maryland, an area that once went neglected but has now been highlighted over recent years through the success of the TV show “The Wire”. Mario escaped a lot of peer pressure and violence that took place in the streets, through music. He was offered a record deal, and at the tender age of fourteen was signed to J Records. He released his eponymous album in 2002 and since then has gone on to release three other albums; Turning Point, Go, and 2009’s D.N.A. He has been nominated for a Grammy, and has been featured in two blockbusters films, “Step Up” in 2006 and “Freedom Writers” in 2007. Hit singles include Just A Friend (2002) which was a remake of the rapper Biz Markie’s hit
R&B STAR MARIO DROPS INTO DUKE ELLINGTON SCHOOL OF THE ARTS TO VISIT THE STUDENTS AND BREAK BREAD WITH 11TH GRADER AND DAISY JAMES MAGAZINE EDITOR RAVEN REESE.
record, and Let Me Love You. “I think it’s so important for young people to embrace the arts.” Mario says. “It’s important for people in general but it’s very instrumental in youth development today. If we look at some of the best songs and dance moves, we see that a lot of them were created by young people. I feel as though we’re headed in a positive direction, we can really change the world with this.” I thank him and sign off on the interview. “Peace.” I say. “Yeah, peace”, he says playfully. We remain in the studio waiting for the day’s itinerary. Ms. Fennison returns with three or four boxes of Ledo’s pizzas. Mario turns down the cheese pizza and opts for a garden salad. After pizza and salad we all prepare for the day’s events. “I’m ready; I’m so ready to be Principal for the day.” Mario says, clearly pumped for the hours ahead.
“Really?” I reply, “Being Principal of our school is such a big job, what rules are you going to enforce?” “Rules? I didn’t know I had to make any rules.” he laughs. “C’mon now, of course you do, that’s what principals do!” Ms.Fennison joins the convo, “Are you ready? Because it is time to go.” We exit the studio. All of Mario’s comrades leave except a guy named Dennis Rado who handles the day’s PR. Ms.Fennison, Ms.Harris ─ the School’s Dean of Arts ─ Mario, Dennis and I cram into Ellington’s small elevator, used solely to transport heavy goods by teachers and custodians. The elevator is cramped, hot and silent. “We have the same watch” Mario says as he taps my wrist. “Yeah, G-Shocks, you gotta love em’, I was looking for a white one”. He tells me his is solar powered, he jokes that it cost him an extra five
dollars, but adds that it was worth it. “Awww shucks Mario,” I reply, “you’re going green?” “Yeah, I do what I can, you know.” And as the new face of the PETA campaign against killing animals, and his foundation, The Do Right Foundation, to help young drug addicts, you could say Mario really does do what he can. “We do our part here at Ellington too,” I add. ‘Did you peep the recycling bins in the student cafe?” “Yes I did, I’m very proud of my students here.” We all laugh and step off the elevator into the Media Center. The students are all occupied. Some jam with earphones in their ears while reading books. Others type on laptops and socialize with their peers. We walk through the door laughing, some of the female students smile and gyrate while the majority of the male students give slight smiles and nod their heads acknowledging Mario. They all tell him
how much they respect his work and thank him for coming to share some of his experiences with them. A boy sits in a chair with his laptop and plays Break Up a Mario song featuring Gucci Mane and Sean Garrett. Break Up is Mario’s biggest selling single and it was arguably the hottest song of the summer of 2009. Everyone had it on their Ipod or mp3. Lil Wayne gave kudos to the song by doing a remake on his mix tape No Ceilings. We sit down in the Media Center waiting for others in our group to use the restroom. “Raven, turn on the camera, please.” Mario asks. “Yes sir, Principal…” “Barrett!” He corrects himself, saying “I’m Principal Barrett.” He is slipping into the authority role rather easily. “Please turn on the camera, Ms. Reese, it’s time for a public service announcement.” I turn on the Flip camera in my hands and he begins; it is a public service announcement that consists of a little bit of everything. We learn of a Duke Ellington creed that Principal Barrett concocted in just minutes; he talked of his plans to generate scholarship money and students pitched an idea for a benefit concert for Ellington. After leaving the Media Center we, headed to the third floor of the school to the Vocal and Instrumental departments. In the classes the students sung pieces from the Broadway musical “Porgy and Bess”. Mario stood smiling tapping his feet and bopping his head. The next class we attend, the students perform pieces from a Motown review, singing oldies from The Temptations and The Supremes. We are all, including Mario, blown away. After every classroom visit, we talk about the performances of the students and walk down the hall singing songs from Motown classics. Our next destination is the basement, to the visual arts department where we enter a classroom to figure drawings and a plethora of colorful canvases. Before ending our day with “Principal” Mario Barrett, we visit the school’s Dance and Literary Media and Communications departments; Mario appears suitably impressed at every stop we make. “This will most definitely not be my last time here,” he says. “We have to do some type of collaboration; the kids here are on point. Today was very cool; I really enjoyed myself”. The interview is over, but it allowed me to appreciate Mario as a person, which is a rare experience for me when I meet established artists. Through the day, I didn’t feel like I was with Mario the R&B star, but Mario, a cool guy who is really funny and enjoys art just as much as me.
HUNGRY TEENS, HOLLOW WALLETS 6 top affordable places to eat
LOOKING FOR SOMEWHERE TO EAT AT LITTLE EXPENSE? 10TH GRADER CAROL-ANN COLLINS BREAKS DOWN SOME OF THE TOP PLACES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO EAT IN THE DISTRICT WITHOUT BURDENING THEIR POCKETS.
Chipotle is scattered throughout the DMV. The chain of restaurants sells Mexican-style burritos and nachos and uses only natural ingredients. On average a burrito, nachos and a drink would cost you roughly ten dollars. Every establishment is large and clean with functional minimalistic décor and cafeteria-style service. This is a great place to head to after school or on the weekends, or maybe even on a first date if money is running low. Qdoba is similar to Chipotle in that it offers “Fresh Mex” Mexican-style cuisine. What presently sets them apart from their competitors are their Tuesday student deals. Every Tuesday, burritos are only three dollars for students. While Qdoba’s establishments are not as large and widespread as Chipotle’s their service is just as fast and their premises are clean. Qdoba has also been known for putting more meat on their burritos than Chipotle. This is a ideal spot for Tuesday evenings after school. Domino’s for better or worse has been a staple part of our country’s diet; recently they have been listening to their customers. The Domino’s pizza has vastly improved and they are known for their latest special, the 555 deal. The 555 deal allows you to buy three medium pizzas for five dollars a piece. Domino’s is always a great choice when left home alone. It is also ideal for low-budget get-togethers with friends. I-Hop is the number one hang out spot after prom. I-Hop is a great place to go on those late nights with a friend for a nice sit-down meal. They are open twenty- four hours. I-Hop always has affordable prices and great food. Family-friendly, it’s a place you can head to without fear of your younger sibling embarrassing you; pancakes are served with almost every meal and the menu is varied, ranging from all-day breakfast to steaks. Friday’s is a great restaurant with affordable prices. You can get a full-course meal for less than twenty dollars. This is a great place for a date when you’re on a tight budget. Friday’s establishments are usually large; a booth is the ideal spot when eating here. You can get three-course meals that start at twelve dollars and it comes with friendly service. McDonald’s is a last resort. This is only recommended when you are down to your last dollar and need a filling meal. With the dollar menu you can get any thing from a hot apple pie to a burger for just one dollar. McDonald’s is usually large, crowded, and can oftentimes be unkempt. The preparation of the food is nothing to be desired, but, if you’re really hungry, a large number three will really hit the spot.
HEY MONDAY’S JERSEY MORIARTY GIVES ADVICE TO YOUNG MUSICIANS: INTERNET, INTERNET, INTERNET
I recently had an opportunity to sit down with the band’s bassist, 24-year old Michael “Jersey” Moriarty, who told me about some of his early influences, including the Muppet Babies. Born and raised in New Jersey, he now lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, where the band was formed in 2008. Their current line up is Cassadee Pope on lead vocals, Jersey on bass (of course), Mike Gentile and Alex Lipshaw on guitar, and Patrick McKenzie currently on drums. The band has had much success in the past two years; they have some popular singles such as How You Love Me Now and Homecoming, and have gotten to tour with bands like Fall Out Boy, All Time Low, and Cobra Starship. However, they’re barely out of school and it was only a few years ago that Jersey was captain of the high school cross country team and working at the Apple Store. I interviewed Jersey on Hey Monday’s tour bus outside the 9:30 Club in DC. You can watch a video with the interview along with a tour of the bus at youtube.com/skoollifestudios Madison Hartke-Weber: I go to school with a lot of young musicians who are hoping to establish themselves as professional musicians, so I want to start with some questions about how you started your own career. Jersey: Sure. MHW: When did you start playing an instrument and what was your first instrument?
HEY MONDAY WAS RECENTLY IN CONCERT HERE IN D.C.. IF YOU HAVEN'T HEARD OF THEM YET, YOU WILL. THEY’RE ONE OF THE TOP POWERPOP/POP PUNK ACTS BEING FEATURED ON THIS SUMMER’S WARPED TOUR, A BIG BREAK FOR A YOUNG BAND.
Jersey: When I was little, like really little, my parents got me this Sesame Street -- no, it was Muppet Babies -keyboard, and I learned how to play “Old MacDonald” on it. And then, when they realized that I had learned how to play “Old MacDonald” on that, then they got me a bigger keyboard and I learned how to play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on that, and I just kind of worked it up from there. MHW: Were you involved in any organized music programs when you were in school? Jersey: Yeah, I was in Chorus, I want to say for pretty much all of elementary school and I started Band when I was in 4th grade and I did it through middle school. And then, when I started high school, I started playing in all the regular bands, like pop-rock stuff. MHW: What made you decide to switch to bass from guitar? Jersey: Actually, it was because one of my old bands, one of the pop-punk bands, was breaking up — At A Glance — and there was another band called Someday Never and as my band was breaking up, their bassist had left, and they were always kind of a little bigger than us, a little more involved in the music scene than us. Like they had toured, and I knew that, and I really wanted to be in a band that was that real, that “big”. And so I emailed them, actually it was on MySpace, so I shot them a message saying “Hey, I’ve actually never played bass in a band but I can play bass if you want to give me a try.” And that’s what happened, it was about five years ago. MHW: How did you become the bass player for Hey Monday?
Jersey: My band that I joined, Someday Never, had toured down through Florida, like two or three times, and, oddly enough, we played with (Hey Monday’s) old drummer Elliot’s old band — it’s like a chain of different things — and we just kept in touch, and found out that his band broke up, and Cassadee and Mike’s old band broke up, and Alex’s old band broke up, and they were all getting together and making a band and they asked me if I wanted to play bass. MHW: Do you have any advice for up-and-coming bass players? Jersey: Practice, practice, practice. Listen to a lot of kick drum. Keep your rhythm tight. Sit on a sub-woofer when the music’s on if you have a chance, because that just tightens you, gives you more of a sense of what you’re supposed to be playing as a bassist. MHW: Do you have some kind of routine to get ready for a show? Jersey: I do a vocal warm-up, because I do the backing vocals with Cassadee, and just loosen up, get prepped to go out and have a good time. MHW: Okay, so I asked some musicians to send in some questions, so I have a couple here. Jersey: Okay, cool. MHW: This one’s from Jimmy, who’s in the band My Indian Summer, which plays in the Baltimore area. He wants to know “What can a band do to develop a following out of state?”
touch with other promoters out of state. I’m not saying you have to tour the entire country, the entire world, to get that following, but, you know, as soon as you play a venue that is maybe five minutes outside of your state, some kids might have seen you, someone might have seen you there, you might get that connection to a gig that’s an hour outside of your state. It just spreads from there. Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, all that stuff — a lot of it’s fading, but it’s still just important as it’s always been. MHW: So, Celeste, who is an instrumental music student at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, has two questions. The first one from her is, of course, “Are you single?” Jersey: Yes, as of now, currently. Looking to change that. MHW: The second question is: “What was the first song you learned on bass?” Jersey: Ooh, probably some Blink-182 song. Not to say that Blink-182 songs are easy or anything — but they kind of are. I feel like any kid growing up when I grew up, that’s the first song anyone my age would have tried to play. Those were the jams, those were the songs you wanted to play in your bedroom with the stereo blasting. Definitely a Blink-182 song. MHW: And that’s it — thanks! Jersey: Absolutely, of Appreciate it very much.
Jersey: Internet. Internet, Internet, Internet. Touring, obviously. Get in
SUBCULTURE ENVY Sometimes I wish I were brave enough to walk into my school wearing whatever I wanted, some leather gloves, a shaved head, or extremely coordinated makeup on my face that looks like it took me all morning to do. At my school, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, there is no uniform policy, we are free to wear whatever we want. You can tell a lot about what a person is interested in just by his or her attire; whether they’re a conformist or rebel, someone who cares about fashion or someone who doesn’t follow trends. There are those who wear the usual shirts, pants and shoes from American Eagle or the Gap and then there are those who go out of their way to search for extremely rare items online that can be seen and bought nowhere else. I spend a lot of time studying the clothing of the individuals who aren’t afraid to step outside of the boundaries of the “norm”. They give my school life and diversity. And the key difference between me and them is that I have a desire to wear whatever I want, but they have a passion and a need to stand out. In other words, they are serious about what they represent. Within society there are two groups: the in crowd and the out crowd. In terms of the media, the in crowd represents pop culture, which everyone knows about and everyone can relate to. The out crowd represents other interesting types of styles or hobbies that are less well known. These unique groups of people whose
interests do not draw enough attention to be considered popular are called subcultures. A subculture is a group of people with a culture that exists within the larger culture to which they belong. For many years, subcultures have been built, demolished and rearranged. There have been quite a few subcultures that have reached pop culture status, such as Hiphop, Rave and Goth. But there are other subcultures that remain unknown to the larger public, such as Lolita fashion, Bohemianism and the Furry/ Therian subculture. “People are afraid to be judged,” according to Duke Ellington student Cassie Coppecky. For the most part people feel that they want to be part of what’s accepted in society. That’s why it’s interesting to me why someone would want to stand out from the crowd and attract attention with not only their attire but their behavior. In high school and college, you are trying to figure yourself out; creating a contrast with the rest of the group can help you define yourself, as well as identify likeminded individuals. Subcultures are one of the many ways that people find where they belong. And you can find plenty of subcultures at the various conventions in DC. Hundreds or thousands of people gathered around a common interest or topic. Sometimes I go to conventions when my friends ask me, to check out what’s new and different. Each time I’ve gone I couldn’t help but to notice the eccentric costumes and people who show up at these conventions to be seen and to shop for unusual merchandise. But despite my judgment on how the people who attend these events are “wasting their money,” to them these items are extremely convenient and worth more than what some of the people are selling them for. The same teenagers who I’ve seen searching for a meal on the dollar menu at
McDonald’s are the same people who go out of their way to save up enough money to splurge at conventions. Some things you can’t buy at a regular store and sometimes they cost more on the Internet. Cassie noted that at a recent Japanese convention she bought some one-of-a-kind items. “I bought a custom made Rainbow Ojamajo Doremi bookmark which has the main character on it, and I bought a couple of good necklaces. I love my sapphire crystal one. And even a one-of-a-kind yaoi picture of Sora and Riku,” Cassie said with a smug smile. “So, how much did all of that cost?” I asked. She counted on her fingers and calculated the amount of money she spent after taking a good minute to remember the prices of the items; “I don’t exactly know. I got three necklaces for fifteen dollars each…that’s forty-five dollars. The bookmark and the picture that was over fifty dollars all together… Plus the fact that the entry passes cost fifty dollars for both of us. That’s like over a hundred dollars but that’s only a rough estimation.” “As I looked back on that day I remembered we did spend more money than it takes to buy 2-3 complete outfits at the mall. I remember we had to pay for food to eat and the fact that I bought myself a little fennec fox plushie and a few books added to the overall cost as well,” Cassie said. “It’s simple. When you’re really enthusiastic about something, you’ll buy it. That’s why people buy art and collectable items, right; because they feel that they won’t find it anywhere else?” Conventions, although they sound like a bunch of pointless mumbojumbo to most people, are very important events to people who concern themselves with subcultures. Sometimes it is the only place and time for people with the same interest to come together to network and make friends with one another. I personally
have found it very difficult to find anyone else who is proud enough or comfortable enough to even share with other people that they are interested in the Furry/ Therian fandom. Because of these reasons, conventions are very essential when it comes to subcultures that are given bad names or negative reputations by the media and many skeptical people. That’s also the reason why prices for things at conventions are always going to be high so that the few people who are willing to buy them will help support the fandom and give the conventions enough money to have another event. Subcultures are underground for various reasons. Besides getting a bad rap from the media (like Trekkies are geeks, or motorcyclists are troublemakers, or Emos cry about everything and all they do is take vampire pictures and post them on Photobucket), subcultures, in a way, do not exactly want their interests and styles to become pop culture. When subcultures mesh with mainstream entertainment, people who are very dedicated or enthusiastic about the subculture have to face those oh-soannoying people called the “posers”. Posers are people who only follow a subculture because of the style and their rebellious views toward the norm rather than taking consideration on whether they have passion for what they’re representing. This is also more of a problem for a subculture, not only because it’s an insult to the fandom, but posers who are unaware of the true meaning of the subculture may feed into the stereotypical views that people gain when they look at the subculture with a skeptical eye. Therefore, making it harder for people who are actually interested in the subculture to join because of their fears of becoming labeled.
KRISTAN SAINT PREUX
CHRISTIANITY AND THE DC YOUTH 11TH GRADER KRISTAN SAINT-PREUX DISCUSSES THE ROLE THAT CHRISTIANITY PLAYS IN THE LIFE OF A YOUNG STUDENT.
Delicia is one of the many youths who are members of Church of Jesus Christ, Inc. As a former Catholic and Baptist, Delicia is Holy Ghost-filled and of Apostolic faith. When asked about her former faith and why she decided to convert to Christianity, she expressed that she was too young to understand her former faith, that it was boring, and that it had no impact on her lifestyle. “Um, well; when I was a Catholic it was very boring, we sat down in church and listened to the preacher or bishop preach until like, probably like hours” she said. Delicia guiltlessly went on to explain, over the phone, that she converted from Catholicism because she was “no longer living in that area” of life, and also because it was boring enough to induce literal sleep. Still, her hilarious testimony, would count as a pain-inducing confession with some sensitive people. Was it fortunate that when I ventured into someone’s “religion”, it was over the phone? Or was it symbolic of what faith stands for, and therefore highly personal? Delicia, an 8th Grader at Rose L. Hardy Middle School might’ve thought her interview no more sensitive than the dead phone’s receiver. Still, the circumstances she explained herself in were provoking. Just imagine: it’s Sunday night, Mother’s Day, and a “saint” wants to talk to you about why you chose to be the way you are. And instead of turning to your mother for evidence, you trust in Jesus alone. I wondered what her mother was thinking while Delicia was being interviewed. Her presence was obvious as Delicia broke from the conversation to respond to her, but
this writer can’t provide any verse for what a mother thinks of her daughter both converting and boldly discussing it over the phone with a student journalist. “So, do you have it?” Delicia asked, as I, lagging in a race to record quotes, delved deeper into her story. No, I don’t have the whole story. Who knows what I haven’t framed by missing her mother? Still, Delicia, who is very much the center of this story, filled up the screen. I asked Delicia if anything had shocked her about Christianity. She explained that she was shocked that females really don’t wear pants at her church. Then it was my turn to be shocked when I asked her about her views on suicide, and if it had ever appealed to her, she replied, “No, because the church said if you commit suicide, you burn in Hell.” I, rather struck, prompted her for further explanation. “Because it wasn’t God, it wasn’t God,” she said, searching as she started. “How do I say this,” came out of the phone’s open depths. “He didn’t say that it was your time to die,” she said, providing me with the stuff lightning clouds are made of. I still think it’s striking. People will sympathize with souls that commit suicide, because of the health issues that cause it to become an option. What she said was honesty. She went on to express her views on Christian marriage. “The one you marry should be the one you know you wanna be with for the rest of your life.” When I asked her if she thought a marriage of that sort was idealistic she chirped into the phone, “I believe in commitment. Forever!” Delicia had chosen Jesus for that long, too.
Letter from the Dean of Arts “Daisy James” is yet another new and culminating product from the rigorously transformed Literary Media and Communications Department of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Funded by a generous grant from the Louise Zanar Foundation, “Daisy James” represents a departure from not only the traditional high school newspaper where reporting is typically localized, but also is an attempt to reflect current shifts in journalism as an online product. It comes on the heels of the award-winning “Why Ellington/Why not Western?” documentary, another example of the Literary Media and Communications Department’s brand of journalism. This is perhaps what has struck me the most in watching this cadre of journalists these past months as they have interviewed and researched and reported and asked more questions; the brand, the type of journalism our students are engaged in is high order, high level, and not high school, it is at once, incisive, thoughtful and salient. “Daisy James” is the articulation of that brand. Find a comfortable chair, put your feet up and let these writers, these Ellington writers, take you to your world through their eyes. Enjoy! Tia Powell Harris Dean of Arts
The Louise P. Zanar Fund