Renegade Magazine | Volume 1 Issue 2 | Fall 2014

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Renegade magazine

DON’T SHOOT! Black and Persecuted

Syracuse University Fall 2014/ Volume 1 Issue 2 Black General Interest Magazine












Ibet Inyang

Elen Pease



Natasha Amadi

Taylor Palmer






Felicia Romain Janelle James WEB EDITOR



Taylor Hicks


Khairi Reynolds RADIO PRODUCER

Bodeline Dautruche DESIGNER



Earica Parrish Jourdan Curtina

Lateshia Beachum Special Thanks: Melissa Chessher, Melanie Stopyra, Mary Ann Durantini, Jesus, Beyoncé

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR It’s pretty weird that this is my second and last editor’s note. It seems like just yesterday that I came up with this crazy idea to start a magazine. Time flies when you’re really passionate about a project and you work really hard to make it happen. Time also flies when you’re having fun; this was pretty fun. But somehow it also feels like this started so long ago, mainly because all of the work. This was so much work ya’ll, but also because of how far I and this magazine have come. When I started The Renegade, I was truly just a girl who wanted to write about natural hair. But since then, I have turned into a leader, a decision maker, and a creative that has a variety of business and administrative skills that, I could have never have imagined I’d possess a year ago, and would never have asked for if you described them to me. However, the most powerful lesson I’ve learned from all of this is to simply do stuff. If you have the means and desire, and it’s legal and doesn’t hurt anybody, do it; it will probably lead to good things. This philosophy lead me to continue this magazine, write a webseries, meet new and amazing people, see great concerts, write quirky essays, fail miserably at things and learn how to


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do better, and enjoy my freaking life. Now as I prepare to graduate from college, my lack of employment and funds kind of scare me, but this commitment to keeping myself occupied puts me at ease. I have faith that everything will be ok, somehow. But I must admit that I really got this idea from all of you, the Renegade community and the magazine’s past and present staff. You do so much. I’ve seen you write amazing articles and create beautiful images for this magazine; flex your creative and leadership muscles as editors; earn your names on this magazine’s pages as business owners, movement makers, and game changers; and I’ve felt your support along the way. So as much as I’d like to beg you to keep this magazine alive for selfish reasons it’s my baby, I worked really hard for it, I did you budget for next semester, blah, blah, blah. I beg you to keep it alive because you made it happen. You did it, and it has clearly led to good things. Thank you for everything. P.O.P. Hold it down. l -Ibet Inyang

if You Don’t Know, Now You Know

Brothas and sistahs are making their dreams into realities, and don’t think we haven’t noticed! Let’s shed some light on the movers and shakers who may not always be headline makers, and the stories from a culture that is strong, creative, and daring. You may not have heard…but if you don’t know, now you know. -The Renegade

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MAKING NOISE The anniversary of Rosa Parks’ arrest sheds light on civil disobedience at SU By: Janelle James

showed how advocating for justice and civil rights can begin with one person and influence results.


n December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a crowded bus, broke an Alabama law, and became the face of the civil rights movement. According to archives. gov, her nonviolent protest led to a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery, Alabama bus system. As a result, the Supreme Court banned segregation on public transportation in 1956. Celebrated as the ‘Mother of the civil rights movement,’ Rosa Parks

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Nearly 60 years later, oppressed people of color are still pushing back. On August 9, 2014 Darren Wilson, a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri murdered 18-year-old Michael Brown. NBC News reports that while in pursuit of Brown, Wilson shot him 6 times in the back, even though he was unarmed. Racial tension between the largely Black Ferguson community and the largely white Ferguson Police Department soon ignited protests, vandalism, and looting. The teargas bombs, arrests, and threats towards protesters that followed have been compared to the treatment that Rosa Parks and other civil rights movement protesters endured. Syracuse University’s own participation in rallies for diversity on campus and public forums on things Ferguson, have given students a chance to share their opinions and ideas, and demand change. The power of the internet has made it Image via

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the foreground for their protesting. The creation of hashtags #ITooAmSU, #SpeakUpSU, #RallyForConsent, and #DATmovementSU allowed for open discussions and provided a chance to educate students on the importance of diversity on a college campus. It may be the 59th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ arrest, but society is anything but post-racial. Civil disobedience continues to be a tool for fighting prejudice, and as a student body, every person has a voice that can make a difference. But the real power is in speaking out against civil injustices collectively. We have to unite, not only as people of color, but as people who seek equality for all. l

“At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this. It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in.” - Rosa Parks

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By: Earica Parrish

The sweetest online magazine

Photo By: Jennifer Hale

By: Brooke Lewis Taylyn Washington-Harmon is the founder of the new feminist and sociocultural publication, Sweetest Magazine. The magazine is currently online and writers post daily stories that focus on women from all backgrounds. “If it doesn’t include every woman, then it’s not real feminism,” Washington-Harmon says. “It’s important that Black women, Arab women, Hispanic women, all types of women from different backgrounds are represented. That’s our mission.” Washington-Harmon started the magazine at home and then entered the Raymond von Dran IDEA awards competition in April. Her team won a $5,000 prize and she used the money to help fund the magazine. Washington-Harmon hopes to come out with a print issue by early next year. l

Know Your Role Photo By: Kadijah Watkins

By: Earica Parrish From cuffing season advice to updates on the latest music and footwear around campus, The Honor Role does it all. However, the idea for the online publication came last spring when founder Christopher “Speedy” Morman simply wanted to bring SU students a form of news media that they could actually enjoy. “[There’re] so many publications in the country, on campus, and in the world that will tell you [that] somebody got shot last night, three people got robbed, or if the stock market is up or down,” said the junior broadcast journalism major. Morman wanted to offer students something different, so he presented the idea to his friends and fellow students Demi Douglas, Regina Tillar, and Toni Mackey. Together, they created an online college lifestyle network that catered to the everyday student and gave it a fun, schoolthemed name. The founders, along with a few contributing writers, then began producing online content that

ranges from fashion and sports, to college survival guides. They decided to promote the project with an introductory video before the fall semester began, and used the hashtag #TheHonorRole on social media. After just three months, the group was flooded with interested students’ emails. “It’s a blessing that people are so eager to be involved,” says Douglas. “I’m honored.” Today, the site has also expanded into The Honor Role TV, landing interviews with actor Rick Gonzalez and Sway Calloway, and is enjoying success on their platform. However, the publication is still looking for contributors that are consistent and share their goals. The content they produce and the founder’s dedication to the project continue to make The Honor Role a unique voice for college students. “We’re just college students trying to make it work,” says Morman. 7 7 Fall 2014 | Renegade



black voice


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By: Felicia Romain The Black Voice was founded at Syracuse University in 1968, as a platform for Black ideas, thoughts, and issues. At a time when segregation was at its peak, the newsletter was the first publication that gave the community a voice. Now after a five-year hiatus, The Black Voice is back and better than ever. Junior Spanish and African-American studies major Danielle Reed now serves as the editor-in-chief, and led the organization to publish its first revamped edition in September, just in time for SU’s Coming Back Together celebrations. The Black Voice’s motto is “A free press, for a free people,” and as the newsletter continues to be a great way for SU’s minority community to express themselves, it certainly lives up to its claim. l

By: Lateshia Beachum

Jerk Hut

104 South Ave.

Jerk Hut is far from a hut. Located in the city’s South Side, this local restaurant has served authentic Jamaican food to the Syracuse area since 1996. Owner Bongo Hanslip and his wife start preparing the meals of the day as early as 8 a.m., before they open their doors at 11 a.m. You can expect traditional Jamaican meals, cooked from scratch and prepared once you order. “We put a lot of love in our food,” Hanslip says. “Jerk Hut is not a fast food business. We don’t rush our food.”

Black Owned Restaurants

Eateries you need to know

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Black Owned Restaurants


415 E. Washington Street

This Yelp approved diner offers traditional Jamaican dishes like jerk and curry chicken, with sides like rice and peas, and steamed cabbage. Owner Andrea Singh has added to the authenticity of the dining experience by also offering Jamaican sodas. You can, however, order American dishes like burgers and fries, but it wouldn’t be a popular choice.

Simone’s Soul Food

686 South Ave.

If you’re from the south and missing your grandmother’s cooking, you need to take a trip to Simone’s Soul Food. The smell of chicken frying and cake baking that kiss your nose when you walk in, will make you feel right at home. Co-operator and cook Wanda Adair says that they’ve received an overwhelming response from the Syracuse community, and welcomes students. She recommends her world-famous three-cheese macaroni and cheese recipe, and banana pudding to first-time customers.

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K e e pi n g i t Cute

Hairstylist Jayvana Rucker’s tips to maintaining Black hair, no matter the style

By: Lateshia Beachum

Black people are as beautiful as they are diverse. Our skin comes in a variety of hues and our hair texture can be as tight as a bedspring or as loose as the waves in the Atlantic Ocean. However, no matter the texture or how you choose style it, proper hair care is essential to keeping anyone’s glory looking its best. Hairstylist and owner of Divine Destiny Creations hair salon, Jayvana Rucker has got some tips and tricks to help you maintain your fly.

Actresses like Viola Davis and Teyonah Parris have put natural hair on the Hollywood map in recent years. These ladies rock bold hairstyles that make many flock to YouTube tutorials in search of instruction. However, the typical SU naturalista doesn’t have stylists on deck to help them achieve these breathtaking styles. Rucker suggests you simplify. “Natural hair can be easy, but it can also be difficult because it’s very time consuming,” said Rucker. She suggests that students with natural hair consider wearing braids or twists to save time.

Natural Hair

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Relaxed Hair

“You have to make sure you get it deep conditioned on a regular basis,” Rucker said. She also recommends that you have a stylist apply relaxer to your hair instead of doing it yourself. According to Rucker, many people make the mistake of applying relaxer to hair that is already relaxed, instead of just concentrating on new growth. This could lead to breakage and Dreadlocks damage that can be hard fix.

Most Black women grew up getting hair relaxers and can recall their first experience like a first kiss. However, maintaining long, silky, and waist length strands doesn’t come easy. Relaxed hair requires routine care if you want it to stay healthy and beautiful.

Dreads are certainly an admirable hairstyle, but definitely a commitment and test of patience.


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Rappers like Lil Wayne and Waka Flocka had their lock game on lock for quite a while before they could swing their dreads like background dancers during performances. However, Rucker says that locs and dreads can be an easy style to maintain that requires minimal professional care. She suggests getting your hair locked or retwisted every two months or so. For more tips or to schedule an appointment with Rucker, visit Divine Destiny Creations hair salon at 755 N.

Campus Coiffure

By: Jourdan Curtina

When I first told people I was going off to college, the most common questions I got where “What are you studying?” and “What are you going to do with your hair?!” The latter did not faze me; I was going to get a sew-in. However, a few months in, I remembered how often I liked to change my hairstyle, and realized that committing to just one for a long period of time was not going to work out. I

Amy Peralta

ended up having to find someone I could trust to doing my hair when I wanted to switch things up. Turns out, I’m not the only one worried about my tresses. I know of many girls on campus that are still searching for stylists that are affordable and convenient. To help out, I’ve compiled a list of students with hair skills whose services won’t break the bank or take you too far from your dorm.

Amy Peralta is a senior dual history and African-American Studies major, and hairstylist for Mane Attraction, SU’s only cosmetology organization. Peralta gained her skills from watching YouTube hair tutorials, and then practiced doing styles on herself. Now a full-fledged stylist, she believes in all-natural products, and even makes her own deep conditioner. She specializes in blowouts, hair treatments, hot iron curls, and sew-ins. Peralta keeps the student struggle in mind when pricing, and only charges $20, at most. For an appointment, contact her at the email address above. Appointments on weekends are preferred. Fall 2014 Renegade Fall |2014| Renegade

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Tennazha Bradley TennazhaBradley

Tennazha Bradley is a junior psychology major, who’s been in the hair business since she was 5 years old, when she started styling her Barbie dolls’ hair. Bradley now serves as Mane Attraction’s president, and is a campus stylists who specializes in everything from coloring and cuts, to braids and weaves, with natural and sulfate-free products.

Daisia Glover @daisia_vu

For braids and twists, Daisia Glover is the girl to call. The sophomore sociology major started her hair career doing Marley Twists for friends, until word of her skills spread, and her hobby turned into a business. Glover charges $60 for Marley Twists and $75 for box braids on pre-washed hair. She uses Eco Styler Moroccan Argan Oil Styling gel, and suggests that clients bring their own leave-in conditioner.

It’s best to schedule an appointment for early Mondays, Wednesdays, and Anyone interested in scheduling an weekends with Bradley at the site appointment can contact Glover via above. Instagram or Twitter at the handle above.

Nia Anderson

Nia Anderson is a senior economics major who first got interested in hair as a child, while watching her mother work in a beauty salon. By 7th grade, she started taking her own clients, and founded a hairstyling business at SU during her freshman year. Anderson says it was not just about making money, but helping the ladies on campus gain confidence. With this philosophy, she has gained numerous loyal customers. Anderson’s specializes in sew-ins, but she is also skilled in braids, cut, coloring, and relaxers. To view prices .and photos of her work, or schedule an appointment, you can visit her site, listed above. 14

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Renegade's'' Choice By: Natasha Amadi

The Renegade’s editorial staff reveals what they are thankful for this year.

“I am thankful for Nubian Skin’s nude lingerie for women of color, because finally my nude bra can actually match my skin tone.”

– Natasha, Managing Editor

“I am thankful for the Syracuse sunsets on south campus despite them starting at 4:30” – Elen, Social Media Director

“I’m thankful for Yes To (Tomato) Daily Balancing Moisturizer for keeping my skin soft and hydrated during these dry months in Syracuse.” – Taylor, Marketing Director

“I am thankful for the pen. With it I write away all my stresses and I rewrite my life.” – Navi, Front-of-Book Editor

”I’m thankful for my EOS lip balm, because chapped, cracked lips during Syracuse winters are so real” – Kadijah, Photography Director

“I’m thankful for Chai Tea Lattes and Gilmore Girls on Netflix because those two things have gotten me through the semester.” – Brooke, Features Editor

“I am thankful for THE general body, who are taking the initiative to stand up for what they believe in by taking part in the sit-in.” – Felicia, Copy Editor

“I am thankful for Shea Moisture, for keeping my curls on FLEEK, peanut M&M’s for helping me through the all-nighters in studio, and Adventure Time for keeping me sane through stress of college.” – Khairi, Assistant Marketing Director

“I am thankful for Sephora, for making me feel like a makeup artist even though I only know how to use lipstick and mascara.” – Bodeline, Radio Producer

“I am thankful for my stress reliever: Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Ice Cream and music for keeping me sane throughout the school year.” –Donye, Art Director Fall 2014 | Renegade

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Black & Persecuted What it really feels like to be Black at SU By: Brooke Lewis and Navi Johnson


n August 9, Ferguson Missouri police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. The reason why depends on who you ask. Some say it was because Brown was reaching for the officer’s weapon. Some say it’s because Brown wouldn’t move from the street to the sidewalk. Others say it was simply because Michael Brown was Black. 16

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In general, racism has been something that people try to avoid in discussion. That’s not the case anymore. Michael Brown joined Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Oscar Grant in the long list of Black men who have lost their lives at the hands of police, and his death sparked protests on the injustice in Ferguson, which soon spread like wildfire. Fall 2014 | Renegade


The country quickly became swept up in the protests. On August 25, the day that Brown would’ve started college, students on campuses across the country peacefully walked out of class and took photos with their hands up to honor Brown. Syracuse University joined the charge whole-heartedly. However, a more serious discussion of race on campus came when SU senior soccer player Hanna Strong, was caught on video saying the words “nigga” and “faggot” to a Black student. The offensive language led to Strong’s indefinite suspension from the SU women’s soccer team, but also created dialogue on how Black and minority students are treated and valued at SU. Over the weeks that followed, students spoke out against the closure of the Advocacy Center and the reduced funding of programs like POSSE, a merit based scholarship that many minority students benefit from, as well as the overwhelming amount of racial discrimination that students face on campus every day. The overall sentiment was that students of color simply do not feel valued. Their personal accounts of mistreatment are unique, but share the same ugly theme of persecution and discrimination. The Following are a few of their stories. As you read them, we challenge you to put yourself in their shoes for a moment.

Stephanie Conn: Senior, Mathematics Major Imagine that you’ve just rented a Zipcar with two of your friends. You’re driving near the Carrier Dome, where people are exiting an event that just ended. You stop at a stop sign, but a group of people are standing in the middle intersection in front of you. You honk at them, so they’ll move out of the street, and then drive through slowly, making sure that you don’t hit any of them. Suddenly, you see the flashing lights of a Syracuse Police car in your rearview mirror, and you pull over. A white police officer comes up to your car and tells you that you drove through the stop sign without stopping, and that you honked your horn excessively. He also says that you were driving too fast for the area, and he gives you three tickets that total $200. You’re confused. You were just driving at snail speed and had only honked your horn once, and you know that you’d stopped because you would’ve hit the people in the street. However, his aggressive and condescending tone has muted you, and you suddenly feel too small and powerless to argue. After the police officer drives away, a Hispanic DPS officer, who was watching nearby, recognizes one of your friends and comes over to the car. He candidly tells you and yourfriends that he suspects that you got the ticket because of the color of your skin. You find truth in this when you go to court and the judge immediately throws every single ticket out and dismisses your case. Fall 2014 Renegade Fall| 2014| Renegade

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David L. Jackson: Sophomore, History and Secondary Education Major

Shariah Walthour: Sophomore, Communication and Rhetorical Studies Major

It’s your freshman year of college. You’re walking down Fraternity Row with three of your friends, headed to your first college party. You’re excited.

It’s the second week of your sophomore year. You head to H&M at Destiny USA with some friends.

As you pass by one of the houses, you hear someone say, “Yeah, those are just a bunch of niggas and shit.” You look up and see four white students standing across from you, and you’re taken aback. You’re not naïve, you know that racism exists, but you’re still surprised that people are still using derogatory terms like this. You think of all of the successful Black doctors and lawyers, and even of your friends, and wonder, in frustration, what you’d have to do earn respect, for God’s sake. from you, and you’re taken aback. You’re not naïve, you know that racism exists, but you’re still surprised that people are still using derogatory terms like this. You think of all of the successful Black doctors and lawyers, and even of your friends, and wonder, in frustration, what you’d have to do earn respect, for God’s sake. The next year, you’re the only person of color in you Writing 105 class, and you use your experience educate others on Black culture. It’s positive and you make a lot of good friends. However,

You’re not really looking for anything in particular. Instead, you look around the store looking at clothes. Your friends head off to the dressing room, and you continue browsing. You notice an older white man, who works at the store, is mopping up the floor nearby, but you think nothing of it. But after a while, you notice that he’s been following you around the store for the past fifteen minutes. You start to feel uncomfortable, but try to ignore it at first. But as he continues to follow you, you get angry. You make eye contact with him and boldly ask, “Are you following me, sir?” He doesn’t answer and starts to mop in the other direction. You wonder why this always happens. You’re enraged at the fact that people so often assume that you’ll steal something just because you’re Black, and wonder why you don’t have the privilege of simply window shopping. However after a moment, you pick up a random scarf and take it to the checkout counter. You feel obligated to prove your innocence. l

in the back of your mind, you’re still hoping that no one ever calls you that word again. 18

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Sleeping with the Enemy Janay Rice’s public domestic violence battle sheds light on

the many victims trapped in abusive relationships

By Earica Parrish “I looked into the bathroom mirror and noticed that a huge scar had formed on my right eyebrow,” says Susie.* “Earlier that morning, my boyfriend and I got into a huge argument at his house before heading out to school. One thing led to another, and I fell to the floor and hit my head on the headboard of his bed. It took me a while to get up, but when I did, I rushed out of the bedroom and headed to the bus stop outside.” But before I could turn the doorknob, he grabbed me by my wrist and embraced me as he whispered, ‘I’m sorry’ in my ear.” Distraught over the memory, Susie admits that she was reluctant to share her story, but her experience with domestic violence is something that many women identify with and are beginning to speak out against. In fact, discussion about the topic came to a head earlier this year, when Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Rice was caught on tape striking his then fiancée, Janay Rice, unconscious in an elevator. However, much of the discussion over the case focused on Janay Rice’s decision to later marry her abuser after the incident occurred. Many like ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith, argued that women are the ones to blame for the provoking their partner’s abuse. He believed that if Janay hadn’t provoked her fiancée, he wouldn’t have reacted with violence. SU student responses were far from supportive of Smith’s claim. “Men should never put their hands on a woman and vice versa,” says Gessica Suffy, a sophomore psychology major. The reason why Janay Rice stayed with her abuser may be far beyond the public’s understanding. The #WhyIStayed movement on Twitter, however, let her fellow victims offer some possible answers. Fall 2014 | Renegade

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@OpenEyesTo: “Because I thought one should stay and fight for love. #WhyIStayed” @JantzApril: “#WhyIStayed Because I didn’t want to admit I’d chosen so poorly.” @drmicheleross: “I left my husband & he’s threatening to release videos of me. Because blackmail helps keep women in abusive relationships. #WhyIStayed” @MyPearls33: “He had me convinced love could include a fist #WhyIStayed” “Leaving is easier said than done. It took 4 years to gather up courage to escape my abusive relationship,” says Susie. “I deserved much better than what I got, but it took me way too long to realize that.” Sometimes it’s hard even for people who know of friends or loved ones in abusive relationships. Some feel that the situation is out of their control and it is up to the victim to leave on their own terms. However, it’s important to remember that the help and support of witnesses and bystanders can be invaluable. Syracuse University’s Counseling Center is also a safe space for victims searching for help. *The source’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.


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East Meets West Photos by: Kadijah Watkins Story by: Janelle James

Make-up: Uche Imoka Stylists: Gessica Suffy and Natasha Amadi Models: Mikhail Green and Nicole Borington

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Sophomore Shaquille Kessi always wanted to bring the African style to central New York campus. This fall he made that dream come true when he created AfriCuse, a collection of hand-made, Tanzanian clothing and accessories. The line merges traditional with contemporary, and we’re celebrating this union!

Mikhail’s t-shirt and backpack are modern with a traditional flare. Fall 2014 | Renegade


Nicole wears a beautiful khanga wrap. Fall 2014 | Renegade


To purchase these pieces and so much more, contact Shaquille at 315.450.7974, by email at sakessi@, or on Instagram at @arficuse


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Close to the Edge Arachnid

Submitted by Rianne Parker Bare feet drag red dirt across deaths canvas As chains chime enslaved cells to bottom less pits Skin no longer an organ But melted melanin to tease masta’s sweet Pain ,doesn’t always taste this good A grown man, Shoves lollipops down darling’s throats Rainbow syrup drips from adolescence chin baby girl grins she is a women now and he beats im so sorry ! into the pulpits of her mother shins Pain, doesn’t always feel this good There’s a reunion when dinner is served his vinely fingers twine and twiddle around his manhood choking at his very thirst Screeching lessons of murder impregnating impressions imperialized by ignorance its Christmas every time a new ward comes home for papa always said , it’s a holiday but… she’s been hole punched for days Pain, doesn’t always look this good the young scholar drags homeless to school because the last cop car he was in he broke the rules “don’t say nothing , cus nothing ever happened” it was just sirens reminding him education is the only key to the doors of LGBT cus’ church never wanted a gay man to preach moms said it was a lesson only hell could teach so lets slice his face open and see how pretty men will think he will be Fall 2014 | Renegade


Ask the Experts Alexis Okeowo reveals secrets to breaking into the journalism industry By: Ibet Inyang

This November, Newhouse’s magazine department welcomed international reporter Alexis Okeowo to campus as a part of the Magazine Speaker Series. Okeowo has written about everything from Zambia’s Chinese mining scandal to Africa’s anti-gay rights laws, and is now based in Lagos, Nigeria where she’s written about the Boko Haram for The New Yorker and the Ebola crisis for The New York Times Magazine. Somehow, I stole a few minutes with this world traveler, and picked her brain about how the journalism industry really works, and how to make it work for you. Renegade: Are you ever intimidated about covering heavy topics like Boko Haram or even Ebola? Yeah! There is a greater sense of responsibility and gravity that you feel [when] reporting on an issue that’s really impacting people’s lives, especially if it’s in a bad way. You want to make sure that you get it right, even more so than if you’re writing a profile about an artist or a musician. Especially with a topic like Boko Haram, where there are quite a few people who’ve been studying the group and analyzing and observing the conflict. It’s a story that you want to make sure that you include as many voices as you can, even if it’s not in the story, just talking to as many people as you can. You just don’t want to get it wrong. Renegade: Do you feel connected to the people you talk to? Yeah; the more time you spend with them, you start to care about them and you start to worry about them if they’re in precarious situations. You just want to have the sense that they’ll make it out okay. I keep in touch with quite a few people that I’ve written about, even if they weren’t people that I liked so much. I end up empathizing with most of them, even if they’re very complicated or flawed, because they’re often facing things that are pretty difficult. 26

Renegade| Fall 2014

Fall 2014 | Renegade


Renegade: I went through some of the Twitter buzz after your speech, and someone mentioned that some of the questions that student asked about your sources were ‘othering.’ I took that as something that I’ve experienced with some of my peers – some people don’t really feeling connected to sources who aren’t American or white or from a similar background as them. Have you seen ‘othering’ in international reporting? All the time; especially in Africa. It’s difficult because I try to understand it, but I really don’t. I find that some correspondents in Africa still see their African subjects as something different, or as not fully realized humans, basically. They see [Africans] as either subjects that we should feel really sad for or that we should root for. It’s so remarkable. There’s still a writing about Africans as if they’re objects to cast your feelings upon, whether that’s pity - it’s often pity - or if it’s an occasional optimistic story, and someone to root for. It’s hard for writers to feel like, ‘Oh, this could be me.’ If there was that sort of understanding, it would help a lot in conveying to readers abroad that these people may be in radically different situations but they’re just like you or I; they’re just going through something different and trying to cope with it. Rengade: How do we fix this? Well, I thank God for these blogs and for Twitter, because they’re pushing back. When there’s a story that’s just ridiculous or even flawed, people are pushing back and thank God because that was not the case back in the day when there weren’t comment sections and platforms for people to talk about it. I know writers know about this too, so if they want to do good work and not keep getting criticized for it, they’re going to have to change and they’re going to have to reflect on the kind of work that they’re doing. I think it’s a conversation that’s started though, and that’s important. Renegade What is the most important thing for a person of color to remember when breaking into a market where a lot of people don’t look like them? If you don’t have it already, you have to acquire a sense of entitlement, because that’s the most powerful thing that white journalists have. A lot of them feel like they can go anywhere and do the story that they want to do, and that someone should publish it. I feel like women and writers of color don’t have that same sense of entitlement, and it’s something that we need to get quickly. I’ve noticed that many [female writers and writers of color] will wait and make sure that they have all of the facts and really make sure that we’re on top of our game before we pitch things, and when we pitch things, it’s not in very confident way. That needs to change. Even if you’re faking it, you have to be confident that you can do the job, so that the editor will believe you. And don’t give up on the first try! Be persistent, harass people — in a nice way. You have to. If you don’t project it, people won’t believe it and [as a Black woman], you’ll have twice as many obstacles against you. When I was just starting out, I would blind pitch [story ideas to] people. I would just find their emails and I would pitch to them over and over. I’m sure they were like, ‘Who’s this random person?’ but I didn’t care. I deserved to be published too, so that’s what I did. And of course, I got very familiar with rejection, but one should be ok with rejection — it happens. You also have to just have to push through that. Fall 2014 | Renegade


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At the S.I. Newhouse

Alan Gerry Center for Media Innovation 2014 28 Renegade|| Fall Fall 2014 28Renegade

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Diane and Bob Miron Digital News Center Fall 2014 | Renegade Fall 2014| Renegade

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