Vindicator Cleveland State Universityâ€™s Arts and Culture Magazine
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what’s in this issue? 3
Check Us Out Online
Letter from the Editors
Meet Our Contributors
A SPLASH OF COLOR BY MIKAYLA GARY
The Fig Tree by GRACE ROBERSON
Behind the Scenes on Record Labels by TABITHA TIMMS
The 2019 Academy Awards Radar by SAMRA KARAMUSTAFIC
Black Women Traveling by BRENDA CASTAÑEDA YUPANQUI
How Much Force is Too Much Force? by TYISHA BLADE
NOT–SO HIDDEN FIGURES BY RENEE BETTERSON
To Grandmother’s House We Go by BRIANA OLDHAM
Beauty + Wellness 33
Nine Perfect Products for that Special Day by IMANI STEPHENS
Hair and History by THYRA CHANEY
Sudden Death is What You See When You Look at Me
A New Danger in Ohio: Stand Your Ground by SHERMAYNE DIXON
Black History at Lakeview Cemetery
They Lit The Way by BRIANA OLDHAM
It’s My Turn by AMALEHATMAATI TYEHIMBA
by JOSCELYN ERVIN
THE APPRECIATION & CONTRIBUTIONS OF CLEVELAND STATE LECTURER
Groove This Black History Month
DR. DONNA WHYTE
by THE VINDICATOR STAFF
BY TYISHA BLADE
THEVINDI.COM | 2
OUR BLACK HISTORY ISSUE
a hot summer’s eve. I see my ancestors and
articles that are powerful in their message and
successful Black woman I saw and wanted to be
their tenacity as they fought for what was
delivery. They will challenge you to revisit
like was Oprah. This is what makes what The
right. Writing for The Vindicator, I have been
ideas about race identity and what it means
Vindicator is doing so important—showcasing
able to reference the strength of historical
to be Black in America during these turbulent
blackness from different aspects to genuinely
Black female journalists, such a Ida B. Wells.
times. Ultimately, I pray you’ll choose to let
show what being Black is and can look like. My
The beauty in her power shed light on the
hope lead you. Allow it to guide, motivate,
favorite poet Maya Angelou once said, “There
injustices that Blacks faced in the South.
and propel you into action. Let us celebrate
is no greater agony than bearing an untold
The power in her words paved the way for
together the story of a people. Let us choose
story inside you.” I love being a woman, I love
student journalists such as myself to come
to take action in the face of injustice instead
being a Black woman, but there is nothing I
into any battle ready and armed with my pen.
of shying away. Let us all choose hope.
love more than being a Black woman who can
lack is bold. Black is beautiful. Black is daring and unafraid. Black is passionate and sensual. I look in my mirror and
witness a golden glow radiating like noon on
he late Nelson Mandela said, “May your choices be led by your hopes and not your fears.” Contained in this
issue are the hopes and fears of a generation,
Our triumphant history is our guide to our
s a Black girl, I remember that growing up I never saw any part of myself represented on television shows,
movies or magazines. Looking back, the only
be seen and heard.
TYISHA BLADE MANAGING EDITOR
5 | VINDICATOR
RENEE BETTERSON CULTURE SECTION EDITOR
IMANI STEPHENS BEAUTY & WELLNESS SECTION EDITOR
Faculty Advisor Julie Burrell Web Specialist Daniel Lenhart
CONTRIBUTORS STAFF HEADS Brenda Castañeda Yupanqui Editor–in–Chief
Tyisha Blade Managing Editor
Andriana Akrap Art Director
Alexia Carcelli Asst. Art Director
Greg Elek Multimedia Manager
Michella Dilworth Online Content Editor
Alana Whelan Arts Editor
Renee Betterson Culture Editor
Imani Stephens Beauty/Junior Editor
Dorothy Zhao Social/Junior Editor
Grace Roberson Copy Editor
WRITERS Grace Roberson Tabitha Timms Samra Karamustafic Tyisha Blade Brenda Castañeda Yupanqui Briana Oldham
JUNIOR DESIGNERS Renee Betterson Mikayla Gary Imani Stephens Thyra Chaney Shermayne Dixon Joscelyn Ervin
Michella Dilworth Gia Paulovich Jillian VanDyke
Austin DiLorenzo Anna Oprisch
ARTISTS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Mikayla Colston Antonio DeJesus
Kyra Wells Max Torres
Disclaimer The content of the Vindicator does not necessarily represent the opinions of Cleveland State University, its students, faculty, or staff: nor does it represent the members of the Vindicator staff or our advisors unless otherwise stated. The editor reserves the right to comment on any issue that affects the student body in general as well as the multicultural community at large. Letters to the editors and other submissions are accepted, however they must have the authors name, address, major if applicable, and telephone number. All submissions become property of the Vindicator and the Vindicator reserves the right to edit submissions as deemed necessary. Magazine and newspaper theft is a crime; limit one per person. 2121 Euclid Ave, MC 471, Cleveland, OH 44115 216–687–2118 THEVINDI.COM | 6
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“A Splash of Color is a exploration of Black Feminism and Colorism which focuses on revealing the unique side of Black women. We rarely see the unique side of Black women due to them being masked with the different stereotypes that society labels Black women. During my project I focused on bringing different shades of Black women together to display the uniqueness that Black women have.” — MIKAYLA GARY
What It Means to Give Back to the Community. “Giving back to the community is what this tenacious team of East Clevelanders are all about.” Underoath ‘Erase Me’ Tour Review. “They made their new record, “Erase Me,” come to life in songs, such as: “Rapture” and “ihateit.” Never losing their love for
#VindiAsks: How many times have you traveled abroad?
their songs and amplifying their energy as they went through their set.”
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w h a t’s h a p p e n i n g i n
FEBRUARY 2/9 Benefit
Now That’s Classy: A Formal Night Under the Sea Dress in your most aquatic formal outfit and swim down to Now That’s Class for an undersea party like you have never seen before. Participate in a costume contest as you dance to DJ Hama’s beautiful tunes. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Rape Crisis Center.
2/15 It’s Time to Talk 2019
Join CSU grad and founder of the Haha Institute, Karen Williams, as she gives the fifth annual It’s Time to Talk (ITT) forum on race and unconscious bias at Cuyahoga Community College. This year’s talk will ask the question: can humor heal?, and will offer attendees the chance to understand race better and find solutions to the harm racial profiling causes.
2/23 Polar Plunge
8:30AM–1:30PM, 4250 RICHMOND RD
9PM–2AM, 11213 DETROIT AVE, $5 AT THE DOOR
2/20 Forager/Dante Elephante/Mild Animals
Jump into the lake and freeze your butt off, or come watch as people participate in the Polar Plunge this winter. The plunge is in support of Special Olympics Ohio. 10AM, EDGEWATER BEACH, DONATION–BASED
Catch pop-rock, surf band, Forager, at the Happy Dog for some sunshine and good vibes this month. Enjoy a hot dog while partying like it isn’t winter and watch these Clevelandnatives, along with fellow Clevelanders, Mild Animals and LA-based Dante Elephante put on the indie rock show of your dreams. 9PM, 5801 DETROIT AVE, $6
Head to the Winchester Music Tavern and meet your fellow, local environmentalists to get ready for the Great Cleveland Clean-Up in April. This will be a benefit concert for the LitterBugz, who aim to pick up litter in the county by April. 3PM, 12112 MADISON AVE, $15 ADV/$20 DOORS THEVINDI.COM | 4
Grace Roberson GRAPHIC BY
Making sense of modern dating through the literature of Sylvia Plath
a student at Smith College in 1951. As a sensitive, confessional poet, one of the main themes in Plath’s work was love, in multiple stages—blossoming, failed,
shut my eyes and all the world drops dead /
or unrequited. The way we define and talk about
I lift my lids and all is born again / ( I think
love, and the way we look for love has undoubtedly
I made you up inside my head)” Sylvia Plath
changed in the past half century or so since Plath’s
wrote “Mad Girl’s Love Song” while she was
time, especially for college–aged women.
Several biographies have been written about
history to be a single woman: We have more power,
Plath since her death in 1963. In the 2013 New
autonomy, and choices than ever before.” While
York Times Book Review article, “Lady Lazarus,”
this is true, dating (speaking in terms of the Digital
Adam Kirsch dives into Carl Rollyson and Andrew
Age) has never been so complicated—with dating
Wilson’s Plath biography, “American Isis.” In this
apps, hookup culture, and more people afraid of
biography, Rollyson calls Plath “the Marilyn Monroe
commitment due to all of the options we have
of modern literature,” and Kirsch is quick to call out
access to. More women are choosing to establish
the absurdity of this statement based on Monroe
their careers and prioritizing professional (albeit
and Plath’s differentiating paths to fame. However,
financial) success rather than succumbing to the
he makes a compelling point about both women:
pressure of settling down at a younger age. However,
“But as a statement about the kind of work the
this poses a challenge for finding a partner, and
two figures perform in our culture, there may be
perhaps hinders the want to date in the first place.
something to it. It’s no coincidence that Plath and
A more famous analogy made to modern dating,
Monroe both lived and died just before the advent
in relation to Plath’s work, is the season one finale
of 1960s feminism. Both were in a real sense victims
of Aziz Ansari’s Netflix series, “Master of None.”
of patriarchy, and both became important symbols
In this episode, Ansari’s character, Dev, attends
for thinking about how women could and could not
a wedding with his longtime girlfriend. After the
live and achieve.”
wedding, Dev evaluates his life and the commitments
Additionally, in another Plath biography, “Mad
he is and is not ready to make. Dev and his girlfriend
Girl’s Love Song,” Andrew Wilson makes the point
are 30, an age that is validated by the stability of
that more can be learned about Plath and her internal
settling down. Perplexed by this, Dev goes to see
struggles through the years—namely her high
his father, who tells him to read “The Bell Jar” by
school and college years, during which Plath had
Sylvia Plath, and to pay attention to the passage
a steady dating history—before she married fellow
about the fig tree:
poet, Ted Hughes. In “Lady Lazarus,” Kirsch says
“I saw my life branching out before me like the
of this revelation, “Wilson’s chronicle of Plath’s
green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every
early relationships with boys and men allows
branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future
readers in a very different era to understand the
beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband
regime of repression and hypocrisy under which
and a happy home and children, and another fig
she suffered. Plath had a strong sexual appetite
was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant
that she felt bound to deny and hide in the name of
professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing
feminine virtue, even as she went out on countless
editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and
dates with aggressive, sometimes assaultive men.”
South America, and another fig was Constantin and
As an English major, I’m both passionate and
Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with
analytical about most things in my life, but no amount
queer names and offbeat professions, and another
of reading could have prepared me enough for love
fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond
in the age of Millennials. In high school, literature
and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t
more or less shaped my romantic expectations. The
quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch
words I absorbed from the pages of my beloved books
of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I
allowed me to dream, to want love stories of my
couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would
own, complete with poetry, love letters and grand
choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but
gestures. But of course, that changed as I got older
choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat
and experienced different connections on my own.
there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle
Sometimes I ask myself a silly yet valid question: how would my favorite literary heroines react to
and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
modern dating culture? Would they be intrigued,
I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing
horrified, disappointed, or all three? Would they
one meant losing all the rest. Living in a time where
be amazed or overwhelmed at the growing power
we have more options in several areas of our lives
of women, and the multitude of choices they have
provides a paradoxical sentiment—our freedom can
for their future other than marriage?
limit us. But when it comes to love, risk is a choice
Nonetheless, a lot has changed for women since Plath’s time. In the Girlboss article “Why Is Modern Dating So Hard—Especially For Ambitious Women?” published last June, Elizabeth Kiefer points out, “There has arguably been no better moment in
we should be more willing to make.
... literature more or less shaped my romantic expectations. The words I absorbed from the pages of my beloved books allowed me to dream...
An inside look at record labels.
that artists can feel safe with and that allowed for ll of your favorite records have been produced
While the idea of starting a label seems light–hearted
studio in a band’s living room or a high–end
and breezy, James faced some obstacles while trying
that they’re proud of and will entertain your ears.
to get it up and running. “We had quite a few challenges when we first started.
This process may leave you wondering what someone
One of the biggest was finding great people to work with
who runs a record label looks for when signing someone,
to build our team,” James said. “I took quite a while
or what key elements upcoming artists should embody if
finding the right people that love the label as much as
they want to be noticed. With every label being different,
I do. The other problem was finding the right bands to
it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what every label is looking
build our family of artists.”
for. The Vindicator had the chance to talk with Peter
Since April 2018, Manic Kat Records has signed a
James, owner of Manic Kat Records in New Jersey, to
few more artists and anticipated at least 3 more by
see what he looks for when searching for new talent,
the end of that year.
and what kind of future he has planned for his label. Owning a record label can be a huge undertaking, but for James the inspiration behind getting Manic Kat Records off the ground runs deeper than being afraid to take on this difficult task.
When looking to build the MKR family, James had certain qualities he was looking for while trying to sign artists. “We always look for unique characteristics in every band that we sign,” James said. “We look for things
“I grew up playing in bands in the Northern New
that not only separate them from the rest of the bands
Jersey pop punk scene and have always supported it. I
out there, but also distinguish them from the rest of
think that was one of the main reasons why MKR was
the bands on our roster.”
created,” James said. “After dealing with the runaround 9 | VINDICATOR
somewhere, whether it be a do–it–yourself
studio. Each artist takes the time to create something
SPECIAL THANKS TO
of major labels in the past, I wanted to create a label
As MKR continues to find more talented musicians,
the label continues to grow. You would think this
said. “With Thieves’ ‘We’re Literally Almost There,’
would change the way they scout talent, but James
their melodic hardcore/punk sound brought something
new to the table for our catalog in 2018.” He continued,
“We still look for the same criteria as we always have. “We were eager to see how much Wired for Havoc had
If you think
The only thing that’s changed is the influx of demo
grown from their debut record, ‘Roll with the Punches,’
submissions,” James said. “We love getting demos and
and they most certainly did not disappoint. ‘I Don’t
listen to every single one that’s submitted through
Belong Here’ brought out a more vulnerable melodic
side of the band that they until now had not explored.
There isn’t a singular quality that James and the
you can run a label
MKR staff look for when signing a new member to
into the metal-core world and much to our excitement
their ever–growing family.
was our first artist (we hope of many to come) that
“There are many factors that go into signing a band,” James said. “First, we all need to love the music and
and work a ‘day job,’ believe me,
the band as people. In addition, their willingness and ability to tour aggressively throughout the year is critical for us to work with a band.” While James admits that their criteria for signing
— PETER JAMES
reached Billboard’s Heatseeker Chart for their debut week,” he added. With all that being said, James did leave some advice for anyone looking to start their own label. “Be prepared to devote everything you have into it, and that includes all your time. If you think you can
artists stays consistent, the label has been attracted
run a label and work a ‘day job,’ believe me, you can’t,”
to more ska–influenced bands.
James said. “The main reason I can say we have grown
“More recently we just announced the signing of
Finally, ‘Make It Last’ by The Anchor was a first dive
California–based ska band, For the Record. They bring
as fast as we have is because I am fortunate enough to run the label full–time.”
a broadening of genre to the table with their addition
If you’re looking for record labels in Cleveland to work
to our roster.” James said, “We’ve all been huge fans
with or seek help from, check out Abydos Productions,
of Reel Big Fish, and have been eagerly searching for a
MC Records Unlimited CC and Starlife Entertainment
similarly fun and talented band to join our family. For
for more information.
the Record is definitely one of the bands I’m personally looking forward to releasing in 2019.” MKR has many fresh–sounding bands to check out from bands such as melodic-hardcore band When Thieves Are About, to pop–punk band Right On Kid. James is elated to share all of their hard work with fans and new listeners alike. “Much like each band, each release brings something unique to our roster’s catalog. For example, Right On, Kid!’s, ‘Forever Missing Out,’ was these guys’ debut release with us. They brought a younger, carefree pop punk vibe to our catalog that we were missing,” James
ABYDOS PRODUCTIONS 26391 Curtiss Wright Pkwy Ste. 44143 (216) 377-1070
STARLIFE ENTERTAINMENT 19111 Bella Dr, 44119 (216) 446-7143
Mc RECORDS UNLIMITED PO Box 1788 Huntington Station, NY 11746 (631)-754-8725
THEVINDI.COM | 10
THE 2019 ACADEMY AWARDS RADAR A STIFF COMPETITION FOR
THE OSCAR WRITTEN BY
t seems that 2018 has been quite a fascinating
been revealing their own Oscar predictions, causing
year for film, especially in terms of The Academy
an uproar in discussions and mixed opinions—but
Awards. Many that were thought to be disregarded
isn’t that what makes it even more entertaining?
by The Academy are now holding strong positions
This past year’s movies have certainly created a tight
on seizing a nomination (we are looking at you,
competition, and after comparing a few different
“A Star is Born”!), while some other highly anticipated
opinions and seeing some performances, I have
“Oscar-bait” movies fell short on their expected box
decided to gather up some more predictions for the
office performance, throwing early–year predictions
winners of the three most popular categories: Best
out of whack. Nonetheless, with the awards coming
Actress, Best Actor, and Best Picture.
up shortly, various magazines and film blogs have
Glenn Close “The Wife”
While it is true that 2018 has treated us well in terms
just for her performance, but because it is time to?
of film, it has especially given us a lot of captivating
Olivia Colman and Yalitza Aparicio, however,
performances from many actresses in leading roles—
have been huge favourites (I could not resist) among
making it a very tricky task to predict who could win
critics and fans alike for a majority of this award
the Oscar this year. But, after analyzing performances
season. Starring in two of the year’s most talked about
and comparing other’s opinions, I have:
films, newcomer Yalitza Aparicio gives an amazingly strong and emotive performance in Alfonso Cuaron’s
Will Most Likely Win: Glenn Close, “The Wife”
“ROMA,” quickly garnering her fame; meanwhile,
Should Win: Olivia Colman, “The Favourite” or
Olivia Colman completely steals the show in Yorgos
Yalitza Aparicio, “ROMA”
Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” as the somewhat hysterical Queen Anne—not the easiest task when you are
Olivia Colman “The Favourite”
Yalitza Aparicio “ROMA”
11 | VINDICATOR
Although “The Wife” has been a bit under the
partnered with both Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz,
radar throughout this award season, Glenn Close’s
as well as being surrounded by beautiful costumes and
performance certainly has not. Critics left and right
scenery. This category holds a very tight competition
have been praising her role, and after winning a
since it really could go any way. Close may be nearing
Best Actress Golden Globe and giving an enthralling
the “I deserve this at this point” mark, but Colman
speech, Close has quickly garnered the spotlight in
and Aparicio have been gaining a lot of headlines for
terms of winning. Plus, many predict that this could
their performances—Aparicio even broke records by
be her “overdue” Oscar; after all, she has missed out
becoming the first indigenous Mexican actress to be
on six previous nominations in her career! Could she
nominated for an Oscar!
end up pulling a Leonardo Dicaprio and winning not
Christian Bale “VICE”
This categor y holds yet another tight race, but
mimicked not only his singing, but Mercury’s small
there have been a few big favorites and stand–out
mannerisms as well. But, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was
performances for the “Best Actor” category. My
not dealt with very positive criticisms; analysts and
thoughts? Out of all of the nominees, I believe that:
other blogs have been commenting on how Malek’s chances could decrease because the overall film was
Will most likely win: Christian Bale, “VICE”
not “up–to–par” with usual Oscar standards. Plus,
Should win: Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
The Academy seems to be loving “VICE” (they gave it eight different nominations!) and Bale’s performance
Rami Malek “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Amongst both critics and audiences, Rami Malek
as Dick Cheney has amassed lots of love from film
has been the talk of this category. His depiction of
critics. Although Bale’s performance is not as well
Freddie Mercury has been one of the main topics
known with the public as Malek’s, “VICE” has certainly
of this awards season—there has even been a video
been receiving Oscar buzz for a while. However, both
that garnered fame on Twitter that edited both his
Rami Malek and Christian Bale won the Golden Globes
performance and the actual Freddie Mercury side–
for the two lead actor categories, so at this point it
by–side just to emphasize how well Malek learned and
really is up to The Academy.
This year’s contenders for the most popular category of
tweet from 2016 (when one of the leading actors in
the night are quite diverse, making it even tougher to
the film is Muslim), it would be a bit risky for The
pin down some predictions. However, for this category,
Academy to offer its highest award of the night to a
the “most likely to win” ends up in a three–way tie
film surrounded with controversy.
for the strongest contenders. I have:
“The Favourite” is also on many predictors’ lists for possible Best Picture winner, and it is no surprise -
Most likely to win: “ROMA”, “Green Book” or
the film has tied with “ROMA” for most nominations
(ten!), so clearly The Academy has been eyeing it for
Should win: “ROMA”
a while too. With captivating performances from the three female leads to Lanthimos’ iconic dark comedy,
“ROMA” has been a stand-out film for this awards
“The Favourite” (like its character, Queen Anne)
season, giving Netflix its first ever ‘Best Picture’
definitely stands out, but that could be both positive
nomination, being the first foreign language film to
and negative to its chances. The dark and witty humor
be nominated for this category, and making Yalitza
may rub some voters the wrong way, and Lanthimos’
Aparicio the first indigenous Mexican actress to
endings are known for producing some hit–or–miss
be nominated for an Oscar. Plus, “ROMA” has been
opinions from the audience.
receiving praise for almost every aspect of the movie,
Either way, this year’s Best Picture nominees are
from the performances to its diverse cast to the
fortunately very diverse, offering so many possibilities
stunning cinematography. The only factor that could
for winners that it is sure to entertain and/or surprise
possibly set it back is that it is a foreign language film,
us the night of the Oscars.
and unfortunately, no foreign language movie has
Now all that is left for us to do is to wait until the
ever won in this category. But, that was in the past,
official award show on February 24th! Will The Academy
and with the attention and love “ROMA” has been
“stay on course” and pick many of the most–talked
receiving, I believe it has a strong hold on winning.
about movies, or will they slightly veer off course and
“Green Book” has recently been accumulating a lot
surprise us? Nonetheless, everyone involved with the
of Oscar buzz (and awards) as well, but the events of
films that have been released in the past year deserve a
what has been happening behind–the–scenes could
round of applause for their work, having gifted us with
ruin its chance of winning. From the backlash the film
a multitude of amazing work focused on important
has been receiving from certain audiences who believe
conversations, people, and events in the world, as
the film was giving a “white savior” trope, to the
well as giving us diversity. Happy awards season!
findings of co–writer Nick Vallelonga’s islamophobic
THEVINDI.COM | 12
Brenda Castañeda Yupanqui
Black travelers are taking it upon themselves to create communities that showcase their own narratives.
hile it may be considered a pretty simple luxury these days, the ability to travel freely is something that was incredibly rare for many not so long ago. When one
is considered “other” even in familiar surroundings, this feeling of “otherness” can be amplified when leaving these spaces and entering completely different environments. For Black people who are traveling, especially Black women, this feeling may be doubly amplified; not only would they face struggles based on their race, but also their gender. These struggles may range from subtle forms of discrimination to physical violence. However, in the past few years, the Black Travel Movement has emerged to disprove outdated stereotypes that people of color face, and empower them to become world travelers. This movement encompasses a lot—travel companies, online communities, social media trends, and everything in between. One group central to this effort is Evita Robinson’s NOMADNESS Travel Tribe, whose mission is “to show the world that travel has no racial, gender, religious, economic, or interest limitations through our community representation and relevancy.” Catering specifically to the Millennial minority demographic of travelers, this community has grown to 20,000 members over the past eight years, most of whom are Black and brown women. Like this community, there are countless others, like Black Girls Travel Too, Sisters Traveling Solo, and Travel Noire, as well as informal online groups on Facebook and other social media platforms. These travel companies and communities grew out of necessity, seeing as Black people and other minorities are grossly underrepresented in the travel market. The travel and hospitality marketing firm MMGY Global has reported that the intent to travel among Black Americans has jumped 14 points over just three years, to 19 percent in 2016. According to the Mandala Research firm, 17 percent of Black Americans take at least one international trip a year. However, despite spending over $48 billion annually on domestic travel alone, Nielsen reported that less than 3 percent of all advertisements in 2017 showcased Black Americans.
13 | VINDICATOR
This lack of representation led to the creation of
Film & Media Arts major,
this travel movement and all its proponents, whose
Taylor Wallace at the Meiji
social media presence has brought national atten-
Shrine in Tokyo, Japan (top).
tion to the issue. Using social media, not only are these communities of travelers able to showcase their experiences, they are also able control the narrative around them. They can dispel the beliefs about Black Americans in the United States and around the globe,
Mathematics major, Saiida Bowie-Little at the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary and Cultural Village in Tafi, Ghana (bottom).
asserting that they are not an impoverished, ignorant
The Black Travel Movement is so much more than
and violent population; instead proving that they have
purchasing a luxury trip or a vacation, especially for
long been financially stable and educated enough to
Black women. It does not only signify the financial
travel. As Robinson tells CNN, “ ...It wasn’t that people
autonomy of people of color and their importance
of color weren’t traveling, it was that mass media
in the travel market. This movement empowers and
wasn’t documenting it.”
gives a heightened sense of freedom and agency to
Additionally, members of the Black Travel Movement are able to educate those abroad, consciously
these travelers—experiences, so intangibly meaningful and powerful.
making the effort to counter the misrepresentation of Black Americans as uneducated, violent, and lesser-than. Those who are part of this movement see travel as transformative experiences not only for themselves, but also those who they may encounter abroad. Because so much of the perception of Black Americans worldwide arises from the images propagated by mass media, Robinson views instances where she and her group are the only Black people around as valuable opportunities to challenge those perceptions. In her TED Residency Talk, she explains an inherent burden and responsibility that she believes Black travelers have. She says, “That, is the realization that when we go abroad, we are immediately either perpetuating or diffusing bias placed on us by negative media depictions that our country has ushered out to the rest of the world.” Robinson knows that these misconceptions often lead to uncomfortable encounters with culturally ignorant people abroad. However, she treats them as teachable moments, using the opportunity to educate others. She goes on to say, “We’re showing the world that Black people do travel everywhere and we aren’t a monolithic people… simply showing up allows the world to hear our stories from our mouths.” It is important to recognize that this sense of freedom found in travel was hard–won. Not long ago, Black American travelers felt so unsafe that traveling in their own country required a handbook. “The Negro Motorist Green Book” was published annually starting in 1935 by Victor Hugo Green, and was a travel guide for Black American travelers. It provided them with lists of safe spaces, including restaurants, lodging, information on Jim Crow laws per state and county, as these tended to differ from place to place. The last edition of the Green Book was published shortly after the Civil Rights Act. However, these dangers have not simply vanished, but reared their heads in new ways. Black American motorists are still met with the dangers of unduly violent police officers—think of the deaths of Sandra Bland and Philando Castile. Modern technology has brought new problems for Black travelers, as well as other racial minorities, who are often met with racial bias when booking lodging—think of the numerous accounts of cancellations by racist Airbnb hosts. Stop–and–frisk programs, racial–profiling tactics—these are among the modern dangers faced by the Black and brown traveler just in the United States alone.
Clinical Mental Health
This movement empowers and gives a heightened
Counseling master’s student, Tiffani Fields is in front of the Colosseum in Rome during her 2015 travels (top). Political Science & International
sense of freedom and
Relations major, Zion
agency to these travelers—
Omobuwa in Cuba (bottom).
experiences, so intangibly
rest stops or gas stations. It also provided important
meaningful and powerful.
THEVINDI.COM | 14
IS TOO MUCH
27 | VINDICATOR
I am not snatching away
xcessive force and police brutality have been a continued structure within the African-American community for centuries. Activists are adamant about having their voices heard in response to the injustices
an entire community confronts with those sworn to uphold and protect. According to definitions.uslegal.
com, excessive force is “the use of force greater than that which a reasonable and prudent law enforcement officer would use under the circumstances is generally considered to be excessive.” Law enforcement officers are in violation of an individual’s constitutional rights when excessive force occurs. The duties of law enforcement personnel become methods filled with fear tactics in many routine traffic stops that lead to magnitudes of unexpected psychological and physical strategies that confuse innocent citizens. As a citizen abiding by the law, complying during these stops becomes frustrating when the demands of compliance render infringement to a human being’s civil rights. In that, the lines of routine searching can also be blurred when searching becomes sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as any form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. This violation also applies to employment agencies, labor organizations, as well as the federal government. In a recent incident, I was stopped by Highway State Patrol, and asked to step out of my vehicle. Without
properly identifying me, I was searched and, while only wanting to comply, I questioned the policy and procedure of this so-called protector.
It was an early Saturday morning, and I was headed out to work around 8 a.m. I decided to drive down St.
Clair, passing through 105th Street of the Cleveland
area. In my rear-view distance, I saw the red, blue, and white lights rotating atop a vehicle. I slowed my vehicle from the 25 mph speed limit, approaching a
stop to let them pass. Much to my surprise, they did
he told me
me to step out of my vehicle. Hesitant, I asked if
not pass. After he walked over to my car, he asked everything was alright. He again instructed me to
get out of my car. So, I complied. “Ma’am, I need you
said. “But, why?” I asked. In his response, I was to do as I was instructed. Walking me over to his police
vehicle, he asked me if I had ever been pulled over by
to step over here to the front this police vehicle,” he
state troopers. “No,” I replied. After my response, he instructed me to place my hands on the hood of his car. He began to search me after asking me if I had anything on my person that could stick or poke him. When the search began, I asked him if I was being
instructed to sit on the ground. Politely, I told him, no, and that I needed to know why I was being pulled over. He interrogated me for a few minutes, insinuating that I was lying about who I was, and that I was not the owner of my vehicle. After his questioning, he instructed me to put my hands on the hood again. This time he told me that he was about to perform a search and seizure. When I asked why, he told me to keep my hands on the hood. A search and seizure, according to dictionary.law.com, is “examination of a person’s premises (residence, business or vehicle) by law enforcement officers looking for evidence of the commission of a crime, and the taking (seizure and removal) of articles of evidence (such as controlled narcotics, a pistol, counterfeit bills, a blood–soaked blanket).” Aware of this procedure, I asked why it was needed. With no response, he stood behind me and began searching my person, once again. He did not search my vehicle. This time, with very inappropriate touching, he told me repeatedly to spread my legs wider, grabbing my arm. I flinched. “Don’t snatch away from me,” he exclaimed. This routine traffic stop was a violation of my constitutional rights. After the disconcerting process, I was told that I was pulled over for not having a front license plate on my vehicle and given a ticket. Recently, Euclid Department Police Officer, James Aoki arrested Shajuan Gray after she had gotten out of the shower. According to news5cleveland.com, James entered Gray’s apartment without probable cause, used excessive force, and arrested her. Gray alleged that she was only wearing a bath wrap at the time of the incident which had fallen off while Aoki assaulted her. Gray also reports the officer did not allow her to get dressed before he took her to the police department. Gray suffered wounds from the arrest. This is another case of confusion and excessivity. According to Dominique Kizer, police forcefully entered her Euclid home in search of a criminal whom they told her had taken residence in her house. Answering the door, they never asked Kizer for identification, and accused her of lying about hiding this unknown criminal. After realizing that they entered the wrong home, the police inexplicably left the residence leaving Kizer traumatized.“After they left my house, I was so shook up and angry,” Kizer said. With so many instances of excessive force, one can only wonder where the boundaries of protection and escalated enforcement become factors regarding citizens’ safety. Force is not even de-escalated involving the women of the African-American community. Events of excessive force have been an unsettling recurrence in the minority community. How much compliance can be kept when an individual can’t have their rights respected? How much force is too much force?
arrested and why I was being pulled over. He began citing my Miranda warning. After this search, I was THEVINDI.COM | 28
HOUSE WE GO WRITTEN BY
Briana Oldham PHOTOS BY
One Cleveland home showcases the city’s history and countless family memories.
o leave a legacy, one typically plants the seed of hard work and helps nurture and facilitate its growth by having a plan to thrive, especially in the difficult times in which we live.
Sometimes we are not aware of the ways to do this, but as we mature, incorporating the wisdom and sage advice of those around us, the task at hand becomes that much easier to do. To create and preserve a legacy involves having more than just stories to tell—it entails possessing something you can call your own and being able to pass it on to someone else. If you ride down Lakeview Road on Cleveland’s east side, right before the intersection at Saint Clair Avenue, you’ll find a gray and white house, which, unlike most of the homes in the area, sits up on a hill far from the street. Also uncharacteristic is how
17 | VINDICATOR
big and somewhat scary the house looks. Don’t let the appearance fool you; this house is known for the warmth it gives to every person who has step foot in it and is filled with rich memories that only the owner, Ms. Elouise Oldham, can gingerly tell. The Oldham family is led by their matriarch Ms. Elouise, who originally hails from Montgomery, Alabama and is a vivacious 83–years–young lover of crossword puzzles and “Family Feud.” Ms. Elouise enjoys quiet afternoons reading the newspaper, and evenings full of laughter with family and usually a basketball game of some sort. On the evening I sat down with her, “Wheel of Fortune” was on simply for show, as the volume was barely above a whisper. I had so many questions, I honestly didn’t know where to start. I figured, for as much as this house meant to her, she means more to her family. It was this “aha” moment that began the interview with questions about her and where she came from. From
That’s the thing about a legacy—
She knew this was where she wanted to spend the rest
important family is to her and why she is, as another
of her life. “[My son] Calvin keeps asking me about
family member remarked, “the glue that holds it all
moving but I’m just not ready to go yet. Just about
everyone has lived in this house. If you ever needed
Ms. Elouise came to Cleveland when she was 19 years old. She chose to come here to better her educa-
a place to stay, you could come here too,” she looks at me and grins.
tion. Staying with relatives when she initially moved,
Of course, I know this to be true, because this is
she moved around quite a bit before meeting the man
the house where I grew up. The first memory I have
she would later marry and start a family with. The
is waking up on a Saturday thinking I was running
running joke with her cousin is that her aunt would
late for school and smelling pancakes (which I love
move every time the rent was due. She laughs and her
more than the cake). I knew at that moment, since
face lights up as she recalls moments from decades
pancakes were a weekend staple, that I must have had
ago like they happened yesterday, and instantly trans-
my days mixed up. It was at that time, while dashing
ports me to the past. Until she moved to Lakeview, Ms.
down the narrow stairs that I was met with her warm
Elouise’s favorite place of residence was 113th Street
voice telling me to slow down and asking where the
in Union. “I liked it there because we knew everybody
fire was. “Go change, it’s alright, I got something for
and we were all like family,” she explains.
you when you come back,” I remember her telling me.
When asked what her favorite thing about this
Her words became a motto for family near and
house is, her answer was short and sweet and helped
far. If they ever needed anything, a place to stay, a
provide more insight into her hobbies. “The kitchen,”
warm meal, or endless laughs and love, they know
she replied, “It’s big and nice for all the cooking I
they could come there and find what they needed in
do.” Besides her love of sports and puzzles, she also
that house. That’s the thing about a legacy—the most
enjoys baking and making meals for herself and her
important gems you inherit aren’t just material things.
family. A popular favorite in the Oldham house is her
They are also the things that make that big historic
7 Up cake. I asked her daughter, Ms. Ophelia Jacobs,
house a home; the things that can’t be bought or sold.
the most important gems you inherit aren’t just material things.
the moment we started speaking, it was clear how
about the infamous cake and she said, “The aroma is one you can smell soon as you walk through the door and the love you can feel soon as you take a bite.” In addition to the love in the food, you can feel it from the moment you step into the home. An old Victorian style design with high ceilings, stained glass windows, a chandelier, and crystal trimmings. The home has six bedrooms, three fireplaces, and two–and–a– half bathrooms, complete with a fully–finished attic as big as the house. The house is considered a historical landmark due to being over 100 years old and very close to the original condition. For Ms. Elouise, the appeal of the house and its location is the spaciousness and privacy that having a large amount of yard space affords her. She didn’t get out in the yard as much this past summer as she would have liked due to being diagnosed with breast cancer. She has made a full recovery since, and is looking forward to planting her flowers and watching them bloom. Ms. Elouise’s late husband Ollius purchased the home for their family upon the advice of a friend who lived across the street. From the time Ms. Elouise saw the house, with a few minor exceptions, it was perfect. THEVINDI.COM | 18
HIDDEN FIGURES WRITTEN BY
Renee Betterson PHOTOS BY
Candid conversations about diversity, representation, and purpose.
n 2016, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) surveyed colleges across the nation to find the ethnic breakdown of their faculty. The NCES found that, on average, Black men and women combined made up less than six percent of full-
humanities, you understand that it is a basic truth about people and their potential. Later I started to recognize figures and typology in African–American literature that were unlike anything I’d ever been taught,” she elaborated. Here, Gosselin’s classical training in the Arts melded perfectly with her identity as an African–American scholar.
time faculty and staff, according to nces.ed.gov. I
sat down with a few of Cleveland State University’s
distinguished Black leaders to discuss their journey into academia. They shared with me their stories; the struggles, triumphs, and joys that come with being a member of that six percent. Adrienne Gosselin, Ph.D. Associate Professor, English Dr. Gosselin grew up in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, a small, rural town that was ripe with rich African– American history and education—a tradition she eagerly embraced. After high school, Gosselin went to California where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. After graduation, Gosselin began working in advertising until she realized that her dream was to go back to school. “I was in an automobile accident and once I realized that I wasn’t dead, my first thought was, ‘I’m going back to school,’” she explains. With a new sense of purpose, Gosselin moved to Ohio to study for her Master of Arts degree in English but the lack of cultural diversity in the Midwest during the 1970s would prove to be a challenge. Far from
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Thomas Bynum, Ph.D. Director and Associate Professor of History, Black Studies
her hometown, and the sanctuary of her studies in
For Dr. Bynum, his path to academia was clear even
California, Gosselin felt isolated and out of place
as a young boy. “As children, my siblings and I used
until she discovered the works of Henry Louis Gates.
to love playing school together. I was always the
Finally, she had found her place; in literature. “What
teacher. I knew I wanted to teach classes related to
I saw [in Gates’ works] was a sense of kinship; a
African-American history,” he remembers. After high
shared sense of humor and intelligence. Gates made
school, Dr. Bynum attended college in North Carolina
it easier for the people who came behind him. [We]
with a plan to teach history in middle or high school.
didn’t have to start from scratch explaining ourselves,”
As an undergraduate social studies major, Dr. Bynum
she says. After that, Gosselin dove into the works
nurtured his passion for African–American history
of the Harlem Renaissance where she discovered
and activism. During his time in school, Dr. Bynum
the work of legendary Black writers such as Charles
served as president of the Black Student Union where
Chesnutt and Rudolph Fisher. “If you believe in the
he used his platform to speak out against racism
in his community. In his senior year, a professor suggested that he go to graduate school and teach higher education, and that’s just what he did. Later, Dr. Bynum began working at Middle Tennessee State University, where he received a research grant for his study on Black student retention, titled Building Bridges and Breaking Barriers. Not incidentally, the title of Dr. Bynum’s research study has been the constant theme of his career. Here at Cleveland State, Dr. Bynum has continued to break barriers as a professor and the Director of the Black Studies Department. Since arriving at CSU in 2017, Dr. Bynum has expanded the department, more than doubling the number of majors in the program. Ultimately though, Dr. Bynum is driven by his desire to help students discover the same passion he has found in education.“To teach and to see students connect with that information; to see that light bulb go off, that’s my passion. It lets me know that what I’m doing is worthwhile,” he said. Valarie Hinton Hannah Director, Student Conduct & Advocacy For Mrs. Hinton Hannah, it was the idea of connecting with students outside the classroom that drew her to work in higher education. “Everything I do is about giving hope to students and getting them to graduation. wanted to help students get their degrees,” she said. Before coming to Cleveland State, Mrs. Hinton Hannah worked as a school social worker for Cleveland Public Schools. While she was there, Mrs. Hinton Hannah had a case that would change her forever. “There was a little girl I worked with, a first grader who was suffering from separation anxiety. Her entire first year in school, no one heard her speak. So I worked with her and worked with her,” she recalled. Later, when the girl was in the 3rd grade, Mrs. Hinton Hannah got
a call from the school’s principal inviting her to the
school assembly. “When I got there, that little girl I’d worked with, who was too afraid to speak, was the emcee for the ceremony,” she remembers. Later, Mrs.
I am going
Hinton Hannah began working in higher education
to get my
give them the support they need to cross the finish
with the same goal, to connect with students and
line to graduation. “[In higher educat ion] we need more people concerned about students. People who understand how
important it is to develop interpersonal relationships”,
Mrs. Hinton Hannah added. She began work in the Counseling Center at Cleveland State, eventually moving to her current office as the Director of Student
Conduct. “I always tell students, ‘I’m going to be here to see you graduate. If you need anything, my office
is on the third floor of the Student Center’,” she said.
Steve Johnson Interim Coordinator, Viking Vets Office
I made a conscious effort to come here because I
— STEVE JOHNSON
Mr. Johnson first encountered the Viking Vets office by chance. After being elected to the Euclid School Board in 2015, Johnson realized that he could do much more for schools with a degree. “I am going to get my degree and turn predominantly Black schools around,” he vowed. In the summer of 2017, Johnson came to Cleveland State to work towards a Ph.D. in History. During his first year as a student at Cleveland State, Johnson asked around campus looking for a quiet place to study. A friend recommended the Veterans Center, and the moment he stepped
THEVINDI.COM | 20
through the door, Johnson was at home. After 20 years of service in the Army, the Veterans Center became more than just a place to study. For Johnson, as for many other student veterans, it is a place to belong. “The U.S. military is the only organization that takes people from all backgrounds and socioeconomic systems and produces excellence, and a big part of that is accountability,”Mr. Johnson noted. As Coordinator, Johnson has worked toward making the Veterans Office a welcoming gathering place for people of different backgrounds to receive the support they need to succeed. Ultimately, Mr. Johnson’s hope is to bring that same unity to his work in childhood education. On the school board, Johnson has been a strong advocate for diversity, encouraging the board to hire more teachers of different backgrounds. “We need Black teachers, LGBTQ teachers...If you don’t have those voices at the table we can’t expect kids to learn,” he said. Victoria Winbush Ph.D. Associate Professor, Social Work “The beauty of social work is that it brings it all together: organizations, communities, individuals—my work seeks to bridge all of those areas,” Dr. Winbush says. It is no accident that Dr. Winbush’s career has allowed her to work on each of those levels of engagement. Before becoming a college professor, Dr. Winbush enjoyed an extensive and fulfilling career in social work. In 1987, Dr. Winbush served as the Executive Director of the MetroHealth Medical Center. In 1993, Winbush began working as the Director and Trainer of Cleveland’s Multicultural Training Institute, where she led the cultural competency program. Now, as a professor at Cleveland State, Dr. Winbush uses her research and prior experience to inform her work in education. “I see my job as a teacher as the integration of my knowledge and experience into a package that will help students better grasp the material. Just like in social work, as a professor, I meet students where they are and get to know them as individuals,” she said. When she isn’t in the classroom, Dr. Winbush spends her time researching the social effects of diversity and cultural competency. According to Dr. Winbush, professors and academics are tasked with “creating and passing on knowledge. Often, as academics we want our research to be objective, but in the case of
diversity and its effects, the research is more reflective. As academics, we must be responsive to creating knowledge that reflects actual lived experience,” she explains. Currently, Dr. Winbush is organizing a conference that will focus on cultural sensitivity and older Black adults. The conference represents the revitalization of a conference which had been sponsored by the CSU School of Social Work annually for nearly 30 years. The event, called the Anna V. Brown Conference Forum, will be held in May 2019. Anne Berry Associate Professor, Graphic Design “Growing up, education was very much a part of the culture in our home. Both of my parents were educators, so they always stressed the importance of going to college,” Berry says. Even with a strong background in higher education, Berry explains that teaching wasn’t initially part of her plan. She says, “Going into college, I had no interest in becoming a professor. I knew I loved design, so I went to school to become a graphic designer.” Ultimately, it would be Berry’s experience in college that led her to explore teaching. She studied at Goshen College in Indiana, where her father taught in the Political Science department. During her time as an undergraduate, Berry was struck by the lack of diversity in the university’s faculty. “In four years of school, I only had one Black Professor—my father,” she recalls. After graduating, Berry returned to school to earn a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. As a graduate student, Berry was mentored by several professors in the department. The relationships and support she gained helped Berry to understand the importance of mentorship for academic success. “Mentorship and guidance can change everything. But the tough thing about it is that you don’t know what you don’t know. And
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that’s especially true for many students of color,”
Berry says. Armed with this knowledge, Professor A nne Berr y came to
Cleveland State with a
professor in one class
mission. In addition to teaching and mentoring, Berr y spends her time resea rc h i ng d iver sit y issues in teaching and
can make a
graphic design. “Part of
a diverse community of
— Anne Berry
my work here is building designers that bleeds into academia, and a huge part of t hat is mentorship. I’m t r y i ng to b e t hat very thing that I didn’t have as an undergrad.
Because even one professor in one class can make a difference,” She said. Dr. Ronnie Dunn Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Professor, Urban Studies Dr. Dunn first stepped onto Cleveland State’s campus in 1980 as a freshman in Urban Studies. After his first semester, however, Dunn was left feeling disillusioned and out of place. “As a first–year student at Cleveland State, I never really felt included,” he said. Much of this was due to the severe lack of African–American professors on campus. “During my undergraduate experience, I never had a Black male professor. Not even one,” Dr. Dunn recalled. Unable to see himself represented in the faculty, Dunn decided that he
TOP & BOTTOM LEFT, & TOP RIGHT PHOTOS PROVIDED BY PROFESSORS
had no place in higher education. After serving in
the U.S. Military, in 1991, Dunn returned to school to complete his associates degree in sociology and transferred back to Cleveland State. Dr. Dunn’s mentor, Dr. Wornie Reed, a professor in the College of Urban Affairs, would play a vital role in encouraging Dunn to excel in school, and ultimately work in education. “Dr. Reed allowed me to see possibilities that I’d never considered before,” he recalled. Needless to say, Dr. Dunn’s time at Cleveland State showed him exactly how important it is, “For young people to see themselves in faculty,” he said. Unfortunately, for many students of color at our university, that simply isn’t the case. Dr. Dunn’s research as Chief Diversity Officer has shown that while Black students make up about 16 percent of Cleveland State’s population, Black professors only make up about 5% of its faculty. According to Dr. Dunn, this disparity is what leads the “equity gap” between Black and white student retention rates. Currently, Dr. Dunn is working on the Diversity Action Plan, a policy that would seek to make Cleveland State more proactive in hiring Black professors. According to Dunn, the plan is in its final stages, and he hopes to see it rolled out in the next few months.
After speaking with a few of Cleveland State’s most distinguished Black faculty and staff, I noticed a common thread that wove each of their stories together: connection. At some point during their journeys, these pioneers found that connection was paramount to their success as academics, professionals, and individuals. For some, it was seeing themselves represented in faculty and university leaders who showed them the full extent of their own possibilities. For others, it was connecting with a mentor who guided them through the difficult path to higher education. For still others, it was finding a sense of purpose in building relationships with other people of color. What each of these incredible leaders seem to be saying to Black students and academics everywhere is simply, “We need each other.”
THEVINDI.COM | 22
Tyisha Blade PHOTOS BY
Celebrating African–American history with legends of the present.
pillar in the community of Cleveland State University, Donna Whyte, Ph.D., is notable for many contributions to the student population as well as the upward mobility of Black Studies. Coming back to the Cleveland
area and wanting a career in higher education, she brought her knowledge and experience gained from
Ohio State University, Temple University, and various other institutions to contribute to the advancement of an often overlooked Black culture. Dr. Whyte’s continued ambition and education led her into a field that had been calling her along her journey. “I always knew that I wanted to teach,” she said. Equipped with leadership experience and wisdom, Dr. Whyte started her work at the university in 1985 as a coordinator in Career Services. “I had decided, very deliberately, that I needed to work with the students,” said Dr. Whyte. “They would be students who would benefit by communicating with individuals who cared about their success.” While employed with Career Services, Dr Whyte founded the LINK Program, an academic support program that prepared students for placement in co-op positions and ultimately successful careers in business and engineering. In 1989, hired by Raymond Winbush, Ph.D., she transitioned to the Office of Minority Affairs. Along with many others of the time, Dr. Whyte strived to make a joint effort with community leaders that still, to this day, consider advancement as a teaching of heredity and prosperity. Retiring from her full–time position in 2013 as Director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, she began teaching, part time, in the History Department. After the unexpected passing of Black Studies Director Michael Williams, Ph.D., in 2016, Dr. Whyte accepted the position as director of Black Studies. “Because of my love for the university and Black Studies, I said yes to becoming the interim director,” Dr. Whyte said. Chairing the search committee that looked to hire current Black Studies Director, Thomas 23 | VINDICATOR
Bynum, Ph.D., Dr. Whyte continues to stay in touch with the program. “I am flattered that Prester Pickett continues to invite me to events such as the Kuumba Arts Festival,” Dr. Whyte said. “The work of Black Studies is something the university and community are aware of.” Dr. Whyte also enjoys seeing the support and consistency of the program. “It is a strength and part of what the program was built on,” she added. In her co–authored book published in August 2016, “Boycotts, Busing, & Beyond: The History & Implications of School Desegregation in the Urban North,” Dr. Whyte writes about the significant amounts of AfricanAmerican youth that came from the South and the practices against these youth that ensured there was less opportunity to advance through education in urban areas. Co–authored by Ronnie Dunn, Ph.D., Mittie Jones Ph.D., and Adrienne Hatten Ph.D., and NAACP attorney James Hardiman, they discuss strategies that were used to keep students from being integrated, such The book also focuses on Cleveland as a point of reference to acknowledge and analyze the racial, social, economic, and political factors that determined many educational experiences of America’s diverse racial and ethnic groups in the urban North. Other topics include academic performance by race, historical overviews of influential court cases throughout the nation, effects of busing and more. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, busing, a term also referred to as desegregation busing, is “the practice of transporting students to schools within or outside their local school districts as a means of rectifying racial segregation.” Although American schools were technically desegregated in 1954 as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision determined in Brown v. Board of Education, there was still massive amounts of discrimination and segregation in school systems. A major topic throughout African–American history, busing has had immense effect on the history and present state of education. The book has contributed to the acknowledgement of the harsh and unfair treatment
of Black youth attempting to further their education.
In addition to being an author, Dr. Whyte plays the piano. Dr. Whyte continues to expand her knowledge taking piano lessons at Cuyahoga Community College.
When I see
“I decided to play because there are three pianos in our family and nobody was playing them,” she said in an email. “I started lessons again after I retired. It’s
something I do for my own enjoyment and challenge.” While she agrees that her talents aren’t reaching the
level of Beethoven, she does play for audiences in intimate indoor settings. In her spare time, she likes
off in the
to read and spend time with her three grandchildren. She just recently read “The Underground Railroad,”
by Colson Whitehead. For his novel, Colson won a
that’s when the magic
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the National Book Award for Fiction and the Goodreads Choice Awards’ Best Historical Fiction. “I will read whatever has words,” she said. “One summer I read ten books just for fun.” Dr. Whyte continues to be an inspiration to the
Cleveland State student population and a distinguished
as special transfers and consistent policy violations.
— DR. DONNA WHYTE
faculty member. With her love of working with students, she shows great passion in her lectures and dedication to the university. “When I see the light bulbs go off in the students, that’s when the magic happens,” she says. Dr. Whyte has remained with Cleveland State for nearly 35 years and consistently contributes remarkable qualities that make her a role model for so many.
THEVINDI.COM | 24
A SPLASH A photographic exploration of Black womanhood and colorismâ€™s social and mental effects.
25 | VINDICATOR
WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY
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Splash of Color” is an exploration of Black women and colorism, which focuses on revealing the unique side of Black women. Today, we rarely see the various facets of Black womanhood due to it being restricted by racist and misogynist beliefs. “A Splash of Color” focuses on bringing different shades of Black women together to display the uniqueness that Black women have. Black women do not only deal with labels imposed by society that diminish their worth; colorism is another form of marginalization that can take away their worth. By definition, colorism is a form of prejudice or discrimination in which people are treated differently based on the social meanings attached to skin color. Often times, we can see that lighter-skinned women are socially accepted over their darker–skinned counterparts. When closely observed this is a significant problem; but because it is unconscious, we must first acknowledge that it exists both intra–culturally and interculturally. Colorism has been an issue for centuries: during slavery, intercourse between whites and Blacks would result in mixed children, many with white European features. It is important to recognize that the majority of the time, intercourse between Black women and white men at this time was non–consensual. Through this, mixed children had a social status that placed them above those that were enslaved. Typically, slaves with lighter skin were assigned domestic tasks, while those who had darker skin were forced to work outside in the fields. Lighter–skinned African Americans maintained a family and community ties that divided them from darker–skinned African Americans. During the Civil Rights era, there were many tests that discriminated against Blacks in America such as the Brown Paper Bag Test, which compared an individual’s skin tone to the color of a brown paper bag. Another was the Comb Test, which was a method of finding out if a person’s hair was afro–textured. In this examination, a comb would be pushed through the person’s hair to determine how straight the person’s hair was. These tests placed a value on white European features, which are pervasive in our culture today. Even now, there are also skin bleaching creams such as Olay White Radiance Brightening Intensive Cream Moisturizer, Kaya Pigmentation Reducing Complex and Neutrogena Fine Fairness Brightening Serum that Blacks are urged to use in order to be a lighter shade, so as to be accepted by society. In essence, colorism, like racism, is the result of white supremacy. Colorism is a factor that can affect us in realms such as education, self–esteem and economic opportunities. Colorism in the Black community, especially felt by women, affects their overall health and wellness by creating a strain on their self–image. It is also a way to prevent women
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from living in a true sisterhood. Being a double minority—Black and female—means that Black women are doubly affected by these phenomena. Colorism is an issue that Black people rarely pay much attention to and is constantly tearing Black womanhood apart. I’ve had the opportunity to reveal the beauty within Black women through photography. In my exploration, I focus on body appreciation, hair texture, and skin shades to showcase the value of Black women. For many of the models, this was their first time being in a setting where different shades of women came together. By the end of the shoot, the models became very close and created a bond with one another. “A Splash of Color” displays Black women being free–spirited and embracing the natural beauty they withhold, expressing their true identities and existing in fellowship with one another.
A THANK YOU TO OUR MODELS Alexis Smith Amakhut Tyehimba Ariana Rogers Brittany Harris Callie Middlebrooks Domonique Bell Imani Stephens Kym Früt Sankofa Guy Shatara Jordan Ste–Aira Hatchett Vivica Satterwhite Thank you to Black Valve Media for offering us the space to photograph this story.
To be able to see the different shades of skin colors up against one another was inspirational.
– AMAKHUT TYEHIMBA
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The most exciting part was being able to be in a safe space of women with different hair styles, body sizes and skin tones and feel united as one.
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– IMANI STEPHENS
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BEAUTY & WELLNESS
FOR THAT SPECIAL DAY WRITTEN BY
Imani Stephens ILLUSTRATIONS BY
Shop local products for your partner this Valentine’s Day.
alentine’s Day is that special day to get something for your significant other. Included in this article are nine products to shop locally by three local brands for that
special someone. Whether it is a body scrub, a bath soak or a body lotion, any of these products would be the perfect buy on any budget.
THE GLISTEN EFFECT FOUNDED BY Deja Abrams
Shop now at theglisteneffect.com BODY BUTTER $12 Renew your skin with this unique blend of natural products such as Shea butter, sweet almond, coconut oil, and more. This body butter softens and moisturizes dry, cracked skin. The lavender oil soothes muscle aches and helps with acne—it inhibits the bacteria that causes infection. Whether you’re shopping for a great moisturizing product for a loved one or shopping for yourself, be sure to shop The Glisten Effect! SUGAR SCRUB $10 Renew your skin with this unique blend of natural products that comes with a variety of essential oils and real lavender buds. This sugar scrub softens and exfoliates dry dead skin cells. It also helps to get rid of excess oil in the skin while leaving your body feeling smoother, looking healthier, and rejuvenated all in one. It makes a great gift for a loved one or even yourself. BEARD OIL $5 The Glisten Effect caters to all genders and with that being said, the Beard Oil would be a good idea for the man in your life. It promotes growth while still nourishing your beard and has a scent that others want be able to resist. No one likes a dry, patchy beard.
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FOUNDED BY Nicole Dzurko Shop now at revivalbodycare.com GODDESS CLAY MASK — GLOW $19.95 This product is a delectable blend that is ideal for any skin type looking for a deep antioxidant and nutrient boost for an all over glow. This rich clay mask will draw out impurities and bacteria in the skin, while deeply nourishing and regenerating the cells. Skin will have improved texture, clarity and circulation, leaving you with a clear, glowing, hydrated skin. IMMERSE SOAKING SALTS — HIMALAYAN $19.95 Immerse yourself in a warm a bath filled with mineral rich salts and aromatic, therapeutic essential oils. An exotic blend of Himalayan, Alaea, Dead Sea and Epsom Salts, along with Sweet Almond Oil and Essential Oils of Sandalwood, Vanilla, Rose, Absolute.
DorNee’ NATURAL BODY LUXURIES
FOUNDED BY Torrian Denise Shop now at dornee.com, Whole Foods Market, and Mustard Seed BODY LOTION — HAWAIIAN ROSE $10 Perfect combination of Hemp Seed Oil and Shea Butter which provides unparalleled hydrating properties due to high amounts of essential fatty acids that assist in protecting and restoring elasticity in dry skin.
LIP SCRUB TRIO — INCLUDES CINNAMON + SUGAR,
This ultra rich and thick lotion is also infused with
PEPPERMINT + SUGAR, AND ROSE & VANILLA +
organic Coconut Oil that allows deep penetration
SUGAR $21.95 Exfoliating your lips with Revival Lip Scrubs is your solution! Our all natural lip scrub removes chapped, dry skin for a perfectly smooth pout!
to thirsty, parched skin without feeling greasy. LUST ULTIMATE SHEA $26 This top sell is a combination of sweet apricots, red roses, geranium, and lychee. It is time to start a new skin–care love affair as you massage your body with this exquisitely luscious blend of whipped Shea Butter, Vitamin A, B & E enriched Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil that closely resembles the natural sebum within the skin, and other loving ingredients that will melt into your skin for a luminous glow. African healers have used Shea Butter for thousands of years as treatment to assist in moisturizing dry and aging skin. HEEL SHIELD FOOT BUTTER $15 The ultimate in moisturizing dry, cracked feet. This foot butter is packed with skin nourishing Cocoa & Kokum butters and Organic Virgin Coconut Cream Oil for intense moisturizing. The essential oil blend including Tea Tree is added to assist with sweating and odors. This formula penetrates the skin to maintain soft and supple feet. THEVINDI.COM | 34
Name PHOTOS BY
Name ILLUSTRATIONS BY
Name CONTRIBUTIONS BY
Thyra Chaney ILLUSTRATIONS BY
HAIR & HISTORY Looking back at the history of Black hair in America shows that hair can be more than just hair.
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adam CJ Walker revolutionized Black hair
ricultural workers in the early
care in the early 1900s by creating a line of
1900s following slavery, work-
products for Black women. Walker, being
ing in the cornfields is where
the first person in her family born after
this style gets its name. This
the emancipation of Blacks, lived in a time when many
style, in which hair is braided
African Americans struggled to care for their hair due
flat against the scalp, can be
to lack of consistent access to running water and other
worn for fashion or for con-
resources. She created products to address the needs
venience due to its versatility,
of Black women, beginning with a miracle hair growth
giving the wearer a variety of
treatment, which included several ingredients native to
options, from thick to thin, flat
Africa. Walker’s affordable products gave Black women
to raised, textured to beaded,
the opportunity to look presentable according to society’s
or otherwise adorned.
standards, and have confidence in their appearance.
The history of dreadlocks,
As her business grew, Madam CJ Walker created
or locs, has been shown to
many opportunities for other Black women to earn a
span ethnic groups and re-
living selling her products or training in her beauty
ligions for much of history,
schools. As the first Black millionairess, she inspired and
traced back to Hindu gods and
empowered many, leading by example as a self–started
Egyptian pharaohs. In more
businesswoman who came from humble beginnings.
recent history, dreadlocks are
The rich history of black hairstyles in the US— intentional or unintentional, radical or benign—hair does make a
The smooth, straight, chemically–altered style
most commonly associated
achievable through Madam CJ Walker’s products became
with the Rastafari movement,
the norm for Black women in pre–Civil Rights America.
a Jamaican religious move-
Sleek and shiny, wavy or bobbed, the dominant image of
ment dating back to the 1930s,
the ideal hairstyle for Black women did not reflect the
inspired by the teachings of
naturally kinky texture Black people are usually born
Marcus Garvey. Garvey strongly urged Black people
with. Booker T. Washington challenged Walker and this
to return to Africa and live in societies independent
convention, criticizing the styles as being representative
of European influence. The African–centered religion
of a desire to conform to European standards of beauty
wore locs to represent a lions mane, symbolic of a pow-
in a white society. Instead, he called for Black women to
erful leader and representing their interpretation of
wear their hair in natural styles more representative of
the second coming of Christ. Locs worn today come in
their African heritage. Walker, however, always defended
many types and can be formed in many ways, ranging
Black women’s right to choose how to present themselves.
from twisting or braiding to washing without combing
The debate surrounding the implications of hair
for an extended length of time.
perming or straightening, through chemicals or heat, and
The afro is a style popularized in the Black Power
whether the choice to wear straight hair is representative
movement of the 1960s and 1970s, during which activists
of a submission to Eurocentric ideals, continues today.
and activist groups such as the Black Panthers called
Hair is just hair, but the history of Black hairstyles in
for a return to natural hairstyles and a re–familiariza-
America is about more than just what grows from your
tion with Black cultural heritage. This style was worn
head. Even though the roots of many common Black
by political activists such as Angela Davis and Huey P.
hairstyles go back farther than the presence of Black
Newton, and was imbued with a very political conno-
people in the United States, within the African–Amer-
tation. The afro, picked high and wide, was a symbol
ican experience, hair has always been a way to express
for asserting one’s place, claiming one’s space, and
individuality or simply fit in, to challenge power struc-
standing out proud, ready to voice one’s convictions. It
tures, or to safely operate within them. Dominant hair
had a resurgence in popularity as a prominent symbol
trends change with the times to reflect shifts in mood
of the Natural Movement occurring in the 1990s in
or convention. Due to the rich history of Black hairstyles
contrast to the clean lines of the geometric braids and
in the US—intentional or unintentional, radical or be-
fades popular in the 1980s.
nign—hair does make a statement.
There is a long history in the U.S. of discriminato-
In early African civilizations, braids and other styles
ry school and workplace policies prohibiting natural
were used to indicate a person’s tribe, social status, or
hairstyles such as locs, fros, and braids. Understand-
even family background. When the Atlantic slave trade
ing the legacy of these hairstyles, their history, and
brought thousands of enslaved African people to North
their cultural context is crucial to understanding the
America, African traditions of hair care and styling
implications of Black and non–Black people wearing
came with them.
Cornrows, a style of braiding used today, has roots in Africa and was used by early African-Americans to protect their hair from the elements when working in the fields. Since many Black people made a living as agTHEVINDI.COM | 28
BLACK HISTORY AT
LAKEVIEW CEMETERY WRITTEN BY
In their yearly program for Black History Month, the cemetery’s foundation highlights a few of the Black Clevelanders who are buried there.
nterning at a cemetery sounded like a very odd job when I first heard about it a year ago. It still sounds like a odd job when I mention it in interviews or with new friends, but it wasn’t as weird or creepy
as you’d think. I was accepted to start as an intern for the Lakeview Cemetery Foundation in January of 2018, and I wasn’t sure what to expect at first. As I learned pretty quickly, the Lakeview Cemetery Foundation is different from the actual cemetery itself; it’s the non–profit branch of the cemetery. The description of the internship tasks were a little vague, describing it as including some editing, writing, and research, so I was open to almost anything that fit in those categories. It turned out that the majority, if not all, of my internship would be helping with the tours and programs that the cemetery hosts throughout the spring and summer—which included research and writing for an event that they were organizing for Black History Month in February. Since I didn’t start my internship until about the end of January, the Black History Month program was my first assigned task. Most of the programs and presentations were already somewhat organized, but there was still some research and writing that I had to do. The tasks that I carried out during my first couple of weeks opened my eyes to what I would really be doing and learning at Lakeview. The Foundation was planning to host four lectures hosted by four different speakers, and they planned to broadcast these talks to a bunch of schools from around the Cleveland area. I was given a list and short descriptions of the designated occupants to go over at the time. I remember the impact that it made on me, being my first assignment and also opening up my awareness of what the Lakeview Cemetery Foundation did for the Cleveland community. Every one of the subjects that I researched were impressive— even though most of them didn’t make the cut for the presentations. Although this event is not the only educational program that the Foundation hosts, it was certainly one of the more inspirational ones that
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The President Garfield Memorial is a grand building in the Lake View Cemetary, with many signs leading to the significant historical dome.
I worked on; it was one of the first to open my eyes to Cleveland’s local history. Instead of creating a program based on the overall history of African–Americans in Cleveland, however, the Foundation wanted to dive into the details of specific Clevelanders. The Lakeview Cemetery Foundation hosted an educational program for Black History Month that focused on four people buried at the cemetery who were prominent Black members of the Cleveland community. Throughout the month of February last highlighted one Black leader buried at Lakeview. Each lecture focused on their lives and their successes, highlighting the impact that each of them made and why they should be remembered today. The first lecture, at the beginning of the month, featured Zelma George. Although George was not born and raised in Cleveland, she began her life in Texas and made major accomplishments in her career by living in Cleveland. She was an alternate in the United Nations General Assembly, a musical and stage success, and was the first African–American to star in a role that would usually given to a white actress. While she was prominent in political circles, George was an advisor in President Eisenhower’s Administration in the 1950s. I had never heard about her previously, but the description of her life that I read while I was doing research, is fascinating. About a week after the first lecture, another scholar spoke about Lethia Cousins Fleming. Fleming directed national campaigns for three Republican presidential candidates. Two out of the three, Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, succeeded. After moving to Cleveland in 1912, it didn’t take Fleming long to become actively involved with many political and community organizations in the area. She also attempted to run for her husband’s seat on the Cleveland City Council after he was imprisoned. Second to last was the history and story of Fannie
Throughout the month of February last year, there were four
The tower of the memorial has tremendous detail and is a key spot to visit in the Cemetery.
growth of neighborhoods around Cleveland. Her hard
into the Ohio Women Hall of Fame in Columbus in
work and passion was honored after being inducted 1996.
Lastly, the Foundation wanted to highlight the life of William Otis Walker. Walker was a Republican reporter
and publisher who came to Cleveland to manage the Call
& Post. He was a councilman for about seven years, and
in state government. Each lecture was prepared and
year, there were four individual speakers that each
was the first Black man to hold a cabinet–level position given by wonderful speakers, who have worked with the Lakeview Cemetery Foundation previously. I was unfortunately not able to attend these lectures at the time. Although no events for 2019 have been announced on the cemetery website as of yet, I have
Lewis. Lewis, like Fleming, was intensely involved with
heard that another program is in the works. I don’t
politics in the Cleveland area. She was a representative
have any details about they’re planning to do for Black
on the Cleveland City Council for almost 30 years, and
History Month this year, but I’m sure it will be just as
was passionate about helping the development and
fascinating as the lectures from 2018.
Above the enterance of the Garfield Memorial is Garfield himself, along with many others behind him.
THEVINDI.COM | 40
A NEW DANGER IN OHIO STAND YOUR GROUND
Another law that makes murder justifiable.
ecently within the last two months, the
occurred in 2018, when Michael Drejka, 47, went up to
possibility of an extension in gun rights
McGlockton’s car to argue with Brittany Jacobs, girlfriend
has been increased. The bill, who some wish
of McGlockton, as to whether or not they should be
will evolve into a law, is known as “House
parked in the handicapped parking space. McGlockton
Bill 228.” The bill lies under the Senate Government
was in the store during this time. The dispute came to
Oversight and Reform Committee, as well as the House
a climax when McGlockton saw Jacobs get out the car
Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee. What
to address Drejka, and ran out of the store to shove
is this bill? And why should Ohioans care?
him away from his vehicle. The dispute then came to
House Bill 228 was originally called the “Stand
a tragic end when Drejka pulled out a gun and shot
Your Ground Law.” Another nickname for it was the
the young father as he was stepping away from him.
already take a guess about what the bill is and what all it entails. This law establishes a right by which a person may defend one’s self or others against threats, or perceived threats, even to the point of applying lethal force, regardless of whether safely retreating from the situation might have been possible. These were the original grounds at which this bill stood. Terrifying, right? What’s more terrifying is the violence that could come with this possible law–to–be. As a country, we’ve seen the injustices. The brutal killings of fellow United States citizens have been broadcasted throughout social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Snapchat were littered with these brutal killings whenever these came to pass. It’s no secret that this probable law has a high possibility of racially charged violence—as if there wasn’t enough in this country already. This isn’t the first time a bill of this kind has been spoken of. Florida currently has a law similar to it, which was passed in 2005. Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law” allows the person to use lethal force outside of their home, without a duty to retreat. This hypothetical circumstance sadly sounds familiar— George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin (rest his soul). The “Stand Your Ground Law” worked well in Zimmerman’s favor; however, his lawyer, Mark O’Mara, stated that he didn’t use it in Zimmerman’s defense.
Because of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law,” this unjust killing could actually be considered warranted and adequate self–defense. This is a cycle that needs
to end before it has a confirmed start.
House Bill 228, the two main points were: the ability
There’s more to this, however. In Ohio’s original
to use lethal force outside of one’s home and having
revision is also known as the “Stand Your Ground”
has a high
no duty to retreat. The bill has since been revised. This provision. The revision includes the removal of the citizens having no duty to retreat in heated situations.
This also results in persons who participate in the
They wouldn’t have to prove that their use of lethal
use of lethal force having to prove their innocence.
force was justified. That responsibility is passed onto
was committed, which is already law in all 50 states.
prosecutors who would be required to prove a crime
as if there
Even though the “Stand Your Ground” provision subtracted the civilian’s no duty to retreat, this bill
still poses a threat and a danger to many—especially
of the race issue, Ohio’s “Stand Your Ground” law can
“No Duty to Retreat Law.” With these names, you can
in the cases of racially charged violence. Even outside cause plenty of violence and mischief. Innocent people have died already, thanks to the terms of this law, and it needs to stop. The law was facing “threats of veto” from the past Governor, John Kasich. The veto of this bill would be beneficial to all Ohioans. Without sufficient knowledge of the bill, the misuse of a lethal weapon
This case as a whole, sparked the focal point on racial
is possible. Americans looking at the title can simply
disparities if stand your ground laws were to become
run with it. In a way, people may take away the fact
common in the United States. With this in mind, it’s
that they may use lethal force outside of their homes,
reasonable to want to combat this bill.
and have that charge their urge for violence. Claiming
Another unfortunate case that comes to mind in which stand your ground laws were to blame. The Florida
their rights to use lethal force during a dispute can end badly, especially in a courtroom.
law was tested once more when Markeis McGlockton, a 28–year–old father, was fatally wounded in front of his children over a parking space. The dispute THEVINDI.COM | 38
GROOVE THIS BLACK HISTORY MONTH The Vindicator staff collaborated to create a playlist for you to enjoy in the month of February.
o much of what we enjoy now—artists we admire, films we watch and music we listen to—would have never come to be without
the influence of Black artistry and talent. Almost every piece of the culture we consume and take part of is by, inspired by or appropriated from Black culture. Yet it is this community that is one of the least recognized and most marginalized in our country. During Black History Month, we have the opportunity to shed a spotlight, not only on unresolved issues that affect the Black community, but also on the strength and beauty found within it. Music, especially, has a deep effect both socially and personally. Here’s a list of our staff and contributors’ favorite songs by Black singers, rappers, musicians and bands.
Best to You
MARY J. BLIGE
Wait a Minute!
Good as Hell
Up Up & Away
One By One
Happy Without You
Run to You
THIS IS JUST A TASTE! CHECK OUT THE FULL PLAYLIST BY SCANNING THE QR CODE OR TYPING THIS LINK! HTTPS://GOO.GL/T3G9HW
We specialize in high quality videography, photography and editing and we all have a passion for documenting special moments in peopleâ€™s lives. Starting out by taking photos of our friends and loved ones, we now want to bring the same feeling for other couples in Cleveland and Ohio.
Sudden death is what you see when you look at me WRITTEN BY
My mask, my mask Keep me sane Saner that I’ve ever been Feel my blood pumping into my veins Feel my heart and rhyme it with yours My mask, my mask Keep me sane What if you understand my silence, feel my absence Would you recognize my soul like Keaton does? Unbeaten in action, what if you are my distraction What if our hearts have a common fraction. My mask, my mask Where have you been I’ve been wondering Am I sane? Or am I lost? In a field An empty field of roses. My mask, my mask Bring me back to the time I took charge To the time you were stapled to my skin To the time I didn’t recognize the suffering The loving. But you are holding the scalpel and I’m on the table unaware Distracted by your voice, my rapid judgment You cut me open And I start chocking, because I’m the one who’s words got stolen By my favorite cigarette when I’m smoking.
They Lit The Way
My strength lies In their soulless eyes Which have seen dark days My unwavering hope Comes from the slippery slope That I’ve long traveled unafraid My fear of the fight Due to the great heights I dreamed of and was destined to soar to My mind embraced the path paved Despite the denials and delays I didn’t lose sight of what I should do I dug deep within To ensure I’d win In order to succeed I called on my ancestors They helped me realize what’s at stake And that in order to be beyond great I must keep focus and not succumb to the pressure I am eternally grateful to them For the lessons and subtle gems I am encouraged to become exceedingly better
Itâ€™s My Turn
Shirley Anita Chisholm, you were the first black woman elected to the United States Congress Creating laws and policies To shake our system of inequality Building a path for us to follow So that we may see brighter tomorrows #BlackWomenLead We need to do more to get our children off these streets
Black women make me feel invincible Always instilling values and principles Can’t stop us from having a voice Can’t move me from making that great political choice I choose you black women The image of self-penetrating all scenes
PHOTO CREDIT: UNSPLASH
Can’t hide anymore behind bigots dreams Teach me, black women, Trying to be like Michelle Obama
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