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Letter from the editor: Welcome to the red carpet premiere of Face Off Magazine! Within these pages I hope the pieces inspire you to face off against the thoughts you’ve taken as “the norm”. Feel free to disagree, but at least keep an open mind! Thanks, Tyron Monk!


In This Edition:

The Search for the Next Barack Obama pg. 1

What’s Your Vision? pg. 6

That’s The Way Love Goes…But Should It pg. 8

The Social Thought of Kanye West pg. 11


T he Sear ch for the N ext Bar ack Obama by T amik a Jar vis


T he Sear ch for the N ext Bar ack Obama Recently my friend shared with The VCU Chapter of NAACP me some interesting news about men’s involvement in leadership on campus. Specifically, she spoke about the involvement of men in organizations headed by OMSA, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. This office advises 15 groups ranging from Afghan Student Association to Global Foundation to NAACP at VCU. Out of all 15 organizations, only 3 of them have a male president and 2 have male vice presidents. This really shocked me based on the fact that historically males were once seen as the only gender fit to hold leadership positions. Also, men on campus seem to have the time and effort for other activities, but campus involvement may be at the bottom of their list of priorities.

has no males serving on its immediate Executive Board, no male committee chairpersons, and only 2 hold co-chair positions out of the total 14 executive positions. In I.M.P.A.C.T. (Inspiring and Manifesting Positive Aspirations in Children and Teens), a new organization of which I am the Vice President, we have a male secretary, one male committee chairperson (out of 5 positions), and only 6 male members overall (out of the total 39 members of the organization).


The lack of male leadership, participation, and dedication on campus is a noticeable problem within the African American community of students. It seems that many of the men who are actually involved on campus are those involved in a fraternity. It’s sad (more like pathetic) because there are only 5 black fraternities on campus and those men only make up a small population of African American men on campus. The president of VCU’s Chapter of NAACP, Amanda Wilson, once asked at a general body meeting, “Why is it that [black] men aren’t involved?” No one could seem to come up with an answer. If we have a population of men outside of fraternity life, there is no excuse why other African American men shouldn’t be willing to step up and become involved at VCU. Now, on the other hand, if you were to go to a local club on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night, I’m sure you will find plenty of African American


Even if you go to the Student Commons you can see numerous black males hanging out, mingling, and socializing. It bothers me that none of these men are inspired enough to want to affect change and development on VCU’s campus. Tisk,Tisk. It seems as if our black male population has an issue with prioritization. In regards to males holding leadership positions on campus, I found it ironic that in society, it was female leaders who were once in the minority. Women used to be considered “too weak” or “too emotional” or “not intelligent enough” to hold any type of leadership positions.

Remember my reference to the OMSA office? There are 15 organizations under this offices’ advisory and only 3 organizations have a male president. This means that there are 12 female presidents within this office and for collegiate women I would say that this is a great accomplishment.


Despite my admiration for those 14 female leaders, I am still concerned with the lack of male involvement and willingness to serve as leaders within the VCU community. If these men aren’t eager to serve as leaders in college, how can we expect them to become leaders in society? I don’t think we can. And honestly, we need more leaders in our country, especially African American leaders. College is the place for men and women to develop into strong leaders who want to inspire change within their communities and beyond. In 1990, President Barack Obama became the first African American to serve as president of the Harvard Law Review journal. After college, he worked for a small firm that specialized in civil-rights law and helped defend poor people who experienced discrimination in housing and employment. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, Martin Luther King Jr. was elected president of a predominantly white senior class. Following in these two influential African American men’s footsteps will teach collegiate men the importance of leadership in school and how it develops into leadership in our country. My hope is that men on VCU’s campus, more specifically African American males, will become more involved on campus and within their communities and search inside of themselves for some type of leadership capabilities that I know all of them possess.


WH AT ’S YOU R

By Tyron Monk


W H A T ’ S Y O U R

I have a project for you. Wait! Don’t X out of the window yet. Trust me, I understand. As college students it’s difficult to find someone who appreciates the myriad complexities of our schedules. If we’re not in class, we’re working, or we’re in our natural habitat to surviving school --- the library ---or trying to eat between meetings, the gym, and commitments to maintaining a social life. Basically, time isn’t a luxury. However, this project is to help you reach your full potential. Really it’s a tool for visualizing your future and attracting the type of life you want to live. Magic isn’t required, just the power you already possess to envision your best life. Now for the dramatic reveal --- grab a poster board, a pile of magazines, scissors, and glue, because you’re going to make a vision board! The fundamental purpose of a vision board is to surround yourself with visual representations of your desires so that your life alters to meet those goals. Simply, a vision board acts comparably to your thoughts. If you constantly insult yourself you’ll live in


Step 1: Go through your magazines and tear the images from them. No gluing yet! Just let yourself have lots of fun looking through magazines and pulling out pictures or words or headlines that strike your fancy. Have fun with it. Make a big pile of images and phrases and words. Step 2: Go through the images and begin to lay your favorites on the board. Eliminate any images that no longer feel right. This step is where your intuition comes in. As you lay the pictures on the board, you’ll get a sense how the board should be laid out. For instance, you might assign a theme to each corner of the board. Health, Job, Spirituality, Relationships, for instance. Or it may just be that the images want to go all over the place. Or you might want to fold the board into a book that tells a story. Step 3: Glue everything onto the board. Add writing if you want. You can paint on it, or write words with markers. Step 4: (optional, but powerful) Leave space in the very center of the vision board for a fantastic photo of yourself where you look radiant and happy. Paste yourself in the center of your board. Step 5: Hang your vision board in a place where you will see it often. Reserve a moment daily to reflect on your board and you’re done! Here’s to your best semester yet!


That’s The Way Love Goes. . .but should it?

By Tyron Monk


In the romantic era of black-and-white films Casablanca became a classic American love story. However, one side of that colorless way of viewing movies is grossly underrepresented on both the big and small screens—- the black side. Black love is an eclipsed sun whereas it should be an opportunity to illumine a rare beauty in Hollywood. Perhaps studio executives are torn on how to portray black people in film. Director of Drumline, Charles Stone III, says “The fact that black people can love and be boring and normal—that’s an alien concept in Hollywood,” proving reality hasn’t bypassed misconceptions or that the mainstream hasn’t accepted it yet. Instead he says, “If you’re black, it’s all about extremes—extreme fucking, extreme violence, extreme action, extreme comedy or extreme drama. It’s the mundane, ordinary stuff that makes our stories real. But white studio executives don’t see that or don’t agree with it. That’s the problem.” While his assertions are valid popular representations of black people have changed in film over the years. We’re no longer just gangsters, our women are no longer just attitudinal, the cinema finally matured our image. The stories we do have are smaller scale, and somewhat polarizing, equating romance to a sport (Love & Basketball) or music (Brown Sugar) for fear of challenging people’s perceptions or making the concept easy to digest. Those movies are classics, but we haven’t set sail on our Titanic or had someone write our Notebook. Is it because black people don’t view our love on such a grand scale or is that Hollywood’s decision? Confronting America with varied and accurate representations of black culture helps create a more perfect union. White romantic comedies and romances are released year round, but we have to wait for ours like a Christmas present. Supporting movies like Jumping The Broom, out May 6thth, is one step in the process of the Box Office we spend our money on honoring its old black-and-white roots and ensuring the darker


of ou gh t Th al So ci e Th By Tyron Monk

West

Kanye


Th of e S oc ia lT Ka W ny ho es e ug t

Str aight Jack et M entality

ht


The black male aesthetic received a facelift when Kanye West debuted his unique sense of fashion. Literally he presented an alternative image for the prevalent stereotype of the “gangsta� rapper, which heavily altered the social perception of rap. He freed black males to explore other options in dressing that before would have called their masculinity into question. His openness about his love for fashion in many ways reaches back to black style through history that we temporarily lost.


“I also think he was not only attempting to hold Bush accountable for his half-assed effort, but in that instant “Bush” was a scapegoat for the American government in general.”


Kanye exerted his artistic power by choosing a moving portrait over a traditional music video. The mythological entities in the video almost represent Kanye reaching far back to the ideas of powers origins juxtaposed with him donned in modern clothing. In many ways the chain he is wearing is caught between modernity and antiquity ---- it’s a chain that is symbolic of the hip-hop lifestyle today, but the Egyptian figures dates it to fallen empire that may be communicating something about raps current state.


Face Off Magazine