Monthly Archives: September 2016

Frank Ocean’s album Blond(e) finally released

Blonde

by Angel TerryEditor-in-Chief

The highly-anticipated third studio album Blond(e), from Grammy award-winning artist Frank Ocean, was finally released exclusively for streaming on Apple Music on August 20. After four years since the release of Ocean’s first album Channel Orange, and countless album date changes, the wait is over for Ocean fans. The album was first teased to be released when Ocean posted to social-networking site Tumblr, on April 1, 2015, a photo of him holding multiple magazine covers, with the caption “#ISSUE 1 #ALBUM 3 #JULY2015 #BOYSDONTCRYMAGAZINE” and from that very moment, the anticipation for this new project skyrocketed.
A series of failed promises, and rumored album dates surfaced and resurfaced throughout the long year, until people were beginning to think there was in fact, no album being released.
It wasn’t until August 2016 however, that a mysterious live broadcast appeared online to be a visual album titled Endless filled with new music playing in the background, as Ocean builds a staircase.
The album Blond(e) was then released a day later. The project is a collection of wispy vocals, mixed with audio skits, with songs of love and loss and lost love, proving that Ocean is in a completely different head-space than he was four years ago.
The album is predominantly Ocean with no other distinguishable features, except for faint vocals form Beyonce Knowles on the track “Ivy”. The entire project was filled with more pop-synth sounds and acoustics, as opposed to concrete instrumentals and hip-hop heard in Channel Orange. One of the most obvious beat switches occurred in “Nights” where two completely different periods of time are sung after each other.
The album also includes a variety of monologues, including one from Ocean’s mother in the form of a voicemail message in “Be Yourself”, in which she talks about the importance of staying away from trying to fit in by doing drugs, and the idea of being yourself.
Blond(e) concludes with “Futura Free”, which is a nine-minute track perfectly tying together an emotional rollercoaster that is this album.
Ocean has proved that the last four years have been a period of growth, and maturing for him. With an overall eighty-seven score on Metacritic, a second Grammy award could be in the cards for Ocean this year.

Beyonce shakes America with VMA performance

beyonce

by Serena Carney – Staff Reporter

Beyoncé absolutely slayed during the 2016 MTV video music awards on Aug 28th by giving an astonishing performance of her new album lemonade, not to mention her beautiful costumes. Still stunning, this 34-year-old singer, dancer and choreographer showed everyone that she still has what it takes to be Queen B.
The performance was extremely powerful, addressing a few large problems effecting the world currently, including police brutality, racism and sexism.
Beyoncé opened up with “Pray You Catch Me,” she portrayed a woman next to her dropping dead. During her beautiful performance, Beyoncé stood in front of someone wearing a hoodie, an important reference to what Treyvon Martin was wearing when he was killed.
What made the performance even more real is the sudden sound of gunshots, making connections to the Black Lives Matter movement. Beyoncé’s dancers fell when red lights hit them during the gunshot sounds. The hooded figure, along with Beyoncé’s guest performers, was a powerful reminder of how celebrities can influence others in a positive way especially by spreading awareness of issues.
The performance then transitioned into “Hold Up” and “Sorry” songs that talk about Beyoncé’s husband, Jay-Z’s, alleged affair, fire was one way Beyoncé showed the world an angry, more ferocious side of herself, sure to leave an impression.
To finish the show Beyoncé ended with her song “Formation” where she had ended her amazing performance surrounded by a number of back up dancers arranged to show the female symbol clearly standing up for women empowerment. Beyoncé uses her fame to often speaks out about many issues such as racial injustice and sexism. The music video for “Formation” is showed using a Black child across from police in riot gear and references to resent shootings.
When Beyoncé finished her performance at the VMAs, she was met by a standing ovation, the only response for such a jaw dropping performance.

Netflix original: Stranger Things leaves viewers wanting more

stranger things

by Yareli Rodriguez – Staff Reporter

Stranger Things is a show that leaves the viewers wanting more—it’s a show that reaches levels of satisfaction that are unbelievable.
Set in Indiana in 1983, the supernatural aspects of the story, such as the idea of other dimensions presented, compliment the dark lighting of the show. Stranger Things offers a spectacular cast with a chemistry between them strong enough to be felt off screen. With a cast of several well-known actors, such as Winona Ryder (known for Edward Scissorhands), and some lesser known actors like Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown, the show comes to life with their vibrant characters.
The show is based around a missing boy (Noah Schnapp) and his friends and family desperately trying to find him, but things take a turn when Chief Hopper (David Harbour) finds something unexpected.
Although the show is already on its season break, a second season has been announced the same way the show opens—with the eerie opening song, only the lights spell out “season two” rather than Stranger Things. The second season’s return was announced via Netflix’s YouTube account on August 31, and is to be expected in 2017. The 56-second trailer announces the titles of the episodes that will be released for the second season, revealing little to no information about said episodes. With elements of struggling in teen love and choosing to listen to authorities or what’s right, this Netflix Original is widely understood amongst young teenagers that may be experiencing similar problems—aside from the supernatural element.

AHS Season Six, corny compared to previous seasons

 

ahs 3AHS pt 2

 

 

 

AHS

 

 

 

 

 

by Lauren KillgrovePhoto Editor

The Emmy-award winning show American Horror Story has released its new season earlier this month. On Wednesday, Sept. 14, people gathered around their televisions to catch a glimpse of what story they would view next. Season six appears promising and impressive.
Nearly everything about season six has been a mystery until now. Writers have been rather secretive about what the new season will be about, and have not given a name to it until the season premier, titled Roanoke. There wasn’t much information except for the premier date, the recurring cast, and that the story will take place in the present.
Roanoke watches like a documentary. The story starts with the characters Shelby and Matt Miller (portrayed by Lily Rabe and André Holland) beginning their story.
The scene then shifts to a “dramatic reenactment” where the Millers are portrayed by Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr. As the episode continues, viewers only get introduced to a few of the main characters of the story. As they meet Lee Miller (portrayed by Adina Porter in the telling and Angela Basset in the reenactment), we see more of the background of the characters, and it becomes apparent that that is what the first episode really focuses on. It has been noticed that viewers mainly get a backstory to the characters, and not the house or the town.
This strategy of story-telling is admirable. The overall plot already seems similar to the series’ first season, Murder House, and telling the story in documentary style makes a similar tale refreshing.
This new way of storytelling is different, and not what fans are used to, and because of this it does not really seem like the other seasons. With every season like a movie, it’s difficult to be comfortable with watching this season in documentary format. It does not really feel like the classic American Horror Story at first because before, viewers got to see a story unfold in the eyes of the characters, but now it’s being told by the characters and doesn’t give off the same element of surprise as before.
Ultimately, the audience has high hopes for this next season. There is potential in Roanoke, although hopefully it doesn’t end up being a flop like Coven or Freak Show.

 

Suicide Squad falls short after huge buildup

by Nolan James – Staff Reporter

Suicide Squad was arguably, this year’s summer blockbuster, but ultimately proved very disappointing. I went in having little to no expectations for this movie, and it still proved to be a huge disappointment, as have the other recent DC movies. They just cannot match Marvel’s ability to make a good cinematic universe, and that’s coming from a DC fan.
After the amazing Dark Knight trilogy, which ended on a rather poor note, DC followed up their cinematic magnum opus with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, a pretty bad reboot of the long-running Superman series. Ultimately, Man of Steel received mostly negative reception, but due to a large world-wide gross and an overly dedicated fan base, Warner Bros. kept Snyder on for their next project, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which was more unanimously hated than Man of Steel.
This summer, the third film in the series, Suicide Squad, was released, and it’s honestly the worst one. The movie revolves around a group of criminals who are released from prison by a woman, Amanda Waller, temporarily, to help fight against a powerful entity, The Enchantress, under threat of death.
The main characters who make up the team include: Deadshot, played by Will Smith, Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie, Diablo, played by Jay Hernandez, Capt. Boomerang, played by Jai Courtney, Katana, played by Karen Fukuhara, Killer Croc, played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Slipknot, played by Adam Beach. Will Smith did a decent job, as did Margot Robbie, but the rest of the performances fell flat.
It’s hilarious that all of the characters got a proper introduction via flashback explaining how and why they were arrested, except for Slipknot, who was introduced in a weak line of dialogue. When he died, it was no surprise. He wasn’t a very big character in the comics, though, so it doesn’t matter than much that they killed him.
Will Smith as Deadshot was better than expected, but Jared Leto’s performance as The Joker definitely overshadowed Smith’s decent performance with how horrible he was. Some people actually like Jared Leto’s Joker, but it’s ridiculous that people think interpretation could at all be compared to earlier ones.
One of the worst parts of Leto was his laugh. It just didn’t sound right. Mark Hamill, in my opinion, portrayed The Joker better than anyone else, especially when it came to his laugh. For those of you who have seen Batman: The Animated Series or Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, you know what I’m talking about when I say that Hamill’s laugh was amazing. When it comes to character portrayals, the laugh doesn’t usually matter that much, but it’s The Joker; his laugh is his defining characteristic. Leto just doesn’t compare to past interpretations of the character.
Heath Ledger may not have been the most comic book accurate portrayal, but he was creepy, and portrayed a character that actually struck fear into its audience. Heath Ledger was the highlight of The Dark Knight. Think about his design, his personality, compared to Leto’s, with Leto’s overly bright green hair, edgy tattoos, and metallic teeth.
There was not much with this movie that was done right. It looks like it was thrown together to make a quick buck, relying solely on the characters they messed up and the classic rock soundtrack they barely used.
Suicide Squad opted for lame CGI-filled action rather than the attempt at good cinematography from its predecessors. No interesting camera angles, poor lighting, it really didn’t do much.
Another example would be the story. Snyder tried to come up with a complex story for BvS, which was filled with holes and poor pacing, but you could see the effort. Suicide Squad has such a basic, rushed story, where you couldn’t get invested in the characters.
The dialogue of Suicide Squad was poorly written and awkward. For example, early on, it is revealed that Flagg was in a relationship with the woman that The Enchantress was possessing, which the main characters find out about, and decide to quit, as they feel betrayed. Everything about this scene is extremely awkward, from the characters’ motivations to the dialogue, there’s not one good part in this scene. Director David Ayer does not know how to write a good story.
This movie had potential. Unfortunately, DC’s cinematic universe is so much worse than Marvel’s, and there’s many reasons why. For one, this universe is obviously just DC’s response to Marvel’s success, and lacks any originality.
DC is also stuck on being dark and mature. With the creation of The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen in 1986, which received critical acclaim for DC for being dark and gritty, and the beloved Dark Knight trilogy, DC has been doing the same basic story for the past three decades.
Zack Snyder also directed the movie adaptation of Watchmen, which gained mostly positive reception, and since then he has been replicating the same dark formula that he used in Watchmen and was used in The Dark Knight, using it in Man of Steel and BvS.
Ayer obviously tried to replicate Snyder’s formula for a mature, gritty, adult story, though, but added his own twist: instead of trying to develop his characters and have an interesting, complex plot, he’d make a quick buck basing it off of his other basic action movies like Fury and The Fast and the Furious, and lacked any originality. He just took the most basic of stories and put DC’s characters in it, and it ultimately failed.

suicide squade

Dress code changes take modern standards into consideration

by Delanie Meisner Editor-in-Chief

Good news girls, you don’t have to wear Bermuda shorts to be in dress code. Your shorts now don’t have to be past your fingertips when you put your hands on your sides. Now you get to put your hands on the top of or behind your thighs. This does give a bit of leeway and deems more fashionable choices to be appropriate.

IMG_2544

IMG_2550
Also, pertaining to the leg area, skirts can now be a dollar bill (6.14 inches) above the top of your knee. On average this actually permits shorter skirts and dresses than in the past. IMG_2532
Another change to the dress code was the hat rule. Students are now able to wear hats in the halls and in classrooms at the teacher’s discretion.

IMG_2536
Last but not least, ladies, gentlemen, and every gender on the spectrum, the dress code no longer singles anyone out. The dresses and shorts rule used to specifically use the word “her” to describe the individual whose shorts had to be past their fingertips. But now the language is gender neutral and encompasses all students, not just females.
While these changes are a big leap in this area, the dress code has only changed slightly. There is still the idea that showing a bra strap, or dare say a glimpse of upper thigh, is a learning distraction. This is an incredibly harmful complex of “change so that you don’t distract” that insinuates one person’s education is of more importance than the other. As far as school dress codes go, this amount of freedom is virtually unheard of. Most public school dress codes require skirts, dresses, and shorts to fall below the knee and are full of sexist language. Thanks to Mrs. Pizzalato, for recognizing that there was room for change in the dress code and taking initiative, we might not have to sweat our butts off come springtime.

The voice of the outsider: Moving-up day

IMG_2552

by Jessica Pahutski – Staff Editor

It’s everyone’s least favorite time of the year. The time when kids from all walks of life head back to the place called “high school”. The few out there who like it have a lot of friends, are into popular media, or just have that outgoing “social butterfly” personality. Those who are not quite at the top of the food chain are mostly okay with returning to academia and those who couldn’t care less about the “popular” trends let things play out for a bit before deciding whether or not the year will go well for them. I am one of the latter.
There might be a few reasons for this. I didn’t really have any friends until 8th grade and I follow most of the school rules to the letter. In one instance, I got into a friendly argument with a teacher about whether the shoulder strap-width requirement was three fingers (as it was in middle school and I use anyway as a precaution) or two. It could be because I have Asperger’s Syndrome (now ASD), so rules and expectations are really important and socialization is really hard. I’ve never been into the trends in any way, shape, or form and just recently started lightening up on some of them. Though those in charge of Moving Up Day didn’t seem to take that into consideration.
High school started out about as well as can be expected for an anxiety-ridden asocial Aspie teen suddenly being taken out of their favorite class and thrust through a line of cheering, screaming strangers into a gym-shaped box of madness. That is, not very. Though finding what few friends I had quickly was fortunate, the commotion was ultimately too much to handle. A counselor from my school took note of this and showed me the way to “Student Services”. This unfamiliar room would serve as a place of solace for at least an hour before the designated lunch time began. It would not be the last time the location would be used for this purpose.
I can’t remember if I was with people I knew, but I refused to eat out of stress. After a very long half-hour, the school tours started. By “tours”, I mean that the guides showed us where each hallway started, laughed to themselves and moved on without giving any details whatsoever. Fun. The line of people at the beginning told me more about the school than the tour people did. That wasn’t the end of the experience, though.
Sometime after that, the students were led into the “PAC” for a presentation. Not unlike the assembly in the gym, I found either a counselor or a teacher, explained the situation and stayed out in the commons for the remainder of the day. The most hellish day of my school life up to that point was finally over. Though I gave a vague recap at first, I didn’t let my parents know just how bad it was until partway into freshman year. When school actually began, I would find out that not every last-minute change is for the worse…

#BlackLivesMatter

TrayvonMartin

by Reonna Haywood – Staff Reporter

When George Zimmerman, a neighborhood crime watch captain, shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman told the police, “…that Martin knocked him down with a punch to the nose, and repeatedly slammed his head on the ground and tried to take his gun.” Zimmerman said, “He had called the police about Martin, whom he found suspicious, then went back to his car when Martin attacked him, punching him. The police told Zimmerman to stop following Martin, however, he did not follow their orders. Martin’s girlfriend overheard a conversation between Martin and Zimmerman where Martin asked Zimmerman why he was continually following him, which ended in a scuffle and then the line went dead. Zimmerman shot Martin when he allegedly went for his gun. According to the Huffingtonpost, as of Sept. 21, “136 African Americans dead in 2016.” The police have killed 136 African Americans, who were mostly unarmed. The violence against African Americans must stop; one movement trying to bring clarity to the issue is #BlackLivesMatter.
Due to the violent deaths of African Americans at the police’s hands, and Treyvon Martin’s death, #BlackLivesMatter was created in the summer of 2013. That’s when a person tweeted about the violence and then following the tweet wrote #BlackLivesMatter. As the hashtag gained more popularity, the movement was founded by African American community organizers: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi.
#BlackLivesMatter shows how negatively many people around the world feel about violence toward African Americans. African Americans are angry about the violence happening based on discrimination. Community in school & BSU Co-founder Nasarin Ahmed said “We are afraid that one day it will be one of our own that will be shot or end up on a YouTube video.” Said Ahmed. White Americans don’t know this fear, because they are not targeted every day. African American parents have to tell their kids different things than white people do. African Americans have to tell their kids not to wear their hoods up, don’t talk back to authority, don’t wear gang colors or bandanas, don’t play loud music when driving; basically, don’t bring attention to yourself. White Americans don’t understand how much stress and violence African Americans go through daily.
The violence that has happen in 2016 has brought #BlackLivesMatter to everybody’s attention. African Americans need the police force to see that discriminating against African Americans is not acceptable and is leading to additional violence. African Americans deserve peace and freedom, just like the Constitution states for all Americans. Unfortunately, kids feel unsafe outside of their homes, because of their skin color. The police are supposed to protect and be role models.
#BlackLivesMatter is not so much a movement, as a call to attention to show how African Americans are mistreated and are dying every day. Black lives matter as much as white lives matter; all are humans and should be treated equally. People are tired of police terrorizing African Americans. #BlackLivesMatter is a start to a conversation that needs to take place: a call to action. This problem has been going on since slavery, since the Jim Crow Laws, and since the March on Washington with Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement. We are in the midst of a new Civil Rights Movement that must take place in order for equality and justice to happen for everyone.
Cases

Tamir Rice

tamir rice
Tamir Rice was a 12-years-old boy, who was playing in the park with a BB gun who was caught pointing it around when a women called it in but stated twice that it might be a fake gun. The police arrived at the scene and fatally shot him; they did not supply first aid until it was too late and he died. Tamir Rice was only 12 years old. His mom Samaria has lost her son to violence by the police department, she has lost her son because he was playing with a bb gun. Instead of the police investigating the scene, the police pulled out their guns.

Sandra Bland

Sandra_Bland_re-crop
Sandra Bland was 28-years-old, she was pulled over for an improper lane change and then the Texas trooper arrested her on charges of assault. She was found hung in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas. In her mugshot, she already looks dead. When Sandra Bland’s mom questioned the police about her death, her mom sued them and received a settlement of $1.9 million dollars for justice.

Terence Crutcher

terence crutcher
Terence Crutcher, 40 years old, was shot and killed Friday, Sept. 16. After the officers were supposed to respond to an unrelated call, they spotted his vehicle stuck in the middle of the roadway. Officer Betty Shelby, and a second officer, Tyler Turnbough took action. Crutcher followed the orders the police officers told him which is supported by footage, but officer Turnbough pulled out his taser which made Crutcher fall to the floor. Officer Shelby pulled out her gun and fired the fatal shot. Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said, “There was no gun found on Crutcher or in his vehicle.” Crutcher was nonviolent, not armed, but Shelby still shot a gun at him. Chief Jordan said, “I will just make this promise to you: We will achieve justice in this case. I want to assure our community and I want to assure all of you and people across the nation who are going to be looking at this: We will achieve Justice period.”

Keith Lamont Scott

keith lamont scott
As recently as Sept. 20, Keith Lamont Scott 43-years-old, was murdered by the police in Charlotte, North Carolina because they mistook a book for a gun. He was shot at his house while waiting for his son’s elementary school bus to arrive. This time, an African American officer shot Scott. Scott’s family said he didn’t have a gun, that he was reading a book and was being non-aggressive when the police surrounded him. Attorney Justin Bamberg, who is representing Scott’s family said, “The videos don’t show anything that should have led to Scott losing his life.”
People taking a stand…

Protesting during national anthem and pledge

kaepernick
Many are mad at Colin Kaepernick for first sitting and then kneeling during the National Anthem, but want to make excuses for the police who constantly killing African Americans. Terence Crutcher is another example why Kaepernick is protesting, Kaepernick is standing for social injustices, because the freedoms of our nation guarantees in the Constitution are not being applied to everyone. In a quote in the New York Times, Kaepernick said, “Once again, I’m not anti-American,” Kaepernick said. “I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better. I think having these conversations helps everybody have a better understanding of where everybody is coming from.”
At school, some feel the same as Kaepernick. Although students are expected to stand up during the Pledge of Allegiance during the third period announcements, Senior Hezekiah Goodwin chooses to sit. “I sit down for the pledge because I feel the country is divided and the African American community is being unjustly treated. I want to join the movement along with Kaepernick and the others who also believe this. It’s to make a statement.” Said Goodwin.

Esgar Hernandez-Chavez fosters creative expression through fashion

by Anna Hartman – Student Life Editor

Students often discover their passion in high school. For some students, that’s art, or it’s music, or reading, math or writing. But for Esgar Hernandez-Chavez, his passion is fashion design.
“I’ve been designing clothes for about a year now. What motivated me to start designing was that I always had like a sense of fashion, and just knowing that you look good is just a good feeling,” Hernandez-Chavez said on his beginnings in fashion.
Hernandez-Chavez did eventually decide to expand his hobby in fashion beyond just design, and with his line he names Divine, he moved into selling his clothing online, and has no plans to stop there.
“Right now we’re online and right now we’re in the process of starting a website, so yeah. Right now we’re waiting for our clothing to get here. We already ordered about 120 shirts, and we’re going to start selling them online first, and then we’re going to start progressing to selling them in the stores.” Hernandez-Chavez said on his expansion of his fashion line.
He also commented that Divine, primarily designed for those interested in men’s fashion, is inspired by contemporary music artists such as Kanye West, Chris Brown and Jay-Z.
Although Divine’s website is still getting off the ground, Hernandez-Chavez has been thinking about selling his clothing for quite some time, since freshman year, in fact.
Outside of high school, Hernandez-Chavez has big dreams for his brand.
“I want to go into the designing world and sewing, actually, and get more professional,” Hernandez-Chavez said on the future of his line.
“Just knowing that when someone’s wearing something that you made is just like, just exciting. It just motivates you to make more and it’s just a good feeling knowing that they’re wearing something that you made and that no one else has.” Hernandez-Chavez said on what motivates him to design.
Hernandez-Chavez isn’t only driven to design for himself, though, but inspiring others drives his line forward as well. “Just don’t give up and don’t stop. Keep your head big and think outside of the box. Make some designs and you never know when a little sketch can turn into something else.” Hernandez-Chavez said.
Hernandez-Chavez has the drive and the talent in order to make his dream of designing professionally come true. His website will be up soon, and will be sure to attract people from all walks of life with a passion for high-personality, high-fashion clothing.

Junior lot sparks controversy – seniors angered over shared lower lot

IMG_2380

by Jillian Felker – Entertainment Editor

As all students know by now, the 2016-2017 school year has begun. Changes are about to come, like the leaves falling off the trees, and the sudden drop in temperature, but some changes will come along with school. This year, as many upperclassmen and drivers may already know, the junior lot has been closed.
Although many are still confused on the reasoning behind this new policy, there is a reason for doing so. Security guard Carl Bonn el, was a part of the decision to close the junior lot, saying “It’s primarily a safety thing. That lot’s pretty secluded from the rest of the school. It gets a lot of ice on it, and during lunch time with it closed it helps to keep the students more-so in one spot. There’s enough spots in the senior lot so it just makes more sense.”
Many faculty members may see this as a positive policy for the following school years, with very positive effects. But, many students, whom have remained anonymous, have taken a negative point of view on the situation. One student pointed out a possible negative affect for part time students, they said “A lot of seniors have first period off, so we never have parking, it’s ridiculous.” Like this student, another individual added their take on the situation. They said, “I think it’s kind of okay, but once the sophomores start getting their license it will start beginning to be a problem towards the end of the year since more people will be driving. I’m kind of okay with it right now, but later I won’t be.”
Though many students may now be expressing their disagreement with the closing of the junior lot, sources have added that they believe it will not be opening again in the near future, but possibly one day it will be open for students again.