Watch the Yard launches YARDCON

By Ayanna Maxwell | Editor In Chief, Hampton Script

Watch the Yard on April 19 launched its first YARDCON, a digital conference for black students who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Watch the Yard, known as the most prominent platform for black college students, fraternities and sororities, created the conference to offer resources and network opportunities for black students across the nation.

Hosted by Watch the Yard founder Jonathan Rabb, the conference began with a gospel music set performed by DJ Ricovelli and a prayer from Hampton University alum Michael Eley. Journalist Roland Martin followed up with an open conversation among HBCU SGA presidents regarding how their schools are adjusting to their new norms. SGA presidents from Tennessee State, Florida A&M, Clark Atlanta and Norfolk State discussed how they've remained connected with their students through social media and emphasized the importance of empathy for college students during this time.

Hampton University sophomore and Black Lives Matter Greater NY President Nupol Kiazolu led the next segment, which focused on the impact coronavirus has had on communities. Under Kiazolu's leadership, Black Lives Matter Greater NY crafted a petition to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging him to implement more COVID-19 testing facilities in black communities that have been disproportionately affected.

Read the full story on Hampton Script here.

Looking in Hindsight and Beyond with Hampton Creative Deanna Blu

By Brandi Hutchinson

Hampton University is an inclusive institution that embodies art and its various forms. Every year, more creatives are enrolled from all over to continue their journey of making art.

Deanna Blu is one of those multitalented creatives.

The senior strategic communication major, also known as Masie Blu, is an indie soul artist from Philadelphia. Blu is a singer, songwriter and producer who not only creates music to express herself but also to uplift and inspire others. She breaks societal barriers by utilizing her talents to define art in her own way through music and other forms. She constantly takes full advantage of the role the artist plays in society by using her creative expression.

"Art is a beautiful outlet to share," Blu said. "I identify with all forms of art. I create sculptures, paintings, poetry, songs, choreography, photography and video edits. I love art. I enjoy songwriting the most."

Deanna Blu released her debut album Hindsight on March 25. Hindsight is the understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed. Blu uses the meaning of the word "hindsight" to help her depict the message of growth and transformation through her piece of work. She expresses her understanding of the lessons learned after experience and the growth she gained behind it.

"I loved the actual definition of hindsight when I discovered it," Blu said. "My album Hindsight was written because the songs I wrote are about lessons that I turned into gems."

For more on this story, read the Oct. 4 issue of The Hampton Script or visit

The Hampton Players bring a musical classic to Little Theater

By Asia Rollins

HAMPTON, VA-- When the audience first saw Sophomore Nesia Banks, she was wearing a black corset and long dark tulle skirt. The Wicked Witch of the West was yelling at the flying monkeys who were aiding in her evil plans. It was the best thing about The Wiz, said one very biased audience member.? "My favorite part of the shows was seeing my daughter perform," said Irena Banks. "I grew up in the '70s and watched the movie all the time as a kid, so it was nice seeing everything come together."

The Wiz, a musical from the 1970s based on The Wizard of Oz, was the latest production of The Hampton Players, the University's theater department. The show premiered March 20 and ran through the 24th.

Hampton's version of The Wiz added modern dance moves from the past few years, modern slang and added modern musical touches, while remaining the same musical that holds a special memory in the hearts of audience members.

"It's fun, it's funny and they make relevant references," said student usher Addison Adams. "We got to see them opening night and seeing them improve with each show has been a cool experience."

The musical tells the story of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion in the context of 1970s African-American culture. It is a household classic in African-American families. Audience members seemed excited to see the story come to life.? Part of modernizing the show included costuming the Tin Man in a silver sweatsuit paired with tennis shoes. Cast and crew members have prepared a show with complicated sound, lighting and costume changes. They pulled it off without any noticeable errors. That let the audience, especially the proud mother Irena Banks, focus on the acting and singing.

"My favorite song was "No Bad News," so I kind of just emulate what I've already seen," said Wicked Witch Nesiah Banks. "If people come and remember my character's name and what I did, that makes it even more humbling, but I just want people to enjoy the show."

Wary, hopeful Hampton U. students check out “The Quad”

By Atira Kennedy

The new Black Entertainment Television show "The Quad" premiered 10 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 1. The drama series focuses on the student life at HBCUs --Historically Black Colleges and Universities -- and the issues that occur: Relationships between teachers and students, gender stereotypes in leadership, racism, hazing, underage drinking, blackmail, and, homicide.

"It deals with politics in the academic world, and with issues the students face, like sexual assault," Jasmine Guy told "ABC News" last month. Guy previously starred in "A Different World," a late 1980s- to '90s-era sitcom set at fictitious black campus Hillman College.

Created by Felicia Henderson, Charles Holland, and Rob Hardy, "The Quad" is said to be "addictively soapy and serious" said a review by the Hollywood Reporter, an trade newspaper.

The show promises to favor other shows and movies that have portrayed the HBCU lifestyle such as "Stomp the Yard," "A Different World," and "Drumline." With a plot line focusing on an Ivy League-educated African-American woman as the president of the university. Each episode will center on serious topics that are affecting the black community with black literature hash tags as the episode titles.

"Trojan-Horse style, 'The Quad' gives its viewers an education by doubling down on the suds," said the Hollywood Reporter.

Some anxious viewers on the Hampton University campus suspect that the new show might shed a negative light on HBCUs, or won't be an accurate depiction of any of the 107 schools.

"I think it's going to shine light on things that do occur at HBCUs, but at the same time, I feel like it's going to be very negative and controversial and exclude all the richness and positivity that occurs," said Victoria Daniels of Raleigh, North Carolina, a journalism major.

The hit-or-miss fear was evident for other students at Hampton.

"I have very low expectations for the show just because of the second 'Drumline' movie and how cheesy and inaccurate it was," said Deja Young of Chicago, a nursing major. "The first ["The Quad"] episode may be good, but it will probably go downhill from there."

However, some students have high hopes for the show and were excited for the premier. "They have Jasmine Guy on the show, and she's not prone to be a part of messy TV so I have faith in the overall production," said Ashley Wright (pictured right), a Hampton University alumna from Chicago.

The accolades accumulated by some of the stars and producers of the show, may keep it afloat.

"Take a look at the people making the show. If they went to an HBCU, they'll be more likely to do it justice," said Arielle Wallace, of Detroit, journalism major.

The first episode of "The Quad" appears to be an experiment for many students as well as celebrities. Both high and low expectations have been set for the show; however, the BET premier will reveal the truth.

"The Quad brings HBCU life back to TV," wrote Paula Rogo in Essence magazine last October. "It's the first look into the black college experience since 'A Different World.'"

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. theater students produce 'books with legs'

By Nyaa Ferary

The Hampton University Department of Fine and Performing Arts offers creative outlets such as drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, design, debate and music. They are known for presenting some of the best plays available for Hampton students to enjoy. The Hampton Players perform a couple of plays per semester in the Little Theater of Armstrong Hall.

The director of the theater department is Karen Ward. She has more than 30 years' experience with writing, directing, acting and producing theater. She has published and written her own plays. As well as performed in shows for both local and national arenas such as the Theatre Virginia in Richmond and Heritage Repertory Company at the University of Virginia for her role as Billie Holiday in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill." She makes sure each production for the Hampton Players is original and has its own spin so that it is interesting and unique to the viewers. "There is always a shelf to put every book on," said Ward. "And for plays, there is always a stage to put plays on."

Students are welcome to write and produce their own work. Every other year there is a production called "New Voices" and it is basically "a book with legs" said Ward, in that student playwrights are offered the opportunity to submit their own works to be produced in a reader's theater format and later if the comments and reactions are good, to be presented on the main stage, which will then be ran in the next season. This experience requires a lot of commitment from the students who wish to see their plays in the Little Theater. Ward says, "There is a heavy cost to be the boss." These students must now act on the opposite side of the fence by playing the role as producer and director for their own productions.

The selection for this year's lineup was finalized well in advance. The Fine and Performing Arts Department typically produce four to five productions a year and make their production decisions based on faculty, students and input from the community in April or May. Once classes are over, the faculty gets together and sees which plays haven't been done before as well as which ones fit the department's mission. From that, a list is narrowed down and the faculty looks at all the plays and each director decided what they might want to direct, given what their expertise is. The result is a composite of four plays to be run throughout the year, usually two in the fall and two in the spring. At least one is classic, one is contemporary; another is written by a black playwright, and also a musical.

The newest production the Hampton Players are presenting is "Stick Fly," directed by Robin Jackson Boisseau. She has been an assistant professor of theater at Hampton University since 2001. During Boisseau's time at the university, she has directed over 20 productions and is the adviser to the Hampton Players & Company student theater organization.

This play originally debuted in 2010 as the Broadway production by Lydia R. Diamond. The playwright graduated from Northwestern University where she majored in performance studies and is a 2005-2007 member of the Huntington Playwright Fellows. According to the Huntington Theatre Company website, "She was a 2005-2006 Harvard WEB Du Bois Institute non-resident Fellow, a 2007 TCG/NEA Playwright in Residence at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, a 2012-2013 Radcliffe Institute Fellow, a 2012 Sallie B. Goodman McCarter Fellow, and a 2012 Sundance Institute Playwright Lab Creative adviser. She is currently a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a playwright in residence at Arena Stage."

The initial success of "Stick Fly" in association with the Arena Stage led to the play's 2011 nomination in for a Tony Award. "Stick Fly" tells the story of an African-American family that face issues of race, class and sibling rivalry, while they are spending the weekend at their second home in Martha's Vineyard.

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes for these productions. The crew, directors and actors all have to pull their own weight to make such plays like "Stick Fly" a success. The actors and actresses interviewed said they dedicate all of their evenings to rehearsals and getting their costumes made. Practice is held every day except for Sunday, and students audition for the roles of their choice before they are assigned a role. Many students are juggling between their course workload; other extracurricular activities, the play and some have jobs to maintain.

Briana Nealey is a senior from Denver; her first time being in Hampton Players play was this semester's production of "Little Shop of Horrors." She auditioned in late April and began preparing for her role over the summer. When asked why she chose to be in the play, Nealey said, "I've always loved performing. I decided that I wanted to try out for a play at Hampton because I had been away from the stage for too long. I love acting and so I decided it was time to start doing it again." She is currently now practicing for her role in "One Wild and Crazy Night," which will be presented next year.

Nealey said she often has to miss rehearsals because they conflict with her current retail job schedule: "School and work has always been something I've had to balance. Adding rehearsals has really taken up a lot of time in my schedule. It's hard to balance sometimes and lots of times schoolwork takes the back burner. But it's just really about understanding that you need to plan out your week and make time for everything you need to get done."

The amount of hard work and dedication that must be committed to each play is substantial. Whether it be acting or being a part of the stage crew, many long hours and passion is required to create such original productions. These students submerge themselves in their craft. They live and breathe the theater craft, many spend their free time watching other plays, reading manuscripts and singing play numbers regularly.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Entertaining, in-your-face Hampton U. marching and pep bands

By Kelsey A. Marrow

At HBCUs, the marching band is the main reason for fans' attendance and support of the university. It is the heightened feeling of ecstasy and school spirit, the band performance exhilarates that causes a memorable time of love and fellowship. Hampton University brings a unique twist of culture and style that separates them from others.

The Hampton University bands consist of the marching band, the concert band, and the symphonic winds and the pep band, according to information obtained from the Department of Music. Each of these organizations strive to provide a high level of musical experience for its members. These organizations provide music for university functions under the umbrella of the Department of Music. The bands are comprised of wind players and percussionists from all academic disciplines around campus. The university bands study and rehearse wind band repertoire that fosters musical growth and human connection through music.

This year Tory F. Smart was appointed director of university bands. He is the son of the late Barney Smart, who served as the director of university bands for 14 years. It was under the father's guidance that "The "Force" became known as an outstanding college marching band. Tory Smart serves as the director of the HU Marching Force.

He said, "My goal is to uphold the tradition, the pride and increase the size of the band. I want the Force to be aggressive and entertaining this year. I will educate our students and develop them into strong professionals."

"The Force" performs crowd favorites such as "Poison," a 1990s hit by the New Edition spinoff group Bel Biv DeVoe, "6, 7, 9" by Fetty Wap, "SOS" by Rihanna, "This is how we do" by Montel Jordan, "Body Party" by Ciara and the most popular, "Talking Out the Side of Your Neck." In 1984, the group Cameo wrote this popular song as a protest against then-President Ronald Reagan and the song has remained a favorite since that time. You can hear this song played by a number of collegiate bands; however, Hampton's version of the song is like no other.

Hampton's version is approximately five minutes long. It is played longer than any version performed by other bands. The musical arrangement also makes Hampton's version dramatically different from others. Throughout the song there is the distinctive sound of the brass and woodwind sections and the percussion at different intervals during the song.

The marching band currently consists of approximately 200 members that include musicians, flag team members and Ebony Fire dancers. In 1977, the marching band became known as the "The Force" which was a term referenced in the movie "Star Wars." "The Force" was described as powerful energy field created by all living things that surrounds and penetrates living beings. It represented good and combated evil. The marching band performs at all home football games and selected away games.

The pep band is a vibrant and energetic ensemble that plays for both the women's and men's basketball teams. The pep band is open to students who play traditional band instruments that typically consist of brass, woodwinds and percussion.

"We perform at all home and selected away games." said clarinet player Markus Smith, a freshman chemistry engineer major. "I enjoy traveling to the MEAC [Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference] basketball tournament every year and performing in front of family and friends.

"We perform several concerts every year and challenge ourselves to perform musical pieces from different cultures and styles."

The concert band is an ensemble designed to provide opportunities for all Hampton University students to continue playing their instrument after marching season.

The symphonic winds, founded in 1991 by Barney Smart, provides opportunities for outstanding instrumentalists and music majors to perform traditional and avant-garde band literature at the highest level possible.

The Hampton University marching band practices seven days a week from 5 to 9 p.m. Music scholarships are offered to qualified students. These scholarships will not pay the total costs to attend Hampton University, but will help to defray some of the expenses. Initial scholarship awards are based on performance ability, according the Department of Music. Subsequent awards are based on number of factors such as musical growth, commitment and performance ability.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Mastering the mix: Hampton U’s deejay culture

By Arriana McLymore

DJ Envy Numerous talents graced Hampton University's campus throughout the years. Whether it is through dancing, singing or acting, Hamptonians used the university as a place to hone their performance skills. One talent that is often overlooked is the art of deejaying. When it's time to party, disc jockeys are some of the most sought–after students. They are often asked to attend Hampton Harbor apartment parties, 12 to 2 sessions in the student center and other school-sponsored events.

Becoming a deejay takes time and practice. From building a brand to mastering how to mix songs, deejaying is a craft to be respected. HU disc jockeys come from a long line of success stories. Hampton alums such as DJ Envy, DJ Babey Drew and DJ Tay James have worked to make their names known worldwide for the deejaying skills.

New York native Raashawn "DJ Envy" Casey is one-third of Power 105 FM's "The Breakfast Club," alongside Charlamagne Tha God, and Angela Yee. "The Breakfast Club" has become one of the top-rated urban radio programs in the country, with syndication on more than 30 stations nationwide. The program is also broadcast on and the iHeartRadio mobile app. DJ Envy has accumulated various awards for his deejaying talents including the National Mix Show DJ of the Year Award and the DJ of the Year Award, given by the Global Spin Awards.

Andrew "DJ Babey Drew" Bisnaught's claim to fame as Chris Brown's deejay quickly made him popular amongst hip-hop and pop crowds alike. Some of DJ Babey Drew's other famous clients include hip-hop star Li'l Wayne, Kelly Rowland, Jordin Sparks and the Kardashian-Jenner clan. Bisnaught is currently on Atlanta's Power 96.1 and Z-104 FM in Virginia Beach, Virginia. DJ Baby Drew has been featured on VH1's second season of "Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta," BET's "106 & Park" and "Rap City," ABC's "Good Morning America" and "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

DJ Tay James is continuing to build his brand by performing across the world as Justin Beiber's deejay. The 2009 Hampton University graduate attributes the campus to much of his success. "If I didn't go to Hampton, I wouldn't have a job right now," said James during the DREAM Digital Symposium last fall at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.

Many of the Hampton U.'s deejays used the campus as a way to build their network and skills. One of the most notable deejays on campus now is Cameron Benboe, a senior finance major from Louisville, Kentucky. Known as "DJ Camo," Benboe said he began deejaying before attending HU, "I started between my eighth grade and freshman year of high school."

Benboe is a self-taught disc jockey who turned to YouTube and other resources to learn how to spin. "There was a solid period where I deejaying in my room," said Benboe. "I started with my computer. I was making mash-ups of songs with other instrumentals. I went from that to actually mixing songs together." After saving money to buy equipment, Benboe began to take his talents to the next level.

One year later, Benboe started to let other people listen to his mixes. He created CDs, began working parties and worked to build his brand in his home state. Benboe said that his transition to Hampton U. was easy. "I looked at it as moving into a new market," he said. "I was looking for a good opportunity to expand and get a different fan base."

Before arriving at HU, Benboe researched the known deejays on campus. DJ LP, Audio Tha DJ and DJ Tay James continuously popped up on his radar as notable names. "The Hampton network of DJs is really big," said Benboe. "I'm not going to say that's the reason I came to Hampton, but it was a plus."

From the moment Benboe stepped on Hampton's campus, he was ready to perfect his craft. Benboe continued to practice in his dorm room and network with other campus deejays. The most crucial part of his success has been his ability to market himself. "Deejaying is something that's fun, but it is also a business," said Benbore. "You have to connect yourself professionally. Part of the reason why I've been progressing is because I've really taken the time to plan out how I market the brand myself. It's all very strategic." Benboe creates his own fliers and graphics for his events.

Benbore notes that knowing the history of deejaying is just as vital as understanding the business side of it. "I'm part of the few people in our generation who took the time to go back and learn the basic elements of scratching and mixing," said Benboe. "With the technology that's available, it's very easy to lose sight of the craft and the art of deejaying. You have to know where it came from to know where it's going."

Although people may enjoy what deejays do, said Benboe, they often do not fully comprehend the complexity of the job: "People don't see everything that goes behind the scenes. They just see that you're in a booth deejaying for three hours, but they might not understand that it took another three hours to prepare for that night."

Benboe explained the difficulties that come with performing for picky crowds: "This song is playing right now, but I'm thinking five songs ahead because I'm trying to create a mood for the audience." He noted that he practices during the days leading up to performances and continuously tailors his sets to his audiences.

Benboe believes that he has grown a lot at Hampton. He has taken the time to help out rising deejays on campus: "I feel blessed to say that I've done the things that I've strove to do. I feel blessed to be in a position to help someone else get to where I am."

Deejays that Benhoe has influenced are Barry "DJ Barry B" Palmore and Tyler "DJ Rico" Ware.

Ware says Benboe is an inspiration: "He's done a bunch of events and has done a lot to make himself successful here at Hampton. Seeing how he's come up and what he had to do in order to put his name out there inspired me to do the same. Last year he gave me some encouraging works on how to be successful as a DJ, such as being more active on social media and getting more involved with [the Office of] Student Activities."

Unlike Benboe, Ware, a junior marketing major from Brooklyn, New York, began deejaying after he arrived at Hampton U. Before his freshman year, Ware helped high school dance teams mix their music for their performances. "I didn't start deejaying with real equipment until I came to Hampton and saw student deejays," said Ware. "After that, I decided to learn on my own through YouTube."

Ware's success is beginning to blossom as he is being asked to perform at more events. With over 30 on-and-off campus events under his belt this year, Ware believes he's off to a great start. During the 2014-2015 school year, Ware deejayed the Class of 2017's annual Onyx Shout out, Hampton U.'s inaugural Hip-Hop Conference, and numerous social gatherings around campus.

Like Benboe, Barry "DJ Barry B" Palmore began building a name for himself before arriving at the university. Palmore, a second-year student in the five-year MBA program, began deejaying in his hometown, Hackensack, New Jersey. His first spinning lessons were taught by his mentor and high school math teacher.

"He was offering deejaying classes after school and thought it would be really cool to learn how to spin," said Palmore. His interest grew as the classes continued to progress. "I was really one of the only students who committed, so I started learning a lot more than everyone else." Palmore learned as much as he could from his mentor and before long, began helping his mentor with party engagements. It was then that his mentor suggested that Palmore begin deejaying on his own. "I would go on his gigs," said Palmore, "and he would say, "You really have a strong grasp of music and you know how to sway a crowd."

Eventually, Palmore began saving his money to buy deejaying equipment and book events in his home state. Now at Hampton, Palmore has branded himself as DJ Barry B and is working to establish a network of fans and supporters. "I've hooked up with a lot of deejays on campus, specifically DJ Camo, DJ Vince and JRoc," said Palmore. "They basically set the foundation for me because they want me to succeed."

Palmore has worked events such as the "Ogre Dolla Holla" and the Hallow-Harvestfest in Holland Hall. His brand is continuing to grow as more clubs and organizations request his services. Palmore is using his Hampton University connections to create a presence outside of his hometown.

"I feel that Hampton is a good start to help me get my name out," said Palmore. "I see myself deejaying at premiere clubs in the near future. Hopefully, I'll be able to get my name out there with DJ Taye James, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Kid Kapri."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

During Oscars, Hampton media brew perked in real time

By Kayla Johnson

On Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 the 87th Academy Awards took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, was presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and honored the best films of 2014.

The 2015 host was Neil Patrick Harris, a talented actor, writer, producer, director, magician, comedian and singer. The nominations have flowed in, and the predictions for the winners have been tallied up. Leading the 2015 nominations were "Birdman" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" with a total of nine nominations each.

In contrast to their success, some critics said that "Selma," a film that highlighted the life of civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was snubbed in many categories for several Academy Awards. Selma received nominations for Best Picture and Best Song.

When asked if she would be watching the awards this Sunday, Haley Jeffries, a junior strategic communication/marketing double major from North Carolina, said, "Of course! It is a tradition that my family and I share. The tributes to the greats and living legends are the best."

The red carpet coverage is also a highly anticipated part of award season this year. Marisa Tukpah, a senior engineering student from Maryland, explained, "I don't really watch the awards themselves; social media provides me with the winner. I watch the pre-show to look at the fashion and see what trends are in for this season.

Hampton University is getting in on the Oscars action this year through Professor April Woodard's JAC 450-Pop Culture class. JAC 450 hosted a viewing party in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications on Sunday during the show. The party featured a red carpet, photographs, videos, polls on who wore it best and refreshments. About 20 students participated.

After working for "Inside Edition" and covering many pop culture events before joining the Hampton University faculty, Professor Woodard desires to give her class real-world experiences: "My class is producing a show and a blog called The Media Brew which is a real website as well as a real online entertainment show. I wanted to make it as realistic as possible. My students have deadlines, we have responsibilities, and this is another opportunity for us to cover the story in real time.

"Even though we can't be there at the Oscars we still can be all over it, cover it and present in an interesting way for our audience."

Professor Woodard is ready to tune in Sunday as well. She is anticipating the best actor, best actress, best picture, and of course the speeches that will be delivered. Check out JAC 450- Pop Culture's blog at and support The Oscars viewing party on Sunday to see the big winners and fashion trends.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Absence of color on the minds of Hampton U. Oscars watchers

By Malik Jones

The room buzzed Sunday. While the celebrated stars in Hollywood sat pretty in their glitz and glam, it's just another day at the office for Professor April Woodard and her diligent Media Brew team, who hosted the Oscar watch party event in the Scripps Howard School auditorium.

A few of the Media Brew students dressed elegantly in the spirit of the awards show event, including Chrissy Powell (pictured right).

But before the show got started, some of the students expressed their views on the biggest night in Hollywood.

Paris Rainey, a senior public relations major from Atlanta, presented somber and not-so-surprising facts about the current world of motion pictures and played a video from the Huffington Post highlighting diversity within the Academy.

The video pointed out that this year's Oscars would be the worst for diversity since 1998. It was also revealed that since the first Oscars in 1929, only "7 percent of winners in the Best Actor category have been black Men" and Halle Berry was the first, and so far only, African-American woman to win the Best Actress Award.

"Black actors and directors are only celebrated to an extent. But they are mostly underrated" said Rainey, who like many others was surprised and very much upset at Ava DuVernay's best director snub for "Selma."

[Du Vernay was not nominated, yet "Selma" was among eight best picture contenders. "Selma" did win the best song Oscar for "Glory."]

Rainey said more black representation is needed within the Academy. However, she added, this representation can only happen if more African Americans become interested in the film industry and work hard to earn membership into the Academy.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Oscars watch party at Hampton U.

By Miah Harris

The one-day countdown now begins for the 87th Annual Academy Awards, aka the Oscars.

Students in Professor April Woodard's pop culture class Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. will host their first Oscars watch party. The event will take place in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications auditorium.

"I thought this would be a great idea since audiences online and on social media are fanatics about pop culture, and this is what is trending in our JAC 450 course," said Woodard. "This event will allow us to combine passion for pop and real-time media coverage of events, like the Oscars." Her students have quite an eventful night planned, with hopes to entertain many guests from other schools around Hampton University's campus.

A Scripps Howard student would agree that, the Oscars, along with most academy award shows, are to be watched faithfully and criticized far beyond typical or ordinary judgment. "I absolutely adore award shows, especially the Oscars," said journalism major Jirah Cosey. "It gives the top directors, actors and other team players a chance to show off their hard work to the world, with the perks of getting all tailored and made up. Now, that is my kind of party!"

A group of Hampton students expressed their concerns and wishes to see Oscar nominees "look more like them" in due time. They were glad to hear about "Selma's" nomination for 'Best Picture,' but explained that they would just love to see more.

From the outside looking in, a few non-Scripps Howard majors on Hampton's campus are big fans of the Oscar awards. "Even though we are STEM majors, we do enjoy watching some of the award shows, like the Oscars, in our downtime," said marine and environmental science majors Christina Williams and Kris Anderson. "Us nerds keep up with pop culture, too."

Williams and Anderson both plan to join Woodard's class on Sunday to enjoy light refreshments, but most importantly, to see who will take home those shiny gold trophies.

The Oscar Academy Awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, should be more than just receiving a trophy. It is all about hard work paying off from an idea being brought to life through a team's effort, as Cosey expressed.

Above all, the 2015 Academy Awards will definitely have Woodard's students loaded with things to discuss just in time for Monday morning's class.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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