Can critically acclaimed '12 Years a Slave' win Oscar?

By Duane L. Richards II

Sunday marks the 86th year of the annual Academy Awards ceremony. The list of past winners includes a diverse group of artistic styles (singer Cher has won for Best Actress, rap group Three 6 Mafia for Best Original Song).

However, racial diversity has been scarce. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has only awarded one black actress, Halle Berry, with the Academy Award for Best Actress, a figure that will not change this year, as there are no black actresses nominated in that category.

This fact became less startling when in 2012 the Los Angeles Times reported that the Academy was 94 percent white, suggesting the award recipients represent its members. Enter Steve McQueen's historical epic "12 Years a Slave." From the beginning of the year, Oscar prognosticators were predicting its critical success. When the film was released to near universal acclaim, these predictions only intensified. The film, which is based on the 1853 autobiography of the same name, follows Solomon Northup, a free man who in 1841 was kidnapped into slavery for 12 years and challenged physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Many critics hailed "12 Years a Slave" as one of the best films of the year, some hailed it as one of the best films ever made, and almost all praised it as being the most realistic account of the American slavery period in film history.

"12 Years a Slave" marks the first time that a black-produced, black-directed, and black-written film is the frontrunner for Best Picture, the night's highest honor. In October, when the film was screened at Hampton University, students and faculty witnessed the film before it opened in theaters.

Some students who saw it then aren't surprised about the film's current success. "Not at all!" exclaimed sophomore theater major Gavin Harden when he was asked about the Oscar buzz. "'12 Years a Slave' was a phenomenal movie. It shows the serious struggle that our ancestors went through in depth."

Junior technical theater major Olivia Whitehead was enthusiastic too: "In my opinion, I don't think the film is getting enough buzz. I think there should be more movies that shed light on past events such as that one."

The film's few detractors use comment such as Whitehead's as a negative point. Some black critics, such as Armond White, said that the film should not be heavily celebrated due to it being another entry in the historical genre that black artists are often limited to (for example, recent successes like "The Help" and "Lee Daniels' The Butler").

In addition, there are black moviegoers who declined to see the film because of its anticipated rawness, feeling that it would be too painful to watch. It is this rawness, however, that seems to be the source of its critical success.

This Sunday, the film is up for various awards including Best Adapted Screenplay for its writer John Ridley, Best Supporting Actress for newcomer Lupita Nyong'o, Best Supporting Actor for the film's main antagonist Michael Fassbender, and Best Actor for the film's star Chiwetel Ejiofor. Hampton student and Oscar enthusiast David Patton said, "Three of the actors are being nominated for an Oscar which shows you how great the cast was. The film's success does not surprise me at all."

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

‘Know your history' mobile exhibit comes to Hampton U.

By Jordan E. Grice

Rodney J. Reynolds, publisher of American Legacy magazine, was on Hampton University's campus Wednesday.

His visit here pertained to the American Legacy magazine "Know your History" mobile museum tour. The magazine is no longer in production; however, the exhibit showed covers and topics that the quarterly had done over 15 years since 1995.

While aboard the motorized archive, visitors could see covers with African-American icons including Rosa Parks, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Bessie Coleman and the Tuskegee Airmen.

The exhibit also has memorabilia of black history like a baseball display with the crowning piece being a crisp white baseball jersey that reads "Robinson" in blue letters on the back. Along with the keepsakes on display visitors could view videos that cover African-American military units and their contributions to wars throughout history.

Caryn Fuller, the mobile museum, docent had this to say about the exhibit: "The American Legacy magazine was meant to promote black history and educate the readers on the more obscure events that took place in black history. The magazine is no longer in production but the exhibit is meant to bring awareness and encourage people to learn more about black history."

Nashid S. Madyun, director of the Hampton University Museum and Archives and publisher of International Review of African American Art, said, "Rodney J. Reynolds certainly represents and elevates the optimism in the American Dream. For decades, he has been able to bridge the many sectors of African-American heritage and the American legacy through in depth retrospectives in music, humanity, and visual culture, with a passion and integrity that commands recognition. Having a long list of awards pales in comparison to the remarkable ability and consistency he has shown in chronicling the complex tapestry of the African Diaspora and its American path.

"He is truly an American treasure."

The "Know your history" mobile exhibit was on display in front of the Student Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also, Reynolds was the guest on The Caldwell Café at 6:30 p.m. in the Scripps Howard School TV studio.

Additional research provided by Aleeah Sutton. The writers are students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Valentine’s Day traditions could be altered in 2014

By Augustus Tolson

The day is coming. Men are collecting refund checks. Women are getting their hair and nails done. Universally, Feb. 14 is the day of love, a day that lovers look forward to and single people spend sitting on couches stuffing their faces with popcorn while watching romantic comedies.

It marks the day that many women look forward to; it's marked on calendars the previous Feb. 15 with a big red heart.

One thing that is known to the world of lovers and single ladies is that many males treat Valentine's Day different than females.

"Valentine's Day is a day for females," said Michael Johnson, a Hampton University junior from Los Angeles. "I have never and will never celebrate this day. If I truly love my girlfriend or wife then I will show her every day of the year."

Eric Williams, a freshman from Dallas, said, "I expect the same output that I input. If I take a female to dinner then I want her to at least let us get back to the room and have a good time."

While many women want to be pampered and have experiences of a lifetime so that they can tell their friends, many males simply want one thing. "I want to be able to wake up on the 15th with a female by my side," said Kevin Ellis, a sophomore from Carson, Calif.

Patricia White, a freshman from Philadelphia, said, "If a male is caring enough to make sure that I am happy on this special day then he deserves to be catered to. After dinner, I take care of him, so that way the whole day can be special.

Males love less than females.

Males don't have hearts.

Males are not compassionate people.

These are stereotypes that many males hate.

Williams, the freshman from Dallas, said, "I just don't get where that comes from. I have a heart, and I tend to love a female more than she loves me.

"We are taught not to show emotion, but that doesn't mean we don't have any," said Barry Tolson, an uncle of this writer. "I love my wife and I tell her every day."

By Tara Strigler

Valentine's Day, the most anticipated holiday for couples, is quickly approaching.

This is the day where couples express their love and gratitude for each other through extravagant gifts and events. If couples are not affectionate throughout the year, this is the only day that they are.

Gifts such as flowers, Edible Arrangements, teddy bears, concert tickets and spa dates are exchanged in hopes to smitten partners.

Although many things can go right during this special day, it can take a turn for the worst as well.

Some people think that they have great things planned for their love interest but according to a few students, those plans may not be such a good idea.

Chantina Carrington, 19, a Hampton University sophomore biology major from Newark, N.J., said, "Do not give a girl a fake rose, and don't spend a lot of money on her because if you and your partner are together then she should already know how much you care about her any other day.

"Also, don't tell her you love her just because it's Valentine's Day. It will then be obvious that it is not genuine."

Shaquille Byrnes, 20, of Middlesex County College in New Jersey, said that you should never re-gift. "Re-gifting shows that you did not put no thought or effort into this special day for your girlfriend. It may not be special to you, but it definitely means something to her. What you should do is spend a nice evening with your lady. Give her flowers because females love flowers, and also chocolate-covered strawberries."

A long with those don'ts, there are some do's for Valentine's Day.

"Make sure you make the entire day all about your significant other," said Justin Alvis, a Hampton University freshman strategic communications major from Cleveland. "This is the day to be mushy, gushy and lovey dovey. It does not even have to be about monetary gifts. The most special moments are the ones with just you involved.

"Don't make this day a competition. Valentine's Day is about making your special someone happy, not trying to compete to see who can give the best gift or spend the most money."

By Shawn Austin

Valentine's Day is celebrated on Feb. 14. It is a festival of romantic love and when people give cards, letters, flowers or presents to their spouse or partner. It's been tradition for the male to give special gifts to his counterpart.

Is it a good tradition for it to primarily be the females feeling appreciated on Valentine's Day, or should tradition be broken and both partners in the relationship be appreciated by one another?

This year could be different, especially for the guys, on the Hampton University campus.

William Hughes, a sophomore from Memphis, said, "I didn't plan on giving out any gifts, but I have some girls that have said they have some gifts for me, and I have no problem with that."

Charles Jones, sophomore from Illinois, said, " I always thought Valentine's Day was meant for females, but it wouldn't be bad to switch it up and show some of the men appreciation on this day as well."

Joye Paker, psychology major from Maryland, said, "I've never really spent Valentine's Day with anyone, but if I did I would expect my significant other to show his appreciation and for my partner me to do the same."

Zamari Love said, "It's OK for us to do that but usually the guy knows the girl loves him. So I see it more as a day for the guy to show his love for the girl."

Allysa Medina, a sophomore from California, said, "Girls should get their man or whoever that person is Valentine's Day gifts. I'd do it for my man, but that's just me."

Mike Pleasants, sophomore from New Jersey, said, "Don't let these females brainwash you. It's a couple's holiday. It is as much for him as her."

The trio of writers are students at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Richard Sherman, Passionate athlete or arrogant 'Thug'?

By Jordan E. Grice

Richard Sherman, the starting cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, became a lightning rod over a post-game interview. After his game-winning interception to send the Seahawks to the 2014 Super Bowl, the cornerback gave a very passionate and, what critics say is, an aggressive interview claiming to be the "best corner in the league."

After his interview, many people had harsh words of their own about Sherman, some calling him a "thug" which he openly expressed offense over the term.

Some members of the Hampton University community were asked, if the Stanford graduate is an arrogant "thug" or simply a passionate athlete that was caught at bad time?

"I believe he's a passionate athlete," state Michael Crockett, a freshman computer science major from Alexandria, Va., and member of the track and field team. "Given the circumstances he was in, the emotions are bound to come out in the interview."

"It was a big game and the emotions were high," added Torry Tillman, a sophomore recreation and tourism major from Charlotte, N.C., and also member of the track and field team.

"He had just won a championship game for his team. No one is going to be calm after that."

Aarian Lassalle, a senior marketing major from Bermuda, showed understanding for Sherman's demeanor in his interview.

"I can see why some may feel like he was overly aggressive in that interview because not everybody is usually that hype after a game, but he and his team had just won a spot in the Super Bowl and people express passion and emotion in different ways."

Even after Sherman's rants and interviews, the Hampton students who were interviewed seemed not to agree with the negative comments made about the Seahawk player.

Michael J. Smith, a senior marketing major from New Jersey and also a linebacker for the Hampton University football team said this about Sherman and his post-game interview: "He was showing his passion. The way that the interviews are scheduled the reporters talk to the players right after the game, which really doesn't give them much time to get their thoughts together and make a politically correct statement."

Smith also said this about Sherman's character: "Just because the media wants to portray him as a 'thug' that doesn't mean he is one. He is a well spoken and intellectual man that does a lot to give back to his community."

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

Did the Super Bowl halftime show meet expectations?

By Aleeah Sutton

Bruno Mars hit the stage with '90s band the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Mars had a tough act to follow after Beyonce shut down the stadium, literally, with her half-time performance last winter. The superdome in Louisiana went dark for 35 minutes after her performance, leaving viewers to express themselves on Twitter.

As one of the greatest performers in the world, Beyonce helped bring in a record 111.3 million viewers to the annual football competition, according to

During a radio interview last September with, Mars revealed how he planned to prepare for his performance. Every year, an iconic entertainer is given the opportunity to top the performance of the previous year. Once Mars got the call to do the halftime show, he immediately thought he had to share this moment with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Mars said, "They're just a soulful band, and not just musically, but as people. I sat down with Flea and he's so passionate with music. Even till this day, after doing it for so long he's still passionate about creating music and performing. I want to surround myself with guys like that forever. It's an honor to be sharing the stage with them. They're one of my personal favorite bands of all time. I'm excited for that."

He did tell listeners he was nervous about the weather and low temperatures. Weather channels did call for snow, but Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers managed to give an amazing performance. Some of them were even topless in the 35-degree weather.

Viewers were glued to the TV at Wing Bistro, a chicken and waffles restaurant in Hampton, Va. One spectator yelled, "This is great, but not better than Beyonce."

It's safe to say Bruno Mars did a great job yet we fans will never forget the woman who smashes competition both male and female all hail King Bey, a name a number of fans gave her.

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