Family is Everything to KTAs

By Kennedi Jackson

Family will always support you, even when no one else does.

That was the key message for top communications scholars Friday during the induction ceremony into Kappa Tau Alpha (KTA) at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Your family "has the biggest part in getting you here," said Dr. Michael DiBari, a photography and visual arts professor who also teaches Senior Capstone.

DeBari was the keynote speaker at the induction into the nation's premier honor society.

The society invites only the top ten percent of junior and seniors. Some family members attended to support students.

"If I could impart anything, it's to remember your family and do good work," said DiBari who was inducted into KTA as a graduate student.

Dibari spoke of his own personal experience with winning a high school wrestling competition, and the significance of having your family recognize your achievements.

After the speech, students were presented with their certificates, pins, membership cards and honor cords, then said the KTA pledge in unison.

Afterward, students swarmed for pictures with their friends while cake was cut in the back of the room. Students said they were pleased to have an extra distinction on their resumes.

The atmosphere in the room was as expected of students receiving such an honorable distinction. Smiles could be seen all around the room. There was a small turnout of family and friends, but the ones who did come definitely made it known that they were there. They whooped when names were called to show how proud they were.

Kappa Tau Alpha is the college honor society that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communications. Members are selected based on these qualifications. It is the seventh national honor society, founded at the University of Missouri in 1910. Their symbol is the key, a symbol for knowledge and communication. The organization continues on with new members here at our home by the sea, leading journalistic excellence for years to come.

Project HBCU Goes to Baltimore

By Jala Tucker

Two Hampton university students traveled to Baltimore Friday, April 12 to inspire private high school students to attend a Historically Black College/University (HBCU).

During workshops at Roland Park Country School, an all-girls school in the north of the city, Jada Graham and Jala Tucker explained the value of an HBCU education and helped students with the personal statements on their applications.

About 25 students attended the workshop and said they wanted to apply to Morgan State, and Hampton, but most chose Howard, one of the top two highest-rated HBCUs in the country. About 10 students made progress on their applications.

"Even if we just make an impact on one student, I know we are doing something good," Graham said.

The workshop was part of a nonprofit, Project HBCU, created by Graham and Tucker, which specializes in giving students advice on college admissions.

The two entrepreneurs want students to understand their potential for higher education and hope to inspire them to travel outside of their comfort zones. Several students complained about the lack of opportunity in a small market like Baltimore.

The top reasons to go to an HBCU include "not having to be the voice for all Black people," Tucker told the students.

According to Tucker, typically, when black students go to Predominantly White Institutions, they are seen as the spokesperson for black people, since there are not as many black students to share their experiences. At an HBCU, students can freely have their voice without having the burden of representing the entire black community, the two explained.

A personal statement is the first step and one of the most critical parts of a college application.

"Show admissions who you really are in your personal statement," Tucker told them. "Make them want you at their school,"

Gamal Codner Tells Hampton Students how to be Successful Entrepreneurs

By Olivia Johnson

Hampton, VA--Entrepreneurial skills and networking are vital to today's students, a self-made millionaire and life coach told Hampton University students Friday. Gamal Codner, who flipped three start-up companies into a six-figure income, told students how to do what he did.

"Failing is good; if you never failed before, you won't know what not to do," said Codner, a Florida State alumnus.

Codner became an entrepreneur in college when he created a website similar to Instagram and Facebook where students could post and comment on the site about parties in the area. The website became so popular that major companies such as McDonalds began to ask Codner for his help.

After missing out on an opportunity to sign a contract with Gatorade to further expand his business, Codner began social media marketing his own businesses and businesses he contracted with. In his first month he made $107,000.

"You don't have to be the best; you just have to be different," Codner told the engaged students, who were jumping at the opportunity to ask questions.

Like the students, Codner is a young African American who wants to be an independent business man. Growing up poor, he never imagined the positions he would attain.

Now, Codner wants to give back to his community by creating a scholarship fund for young black students looking to start a business. An application form is available on his website,

Brains aren't everything when it comes to success in business, Codner said.

"Some of the richest people I know are dumb," Codner said. "It's average people who are rich, normal, every day people. You have to maximize on every opportunity."

A Painful Overcast on Legacy Park

By Sydney N. Shuler

The placement of a bronze George H. W. Bush statue in Legacy Park at Hampton University stirred up controversy with students, alumni and national leaders in the black community, some of whom said they were outraged by the inclusion of a figure known for encouraging fear using aggressive black stereotypes during his presidential campaign.

President William H. Harvey, a longtime friend of Bush, has defended the choice stating that Bush's policies directly benefited historically black colleges and universities and brought $40 million in scholarships, faculty research grants and other beneficial programs at Hampton.

"I found him to be an extraordinary man of love, values, principles, standards, honesty, compassion, loyalty, camaraderie, and character," Harvey wrote in a 2018 op-ed for The Daily Press in Newport News.

Some black leaders are outraged by the choice, one is even seeking a public rebuke while others are circulating a petition advocating for the removal of the statue.

Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr., a black Democratic representative of the First District of Missouri, and his father William Lacy Clay, Sr., who also served in the GOP and helped found the Congressional Black Caucus, are commissioning the CBC to publicly oppose the new statue.

The backlash since the ribbon-cutting ceremony Hampton University's new Legacy Park, a waterfront garden featuring eleven statues of Hampton University supporters, has included current students and the alumni association.

Bush "is not one that you can hold up as someone who believed in equal justice for all,"Clay Sr. said in a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "He steadfastly and vigorously opposed any specific proposal to ameliorate the inequitable, bigoted treatment of black citizens."

Clay Jr. believe Bush's appointment of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in order to replace the Civil Rights champion, Thurgood Marshall, was harmful to the black community and went goes against equal rights representation, according to an article by Chuck Raasch in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

During the 1988 election against Michael Dukakis, Bush supporters created the Willie Horton attack ad. William R. Horton is a black American convicted felon in Massachusetts who was imprisoned while Dukakis was governor. Horton was a recipient of Dukakis' "weekend pass" policy. The harsh mugshot and dapper photos of George H.W. Bush and Dukakis, historians believe, played into the black stereotypes of criminal behavior that ignites fears in whites.

The Hampton University Alumni Association posted a petition protesting the George H.W. Bush statue to the HU Board of Trustees and to Dr. Harvey on

"It is an absolute embarrassment, that the institution that produced Booker T. Washington, Mary Jackson, Alberta King, and thousands of others that have stood on their shoulders," the petition reads, "that the Board of Trustees and ultimately the university's long-term president, William R. Harvey somehow found it morally acceptable to memorialize this man on our beautiful campus."

The petition recalls the on-campus protests following the announcement of Bush as the commencement speaker in 1991.

"It's no wonder why his visit to a Hampton University ... a historically BLACK university, was protested by the student body, faculty and staff resources collectively," the petition reads.

"He has some good things and some bad things as well," Edwards said. "His legacy should be remembered for being instrumental in getting the United Negro College Fund started. I don't think people know the history."

One of the good things that Edwards was referring to, as well as one of the reasons for honoring the 41st president is his significant involvement in propelling the UNCF to where it is today. After being recruited to lead UNCF fundraising drives at Yale University, Bush went on to become the UNCF chairman of Texas. He also donated partial proceeds from his autobiography to UNCF. While president, he signed Executive Order 12677, which created a Presidential Advisory Board on HBCUs, a group created to strengthen Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by advising the president & U.S. Secretary of Education.

And, there were students who were torn between the good things Bush did for African Americans and the bad, like increasing funding for HBCUs while continuing the war on drugs which incarcerated Black Americans at an alarming rate.

Bush founded the Yale chapter of the UNCF and was a long time ambassador for HBCUs. He worked to improve the recruitment of graduate and undergraduate HBCU students for part-time and summer federal positions and increased HBCU funding.. HBCUs received a total of $776 million in 1989 and $894 million 1990, an increase of $118 million, right after his election.

Still, Edwards acknowledged the darker side of his legacy. "George Bush did not stop that War on Drugs, he kept it going," he said. Some current students spoke out to local news media about their opposition to the statues and said the administration should have explained the choice. Statues included Rosa Parks, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Taft, and several local figures important to the history or support of the university including founder Samuel Chapman Armstrong and President Harvey.

"Some of the statues were definitely deserving, but when you have someone like George H. W. Bush who was honorable, do not get me wrong, but as far as the other people up there and what they mean to the campus, I think that students and alumni deserve an explanation."

"First of all, I believe that the chief reason for [Legacy Park] is promotion of learning," Dr. Harvey said in an article by Brandi Howliet in The Hampton Script, "I want students to research these figures. Be thankful."

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."