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    Nov 13 2015

    Black alumni urge recent grads to get involved

    Stephanie Tate | Correspondent 

    Homecoming is time of joy, laughs, and an excessive amount of Wolfpack pride.  Amidst the issues of cultural and racial insensitivity on our campus I felt as though it was time that we analyze both our past and our future as African American students here at NC State.

    Homecoming provided the perfect opportunity to do so as many black alumni had returned just in time for many of the Black Alumni Society events. Homecoming weekend was filled with a number of events catered to create a family atmosphere among black alumni, however one of the events with the most familial atmosphere was the tailgate.

    On Saturday Oct. 31, three hours prior to kick off of the homecoming football game the Black Alumni Society, along with their umbrella organization the NC State Alumni Association, hosted their annual tailgate. The tailgate included food catered by Backyard Bistro, a live band called Sleeping Booty, and a ton of laughter. A bystander might have mistaken the tailgate for a family reunion, I know I sure did.

    While interacting with some of the alumni, I was afforded the opportunity to observe how much of a pack members of the Black Alumni Society actually are. With that being said, the society is looking to increase the size of their pack.

    President, Carmita Bass, a 2005 accounting graduate, said “we would love to see more young alumni and pass the torch.” Bass noted that young alumni add creative and innovative ideas, while the society provides young alumni with wonderful networking opportunities. During her time at NC State, Bass was no stranger to student involvement. She served as student body treasurer, a chancellor’s aide, a peer mentor, and a chancellor’s liaison to name a few. Watching Bass float around the tailgate and interact with guests was almost a magical experience.

    She is passionate about the society, its members, and the opportunities that the society provides. In the midst of line jackets from a variety of years, and vintage NC State paraphernalia, were the young alumni.

    “The connections I’ve made helped me transition from undergrad to graduate school and the Facebook group keeps me updated on the community events,” said Lauren Evans, who received both her undergraduate degree in fashion and textile management and most recently a Master’s degree in global luxury management from NC State said NC State prepared her for both the graduate program and now the professional world.  

    Kendal Hudson, a 2013 mechanical engineering graduate, wants to see more young alumni getting involved in the Black Alumni Society. 

    “Being an engineering graduate from NC State puts you a step ahead, it sets you apart.”

    Material Science and Engineering graduate, Leodis Jennings of the 1983 class, said of the many lessons he learned while being at NC State is perseverance and problem solving skills. Jennings pronounced “It wasn’t easy” when recalling his experience as a student here. He encourages students to cherish their time here, remember that NC State will prepare you to be successful, and learn how to get along with others.

    “Build relationships, because you cannot do it by yourself,” Jennings said. 

    Felecia Keenan, a 2011 English graduate, offered similar words of wisdom. Keenan wants students to remember that you will “earn” your degree at NC State and to be aware of the support system around them.

    “It easy to get distracted, your chances of failure are greater than those of success, but remain focused.  There is a lot of support at State, including mentorships through the Black Alumni Society.”

    Among the mouthwatering banana pudding, the old school jams, and the bomb sweet tea sat those who have already been in our shoes looking to extend to us words of wisdom and helping hands. The Black Alumni Society is filled with former students with experiences similar to our own, willing to be resources if only we’d allow them to be.

    Being a part of the Wolfpack is a lifetime commitment and it does not end once we turn our tassels in PNC, in fact that step is just the beginning.

  • Sep 23 2015

    How to get away with excellence

    Jillian Smith | Staff Writer

    On September 20, history was made as Viola Davis became the first African-American woman to take home an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

    Davis won for her role in “How to Get Away With Murder,” an ABC drama in which she plays Annalise Keating, a brilliant criminal defense lawyer and professor.

    This was a major stride for African-American women, considering that the only other black woman to receive an Emmy for leading actress was Isabel Sanford in 1981. She won for her role in the comedy series “The Jeffersons.”

    While many more doors have been opened for black women in film, television has been a different battle considering the lack of leading roles available.

    “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” Davis said during her speech. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So, here’s to all the writers, the awesome people…People who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.”

    To you Viola, we say congratulations, and thank you. Thank you for breaking down one more barrier and opening one more door, allowing a new light to shine on our culture.


  • Feuding music artists Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus Photos by Wikimedia
    Sep 10 2015


    THREA ALMONTASER |  Correspondent

    If you caught the 2015 VMA’s, you would know that famous line means much more than the simple, “Hey, how have you been?”
    Famous female rapper Onika Maraj known to the world as Nicki Minaj, called out the award show’s host, singer Miley Cyrus.

    “And now, back to this b***h that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press. Miley, what’s good?,” said Minaj on stage to after accepting the award for best hip hop video of the year, referring to a past interview where Cyrus spoke strongly against the rapper’s view of the music industry’s weak support when it comes to black musicians, and how they seem to favor others such as America’s sweetheart Taylor Swift, the perfect representation of a “blue eyed, blonde haired, skinny white girl.”

    Speaking of blonde, Miley also decided to sport blonde dreads at the award show, getting a lot of love from magazines like Hollywood Life, who claimed that the “host rocks amazing blonde dreads!” while many others like the Huffington Post feel it stirred a serious and complex controversy around cultural appropriation.
    For those who aren’t familiar, “appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated, but is deemed as high fashion, cool, or funny when the privileged take it for themselves,” explianed actress Amandla Stenberg who played “Rue” in the movie “The Hunger Games”, when she shocked the country with her culturaly aware blog post in April.

    It’s true that when African-American actress Zendaya Coleman wore the same hair style as Miley at the Oscars on the television series Fashion Police she was infamously described as smelling like “patchouli oil and weed” on the red carpet. This was not so true for other famous celebrities such as Cyrus and Kendall Jenner in the past, both having been revered as “amazing” and “edgy” for their new looks.

    The comments from both sides of the VMA controversy received a lot of negative backlash and positive attention alike from fans on social media, under the hashtag, #VMAS2015. Some wrote in support of Minaj, posting, “Taylor Swift wins everything.” with a snooze emoji beside it, while others were with Cyrus, commenting that “Miley Cyrus killed it as the host!”

    This eventful night clearly had an undertone of spoken truth beneath all the drama. The broader issue of black artist’s lack of recognition, and the ongoing growth of cultural appropriation within those red carpet events.
    Australian rapper Iggy Azalea is one of many who appropriate themselves into the black culture. Known as the “drag queen” of hip hop, her performances mimic that of a southern black girl. The only difference is she can’t trace her roots back to that specific culture.

    The reason people are outraged by her is because she gets profit from selling black sound while having white appeal. Azalea refers to herself as a “White girl with a ghetto ass” in her song “We Go Hard.” White supremacy just oozes out of that single lyric alone.

    This type of unfair artist recognition has happened many times before. Like when Ben William Haggerty, better known as Macklemore, retrieved the 2013 Grammy against Kendrick Lamar. But, at least Haggerty sticks with his culture’s sound of a northeastern white guy. It’s still hard to ignore the obvious charm his skin color has on certain audiences which can very possibly contribute to this monetary success. Inspiration can easily become appropriation, and it’s difficult to control without upsetting or being seen as an offensive thief. And this hasn’t just been happening in recent years. Chuck Berry’s rock and roll career was outshined by Elvis Presley, “a white man who sounds, feels, and performs black.”

    It’s sad not only because white artists are rewarded for using black culture, but that years of black accomplishments and musical brilliance are being thrown into the back of the closet, eclipsed and overlooked.
    White advantage has been procuring black culture’s rewards time and again. This is a problem that Minaj figured had to be spoken up about, in the most clear-as-day manner she could possibly think of was during the 2015 VMA’s.

  • Attendees of the African American Cultural Center’s annual Harambee event join hands to form a circle in celebration of community at NC State on Tuesday, September 1.
    Sep 10 2015


    NIA DOAKS | Managing Editor

    On Tuesday, September 1, the African American Cultural Center and AYA Ambassadors hosted their annual community-welcoming event, “Harambee!” Harambee is Swahili for “Let us come together” and is meant to be an opportunity to welcome new members and celebrate existing members of our community.

    The event began with a “Call of the Drums”, done by three members of the African Student Union. Following this were the greetings and permission from the elders to start the ceremony, and the pouring of Libation by Dr. Craig Brookins, associate professor of psychology and Africana Studies and director of the College of Humanities interdisciplinary studies program. The ritual pouring of libation is meant to be a way of showing thanks- it involves water, earth, and the community.

    Each time Brookins poured water into the earth, members of the community speak a word of thanks. This begins the event with an element of positivity and thankfulness. Kinesha Harris, Programming Intern for the Cultural Center and president of AYA Ambassadors, said that the pouring of Libation was her favorite part of the event. “In terms of planning, we have to figure out who is going to do the Call of the Drums, pour Libation, and speak,” said Harris.

    “Harambee is an excellent opportunity for new students, new faculty and the people of the community to get together and learn more about each other and the community.”

    Dr. Craig Brookins speaking at the beginning of Harambee. The event took place Tuesday, September 1st, in the Sankofa room of Witherspoon.

    Dr. Craig Brookins speaking at the beginning of Harambee. The event took place Tuesday, September 1st, in the Sankofa room of Witherspoon.

    Following the pouring of libation was the performance of Lift Every Voice and Sing by Matthew Wright, a sophomore majoring in graphic design. Immediately after was the public welcoming of new interim director of the AACC, Dr. Frances Graham into the community. One important part about Harambee is the opportunity for networking and meeting the campus leaders.

    A portion of the program is dedicated to the introduction of the African American student leaders as well as new faculty, staff and students. Harambee is an event that is rooted in tradition in the N.C. State Community. “We always do the introduction of the student leaders in AASAC and the new members of the community- that’s something that’s always set in stone,” said Harris. “It’s important for students to become acquainted with each other and learn about other organizations and what they stand for.” This is a valuable event for new students as they become adjusted to college life.

    “Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from the event- I heard about it from Mama Thorpe at the Multicultural Symposium,” remarked Kristin Weathersby, a freshman in textile engineering. “I learned a lot about how the organizations work and how respectful the community is to their elders and ancestors.” The most exciting tradition during the event is towards the closing, when students, faculty and staff join hands in a large circle around the Sankofa room.

    In unison, all members of the community repeatedly yell “Harambee!”, holding out the last word to represent the commitment to unity and improving the community. “There’s always a good turnout for Harambee, because it’s one of the best programs of the year,” said Harris. “Hopefully, students take away from this event that we are a community, and as a community we should help, uplift, and acknowledge each other. We are all here, and should be resources to one another.”