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    Feb 26 2015

    Are surprise albums the new normal?

    ALFRED ANDERSON | Staff Writer

    Drake performing in 2010 at the Cisco Ottowa Bluesfest Brennan Schnell

    Drake performing in 2010 at the Cisco Ottowa Bluesfest Brennan Schnell

    Grammy Award-winning recording artist Aubrey Graham, known around the world as Drake, set the internet ablaze just before Valentines day weekend with the surprise release of his seventh solo LP entitled If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. The 17 song LP came as a surprise to fans after rumors circulated for months that Graham would be releasing a new mixtape during the first few months of 2015.

    Following a trend set by R&B singer Beyoncé in December 2013, the project came without warning but simply as an iTunes link posted via Graham’s official twitter page. Projected to sell over 500,000 digital copies of the album upon the first week of its release, Graham fell just short of that number at 495,000 digital copies sold during the first week of sales.

    Nonetheless, with If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late having the largest sales week among Hip-Hop and R&B albums since the surprise release of Beyoncé’s self entitled album (which sold 617,000 copies in its first week of sales), it’s safe to say that Graham has left a memorable impression with his third chart-topping LP, according to

    The LP itself consists of 17 tracks that more than likely, did not make the final cut to appear on his upcoming album entitled Views from the 6 (inspired by the 416 area code of his birthplace of Toronto), which is slated to be released later this year. The most noteworthy tracks that are poised to make some noise on both the radio and club scene are, ‘Energy’, ’10 Bands’ ‘Know Yourself’ and the Lil Wayne assisted ‘Used To”, which along with the rest of the songs on the LP act as odes to his hometown, his affinity for exotic dancers and the trials and tribulations of a Hip-Hop Superstar.

    In addition, with the release of this LP, rumors about Graham’s status with his label, Cash Money, came to the forefront as his mentor, Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. (also known as Lil Wayne) has been engaged in a lawsuit with Cash Money. He’s requesting unpaid royalties or a release from the same label. Graham was signed by Lil Wayne to Young Money, a subsidiary of Cash Money Records and ultimately the Universal Music Group. Lil Wayne, upset with being denied the ability to release his long awaited album, Tha Carter V, lashed out against Cash Money and his mentor Bryan ‘Birdman’ Williams, threatening to leave the label and take his Young Money label mates with him.

    Throughout, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Graham makes numerous statements that seem to refer to his feelings toward the situation, with one song in particular, entitled: “Now and Forever” seems to directly address his label situation, as Graham appears to be preparing himself to separate from Cash Money Records and not knowing what awaits for him afterwards. To add fuel to the fire, after it had been rumored that this project would be released as a free mixtape, many began to speculate that it was released as a album in order for Graham to complete his four album contract with Cash Money, potentially resulting in his release from the label and the release of Views from the 6 as his first project that is not under the Cash Money umbrella. Furthermore, Graham also takes the opportunity to address his conflicts with the likes of P. Diddy, Tyga and others that has found the Canadian artist in the wrong spotlight.

    In all, with the release of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Graham remains one of the most popular and controversial figures in the music industry today. With his ability to compile hit after hit and the bridge the gap between Hip-Hop and R&B, it will be interesting to see where Graham’s career goes from here- from his potential split with Cash Money Records to the release of his next album Views from the 6- Graham is poised to continue to top charts and headlines.

  • Ilyasah Shabazz, talks with Melissa Harris-Perry about how he actively and purposely transformed himself into an independent global revolutionary, and what he would say about modern day activists.
    Feb 26 2015

    50 Years Later: Malcolm X’s daughter says her father would critique the rhetoric of today’s activists

    JESSICA STUBBS | Staff Writer

    Ilyasah Shabazz, talks with Melissa Harris-Perry about how he actively and purposely transformed himself into an independent global revolutionary, and what he would say about modern day activists.

    Ilyasah Shabazz, talks with Melissa Harris-Perry about how he actively and purposely transformed himself into an independent global revolutionary, and what he would say about modern day activists.


     50 years after the death of her father, Ilyasah Shabazz speculates about where Malcolm X might stand on issues affecting black Americans if he were living today.

    What Would Malcolm X Think? is the name of her opinion piece published in the New York Times on Saturday.

    Shabazz claims X would be critical of today’s organizing efforts within the black U.S. community.

    “Of course, my father would be heartened by the youth-led movement taking place across the nation, and abroad, in response to institutional brutality,” Shabazz writes. ‘And he would appreciate the protesters’ fervor and skillful use of social media to rapidly organize, galvanize and educate. In a sense, his ability to boil down hard truths into strong statements and catchy phrases presaged our era of hashtag activism.”

    Shabazz said she believes her father would critique the activists’ rhetoric itself.

    “I imagine he would applaud the “Hands Up” gesture for its sheer dramatic effect, but also critique it as rank capitulation that ironically accommodates the very goal of police brutality — to intimidate and immobilize black citizens, forcing them into a defenseless posture if they hope to survive.

    She goes on to say she believes her father would share her view of the iconic “hands up don’t shoot” chant, a staple in 2014’s anti-police brutality protests and the “black lives matter” movement.

    “He’d agree that “Black Lives Matter,” indeed — but also note that the uniformed police officers who disagree are not likely to be persuaded by a hashtag,” Shabazz said.

    Born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska; El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X was assassinated 50 years ago on February 21, 1965 at age 39.  At a speaking event in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965, three gunmen charged Malcolm onstage. They shot him 15 times at close range. He was pronounced dead on arrival at New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.  His assassins, Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler, and Thomas 15X Johnson, were convicted of first-degree murder in March of 1966. The three men were all members of the Nation of Islam.  Family gathered at the Audubon Ballroom, now the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center, to honor the legacy of the late minister.

    The Name

    In 1953, Malcolm changed his name from Malcolm Little to Malcolm X because he considered “Little” a slave name and chose the “X” to signify his lost tribal name.  In Malcolm received criticism for a comment he made regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. “[Kennedy] never foresaw that the chickens would come home to roost so soon,” said Malcolm. After the statement, Elijah Muhammad “silenced” (suspended) Malcolm for 90 days. In March 1964, Malcolm terminated his relationship with the Nation of Islam, a black supremacist organization.  In the same year, Malcolm made a pilgrimage to Mecca, changing his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.  There is no record of the meaning of the name, however there are many theories regarding its origin.

    The Life

    Malcolm was one of eight children.  His father, Earl Little was an outspoken baptist minister who followed and supported the Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey.  His mother, Louise Little was a homemaker busy with the children.  Continued threats from the Black Legion, a splinter of the Ku-Klux Klan, forced the family to move to Lansing, Michigan.  In 1929, their Lansing home was burned down. Two years later, Earl’s body was found lying across the town’s trolley tracks. Police ruled both incidents as accidents, but the Littles were certain that members of the Black Legion were responsible. Louise suffered emotional breakdown several years after her husband’s death and was admitted to a mental institution, while her children were split up among various foster homes and orphanages.

    After the eighth grade, Malcolm dropped out of school, headed for a life of crime.  When twenty-one, he was sentenced to prison for burglary and there he encountered the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam.  Muhammad’s thesis that the white man is the devil with whom blacks cannot live had a strong impact on Malcolm. Malcolm was appointed as a minister and national spokesman for the Nation of Islam. Elijah Muhammad also entrusted him with establishing new mosques in cities such as Detroit, Michigan, and Harlem.  Malcolm was largely credited with increasing membership in the Nation from 500 in 1952 to 30,000 in 1963.

    After his return from Mecca in 1964, Malcolm said he had met “blonde-haired, blued-eyed men I could call my brothers.” He returned to the United States with a new outlook on integration and a new hope for the future. This time when Malcolm spoke, instead of just preaching to African-Americans, he had a message for all races.  In March 1964, Malcolm terminated his relationship with the Nation.  After Malcolm resigned from the Nation and renounced Elijah Muhammad, relations between the two had become increasingly strained.  FBI informants working undercover in the Nation warned officials that Malcolm had been marked for assassination–one undercover officer had even been ordered to help plant a bomb in Malcolm’s car.

    After repeated attempts on his life, Malcolm rarely traveled anywhere without bodyguards. On February 14, 1965 the home where Malcolm, Betty, and their four daughters lived in East Elmhurst, New York was firebombed. The family escaped unharmed.  One week later, Malcolm was assassinated in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965.

    The Legacy

    50 years after his assassination, Malcolm is remembered by one of six daughters, Ilyasah Shabazz at the Audubon Ballroom, now the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center.  Malcolm was honored in cities all over the United States through events sponsored from various groups to honor and remember the legacy of Malcolm X.

  • Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch addresses a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 24, 2008.   REUTERS/Denis Balibouse   (SWITZERLAND)
    Feb 25 2015

    Fox News: friend or foe?

    Jillian Smith | Staff Writer


    Fox News, an affiliate owned by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox media company, has a long-standing history of conservative right-wing opinions.

    Murdoch, born in Melbourne, Australia was raised in the United States, proudly achieving what some might consider “the American Dream.”  In the years since, Murdoch created News Corp., his media conglomerate, and has since accrued a massive international network of print, broadcast and online media outlets and a personal net worth of $13.3 billion according to Forbes.

    Being the CEO and Chairman of a major international corporation certainly increases ones’ international influence.

    This influence puts Fox News, and all of Murdoch’s outlets, in a paramount position which he has used to spread strong right-wing messages.

    ¨I believe that most of the information that is shared [on Fox News] is educating an audience on what seems to solely be based on opinions and not actual data,” said Davante Falls, a senior in Communication.

    “I’m a curious person who’s interested in the great issues of the day, and I’m not good at holding my tongue,” Murdoch admitted at the Leveson Inquiry on culture, practice and ethics of the press in 2012, reports Bloomberg Business.

    Along with a lack of self-control in his speech, Murdoch bolsters a lack of media censorship in the acceptation that he allows his outlets immense freedom in their pro-republican broadcasting as well as in their extreme anti-democratic attitudes.

    ¨Another problem that I see within the ethical realm is that they are very close-minded when it comes to hearing other opinions,” said Falls.

    On many of their popular programs, such as “The Five” and “Fox and Friends,” Fox News reporters not only take an anti-democratic political stance, they also seem to be harshly critical of some of the major groups of Democratic constituents such as women, blacks and latinos.

    ¨Nine times out of 10, I feel offended by things on Fox News, one of the many reasons I don’t watch it as much,” said Falls, who identifies as a  black male.

    Following the terror attack on Paris’ satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Kennedy Montgomery, co-host of Fox’s “Outnumbered,” said on the topic of profiling “sometimes bad guys don’t look like bad guys.” Co-host Shannon Bream then amended her earlier suggestion of profiling to reduce terror attacks by saying that it may not work if the alleged suspects don’t “look like typical bad guys.”

    What does the typical bad guy look like to a Fox News reporter?

    That fact that these “reporters” are informing people on how to profile the “typical bad guy” shows how illegitimate this source of “news” is, as well as how prone they are to making derogatory racist comments.

    To further their illegitimacy, Fox News has frequently been caught using manipulated images, graphs, video clips and other multimedia to distort the viewers’ perception and manipulate their opinion.

    Crystal Lu, a junior in International Studies and Communication agreed saying,”they use flawed studies and skewed stories to gain their audiences’ attention and support. They also seem very bigoted and ignorant when they interview people of different mindsets.¨

    According to Pulitzer Prize winning PolitiFact, only 10 percent of Fox News claims could be proven true while 58 percent were proven mostly false or worse. This can be compared to rates like 80 percent of claims proven true for CNN and 44 percent proven mostly false or worse for NBC and MSNBC.

    This “news” is more like a source of conservative propaganda rather than honest, ethical journalism.

    ¨It seems that Fox News is not a news station, but just a platform to use as a political resource for certain subjects,” Lu said.

    Glen Beck, former headliner on the Fox network, once said “I could give a flying crap about the political process … We’re an entertainment company.”

    So, viewers beware.


  • Jan 28 2015

    Nobel Peace Prize nominee asks, “Is it justice, or just us?”

    Quianne’ Holmes | Staff Writer


    Mandy Carter posing with President Obama

    Mandy Carter posing with President Obama

    It’s not often you get the opportunity to be in the presence of someone who was nominated for a Nobel  Peace Prize.. N.C. State faculty and students had the opportunity to meet and listen to Mandy Carter and other qualified individuals in a panel discussion on Friday. Carter, a Durham native, graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School and after continued her efforts participating in the movement for equality.


    Who is Mandy Carter? She is a number of things,  an orphan, African-American, southerner, lesbian, and most importantly a social justice advocate.


    The catalyst to her efforts for the LGBT community began as an adolescent. As previously mentioned, Carter was an orphan, she was raised in foster homes until the age of 18. Not having a mom or dad limited her ability to have a typical parental role in her life. She knew something was different about her but she had no idea what it was until years later when she encountered people who were like her and identified as lesbian.


    Carter’s mission is all about equality. She went into vivid detail painting a psychological picture of how slavery existed for hundreds of years. Continuing her analogy, she explained how Africans came here as property. She continued to engage my attention by asking me to think about what justified the “government” to have a law that allowed Africans to be human bondage. She finished the detailed contemporary flashback by saying that someone finally realized that this was wrong, abolitionsists all the way up to Congress through much effort had to realize that blacks deserved the same privileges as whites in that era.


    Carter hopes to pass on her legacy of full equality and justice for all so the next generations can fight this on going battle. She mentioned her fears for the future of LGBT rights, such as the stereotype of being gay as something that only white people can identify as. Carter continued by describing how someone who is African American and identifies with the LGBT community is perceived in the African American community. “Often times in African American communities, identifying as LGBT isn’t something that is perceived well.”  Carter expressed her fears that, once people who belong to the LGBT community receive their rights, they will refrain from helping those who are still struggling with other social rights issues.


    Mandy Carter is a humble, empowered leader. She fights several social justice battles for the many different groups that she identifies with. She is well-educated in her experiences, and her dialect stimulates the possibilities of our future goals in society. All students are encouraged to attend her next event on Thursday, January 29th from 6-7:30 pm in Witherspoon 126.