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The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors.

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Cultivating Media and Minds
Updated: 2 hours 54 min ago

10 Tracks That Slap

February 14, 2018 - 4:45pm

In case you haven’t heard this week was packed with hot new songs and EP’s. Everything from the Black Panther soundtrack – to Ravyn Lenae’s EP Crush, the Internet consistently provides us with heat. Here’s a list of what we thought was hot this week. Tune in next week for more.

“Paramedic!” (SOB x RBE, Black Panther Soundtrack)

Kendrick Lamar and Vallejo prodigies SOB x RBE linked up to bring us “Paramedic!” from the new Black Panther soundtrack. The song combines hyphy bars and LA trap, pure whap.


“Make Luv” (Brent Faiyaz)

East Coast rapper Brent Faiyaz’s new single “Make Luv” debuted last week. The song’s heavy bass and Faiyaz’s melodic voice compliment each other like chocolate and peanut butter. S’mores slaps for a Friday night.

“Funeral” (August08, 88rising)

Freshly signed to 88rising, a creative management company, August08’s “Funeral” is the first single from his forthcoming EP Father. Although the word funeral usually paints a lot of negative imagery, the LA-based artist breathes new life into the word. “Don’t say it at my funeral” he sings, asking his audience to keep it real with one another and spread positivity.


“King Kong” (Gunna and Young Thug)

Atlanta rappers Gunna and Young Thug gifted us with another banger “King Kong.” The song is a glimpse at Gunna’s new album Drip Season 3. The track starts with Thugga’s melodic vocals followed by some hard bars from Gunna. This fire track reminds us just why Atlanta’s such a hotspot for hip-hop and trap music right now.

“100 Bars and Gunnin” (RAMIREZ, GREY*59)

Bay Area raised artist RAMIREZ dropped a new single titled “100 Bars and Gunnin.” The song pays homage to the gangster/thug persona but in a new and alternative way. Ramirez’s fast-paced rhythm and heavy bass hints to us why the Bay Area is home to strong amount of emerging talent.

“Down In The Hole” (OTTO, Brain Dead Records)

South Florida rapper OTTO dropped a hot new single “Down In The Hole.” This self-produced track is driven by emotional and heartfelt rap-like bars.

“The Ways” (Khalid)

If you’re looking for a more melodic and romantic song, we’ve got the perfect gem for you. “The Ways” by Khalid featuring Swae Lee is the slap to play for that special someone this Valentine’s Day. Another win for the Black Panther soundtrack.


“The Night Song” (Ravyn Lenae)

Fresh off of Ravyn Lenae’s latest EP release Crush, “The Night Song” is luscious. Lenae’s glossy vocals remind us why she’s here to stay!

“Buttcheeks” (6 Dogs)

Georgia native 6 Dogs just released his new single “Buttcheeks.” The 18-year-old artist has been on a roll with past releases “Flossing” and “Faygo Dreams.” Don’t be creeped out by the Donnie Darko-esque rabbit…

“Reasons” (Paris)

For the more alternative-underground rap lovers, Los Angeles rapper Paris’ latest release “Reasons” is one to remember! Paris adds to punk rap scene with more melodic vocals and alternative lyrics. As interesting as the sound is it will be even more interesting to see where these opening doors will lead.

If you enjoyed this article, tune in next week for an updated list!

Categories: Blog

Dating While Trans: A Love Story

February 14, 2018 - 1:19pm

It’s no secret that dating can suck. First dates are awkward, people come with baggage and drama, and sometimes, despite having the best intentions, things just don’t work out. But dating is especially challenging for me. Being transgender means I have to be very selective about who I let into my life.

On a Saturday morning six months ago, I was standing outside the BART station in downtown Berkeley, waiting for a cute guy I had been chatting with online. This would be our first in-person meeting.

I had just started to date again after a bad break-up. This guy seemed sweet and a little nerdy: a math student “trying to learn how to adult,” whose interests included transhumanism, gender, and “writing angry essays on the internet.” In short, he sounded like my kind of person.

As I scanned the crowd, my heart beat faster. I was being nagged by a familiar question: He’s cis, and he knows that I’m trans — how will that affect the way he interacts with me?

Once I reveal to someone that I’m trans, there are no take-backs. It takes a lot of trust on my part that they won’t react with disgust, anger, or violence.

I have every reason to be careful: 2017 was the deadliest year on record for trans people in the last decade. Somewhere from 30 to 50 percent of trans people will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

When I came out as trans at 14, part of me believed I was resigning myself to being alone. I was young, and coming out felt like entering into a heartbreaking catch-22. I had given up on ever feeling comfortable looking feminine, which quickly gave way to fear that I’d never look “convincingly” masculine. And when I did start passing, I fixated on how others perceived me. Would they see my features as handsome, or boyish? If someone calls me cute, is that a good or a bad sign? If I ask someone out and they don’t know that I’m trans, when and how should I tell them? And how will they react? Who will they tell? And how will THEY react?

Online dating does make it a little easier to find partners. Certain platforms let me opt out of seeing or being seen by non-LGBTQ people. I can scan over the profiles of people I find interesting and weed out “chasers” who might fetishize me, as well as transphobic jerks.

But there’s still plenty of covert transphobia lurking among people who aren’t straight: the kind that someone won’t say outright, but manifests in their beliefs and attitudes. After all, mainstream gay culture is just as steeped in idealized, gendered representations of beauty as any other demographic– think of all the hunky cis gay men whose Tinder profiles unabashedly specify “no fats, no femmes.” That’s why so many trans people end up dating other trans people; it makes it much less likely that your partner will somehow use your identity against you.

Since coming out, I’ve had a couple of long, fulfilling relationships that helped to ease my romantic pessimism. I’ve also matured a lot, and I’ve largely detached my self esteem from whether people think I’m handsome, or even a man in the first place.

That doesn’t make rolling the dice on a new potential partner much easier — a fact very much on my mind as I finally recognized my date outside the BART station.

As he approached, another wave of self-consciousness washed over me, and I steeled myself for first impressions. We exchanged hellos and hugged. He was so much taller than me that I did a mini face-plant on his chest, but it was nice. Then, we meandered over to a local restaurant for brunch. So far so good.

Like any first date, our conversation was tinted with nervous energy and awkward moments. He even tried to get me to order food for him (indecisive much?). But our mutual eccentricity kept the jokes, anecdotes, and trivia flowing between us long after we left the restaurant. As afternoon rolled around and turned into evening, I began to drop my guard. The intrusive questions and comments that I braced for never happened. At one point, he gently took my hand and looked into my eyes. I felt then that there was nothing to worry about.

These days, that guy’s not so much a stranger as he is my boyfriend. And he’s freaking lovely; kind, smart, hilarious, adorable… I could go on and on with mushy adjectives. I’m still getting to know his friends and family, which presents its own challenges. But all in all I feel very lucky that I’ve found someone who respects and cares for me.

Because trans folks don’t just deserve safety. We deserve love too.

Categories: Blog

3 Movies About Love That Make You Glad You’re Single

February 14, 2018 - 11:32am

If you have a boo, you probably want to stop reading here. Otherwise, here are three movies for my single ladies, gentlemen, and gender-nonconforming peers who, one way or another, will be alone this Valentine’s Day.

Blue Valentine (2010)

Does Ryan Gosling make you need a cold shower? Are your parents divorced? If you answered yes to either of these questions, watch Blue Valentine.  It’s a naturalistic indie-drama, cataloguing the catalyst and destruction of a couple’s marriage. It may be a tear-jerker for some, in fact I showed it to my bestie and she hasn’t believed in love since, but it conveys the transience of love and life all in breathtaking 35 millimeter. Available to stream on Amazon Video for $2.99, YouTube $7.99, Google Play $7.99, or iTunes $3.99.


Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Get your screens ready for Y Tu Mamá También — a scoping road film that will invoke your lust for life. Follow Julio and Tenoch, who are BFFs minus the forever, as they take a wiser older woman on a beachfront road trip. Me? I’m single because I think monogamy is a sham, so this one really butters my biscuit. Y Tu Mamá También spotlights how jealousy is really a product of insecurity and hypermasculinity. Plus, Gael Garcia Bernal is in it. And if you wouldn’t trade in your tinder match of the month for this man, you’re lying to yourself. Available to stream on Netflix, Amazon Video for $2.99, or iTunes $3.99.


Harold and Maude (1971)

Do you love older women? Cause I do! And so does Harold, in this early ’70s dramedy Harold and Maude, which will challenge your perspective on romance. What better way to learn how to love then from a pro? Emo 20-year-old Harold learns from free-spirited 80-year-old Maude and it is a romance for the ages! Literally. If you feel lonesome this week surrounded by all the saccharine materialist valentine’s day propaganda, listen to Maude: “L-I-V-E! Live! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.” Available to stream on Amazon Video for $0.99, YouTube $2.99, Google Play $2.99, or iTunes $3.99.

And remember, even if you’re watching TV solo tonight, at the end of the day you got you. Protect your heart. Go buy yourself a candy bar. And Happy Valentine’s day, chumps. 

Categories: Blog

Illustration Challenge: What If Black People Had Superpowers?

February 13, 2018 - 11:28am

What if only black people had superpowers? That’s the premise of the comic book series BLACK, written by Kwanza Osajyefo with designs by Tim Smith III and artwork by Jamal Igle. It’s the perfect read if you’re both waiting for the Black Panther movie and nervously checking the news for the latest racially-charged incident.

The 2016 Kickstarter-funded comic starts off with an all-too familiar presence — a young black man is gunned down by police — but he survives unscathed thanks to a previously undiscovered set of abilities. We won’t spoil the series for you, but let’s just say it feels very relevant given today’s political climate.

To that end, we contacted BLACK designer Tim Smith III and invited him to an artistic challenge with our very own design intern, Dominik Vaughan. They both had to draw themselves as superheroes and tell us why they chose their particular ability.


Tim Smith III (BLACK #1): 

“My power is the ability to see and understand the actual intentions of a persons character.” – Tim Smith III

Dominik Vaughan (Youth Radio):

“In real life I’m very hard headed and like to tackle things headfirst, so why not be a big running block of metal. I would turn myself into metal, be indestructible and have super strength.  Nothing can affect me or penatrate me. Only a being equally matched or way out of my league can take me on.” – Dominik Vaughan
Categories: Blog

Teen Snowboarder Chloe Kim Wins Olympic Gold

February 13, 2018 - 9:59am

Teen Snowboarder Chloe Kim is now an Olympic gold medalist — and her tweets during the competition are also gold! Somebody get this girl a breakfast sandwich, stat!

Categories: Blog

Marijuana MBA? USC Business School Weighs In On Legalization

February 13, 2018 - 9:29am

Now that several states have legalized recreational cannabis, it’s an officially legit career path for anyone over the age of 21. But like… do you need go to college to become a grower, start your own dispensaries, or sell a line of edibles?

Youth Radio’s Noel Anaya sat down with USC Marshall School of Business’s Mark Brostoff, assistant dean and director of the graduate career services office, and Anthony Dukes, professor of marketing, to ask how they would advise a future cannabis entrepreneur.

The interview below has been edited for clarity and length.

NOEL ANAYA: Let’s say a young person wants to go into the cannabis industry after they turn 21. How do you get into something that until so recently was illicit?

MARK BROSTOFF: Every aspect of business — whether it’s marketing, finance strategy, internal consulting, or operations — is transferable to the cannabis industry. I could see entry points as including private equity and venture capital. Taking a marketing class at USC, you would learn to harness profitability from existing markets.


How do you navigate the ethical grey areas — after all, while this is legal in some states, it is still illegal under federal law..

BROSTOFF: I think one’s personal ethics always comes into play when it comes to a job search and an acceptance. I don’t think that it would be too different than if a student were offered an internship or job at one of the big wineries or alcohol distributors. Also, not everyone in the cannabis industry are users of cannabis. I think it’s important to separate out the user end, and the purchaser end.

ANTHONY DUKES: From a marketing perspective and from a brand image point of view, it might be useful also to look at the alcohol industry or even the cigarette industry. [For example] the alcohol industry very carefully emphasizes as an industry that we should enjoy this product responsibly.


Can you in really simple terms explain how the money works in this business? Is traditional banking not available to these businesses? Or does California’s legalization make it a non-issue?

BROSTOFF: There is no doubt that [lack of access to] banking can hold back a very eager entrepreneur. It’s a matter of whether the federal government is going to crack down or not. Obviously that’s an unknown question. So there’s a risk associated with any investment and just take for example the wildfires that destroyed acres of marijuana in Northern California with no insurance — [at that point in time] you could not get an insurance policy on a marijuana crop. So you have to have a pretty high tolerance for risk in this industry.


Are some parts of the industry riskier than others, from a business standpoint?

BROSTOFF: When you look at [grow operations], they may have more difficulty because they’re producing a crop that that is illegal at the federal level, and there’s implications from that end. But a brick and mortar shop that is selling [cannabis products] but not growing is operating as a legitimate business with a business license — you’re a legal entity in the state of California collecting tax and paying taxes. I think the growers have greater [risk] exposure.


What would you say if and when one of your advisees says they want to go into this industry?

DUKES: If there’s a young budding entrepreneur looking at the cannabis industry, my advice from a career standpoint would be to assess whether or not you want to take any personal risks. The opportunity to gain work experience is tremendous because it is so new. But we don’t know 10 years from now how that will look on someone’s resume. I suspect that in California that may not be a problem, but it may be a problem going into a state where marijuana is not legal.

BROSTOFF: From a career services standpoint, I would coach students to at least recognize that in the short term it could be great experience. But in the long term, we don’t know whether or not that resume item will will help or or detract you from career advancement.

Categories: Blog

Youth Radio Raw: Youf ‘n da Booth Episode 2

February 12, 2018 - 11:25am



Welcome to the 2nd episode of Youf ‘n da Booth on Youth Radio Raw.

Make sure you tune in every week on Fridays from 6:15 to 7:35pm!

On this show, you’ll hear the recent news, personal experiences and a diverse selection of music.

For photos of the show, go to Youth Radio’s Flickr page.

Check out live coverage of the show by following @YouthRadioRaw on Twitter and @yr_raw on Instagram.

Categories: Blog

From Art To Action: Festival Aims To Create Social Justice Advocates

February 12, 2018 - 11:12am
David Meza for Richmond Pulse

By Abené Clayton | Video by Mitzi Perez | Richmond Pulse

Last month, the hushed tones of people analyzing art filled a labyrinth-style gallery in a downtown Los Angeles warehouse. Heads tilted to find hidden writing and details in paintings of Black and brown folks in painful and joyous situations.

A booming echo of ceramic plates smashing against a wall punctuated conversations in the gallery. The artistic plate destruction was a part of an installation where people wrote words like “patriarchy” and “oppression” on dishes before shattering them.

This art installation was one of the main attractions of the first “Into Action” social justice festival held in Chinatown. Hundreds of families, friends, and solo patrons filled the warehouse gallery, and an “impact hub,” a smaller warehouse a few feet away from the main gallery.

The goal of the art was to inspire people to think deeply about issues like homelessness and White supremacy. People of color and other minority groups have used artistic expression as a refuge from the violence and crushing weight of racism and poverty. Presenters from organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) sought to turn the emotion caused by the provocative art displays into actions that will contribute to the uplift of underserved communities.

The main goal of the festival was to encourage people to act and prepare folks to leave the event ready to commit to a social justice cause.

Economic inequality was a major theme in the event’s art displays and panel discussions, and activists with the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) put the plight of low income folks as the focal point of their installation. PPC staff brought a mule wagon (a mule drawn wagon complete with wooden wheels and a linen top) to the Impact Hub as a reminder of the historical struggles facing folks who live in poverty.

The mule wagon became a symbol of the national campaign inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 movement to bring together “poor people from across the country for a new march on Washington.”

PPC staff set up a replica of the mule wagon that was used during the original caravan to protest gross economic inequality in the United States. The wagon held pots, canned foods, and other essentials that people took with them as they marched from Mississippi to the nation’s capital. Festival goers could also watch a video inside the wagon about work the PPC is currently doing.

Kait Ziegler chairs the PPC’s California steering committee, and said that touring the mule wagon from state to state is necessary to ensure that low-income people are at the forefront of PPC’s message. She says PPC does this by “making sure that impacted folks are a part of the creative voices.”

The necessity of working directly with underserved communities was also emphasized during a “Know Your Rights” workshop, which featured activists from Black Lives Matter and the ACLU.

“It’s about taking the art and making it meaningful, making it matter,” said Felecia “FeLove” Leneé, program director for Compassionate ARTS, the group that brought the panelists together.

Compassionate ARTS is a branch of Compassionate California, a statewide initiative to “foster the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.” Leneé and her staff displayed tall cardboard lampposts that had civilian’s rights regarding filming the police painted on them. Leneé said these pieces were special because they were an opportunity to bring “cops into a conversation that they normally wouldn’t join,” Leneé said.

The posts are visual conversations, and teachable tools,” Leneé said, “It wasn’t intimidating. We said, “hey you’re gonna make art!”

Panelist Jasmine Adbullah, founder of Black Lives Matter in Pasadena, also spoke about the use of art as a tool to dispel popular stereotypes of activists as “angry, violent folks.”

“It’s imperative that we get out there, and we show the beauty and the joy of activism,” Abdullah said.

She is adamant that attendees become “activated” and continue participating in social justice movements after the art and revelry of the festival ends.

“What we have to do as Black and brown people is build momentum,” Abdullah said. “In these spaces, it’s our duty to call these people out. We’re not doing a justice to our people if we don’t.”

Click here to see highlights from the Into Action Festival.

Categories: Blog

Giving Up My Privacy In Exchange For Cheaper Rent

February 11, 2018 - 8:00am
Photo courtesy of Bernard Spragg via Flickr

I’m a college student in San Francisco. To afford to live here, I share a two bedroom apartment with five other girls. I ask myself daily, is living in this town worth the cost of my privacy?

After growing up in Southern California, I was ready for a change. So when I got the opportunity to move to San Francisco for college, I was thrilled.

I knew that living in the Bay Area would be costly, but I still didn’t anticipate how it would put my health and happiness on the line.

Housing has become one of my biggest stressors. I barely have enough room in my apartment to lie down. I can’t have guests without knocking stuff over. I don’t have a private place to go when I’m stressed. I can’t focus. My hope is by living like this, I can avoid financial problems down the line. But I don’t think it’s right I have to choose.

I still have two more years of college, which means, two years of putting up with these conditions…and it’s not fair. Students like me should be able to focus on graduating — not worrying about rent.

Categories: Blog

4 Teen Olympians Who Will Make You Question What You’ve Been Doing With Your Life

February 9, 2018 - 5:50pm

Happy 2018 Winter Olympics y’all! Time to reflect on the accomplishments of some of the world’s most elite young athletes and ask…. what am I doing with my life? Let’s get started!

Vincent Zhou, 17, USA: Figure Skating

Born: October 25, 2000

Age he started skating: 5

Zhou is the youngest U.S. Olympian. Zhou will be one of six 17-year-olds on the U.S. team. He’s 22 years younger than the oldest U.S. Olympian, ice hockey player Brian Gionta, 39. The average age of team USA is a little over 26, so yeah. There’s that. Skip to 1:40 to see him do a quadruple lutz triple toe combo that will make you question how you spent your childhood.

Watch him compete on February 9 so you can feel:

Categories: Blog

New Government Budget Deal Does Not Include DACA

February 9, 2018 - 3:38pm

In case you’re keeping score, we’re two government shutdowns deep, and still no deal on DACA.

After a brief shutdown last night, Congress passed another temporary budget resolution to fund the federal government through March 23. But unless a new immigration deal is reached, the DACA program, which protects about 700,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation, is set to expire March 5.

Leading up to the latest budget deal, Democrat and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi staged a record-breaking 8-hour speech on the floor of the House of Representatives urging Congress to vote on immigration reform to protect DACA recipients, or “Dreamers.”

Update: Eight hours later, Nancy Pelosi is still reading statements from Dreamers in a marathon speech in support of #DACA. #DACAbuster https://t.co/RGAYYQi0gD

— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) February 7, 2018

During last month’s government shutdown, Democrats had negotiated with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for a Congressional debate on immigration this month. But while President Trump indicated last month that he was open to a deal on DACA, his insistence that it include funding for a wall and an end to chain migration and visa lottery systems may have stalled bipartisan talks.

DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2018

I, as President, want people coming into our Country who are going to help us become strong and great again, people coming in through a system based on MERIT. No more Lotteries! #AMERICA FIRST

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2018

With the DACA program’s expiration date fast approaching, many young, undocumented immigrants are speaking up and calling for a clean DREAM Act now, sharing photos of themselves at the age they came to the U.S.

I was 5 years old and it has been 18 years. #CleanDreamAct pic.twitter.com/nVTon8KIfR

— Joce (@joce_mons) February 9, 2018

I was turning 7, and its been 14 years. 2/3’s of my life. #CleanDreamAct #CleanDreamActNow pic.twitter.com/yu2rY65vw3

— Zeus (@jesusnzamudi03) February 7, 2018

I was 1 year old and it has been almost 18 years. #CleanDreamActNow #CleanDreamAct pic.twitter.com/KIqziCfsUV

— ana △⃒⃘ (@anabloonana) February 7, 2018

Categories: Blog

I Am Youth Radio: Stoney’s Creative Life

February 8, 2018 - 1:22pm

Our series highlighting the producers and artists who put the youth in Youth Radio.


Name: Stoney Creation

Title: Production Assistant for All Day Play (Social Media and Graphic Design)

Age: 19

How’d You Learn About Youth Radio?

My mom’s friend was a DJ here for All Day Play. His name’s Milan. He told my mom about it, how there were so many youth learning so many different things like different arts, multimedia and producing. I was already getting into my groove of creating. Like I was figuring out what was my best strong suits in terms of art, and I’ve always been a renaissance artist but my main was singing and rapping. So when I found out about Youth Radio I was like “Oh wow, I can make my skills more great.” Just learn more things and broaden my horizon.


How long have you been at Youth Radio?

Since I was 14, so it’s been about…five years.


What’s your biggest project at Youth Radio so far?

Right now our biggest project is doing the lyric videos for the [upcoming] mixtape. We’re learning After Effects simultaneously while we’re doing it. So it’s been kind of a challenge to learn how everything works. It’s really tedious, honestly, because we have to break all the layers up, put them in, make them how we want ‘em. Make ‘em bigger. Learning the cameras in After Effects. It’s just just so much stuff. It’s definitely challenging but it’s super fun because it’s going to make us great at it. [Check out our previous mixtape.]


Name an artist that’s inspiring you.

IAMDDB is a new artist that I’ve been listening to. I think she’s from London. She’s a black British artist that’s super, super dope. She raps. She sings. My friend told me about her. She said “I think you’ll love her, she’s almost got the same style as you.” Then I found out her birthday is like the day after mine. I was like, “Oh, snap, no wonder.” It’s super trippy. She’s like super focused. It’s hella inspiring to see that, it motivates me. Even though times get kinda rough and hard. Just keep going.


What do you think of social media?

It’s a dope resource to have in terms of being an artist, but you’ve just got to be smart and you’ve got to move smart on it and know yourself. Because if you don’t know yourself while having a platform like that, you can get lost.


What’s some advice you’d give to aspiring artists?

It’s about self-expression…You’re doing this for you and you’re doing this to show people what it is to be yourself.


Categories: Blog

Queen Nefertiti Whitewashed?

February 8, 2018 - 12:47pm

Earlier this week, TODAY show guest Josh Gates, host of the Travel Channel’s “Expedition Unknown,” revealed a new reproduction of Egyptian queen Nefertiti that looked a bit…. off.

The bone structure of the sculpture, which Gates touted as “extremely accurate,” was based on 3-D imaging of the mummy of Nefertiti, who lived about 3,500 years ago. But the artist’s decision to make the African queen so light-skinned? Not so scientific. In fact, many people in the Twittersphere had another word for it — whitewashing.



Categories: Blog

3 Asian Underground Artists To Download Right Now

February 6, 2018 - 2:11pm

When you think of trap, house, hip-hop and R&B music, your first thought might not be Asia. But in the last two years or so, artists such as Rich Brian and Keith Ape took the U.S. by storm with bangers such as “It G Ma,” “Dat $tick,” “Gospel” and more.

Although many of these artists already had buzz before they hit the U.S., the world really got a glimpse of their magnitude after the remix of the Keith Ape hit “It G Ma.” In case you haven’t heard it, “It G Ma” stands out for a few reasons. One, in addition to English, the artists featured (Keith Ape,  JayAllDay, Loota, Okasian and Kohh) also rap in Korean and Japanese. The song feels both classically trap, heavily inspired by OG Maco’s U Guessed It, and yet non-gimicky. If you were into the underground scene, you probably heard it at some point. (Currently the music video has 49 million views on YouTube.) The song made way for artists like Joji, Yaeji, and Rina Sawayama.

So what’s behind this new wave? For one thing, changes to the way music travels. Creative management companies like 88rising  are capitalizing on the rise in Asian artists by providing exposure outside of traditional record labels. And it’s working — the company’s all stars Keith Ape, Rich Brian, and Joji sold out their first three tour dates this month. With the help of creative management companies, the artist’s need for a record label has almost become obsolete, providing exposure for underground artists from many different backgrounds. And of course, thanks to the internet and spaces like YouTube the movement can be seen on a global scale. 

But don’t just take our word for it — here are some hits from three of our favorite artists:


George Miller, also known as Joji, is a Japanese-Australian musician. He first started making hits as Pink Guy on YouTube and even linked up with DJs like Getter and Borgore. Just a few short months after releasing Pink Season, Miller dropped his debut album In Tongues, only this time as Joji. 


Kathy Yaeji Lee professionally known as Yaeji, is a Korean-American electronic music artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Her use of laid back house and electronic beats create a blissful upbeat sound perfect for getting any party going. Although she has yet to drop an official album, her single “Drink I’m Sippin’ On ” has already racked up almost five million views on YouTube. 

Rina Sawayama

Last but not least on our rising list is Japanese singer-songwriter and model Rina Sawayama. Her heavy neo R&B and hip-hop style provides us with a refreshing take on 90s and early-2000s Pop and R&B. In October of last year, Rina released her self-titled “mini album” RINA

The world of underground hip-hop is constantly growing and always changing. Thanks to the power of the internet, music has the ability to spread like wildfire. As years go by, musicians are becoming more independent and record labels are becoming less relevant. Streaming platforms are changing the music industry in major ways by giving fans direct access to the artists they love for free. Recently, creative management companies have been just as pivotal in the breaking out of an artist as we’ve seen with 88rising. Soon record labels will be fragmented memories of the music industry.

And if that means we get to hear from more diverse artists, that’s OK with us.

Categories: Blog

Did You Know: JUUL Is The New E-Cigarette

February 6, 2018 - 1:20pm

Psssst… that’s not a flash drive.

The JUUL is a type of e-cigarette that’s showing up in high schools around the country. Their small size allows them to be puffed discreetly–  even in class. 

JUUL pods come in flavors like creme brulee and cucumber, and the device can be charged through any USB port. But make no mistake — this is NOT candy. Each pod contains 5 percent nicotine and is equivalent to an entire pack of cigarettes.  Youth Radio’s Finley Davis talks about the trend at her high school for this edition of #DidYouKnow.

Categories: Blog

How We Made the DACA Project: From the Youth Radio Interactive Team

February 6, 2018 - 10:34am

DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is one of the biggest news stories of 2018. Youth Radio–alongside pretty much every major news outlet— is busy covering the program’s uncertain future.

But this is a different kind of DACA post. Here, we share a behind-the-scenes look at what it took for a group of young people at Youth Radio to create two interactives that used data to highlight what’s at stake for young people at risk of losing DACA’s protections. They researched, designed, and coded these interactives–from scratch.

What’s a part of your interactive you’re proud of?

Elsa Guta: One of my favorite parts of our site was “The Current State of DACA,” because it notifies whoever will be looking on this website what DACA is, why it was created, and how it benefits people. Another reason that I like this part is because of the bubble sheet on the side that lets you know where all the people who use DACA come from. The circles are scaled to the size of how many people come from each country.”


What’s a challenge you faced making the interactive?  

Valencia White: One problem I faced while making this website was finding reliable sources and doing research. In the beginning stages of this website, we originally were going to use a different source for finding the number of people in DACA and how many people would lose it over the years. Using that source, it took me about a week to do all of the math for the data visualization. But we later found out that we couldn’t use that data. This was difficult. We solved this problem when we eventually found a better source for data. Even though it was frustrating, I knew it would be better to use a source that had reliable data.

What surprised you about the process?

Shanya Williams: The most surprising thing that I experienced while working on the DACA website was how hard it was for my team to agree on colors. To this day, the website still has colors that make ⅔ of us snicker!

Any advice for other young people who want to learn to code?

SW: I advise you to take a lot of breaks and drink water because a lot of confusion and problems surface when you’re staring at the same thing on the same computer for five hundred years. When you start to feel like you’re going in circles, stand up and actually walk around in a circle. Because surprisingly, in a way, coding is like exercise. It works out your brain muscles, and just like a leg or arm muscle, you have to work it out, but then rest, and then work it out again, and then rest. I believe that your website or app will turn out way better if you take the time and mental space to think about the thing you are building. Also, it will save you time and mental health, because you probably will not be traveling in circles of the same ideas.

VW: Some advice I would give to someone wanting to code is that if you have a problem, ask someone. It’s really easy to get stuck on something while coding and give up. Instead of just giving up, ask for help, because it’s going to feel so much better to just solve the problem.

EG: For younger people who want to code, my advice is to be open-minded and ready to take in a  lot of knowledge. Be ready to fail multiple times, and don’t get frustrated. Just erase and start again, until you get it right. Nobody’s perfect!

Categories: Blog

Kendrick Lamar Releases Black Panther Movie Track List

February 5, 2018 - 3:55pm

Kendrick Lamar just released the track list and artwork for the much anticipated Black Panther movie. And as you can imagine, the Internet lost its mind. Here’s who you’ll hear on the Bay Area-heavy soundtrack, which releases online February 9th. Black Panther hits most theaters February 15th.

Categories: Blog

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Young Men of Color

February 5, 2018 - 3:11pm

By Jazmine Justice-Young/Access Sacramento

The term “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as a disorder that can develop in people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous, and overall “traumatic” event. PTSD is most commonly associated with symptoms seen in returning war veterans, but an action brief released on the California Endowment’s homepage redefines the term in a way many services providers seem to overlook. The report explains how PTSD symptoms in boys and men of color (BMoCs) are often dismissed as the patients being “too hard” or “unremorseful” while really they are suffering from trauma that cannot be pinpointed to a single incident but are recurring factors in their daily lives.

To begin to understand how PTSD affects BMoCs, you first have to understand trauma.

The National Center for Trauma-Induced Care says that when a victim experiences trauma, an “external threat overwhelms [that] person’s coping resources.” While many people picture trauma as involving violence, abuse, or a disaster, just as many fail to realize is that factors like as poverty, racial discrimination, and incarceration or detention can be equally traumatic. While a form of PTSD is definitely experienced in many BMoCs, the term itself fails to accurately represent the trauma they experience.

For one thing, BMoCs quite often fail to get the help that they need, whether it be from lack of primary care and behavioral health treatment or an absence of emotional support derived from “victim-blaming”.

The brief also claims that because of the mis-definition of trauma, services like schools, healthcare, and law enforcement “will overlook these symptoms in BMoC, considering them “unworthy” of the diagnosis of PTSD” or “consider BMoC’s to be solely responsible for creating the circumstances that led to their trauma will therefore not offer empathy or treatment” which only reinforces the trauma. Aside from that, the empathy gap concerning mental health and poverty of Blacks and Latinos in our society enforces a stigma that BMoCs are “hard” and don’t need support or assume that the victims are at fault for experiencing their trauma and violence.

Often times, BMoCs misunderstand their trauma themselves and internalize their stress as just parts of their lives. Usually, BMoCs will identify their trauma as them just “trippin’ out” or feeling “angry”, many times they refer to physical symptoms like grey hairs or feeling as if they’re “killing [themselves] slowly” with stress, many describing experiencing sleep dysfunction.

In these situations, it’s common for BMoCs to self-medicate themselves with drugs like marijuana or alcohol in order to “be cool” enough to fall asleep, though is only helps reinforce a negative stigma to providers that BMoCs are “drug seeking” and will ignore their complaints, the brief explains.

There are more restorative ways to help with this problem. PRO Youth and Families, an organization in Sacramento, works with youth through Life Skills classes and mentoring programs.

“We get to know the youth we’ve been entrusted to work with by not only focusing on their exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), but also on family, social and community assets that could serve to moderate risk exposures or enhance resilience,” said Dimitrius Stone of Pro Youth. “We also introduce mindfulness, meditation and the benefits of yoga to our youth.  Although many are reluctant to try these practices to help cope with anxiety or mental illness, we make sure to share data that shows a correlation between communities with an abundance of fitness clubs/yoga studios and the high life expectancy of its residents, and communities with few fitness clubs/yoga studios and residents with low life expectancies and mortality rates and allow the students a chance to talk about the disparities and draw their own conclusions.”

You can read the full brief for yourself here.

Categories: Blog

Locked In By My Dreadlocks

February 4, 2018 - 8:55am

I’ve been growing my dreadlocks for over a year. I decided to lock my hair as a way to connect to my heritage and culture. But six months into my look, people started treating me different. I didn’t realize this new look would come with so much negativity.

When I go grocery shopping for my grandfather, security follows me around, which didn’t happen before. When I drive around with my friends, who also have locs, they remind me that I need to drive with more caution. We don’t want to draw too much attention because we are three black men with dreadlocks in a car. It’s like strangers automatically assume the worst.

There’s a deeply rooted cultural pride that comes with dreadlocks. Knowing that this hairstyle has been part of my people for centuries helps me feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself.

For me, my hair holds my past, pain, joy, and everything in between. The longer my hair grows, the more it carries. I hope one day people can see past their prejudice and learn to accept dreadlocks as a cultural statement.

Categories: Blog

Why I Didn’t Go To The Women’s March

February 2, 2018 - 4:31pm
Illustration by Desmond Meagley/Youth Radio

It’s been a year since the Women’s March. And although it was a historic event, with protests springing up all over the country and half a million people descending on Washington D.C., I have mixed feelings about it.

My whole family joined in. While my grandparents, parents, classmates, and two younger sisters were heading out the door, homemade signs in hand, I decided to sit it out.

“Vanessa, why would you not go?” my dad asked me.

“Well, I don’t think it represents all women,” I replied.

“But anyone is allowed to go,” he responded.

While that may have been true, is the march really for everyone? The pussy hats that so many protesters wore–a symbol meant to unite women–made me feel uncomfortable. The definition of a feminist today is a lot different than 10 years ago. In my opinion, if your feminism isn’t all inclusive, it is not feminism. Not all women have female genitalia and not all women have pink female parts. It’s like the pussy hat assumes womanhood is white and cis-gendered.

A lot of cherished feminist symbols have the same problem. In my drawing class at school, we were asked to draw Rosie the Riveter for International Women’s day. When I raised my hand and told my teacher I refused, he looked back at me with dismay.

“Why would you not want to draw the face of women’s rights?” he asked.

And I mirrored back his look of dismay. Rosie only represented white women being able to work. It’s not that I don’t believe in the message of Rosie the Riveter. It’s that I don’t think Rosie the Riveter goes far enough. What about women of color or poor women? Was she an icon to them?

I think what my art teacher doesn’t get is that feminism is changing. While my friends and I felt left out of the women’s march as a “historical moment,” we realized that we wanted to create a new history that is all inclusive. To us, a feminist movement that doesn’t include all women is self-contradictory. What I am striving for is a feminist movement that includes women of color and/or trans women. The reason I am not marching in the streets is to stand in solidarity with women of color, women who do not have female parts, and women who would feel unsafe in there own skin participating. With the anniversary of the Women’s march coming up, I think I will pass.

Categories: Blog