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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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Updated: 2 hours 55 min ago

Mark-Up: An Annotated YR Media News Story

May 31, 2019 - 4:32pm

There’s a lot about journalism that applies no matter what outlet you’re writing for, so we won’t spend time here going through the basics.

Instead, we want to focus on something a lot more specific but harder to pin down: the YR Media News Tone.

Our contributors cover a huge range of beats from every corner of America, but there’s a certain set of qualities we look for in all our stories. Take a look at how YR Media News Tone shows up in this news story we annotated for you!

The post Mark-Up: An Annotated YR Media News Story appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

DIY: Delivering the Accuracy

May 31, 2019 - 3:48pm

First thing’s first: Woohoo! You just wrote a story! Go out and buy yourself something with sprinkles. Eat it, take a deep breath, and buckle up because….

We’re assuming you’ve already checked for tone, balance, sourcing, and AP Style. You’re ready to deliver the piece to your YR Media editor for the final read. But first …

Why is “final read” fact-checking so important? Imagine: a reader or source calls YR Media to say we got something wrong (uh-oh). You, the writer, are on vacation in the mountains with no reception (yikes). Luckily, you have closely read this DIY and left your editor with everything they need to confirm that what we have published is exactly accurate (whew)!

After you prepare your story for a final-read fact-check, you will send your editor a Google Doc marked up the YR Media way so they can quickly and easily verify everything and hit publish.

NOTE: We Want Primary Sources!

Click through the slides for a detailed breakdown of how we deliver the accuracy at YR Media.


Click on the text above to access an excerpt from a draft prepared for fact-checking. Notice that the writer uses comments and links to direct YR editors to primary sources.

(Click on the text above to be taken to a Google Doc checklist. Just download the document to check things off).

The post DIY: Delivering the Accuracy appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

DIY: YR Media News Tone

May 31, 2019 - 3:44pm

There’s a lot about journalism that applies no matter what outlet you’re writing for, so we won’t spend time here going through the basics.

Instead, we want to focus on something a lot more specific but harder to pin down: the YR Media News Tone.

Our contributors cover a huge range of beats from every corner of America, but there’s a certain set of qualities we look for in all our stories. That’s what you’re about to figure out here!

We can’t wait to see what you make of it.

Before you start writing, you’ll need to know who we are and who your audience is.

We are a dynamic destination for next-generation news and arts by and for young adults (under 30) who are culturally engaged and civically curious from across urban, suburban and rural America.


Click through the slides for examples of each quality.

So now that you have an idea of what YR Media News Tone is,  you can create stories that are both authentic to your experience/expertise and likely to be published on our platform. Here’s a checklist so you can see where your story aligns with YR Media News Tone.


Go into the folder on your desktop labeled “MY DOPE CONTENT” and then go into the folder in there labeled “Unpublished for now, but I got really good practice and maybe I can use this in my writing portfolio if I have not become an even better writer by the time I need to submit a portfolio” and put it in there.

The post DIY: YR Media News Tone appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Playlist: Mumble Rap Origins

May 31, 2019 - 2:55pm

Let me take you back to the lit days where the new wave of rap music got its start. Back to the time when “One Night” by Lil Yachty took over the internet. Back when Lil Uzi, 21 Savage, and Playboi Carti were at their prime. Old music heads may call it “mumble rap” but our generation calls it a new form of self-expression. This new generation of music doesn’t focus solely on the lyrical content of song but rather focuses on certain catchy words and melodies. It’s music that wasn’t accepted at first but now has taken over the music scene. If you need a reminder of what this genre encapsulates, I’ve got you covered. Featured in this playlist are artists like The Migos, Future, Famous Dex and more. Warning: by listening to this playlist you might get too lit — so please be aware of your surroundings.

The post Playlist: Mumble Rap Origins appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Graduates Use #LatinxGradCap to Flex Their Immigrant Roots

May 31, 2019 - 12:00pm

It’s graduation season and social feeds are blowing up with graduation photos. One hashtag in particular has grabbed our attention: #Latinxgradcaps. The hashtag has more than 5,400 pictures on Instagram of Latinx graduates paying tribute to their immigrant identity.

There is no doubt that these students are graduating in a tense political climate with immigration a point of contention among politicians and a topic debated in communities around the country. It seems as if every week President Donald Trump has a new plan to crack down on immigration. It’s a long list, from threatening to close the U.S.-Mexico border to separating families to most recently prioritizing visas to immigrants with high-level skills (and this week: imposing new tariffs on Mexico). It’s maybe no surprise that this year’s graduates from immigrant families feel the need to proudly show off their roots by decorating their graduation caps with messages like “Proud daughter of immigrants” or “I crossed the border so I could cross the stage.”

YR Media’s Brontë Sorotsky spoke to five graduates from around the country to get the story behind their graduation cap designs.

1. Diana Mariel Martinez, 25, SFSU

My cap quotes: “Para mis padres, llegaron sin nada y me lo dieron todo ¡Lo logramos!” (“For my parents, who arrived with nothing and gave me everything. We did it!”) My parents and I migrated from Mexico to the U.S. when I was about five years old. We left everything we had behind. Around the border, there’s traditional red roses, sunflowers, and cactus plants so I included them on my cap. The monarch butterflies represent migration. These butterflies peacefully migrate every year freely crossing borders. Like a butterfly, I migrated across borders for a better life.

2. Mario Toruno, 26, UNC Charlotte

My cap has three parts. The first part is a pride flag with black and brown stripes because of my identity as a queer person — specifically a brown, Latinx person — that celebrates and uplifts black and brown queer people. The next part is a fat raised fist. This part represents my unity, solidarity, resistance, and I wanted it to be a fat fist because fat liberation and the fat acceptance movement are important to me as well. I think the most prominent and most important part of the cap for me is the Nicaraguan flag. My identities as an immigrant, a child of immigrants, and Nicaragüense have been the ones I’ve struggled to accept the most. College was a place where I was able to meet professors and friends and mentors who taught me the value of my culture and how resilient and strong and incredible my parents and other immigrants are. I wanted my cap to reflect that and honor my parents and their sacrifice.

3. Zacnite Vargas, 23, Trevecca Nazarene University

My grad cap reads: “Dreams bigger than man-made borders.” I wanted the world to see that no dream, no goal or anything one sets their mind to is less than achievable, especially as an undocumented immigrant in this country. Although I am a DACA recipient, I am classified as an “undocumented immigrant.” That label comes with a lot of barriers. But this classification of status also flourishes into resilience, rebellion, liberation, and badass-ness. I am so proud of my Latina roots. I am a proud Mexican. There will never be a wall (literally and figuratively) high enough that I won’t climb. If my parents were able to overcome walls, terrains, barriers, etc., I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind to.

4. Diana Chavez, 30, CSU Fullerton

For my graduation cap, I chose a quote that described my experience: “Siempre hay belleza en la lucha.” In English it means, “There is always beauty in the struggle.” I come from two immigrant parents and I am the first to go to college and it was not easy.  I had no one to guide me along the way. I am a mother of two children and before I had my second child, I went through two miscarriages while attending community college. I did not let this stop me from continuing my education nor when I finally had my son a week before finals. The beautiful struggle my family and I experienced was worth it!

5. Cesar Camacho, 23, DePaul University

Given the political climate, I felt like I needed to recognize my heritage and roots to inspire the next generation of students. The Mexican flag represents the culture I love and grew up in; it’s my main identity. I’m also grateful for being Mexican American which is why I put the American flag as well. The rainbow was to represent another part of my identity — being gay. The quote was pretty bold, but I wanted to make sure that everyone who saw it knew I was walking with pride. Latinos are hard workers and we need to continue to prove everyone who doubts us wrong, so I’ll always preach that there’s “No Wall High Enough To Keep Us From Slaying!”

The post Graduates Use #LatinxGradCap to Flex Their Immigrant Roots appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Mental Health Isn’t Taboo for These 3 Asian Pacific American Groups

May 29, 2019 - 2:34pm

Each May, I look forward to seeing how different Asian and Pacific Islander organizations will celebrate our history for Heritage Month. So I was especially disappointed when the following Tweet hit my feed a couple of weeks ago.

This Asian is done being polite. It’s been 5 days. #HuffPost please take down this offensive subheading on FB that I did not write. #NotMyWords #AsianAmerican #MentalHealthAwareness pic.twitter.com/xyCRSfoNwd

— Michelle (@michellehyang) May 5, 2019

The subheading was extra ironic because May is dedicated to both Asian Pacific American Heritage and Mental Health Awareness. The publication has since deleted the line and replaced it with: “Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included a subheading that was not written by the author and did not represent her views or the article’s content; it has been removed.”

The whole incident was a shame. My community needs platforms to educate readers about how mental health stigmas affect us. Cultural prejudices and misunderstandings help explain why about half as many Asian-Americans reportedly seek mental health support or resources compared to the general population, according to the American Psychological Association. There are stigmas around seeking help as well as language and access barriers that prevent finding or receiving the proper support.

But things might be changing. Among the new outlets that have been cropping up in the past couple years, I’m starting to see mental health as a normalized discussion topic for millennials and Gen Z. We’ve always been told that online access makes it easier to connect with others, and in the case of new publications, organizations, and social media groups, that’s definitely true. The knowledge that you can post a thought or ask a question about mental health in an exclusive, safe space expands awareness and acceptance.

Mochi Magazine

“Sharing personal stories and resources is always useful, particularly when addressing the unique struggles that Asian-Americans face in caring for their mental health,” said Jennifer Duann Fultz, the editor-in-chief of Mochi Magazine.

Mochi Magazine is an online lifestyle publication aimed at millennial Asian-American women. For its editorial site, a staff member pitched the ongoing column, “On Our Minds,” to share stories and resources and break stigmas around mental health. The topic has come up before, but with a specialized series, Fultz said she wants to show readers they can find support and hopefully inspire change in the mental health care available to the Asian-American community.

“But how would I know if a therapist is a good fit for me?” is the kind of question explored in the “On Our Minds” series. (Answer: there’s no formula. It’s about comfort in the therapist’s presence and knowing they’re looking out for your best interests.)  

If taking care of mental health or finding help for it comes up in interviews with celebrities and influencers profiled in Mochi Magazine, Fultz said that’s “a small but powerful reminder that mental health is just part of being human.”

Asian Creative Network

The “Asian Creative Network” is a spin-off Facebook group spawned from “subtle asian traits.” It connects Asian creatives and features different sub-groups including a space focused on mental health. David Rafanan is the moderator for ACN: Mental/Emotional Health Support. He made the sub-group when he saw the influence mental health had on people’s creative work. Members started sharing resources like the Depression Project’s infographic on preventing an anxiety attack, reminding others of support networks that are available, and providing links to advice articles like this one from Vice.

Rafanan said his sub-group works to “support and motivate others, both creatives and non-creatives, to continue in their dreams/goals in spite of the hardships we face in our lives.”

The Cosmos

Another newly-established organization dedicated to APA women built caring for one’s mental health into its foundation. Founded by Cassandra Lam and Karen Mok, The Cosmos is a community for Asian women creators and entrepreneurs that began with the Medium post, “Who is the Asian-American Woman?’: An Open Letter to Our Community.” That call-to-action developed into an online and offline network where most members connect through The Cosmos’s expansive Slack channel. This May, the #get-healthy chat includes conversations about the best gym in Portland, finding a woman of color therapist, and experiences with online Talkspace therapy.

“We see women talking about mental health without shame and fear,” Mok said. “That is the cultural change we will continue to fight for through The Cosmos.”

Mochi Magazine, ACN, and The Cosmos are hardly the only three organizations doing this work in both the APA and mental health advocacy spheres. Organizations such as National Alliance on Mental Illness and National Institute of Mental Health host mental health workshops and offer online resources. Other APA organizations for young adults like the East Coast Asian American Student Union share mental health education tools and resources and bring awareness to the community.

May is just one month to build a better understanding of APA history and fight mental health stigmas. These stories and lessons can lead to conversations that continue all year long.

The post Mental Health Isn’t Taboo for These 3 Asian Pacific American Groups appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Playlist: Songs to Cut Up To

May 28, 2019 - 3:43pm

Are you stuck in mainey rush-hour traffic? We compiled a list of tracks for you to zip and zag through the craziness. This compilation contains only the best boosted 808 tracks, along with records that’ll make you want to reach the max on the dash. With hits from Lil Uzi Vert to Lil Kayla, each song is a certified whip shaker. So sit back and strap up; whether you’re in a bucket or a Bentley you’re guaranteed to enjoy the commute. Sounds curated by Money Maka.

The post Playlist: Songs to Cut Up To appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

5 Things You Missed in Music Business News

May 27, 2019 - 11:00am

Things are constantly changing in the landscape of the music industry and it’s important to stay on top of trends and news updates, especially as an independent artist. We’ve got you covered with a weekly recap of the top stories you need to know.

Timbaland & Jay-Z Hit with Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

According to the legal team of soul musician Ernie Hines, Jay-Z and Timbaland sampled bits and pieces of Hines’s 1969 track “Help Me” in their 1998 song “Paper Chase.”  It’s been stated that neither Jay-Z nor Timbaland reached out to Hines’s team to clear the sample. Let’s see how this plays out!

Travis Scott Donating Merch Sales From Concert to Planned Parenthood

During his Hangout Festival performance, Travis Scott announced that he would be donating all profits from his festival merch sales to Planned Parenthood amidst the recent wave of anti-abortion bills being proposed and/or signed into law by individual states. Pure love!

Brooklyn Acapella Group Suing UMG, WMG, and More over 48 Years of Unpaid Royalties

The Persuasions, an acapella group out of Brooklyn, are alleging that they haven’t been paid royalties for over 48 years and are due millions of dollars in payment. The Persuasions and their legal team claim the group never saw a penny from streams or album sales between 1971 to present-time.

Sony Music Creating Easy Way To Collect Royalties

Sony plans to make major upgrades to its Music Artist Portal which it uses to track royalties and receive payments. As stated in a long email from the entertainment company, starting this fall Sony Music will release new features allowing artists/musicians to see and cash out earnings faster.

Whitney Houston Estate Planning Hologram Tour & New Album

Primary Wave Music Publishing recently partnered with Whitney Houston’s estate in planning a hologram tour to remind everyone about her legacy of being America’s sweetheart. Primary Wave’s deal entitles them to 50% of Whitney’s estate which gives them 50% of her royalties from film, music and merchandising.

The post 5 Things You Missed in Music Business News appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Feeling Uneasy as My Graduation Approaches

May 26, 2019 - 8:00am

My high school graduation is just days away. While I’m more than excited to be done with this chapter of my life, I’m getting nervous about the changes ahead.

School is the same year after year. The same set schedule everyday. The same core classes. The same sandwiches and burritos served in the cafeteria.

I’m in the process of college registration — and there’s a multitude of choices. Sometimes I’m stuck. Is this is the right class for me? Wait, what’s the difference between English 121 and English 132?

Whereas high school presented a narrowly outlined path, college exhibits a series of personal decisions.

I begin to wonder if I’m on the right track. It’s not like high school where I just pick a couple electives. I start to worry that I’m making mistakes already.

But when I look at the big picture, all those small decisions don’t seem so consequential. I become less nervous about making mistakes, and more excited about what awaits me next.

Graduating high school is more than leaving a campus. It’s moving on from a structured plan someone else created for me to defining my own path.

The post Feeling Uneasy as My Graduation Approaches appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

This Week’s Rotation: 5 Albums You Don’t Want to Miss Out On

May 24, 2019 - 5:53pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         As summer inches closer, the quest for the best summer album begins. Whether you’re into indie and the beautiful golden sunsets or the gritty nightscape that experimental noise rap creates, there are summer albums for everyone. As someone that enjoys a balance and variance in style, a diverse slate of projects is refreshing to hear. From Megan Thee Stallion to Santi these albums are sure to become part of your summer soundtrack.

Injury Reserve – “Injury Reserve”

The experimental Arizona-based trio has finally delivered their self-titled debut album, “Injury Reserve.” The album is intense and loud in all the best ways. There’s some standout guest verses from JPEGMAFIA and Rico Nasty. Throughout the album, lead rappers Steppa Groggs and Ritchie with a T effortlessly spit clever bars. Steppa Groggs raps “Twitter feeds don’t feed my daughter” on “Wax On.” While Injury Reserve is reminiscent of The Cool Kids, their production is crafted differently, it’s almost reminiscent of early Cool Kids or Pac Div. Both Steppa Groggs and Richie with a T riff off each other with a whimsical flow, because of this Injury Reserve is something you want to listen too as soon as possible.

Highlight Tracks:  “Wax On,” “Best Spot in the House,” “New Hawaii”

Duckwrth – “THE FALLING MAN”

On his latest project, “THE FALLING MAN,” Duckwrth finds a balance between raging and the soft melodies. It is a dramatic shift in style and sound from his previous projects, but for all the right reasons. “THE FALLING MAN” is a testament to how versatile Duckwrth is. Duckwrth’s various emotions create a tense atmosphere that is extremely refreshing to hear. Duckwrth’s latest is bold, original and tense. The passion that stems from his punk rock roots is present throughout every track. If you’re just now tuning in, check out the short film named after the EP “THE FALLING MAN” that complements the project so well.

Highlight Tracks:  “NOBODY FALLS,” “SALLIE MAE,” “BOW”

Tyler, the Creator – “Igor” 

The album begins with “IGOR’S THEME,” a song that contains a heavy synth. The synth mimics an extreme static buzz sound that leads into an intense bass that is maintained throughout the album. With “IGOR,” Tyler showcases heavy themes of vulnerability within relationships, lyrics about love and confusion juxtapose the intensity of the melodies. Tyler uses synths in a way that sounds similar to his older music; staying true to himself. Still, he incorporates new sounds like extremely heavy basslines to showcase different melodies. Tyler shows us how his vulnerability and his creative flow has transformed in the last two years.  


Santi – “Mandy & the Jungle”

Santi keeps things interesting with his sophomore album “Mandy & The Jungle.” The album is light and airy while maintaining faint tones of Afrobeat and dancehall throughout the project. Exploring the realms of love and melancholy in his lyrics, Santi delves into the universal phases that come along with heartbreak. The melodies are consistently soulful in the way that they correspond to the meaning behind his words. The soul in this album shows his vulnerability and the importance of his emotional growth as a result of love.

Highlight Tracks: “Raining Outside,” “Morocco,” “Freaky”

Megan Thee Stallion – “Fever”

Amid the wave of intense female rappers that are rising to mainstream success is Houston’s own, Megan Thee Stallion. Megan Thee Stallion maintains her powerful, fiery persona in her new album “Fever.” From the first song, she is more aggressive in both the production and lyrics than she was in her previous album, “Tina Snow.” The use of constant quick, heavy bass is an indicator of Megan’s intense energy as a rapper. The difference between the two albums almost suggests her comfort in her own skin as an artist. She spews confidence in her lyrics like “They put that check in my hand, now I’m killin’ ’em” on her song “Realer.” From the beginning to the end, the album is fast-paced and never loses its momentum.

Highlight Tracks: “Realer” “Sex Talk” “Hood Rat Shit”

The post This Week’s Rotation: 5 Albums You Don’t Want to Miss Out On appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Women on the Rise: 7 Acts We’re Excited About

May 24, 2019 - 3:18pm

When it comes to the music industry, women are capable of making an incredible impact despite the field being male-dominated. It shouldn’t be a surprise though, women are taught from a young age that there’s a glass ceiling we have to break. It could also just be a result that happens when we disregard the crabs-in-a-barrel mentality. Whatever the reason, I just know there’s a certain power that comes from women uplifting other women. That’s why I love keeping a look out for upcoming female acts to listen to and support.

For this list, it was essential to represent women who define what it means to be multidimensional in the modern age: no matter what you look like or where you come from, you don’t have to be restricted to one type of voice. Here’s my pick of seven more women that should be on everyone’s watch list.

Megan Thee Stallion

If you’ve been on the lookout for what’s happening in music, you’ve might’ve heard the name Megan Thee Stallion. The Houston rapper quickly rose to prominence by posting videos of her rapping and freestyling on YouTube and Instagram. She became the first female rapper to sign to 300 Entertainment, an independent label with a roster that includes artists like Young Thug, Gunna, and Tee Grizzley. When she’s not making music, she’s studying health administration at Texas State University and has been vocal about not being boxed into a persona based on the music she makes — that she and women alike can be intelligent and still embrace their sexuality the same way that men do. Due to her already being compared to iconic female rappers like Trina and Lil’ Kim, and with her debut album “Fever” in the works, it’s safe to say she’s one of 2019’s top artists to watch.


Lizzo has been making a name for herself in both hip hop and pop for some time now, with her zealous and energetic funk-filled music putting her in a lane of her own that’s trending towards becoming a standout star. Early in her career, Lizzo helped form an R&B girl group called The Chalice, where they garnered local success. Eventually, she began pursuing music on her own and released her debut album “Lizzobangers” in 2013, later that year Time Magazine named her an artist to watch. While her music is fun and easy to dance to, she also advocates for body positivity and self-love, making diversity the focus of her music. Recently,  she’s performed at Coachella, completed an international tour, and released her third album “Cuz I Love You” where it’s been met with shining reviews.

Kiana Ledé

Hailing from Phoenix, AZ, R&B singer Kiana Ledé first rose to popularity as an actress, playing Zoe Vaughn on the second season of MTV’s “Scream” in 2016. But her start in the entertainment industry began long before then. When she was 14, she won a national talent search by American Idol’s Season 8 winner Kris Allen, with the prize including a recording contract with RCA Records. After her cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” received over 40 million views on YouTube, the CEO of Republic Records flew her out to NYC and signed her later that day. She’s currently touring internationally and her most recent EP Selfless, released in 2018, received widespread praise and attention online.


Melii started making waves in 2017 when her bilingual cover of Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” went viral, and since then she’s been working hard to show the world she’s a star in her own right. Although she’s always had an interest in arts and poetry, she initially got into rap when she was nine years old, after her cousin played her “College Boy” by J. Cole. What sets Melii apart from other young female rappers is that she’s also a singer-songwriter and combines both singing and rapping in her music, as well as using her Dominican culture and her Harlem upbringing as a source of influence. Recently, she’s toured with Meek Mill, signed with Interscope Records, and released her debut album “phAses,” establishing her as a promising artist to watch out for.

Kelsey Lu

At 27 years old, Kelsey Lu is a cellist from Charlotte, NC. She has already used her talents to work with artists such as Solange, Florence + The Machine, and Kelela. Now she’s making a name for herself as a singer-songwriter. Her music can be described as spellbinding and mesmerizing neo-soul with infectious pop undertones. Lu’s uniqueness demonstrates itself in her art, her debut EP “Church,” which was recorded all in one take, inside of a Catholic Church. She’s currently signed with Columbia Records and recently released her debut album “Blood.”

Joy Crookes

Believe it or not, South London’s Jay Crooke’s is only 20 years old but her voice and music showcase a dignified maturity I haven’t seen from an emerging artist in a long time. Her sound is reminiscent of Amy Winehouse, with her sophisticated, rich timbre and cheeky songwriting effortlessly captivating listeners. Like most artists from the digital age, she began posting YouTube videos of her and her friends covering songs. In Jay Crooke’s music, she writes about relationships, self-reliance, her culture, and identity, being half Bangladeshi and half Irish. She’s also vocal about her activism on both social media and her songs, touching upon topics such as Brexit, xenophobia, and feminism.

Amber Mark

Amber Mark had an interesting upbringing, as a youth she traveled all over the world, first becoming aware of her passion for singing while in Berlin. A self-taught guitarist, it wasn’t until 2013 that Amber started writing her own music as an outlet to help her with her mother’s passing. Most of her work is self-written, recorded, and produced in her bedroom, and, in 2016, her single “Way Back” quickly accumulated five million streams, climbing the charts on both Apple and Spotify.

Check out the playlist below from the women carving their place in the music industry.

The post Women on the Rise: 7 Acts We’re Excited About appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

The Student Debt Crisis Beyond Morehouse

May 24, 2019 - 10:59am

How do almost 400 students accumulate around $40 million worth of debt? On Sunday, billionaire investor Robert F. Smith announced that he would pay off the student debt of Morehouse College’s graduating seniors at a reported price tag of $40 million.

Forty million dollars equates to $100,000 of debt per student. Not all of this debt is held by students and not all of it is from tuition, experts say. “It also includes debt that their parents have taken on for their education,” said Mark Huelsman, the associate director of policy and research at Demos, a think tank focused on racial and economic justice.

The federal government caps the annual amount of federal money undergraduate students can borrow at $12,500. That equates to $50,000 for a four-year degree.

But many colleges, Morehouse included, charge an annual tuition greater than $12,500. Students who don’t receive enough financial aid at these colleges often must take out additional debt in their parents’ name. “Usually, the students are on the hook for paying it off,” Huelsman said.

On average, graduating seniors who have borrowed money to finance their education leave college with $28,650 of debt.

Student debt levels in this country have been rising for years, and a variety of factors have played into the increase. Tuition at public universities is rising as more and more states pull money out of their public college systems. With seventy-three percent of students at public universities, these cuts affect the majority of the student population.

Beyond rising tuition, “student debt is a function of the cost of living increasing tremendously across the country,” Huelsman said.

The changing demographics of today’s student population also contribute to the debt crisis. A 2014 study found that approximately one in four undergraduate students have a child they are raising. “This simply wasn’t the case some decades ago,” Huelsman said.

Black students incur a higher amount of student debt than white students, and they’ve defaulted on their student loans at seven times the rate of white students.

“Black students in this country who make it to college are less likely to have parents, grandparents or saving funds that can bail them out,” Rashad Robinson, the executive director of Color of Change, told YR Media. “The history of wealth accumulation in this country has been based on rules. Everything from who could own homes to where they could own homes to what type of jobs people could have — at every stage, generationally, black people have had a harder time accumulating wealth.”

That’s part of what makes Smith’s gift to Morehouse’s 2019 graduates so special. It’s sending some 400 black men who would typically be disproportionately weighed down by college debt into the world without it. “I had so much joy for those men who had that surprise on a day that was already really exciting for them,” Robinson said.

The gift will have “both short-term and long-term effects on their lives,” Soncia Coleman, a senior director at Young Invincibles, predicts. She thinks it may encourage some of them to pursue graduate school and allow some to take an initially lower paying job or start their own business. In the long-term, it will make buying a house easier and paying for their kids’ education less burdensome, she believes.

Despite the incredible ramifications of Smith’s gift for Morehouse seniors, many experts are emphasizing that charity alone is not the solution to America’s student debt crisis. “We need to figure out a comprehensive plan for how we can provide an affordable pathway for low-income students and students of color to receive a four-year degree,” Rachel Fishman, deputy director for higher education research at New America, said.

“State governments have disinvested from public colleges and universities for a few decades now, and we need to reverse those trends,” Huelsman said.

Robinson predicts these changes may come sooner than many think. “We are heading into a phase where people in their 40s and their 50s are still paying off debt,” he said. “I think that as the debt crisis expands and more people are impacted, it will become a greater issue for our elected officials.”

The post The Student Debt Crisis Beyond Morehouse appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Video: Protest Erupts in New Orleans over Expected Abortion Ban

May 23, 2019 - 3:15pm

Abortion rights supporters protested Louisiana’s expected “heartbeat” bill. Pregnant women as early as six weeks could be refused an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected with no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. Critics have pointed out that many women don’t even know they’re pregnant at this point. If the bill passes, Louisiana will be the ninth state this year to limit or outlaw abortion.

The post Video: Protest Erupts in New Orleans over Expected Abortion Ban appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

How To: Support Your Fellow Creatives

May 22, 2019 - 5:45pm

Don’t you hate a “let-me-slide-in-for-the-F,” or a “let-me-get-a-verse-for-free,” type of person? These freeloading, transactional types annoy the hell out of creatives because they only hit them up whenever they want something, but don’t show love and support for the movement the artist is building. Please don’t be that person. Now, if for some reason, you are this type of person, I’m here to help you out.

You must understand that artists put a ton of time, energy and resources into perfecting their crafts, so if you want to truly support — make sure you show an understanding for that part of the game. I’ve created a mini guide on how to properly support your fellow artists/creatives in ways that won’t turn people off and will help you build genuine relationships. You just have to follow these guidelines and wait for your time to shine because artists do notice these types of real supporters.

Be an Active Social Media Supporter

An easy follow, like, comment or re-post shows a lot of support to an artist. It only takes one second and shows that you’re paying attention. If you think about it, the average person is on their phone for about three hours a day, so you literally have no excuses to not show love to your fellow artists. At the end of the day, it’s the small things that go a long way so if your only supporting when it’s convenient for you — people are definitely going to notice.

Don’t Be Cheap

Keep in mind that up-and-coming artists put a lot of time and money into their craft. The last thing you should be asking an artist, producer or entrepreneur is for ANYTHING for free, just because. Especially if you’re not one of his or her Day Ones. Don’t be that person who only hits them up when they have a show or event that you want to attend for the F. Buy a ticket and show love! Pulling up to a show knowing you could have gotten in for free, but still bought a ticket anyways, shows real support. The artist probably has 100+ people hitting their phone to get in for free, which shouldn’t be what they’re focusing on. Their first priority should be their show and not accommodating you. Show real support and it will always come back around.

Dealing with Clout

It can be true that once an artist gets a little taste of clout they can turn into a d***head. However, that may not always be the case so try not to jump to conclusions. If you feel like someone that you’ve known for a while who is gaining some new success is changing or isn’t as present in your life — try and be patient and look at the bigger picture. They could have a lot going on and are preoccupied with responsibilities that come from building up their artistry. Just because you don’t speak to someone as frequently as you’re used to doesn’t mean they don’t FWU anymore. They might just be focused on getting their career to a solid place and grinding. Once artists pop off they tend to go through a lot of changes with money, relationships, and overall life shifts. Stardom can drive an artist out of their mind. As a friend and part of someone’s support system — it is your job to keep them on track and focused. Everyone needs to know they have real supportive people on their team. Offer ways you can contribute to their cause and likely they’ll return the favor when the time is right. Keep your mind on the prize and not the bullsh*t.

Be Open to Collaboration

If you are a fellow artist, collaborations can be a great opportunity to build on a relationship. But make sure you’re approaching it in the correct way. Don’t be the person who thinks you’re the s**t and everything needs to happen on your terms. Use collaborations as an opportunity to make genuine connections with other artists and be open to how they work too. You never know where a partnership can lead!

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Whether it’s buying merch, downloading/streaming their record, or buying tickets to their events — buy whatever your homies are selling to help build their brand. Showing up to a show and buying merch shows support as well as promotes his/her personal brand. The money raised from buying merch goes directly to the artists and their establishment. But the easiest way to put your homie on is to just slap their song — download it, stream it, keep it on repeat and run those numbers up. Slap their stuff at any party, kick-it spot, or in the car. If someone likes what their hearing, put them on! Tell them where they find his/her music.

Now that I’ve given you all the insight, you have no excuse to not show real support to all the artists in your life. Take the game, move accordingly and be a real one.

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Categories: Blog

Trump’s New Immigration Plan Criticized by Advocates

May 22, 2019 - 2:09pm

Immigration advocacy and legal groups are criticizing President Donald Trump’s latest plan that would increase border wall funding and decrease family-based migration.  

His proposal, announced in the White House Rose Garden last week, consists of significant changes to America’s legal immigration system that would limit the number of visas given through family relationships or a random lottery and instead prioritize immigrants with high-level skills, degrees and job offers.  The administration said currently about 66 percent of green cards are given to those with family in the United States and 12 percent based on skills or merit.

But under Trump’s plan, those selected on skill or merit would increase to 57 percent.

“Under the senseless rules of the current system, we’re not able to give preference to a doctor, a researcher, a student who graduated number one in his class from the finest colleges in the world,” Trump said in his speech.

While the proposal does not suggest there will be a reduction in the number of green cards awarded each year, it does seek to make English proficiency a requirement for the card. Right now, it’s only needed for citizenship. It’s a move that could “definitely change the racial makeup of who’s coming here,” said Peter Isbister, an attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Antonio Arellano, communications director at Jolt, a Texas-based Latino youth organization, called Trump’s proposed reforms “bigoted.”

“We think that it is a race system in disguise,” Arellano said. “It is not appropriate for the nation that has been coined as the country of opportunity, immigrants, and freedom to be proposing or peddling this type of legislation that seeks to limit access to our country to the most vulnerable, like asylum seekers and refugees.”

Trump’s new proposal also includes additional border wall funding and plans to decrease drug flow into the United States. Trump says there should be close to 400 miles of the wall built by the end of 2020.

The president made no mention of DACA or any plans for the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. and individuals who have received temporary protected status.

As of now, Trump’s proposed reforms remain just that — proposals. No member of Congress has put forward legislation containing the president’s most recent announcement.  Democrats would be unlikely to support the changes, and it’s unclear whether the proposal would receive support from all Republican lawmakers.

“There needs to be a serious pushback from both political parties,” Arellano said. “I think Republicans know better, and if they seek to retain power and influence, they cannot back something so divisive and something that will clearly paint them as an anti-immigrant party.”

Many are suggesting Trump’s proposals, as outlined, won’t reach his desk in a bill anytime soon and that they’re a tool for his 2020 campaign.

“I think he needs to run on it, and those like me who think it’s a pretty good idea will run on it, and when we win the election, he can claim a mandate and hopefully get something done,”  Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn told Bloomberg.

But some immigration advocates are still concerned about the implications of the proposal, even if it doesn’t become law.

“I worry about it creating a situation where Republicans believe we need to move to a merit-based system,” Isbister said. “I think that’s a dangerous place to be in particularly without any conversation about it because the family-based immigration system is so central to who we are as a country.”

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Categories: Blog

Video: 16-Year-Old Climate Activist Takes On Politicians

May 21, 2019 - 4:07pm

Fire. Floods. Drought.

Today’s youth will have a lot to deal with as adults if politicians don’t step up to address climate change. 16-year-old activist Isha Clarke is leading the way to fight for change.

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Categories: Blog

5 Things You Missed in Music Business News

May 20, 2019 - 3:44pm

Things are constantly changing in the landscape of the music industry and it’s important to stay on top of trends and news updates, especially as an independent artist. We’ve got you covered with a weekly recap of the top stories you need to know.

Kodak Black Faces 10 Years in Prison

Kodak Black was recently released on $550,000 bail and put on house arrest. The Florida rapper faces up to 10 years for lying to the police. He could also receive a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Woodstock 50 Is Back On

Even though there was talk of Woodstock 50 being canceled when a major investor pulled out, a New York Supreme Court judge ruled that the investors did not have the right to cancel the festival simply because they were pulling their investment. Therefore, the festival will take place between August 16-18.

Adidas x Kid Cudi

Adidas just announced they’re welcoming Kid Cudi to the family. This partnership will include a collaborative collection featuring footwear and apparel pieces.

Pledge Music Is Nearing Bankruptcy

Pledge Music is on the brink of bankruptcy unless someone steps in to buy it. Pledge Music is a music platform that helps facilitate fan and artist interactions. It’s also used to distribute music, share music videos and promote concerts.  

Rolling Stone’s Music Charts Delayed

Rolling Stone’s highly anticipated music charts are said to be delayed due to unsecured data agreements. The launch was set for May 18th with the hype that it could surpass Billboard as the preeminent music charting service. 

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Categories: Blog

Oakland’s Pothole Vigilantes

May 20, 2019 - 3:13pm

In a city where potholes are notorious for causing serious damage, citizens wonder why tax dollars aren’t being used to fix the streets. This duo decided to take matters into their own hands, dubbing themselves the “Pothole Vigilantes.”

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Categories: Blog

Bay Word of the Day: Sum Light

May 20, 2019 - 12:09pm

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Categories: Blog

My Little Brother’s Instagram Use Frightens Me

May 19, 2019 - 8:00am

Russian bots. Fake accounts. Catfishing. Social media is a minefield right now. To the point that this 17-year-old is concerned about the even younger generation.

When I first signed up for Instagram, I was in the fifth grade. My mom and I argued regularly about how much of my life I was sharing with the wrong people.

She’d sit on the couch, gripping my phone, and go through every single one of my followers. She grilled me on who I knew and how I knew them, and then deleted strangers and even friendly acquaintances one by one. At the time, I was super mad.

But now, I’m in high school. And when I look at my little brother’s Instagram use — it frightens me. When I saw that he had 1000 followers — I was shocked — and even a little impressed. But then I realized, there was no way my 13-year-old brother knew one thousand people. Who are these followers? Are they even real people?

I feel strange getting all protective of my younger brother’s Instagram. But now, in the Wild West of social media use and privacy restrictions — I guess my mom was right.

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Categories: Blog