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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 56 min ago

Ari Lennox’s ‘Shea Butter Baby’ is the Intimate Album We Need

May 17, 2019 - 6:13pm

In “Shea Butter Baby,” Ari Lennox flourishes into an artist that is deeply personal and relatable. She embraces her emotions and spills her sadness on the record. Before, Ms. Lennox marketed herself as “the singer” from Dreamville, continuously trying to prove her singing ability on her mixtape, “PHO.” Considering that Dreamville is made up of rappers, it’s easy to see why she did this: to create her own lane among her peers.

“PHO” established Ari as an artist to watch in different ways: her musical sensibility, her soulful voice, and in the way her voice rode different flows. She showed that she could undertake any type of R&B beat, and even showed that she was capable of spitting a few bars if she wanted to.

Now, on “Shea Butter Baby,” Ari showcases her growth as an artist and an individual. She’s fed up and bares it all on wax, spilling all post-breakup feelings, which is a vulnerable subject for any artist to explore. Her ability to share an intimate moment with her fans is the testament to her growth. It affirms that “Shea Butter Baby” is a beautiful triumph as Ari sheds old skin; the record amends Ms. Lennox’s songwriting skill, singing ability, and ability to get personal. Here, she is growing into herself as an artist.

I Been

“Shea Butter Baby” is sprinkled with gems and “I Been” is definitely one of them. Ari takes her vocals to new heights, not only by coming in strong but by also keeping that powerful momentum throughout the whole song. Ari sings about trying to forget about an ex and mentions conversations that occurred in the relationship, even bringing up the subject of emotional abuse during the outro.


A sweet, sentimental song that caters to a generation that was brought up seeing love become slowly blighted by the superficial. A common thing I hear from people my age is that true romance is dead or at least on its last legs, with the rise of dating apps, people have a casual outlook on love. But in “Static,” Ari sings about finding someone perfect for her without things like appearance or clout meaning much to her. She compares her beloved to an old radio of a lesser quality but expresses that she prefers it over something more “high definition” any day. The instrumental is just as charming as the lyrics, with a melancholy trumpet in the background adding the nostalgic jazz elements on an upbeat R&B song.

Whipped Cream

Released as the first single to the album, “Whipped Cream” marks the first time Ari gets intimate with her audience. She reveals her insecurities, her envious-nature and how it leads to the downfall of her relationship. “How I’m agin’, degradin’ when I give it like this / I’ve been cryin’ at night, holdin’ bullet tight / Hopin’ I meet someone different, but it’s true that I don’t.” The beat is simple; a thumpy bass guides the listener through Ari’s confessions as she weeps. The heartbreaking lyrics contrasting against raw production is what makes it strikingly beautiful. The listener is forced to listen to her heartbreak. “Whipped Cream” is a testament to Ms. Lennox’s emotional prowess. This track will help you face reality after an intense crying session.


“BMO” is Ari Lennox’s “Rude Boy” moment, not only is she audacious with her sensuality, but also with the production itself. Unlike the other laid-back R&B songs on “Shea Butter Baby,” “BMO” is funky and a just bit dirty. The production heightens the song’s sexiness, it’s almost as if the beat is tip-toeing over Ari’s rap-like melodies. “BMO” samples Galt MacDermot’s “Space”— which uses a creepy guitar riff, synth and bass to guide the listener through Ari Lennox’s fantasy. Ari tells her partner how she wants it, “Break me off / And gitchi gitchi yaya, when the lights is out / I’m summertime crushin’, put that game on pause / And do it how I like it, baby, nice and slow,” she sings in her provocative style, demanding her partner to please her. Ari wants to make sure that you know how to break her off.

New Apartment

You know that feeling of freedom once you’re out of a relationship? When you don’t have to seek approval from anybody? When you can be yourself? Well, Ari Lennox is familiar with that feeling too, especially in her song “New Apartment.” The song exposes the best part of being single, the freedom of not meeting anyone’s expectations. When you’re free to do whatever you please. The production is smooth, allowing for Ari’s slick voice to glide over the laidback instrumentation. The best moments of this song comes from how relatable it is, “I just got a new apartment / I’m gon’ leave the floor wet / Walk around this bitch naked / And nobody can tell me shit.” A new apartment represents the liberty that comes along with being single. We are all comfortable with the feeling of being free in our home. With that in mind, Ari reminds us that our best moments come from home.

The post Ari Lennox’s ‘Shea Butter Baby’ is the Intimate Album We Need appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

A Teen’s Obsession with Security Cameras Developed into a Full Business

May 17, 2019 - 12:20pm

The combination of tech and business is dominated by the young. Just look at Mark Zuckerberg who started Facebook in his college dorm or the founders of the online payment company Stripe, who are two college dropouts. Young entrepreneurs are proving that with the right idea and business model, they can have success.

But no one thinks a security system company would be run by a kid.

Nick Petrie is a senior in high school in Vallejo, Calif. At just 19 years old, he is the founder of Petrie’s Electronics, a home and commercial security business. Petrie’s interest in alarm systems started at a really young age. His family traveled a bunch, staying in lots of hotels. Seeing the types of cameras and technology used in hotels got Petrie interested in safety and protection.

He says everything he knows about his business he taught himself. He is a one-man show. Petrie runs the daily operations, goes to sites and does all the installations. He also does all the computer coding for his systems.  

YR Media’s Chris Weldon caught up with Petrie to talk about the benefits of owning a business, his successes and his passion for safety.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Chris Weldon: How and when did Petrie’s Electronics launch?

Nick Petrie: My business has been legally owned and operating since I was 16, but I’ve been doing security system work since I was 12. After a hotel security tour, I purchased my first small surveillance system. I then began learning about the industry and started experimenting with it. Once I felt confident with my work, I started working for family members who then started spreading the word and everything just picked up from there.

CW: What kinds of security do you offer to customers?

NP: I mainly install security system cameras, either commercial or residential. My jobs can range from Ring video doorbells to full blown security systems with an alarm to disarm and cameras protecting the entire perimeter of a building or home. My rates vary from job to job but a general price for a new camera install is $180 per camera for labor plus materials costs. Profit varies each job — it all depends on how many cameras they want and how complex the security system is. I’m trying to get into the smart home stuff where I can do the digital thermostats and everything driven off of Amazon and other tech companies.

CW: Why do you think people hire you over the larger companies?

NP: It can be difficult having companies like ADT or Bay Alarm as competitors. But I think people hire me because they like that I am local and have a true passion for the work I do for my company. They usually hire me by word of mouth from other satisfied customers.

Nick Petrie installing new parts for a client’s security system. (Photo: Chris Weldon)

CW: What kinds of support did you have when you first started?

NP: Not much, really. Everything is in my name. I didn’t know you can get a business license at 17, but they gave it to me without a question. The only issue I had was before I was 18, I didn’t have a credit card. So I was purchasing everything with my debit card. I was able to make big purchases very early on, thanks to a client I’ve had. He fronted the money and made an investment in my company to help me grow it. I wouldn’t have been able to get my business to where it is today without him.

CW: What kinds of challenges have you experienced?

NP: I’ve definitely taken some jobs where in the beginning I had no idea what I was doing. I’d be watching YouTube videos trying to figure out what to do and calling different people that have the experience, but I never turned down or quit a job. I’ve always been able to figure it out and finish the job. My clients appreciate that, and they like the ambition and work ethic I have.

CW: How do you market your business?

NP: So I don’t even advertise. It’s all word of mouth. I got very fortunate with a big client in Vallejo — Buck Kamphausen. I ended up going up to his house and got a whole contract. He owns many cemeteries including Skyview Memorial Cemetery in Vallejo. He was one of the bigger clients I started with, and still currently work for. I mainly install security cameras at the cemeteries and the car museum he owns. 

Petrie working at one of his job sites. (Photo: Chris Weldon)

CW: How has owning a business impacted your life thus far?

NP: I was taught as a kid growing up to be self-motivated — don’t let everything kind of be handed to you. So I just wanted to have my own job, make my own money, and this is what made it happen. You get to make your own hours. You don’t have someone telling you what to do. And since I’ve launched, I’ve gotten a lot more involved with my local community.

CW: What do you see for yourself and your business in the future?

NP: So I plan on becoming a law enforcement officer for my main career, but I still want to have this business on the side to make extra money. I definitely plan on having this business for a long time.

CW: What advice would you give to others interested in starting their own entrepreneurial journey?

NP: Keep pushing. Don’t let something set you back a minute. If you try to do something and you don’t know how, just keep going.

Petrie running through coding for a system. (Photo: Chris Weldon)

The post A Teen’s Obsession with Security Cameras Developed into a Full Business appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Worth Your Time: ‘Sli’merre,’ from Young Nudy & Pi’erre Bourne

May 16, 2019 - 5:21pm

One of the South’s brightest rising stars, Young Nudy, and New York-based producer and rapper Pi’erre Bourne recently dropped their anticipated collab album, “Sli’merre.” The album comes in at a soft 39 minutes, which makes for an easy listen. The production style from Pi’erre Bourne and vocal delivery from Young Nudy are consistently perky throughout the entire project.

Young Nudy and Pi’erre display their musical chemistry through Nudy’s autotune-assisted melodies and Pi’erre’s classic fast-paced synths, followed by rapid hi-hats. The melodies and lyricism feel juvenile yet playful, which contributes to the elated feeling the album exudes. We compiled a list of our favorite songs from their collaborative project below.

Sunflower Seeds

“Sunflower Seeds” opens up with soft melodic chords and maintains a recurring simple vocal sample throughout the record. The instrumental has a vocal sample that gives it a nostalgic-like feeling and soft electronic piano that sets the tone for Nudy’s inspirational raps. Throw this song on repeat while you’re studying for your finals.

Black Hippie, White Hipster

Pi’erre previewed “Black Hippie, White Hipster” on Instagram Live a while back and it doesn’t disappoint. The song comes in at a short two minutes and 40 seconds, jam-packed with clever-yet-explicit wordplay. The beat slyly sneaks up on you, and as it drops, it turns into a melodic twang that makes you want to dance. This coupled with Nudy’s graceful flow, makes this record a must listen.

Long Ride

Pi’erre and Nudy kick the album off with the track “Long Ride,” a braggadocious record over what sounds like a warped synth. With lyrics comparing his current self to his past self, Nudy shows just how far he has come. The variety of his flow despite the repetition of the melody assists “Long Ride” in maintaining bouncy energy throughout the song. Occasionally, subtle sounds like a baby crying or Pi’erre’s producer tag cuts through Nudy’s playful flows adding to the overall charisma of track.

Mister (feat. 21 Savage)

Like the other songs on Sli’merre, “Mister” has a catchy melody that’s heavily supported by the sparse use of the flute and the amplified bass. The song has a lighthearted tone, making the transition to 21 Savage’s verse very smooth. 21 Savage laces the track with his signature medium-paced flow that we’ve come to know and love. Overall, “Mister” has a sound which finds a balance between extreme bass and light, airiness and it works really well.

Gas Station

Last but not least, “Gas Station” tells the story of Nudy meeting a “heaven-sent”  woman. Pi’erre hypnotizes us with dreamy production, with the warm tones almost hidden, contrasting well with the heaviness of the bass.  You definitely don’t want to miss this.

The post Worth Your Time: ‘Sli’merre,’ from Young Nudy & Pi’erre Bourne appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Worried About Instagram Likes? Soon You Might Not Have To

May 16, 2019 - 12:51pm

Keenan Villareal, a Townson, Md. college student, has worked hard to attract his 64,000 Instagram followers. Now, he’s worried the social media platform will lose popularity altogether and he’ll miss out on potential sponsorship deals that come along with being an influencer.

At the Facebook F8 Developers Conference in San Francisco last month, Instagram announced that it will begin testing a feature that hides the total like count on each post. The experiment comes at a moment when Instagram is looking to make itself less of a “pressurized” environment and fight bullying on the platform — especially affecting young people.

Account owners would be able to see how many people liked their photos, but those numbers would no longer be public. Tests for the new feature start in Canada. There’s no timeline for when or if the update will launch in the United States.

Villareal, 23, is convinced removing like counts will make people stop using the app. He’s especially concerned about the effect on influencers.

“Once people see that liking photos leads to nothing at all, people will stop liking, and the app will soon join MySpace in social media heaven,” he said. “Those of us that have large followings have worked hard to do so. Many that influence or promote for income will be affected by the lack of engagement that’s both occurring and shown on given posts.”

Reactions to the proposed change depend on how people use the app in the context of their lives.  

“Instagram, regardless of its origins, isn’t about photography. It’s about social status and making a statement,” said Inaya Ahmed, a high school junior from New Jersey. “If they removed likes, I think people will move away from Instagram because so much of it has become social validation.”

Instagram says the point is to decrease the focus on likes.

“We want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get,” Seine Kim, an Instagram spokesperson, said in an email.

The company is predicting the opposite of what Villareal and Ahmed are foreseeing — that the update “will ultimately drive deeper engagement,” Kim wrote.

The Instagram “private like counts” feature could have a big impact on mental health. Thirty-seven percent of teens said they felt pressure to post content that will get a lot of likes and 26 percent said social media can make them feel worse about their lives, according to a November 2018 study conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Sam Hastings, a New Jersey high school senior, said he deletes a lot of his photos if they don’t receive enough likes. If the likes become private, Hastings assumes he might post more content.

“I believe that it is a good way to lessen the obsession teens and young adults have with the stigma of getting enough likes and feeling validation,” he said. “It will have such a positive effect on my mental health personally because I will be a lot less stressed and obsessed over the likes it receives.”

The post Worried About Instagram Likes? Soon You Might Not Have To appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

The Techie Merging Silicon Valley with the Black Community

May 15, 2019 - 11:33am

Iddris Sandu knew he wanted to be involved in tech from the time he was a kid. He was inspired by Steve Jobs and taught himself how to code. Now in his early twenties, Sandu says he has been in rooms with some of the biggest tech companies and Hollywood royalty. He collaborated with the late Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle bringing a tech focus into Hussle’s The Marathon Clothing store.

Hailing from the city of Compton, Calif. as well as Harbor City, Calif., Sandu is not only proud of the city that raised him but also the Ghanaian roots that exposed him to the world of tech. Sandu has made it his goal to use his skills in tech and coding to give back to underserved communities and get more black youth interested in tech.

YR Media’s Nayo Campbell spoke with Sandu about the importance of diversifying the tech industry, how he is merging hip hop and technology and what it was like to work with Nipsey Hussle.

The following interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Nayo Campbell: How did you get involved in tech?

Iddris Sandu: My first job was when I was 13, but I had been programming for two years prior. A person that worked at Google offered me an opportunity to shadow. This was around the time of the iPhone — I was super inspired by that so I just took the time to learn all that I could about programming. So that was just the beginning of everything and it only went up from there. 

Iddris Sandu showing his ARA project at his Google Internship. (Photo: George Jeff)

NC: Was it hard for people to take you seriously at such a young age?

IS: Yeah, but it’s really about putting your money where your mouth is and knowing what you’re talking about. Even now, I go to meetings where people don’t know me or they don’t recognize me and they don’t understand me. [If] they do recognize me, they think I’m Hollywood, ‘He doesn’t really know what he’s talking about,’ and that I’m just riding a wave. And then when they start to hear me talk and talk about code they are like, ‘Oh. you’re legit.’ So, yeah, just knowing that I have something of value that most people don’t have has allowed me to transcend in a room, whether it’s [at] Google or sitting with anyone.

NC:  Would you say your racial background is one of the biggest challenges that you have faced?

IS: Definitely, I would say that’s one of my biggest challenges. Just being able to change the perception in people’s mind when it comes to skill level. It’s like nine times out of ten when you think of a programmer, scientist or a designer you’re thinking of a white person and not someone who is black. So that’s the challenge we face every day that we are simultaneously breaking.

NC: What’s in the works for you?

IS: I am speaking at the black graduation next month at NYU, so that’s huge. I also just taught a class at the Apple Store. I was jokingly telling my friend that I see so many rappers selling out shows, I sold out the Apple store. That’s next-level flex right there … I want to continue working on empowerment here and in Africa. I’m redesigning the parking meter system and it’s expected to roll out in California first and eventually move across the country. So the parking meter infrastructure will be more friendly for drivers in the city. It will be a huge hardware upgrade. It will be the Tesla of parking meters.

Iddris Sandu teaching in the Apple Lab. (Photo: Louis Eugene Lee)

NC: In an interview with CNN, you mentioned you want to level the playing field between the black community and Silicon Valley. Can you talk more about how you’re doing that?

IS: Currently, the students that I am teaching are learning how to create an operating system and then creating a program for other people to program on it. Not just how to build an app, not just how to build the next Facebook or Instagram, but how to build an iOS or the next Microsoft Windows OS. That will put them on the top of the food chain. Most of the time, communities of color are just taught to develop an app but that app is being controlled by another platform. 

NC:  Why do you think the tech industry is so slow at diversifying?

IS: The people in power don’t understand the importance of diversity. People think diversity simply means color and adding that person to your team, but it also means addressing/working towards issues that are specific [to] a demographic. Unless you do that, you’ll always be biased. You’ll always be not diverse. You can have a lot of people [of color] but still not be diverse.

Iddris teaching 3D printing. (Photo: George Jeff)

NC: You’ve been in the tech industry since you were very young. Is there anything that you wish that you would’ve known before entering the industry?

IS: I would say remain authentic at all times. The things that we use as disadvantages are actually advantages and we’re just focusing on them in the wrong way. It’s like if you have a triangle and you’re trying to fit into a square, you might think something’s wrong with you, but in reality you just need the right pattern. I will tell that to my old me. Be authentically you.

NC:  You worked with Nipsey Hussle to create The Marathon Clothing store. Can you tell me more about this collaboration?

IS: I was like let’s [look at] hip hop and the black community because I felt like we haven’t harnessed our full power as a community. And so we wanted to really do that through technological empowerment. So the store was already done. He said to me, ‘Yo, you know, not only do I want you to work on this store, but people like you are what’s needed in the culture.’ 

NC: For those who haven’t been able to make it to the store, can you tell me why it’s so important and why it is needed for the culture?

IS: It’s very important that the store is there on Slauson and Crenshaw because of the history and everything that’s attached to it — the authentic storytelling. You need to visit [the store] to experience it and that’s how we intended for it to be … Unless you went there physically, words wouldn’t be enough to describe the experience. It’s something you need to go and see for yourself and download the app too. And you know, that’s what Nipsey would want.

NC: What was it like working with Nipsey and merging tech with hip hop?

IS: He was one of kind. Everyone is saying that, but he was. I traveled with him, I ate with him and I met his family. He was always listening to books. We were very similar. He understood that he was a leader of the previous generation, and he believed I was the leader of this generation. He believed in me from day one. He was authentic, prolific and determined. Those were just some of the memories I had working with him, he had an incredible memory. His retention span was so crazy. He could retain a lot of information in his mind and use it in so many different ways. He was very strategic.

Iddris Sandu (far left) with Nipsey (far right.) (Photo: George Jeff)

The post The Techie Merging Silicon Valley with the Black Community appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

Queer Students Speak Out on Morehouse’s New Trans Admissions Policy

May 14, 2019 - 11:28am

Last month, Morehouse College, the only all-male HBCU in the country, announced that it will begin admitting transgender men in 2020. It was a historic moment for a school with a troubled history when it comes to queer inclusion.

Morehouse is one of the top-ranking HBCUs, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader Julian Bond and filmmaker Spike Lee among its alumni. A top producer of black men with doctorates in the nation, the school prides itself on shaping its students into scholarly “Morehouse Men,” destined to be leaders.

Morehouse’s new transgender student policy was an initiative of the new president, Dr. David Thomas. Upon starting his term, Thomas moved to clarify the admissions policy. He aimed to reflect changing attitudes on gender norms but made clear that “Morehouse remains a school for men,” according to a statement provided to YR Media by Aileen Dodd, a Morehouse spokesperson.

The new policy states that beginning in the Fall 2020 semester, students “who live and self-identify as men, regardless of the sex assigned to them at birth,” can enroll at the school.

However, the policy is explicit that transgender women are not welcome at the school: “Morehouse will not consider for admission women or those assigned male at birth who identify as women.” Dodd explained that if a current student transitions to a woman while at Morehouse, she would have to submit a written appeal and address why she would like to stay at “a school explicitly designed for men.”

Some LGBTQ rights groups in the Atlanta area praised the change. “This is a great first step for Morehouse that should be celebrated, especially as transgender rights are federally under attack,” said Eric Paulk, a Morehouse alum and the deputy director of Georgia Equality, a civil rights group for LGBTQ Georgians.

Many Morehouse students and alumni also voiced their support for the policy, applauding the school’s effort to update its admissions process to reflect changing social norms. To them, the policy represents a first step towards building a more inclusive campus.

Institutions like Morehouse are often fighting to exist and lack necessary resources to modernize. Expanding its admissions policy to include trans men required a lot of work on the back end and a commitment to much more work in the future.

— Donovan X. Ramsey (@donovanxramsey) April 14, 2019

I agree with the college’s final decision. @Morehouse is a #HistoricallyBlackCollege for men. Through kind of a “textual“ analysis of what the founders may have meant, we divine that they wanted to create a school to cultivate and reflect on the Black male experience.

— A. Prince Albert III (@aprincealbert3) April 13, 2019

But for many queer students on campus, Morehouse’s announcement didn’t go far enough. Shortly after the news broke, student activists took to Twitter. They used the hashtags #MorehouseCannotEraseMe and #WhatAboutThem to draw attention to the policy’s shortcomings for transgender women and non-binary people. “When I heard, I was super excited,” said queer Morehouse sophomore and activist Daniel Galberth. “But when I sat down to read the policy, it really hit me that what Morehouse said is, ‘We’re gonna accept transgender men, but kick out anyone who doesn’t identify as a man.’”

What about the gender-nonconforming students who are already on campus? “As far as what the policy means for me, I was grandfathered in. I’ll be able to graduate because I was enrolled before the policy was implemented,” said Tatiana S. Rafael, a transgender woman in her third year at Morehouse. “My understanding based on a conversation I had with the president of Morehouse is that I’m the first fully-transitioned woman in the school’s history.”

Rafael said she was approached by the president for a private meeting to be informed of the policy before it was announced, so that the policy would not come as a surprise. However, she is unhappy that she was not asked for input.

Rafael said she feels less safe now that this policy has been announced. “Like this policy will embolden people to be discriminatory,” she said. “So I do worry for my safety every day.”

She’s not the only student to feel this way. Nigel Jacobs is a nonbinary junior at Morehouse who sometimes presents as femme, and when they do, they are met with stares from other students. Jacobs worries that the new policy “will discourage future students from presenting how they want” and could be used “to threaten their enrollment at the school.”

When YR Media asked Dodd what she would say to current LGBTQ students who feel unwelcome at the school, she wrote in an email: “We assure them that they are welcome to pursue their academic goals at Morehouse and invite them to join us in the efforts to assess campus needs to create diversity and inclusion programs, trainings, and facilities that will support the new policy.”

The current debate regarding Morehouse’s transgender student policy comes as the latest development in the school’s troubled history with LGBTQ issues. Most infamously, in 2002, Morehouse student Gregory Love was beaten by a classmate with a baseball bat in the shower at the school. The attacker believed Love was making a pass at him. As a result of the attack, Love suffered from a skull fracture and brain damage. The perpetrator was convicted of aggravated assault and battery.

In a subsequent lawsuit, Love accused the school of fostering a climate that promotes homophobia. His suit claimed that “Morehouse had failed to address the harassment of students believed to be homosexual; had fostered an atmosphere of hatred and violence toward such students.”

Morehouse has made attempts to be more inclusive of LGBTQ students. In 2002, the school launched its first gay-straight alliance group, SafeSpace. Eight years later, Morehouse held its first Pride Week celebration. In 2013, the first LGBT course was offered at the school, teaching the impact of black LGBT figures on culture and politics.

Despite the milestones, many of the queer students I spoke with felt unwelcome at Morehouse. “The school doesn’t know how to include or accommodate anyone who is not a cisgender heterosexual male,” Rafael said. “If you don’t fall in that category, the school doesn’t do a good job of including you.”

The post Queer Students Speak Out on Morehouse’s New Trans Admissions Policy appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

5 Things You Missed in Music Business News

May 13, 2019 - 6:24pm

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.

Lil Wayne and Blink-182 Linking Up for Tour

Remember back when we were all secretly rockstars? Well the time has come again! Lil Wayne and Blink-182 just announced they’re going on tour together!! It’s also been said that Wayne and Blink-182 will perform a mashup of “A Milli” and “What’s My Age Again?” #ItsLit

Haiti Babii Breaking Ground with New Freestyle

Stockton rapper Haiti Babii is the tea of the talk! After performing an interesting freestyle on LA’s Real 92.3 radio show, the whole nation (including celebs like Meek Mill, Chrissy Teigen, Chance The Rapper, etc.) have been talking about the Stockton rapper. Although many are laughing at Haiti’s bars, this was the rapper’s strategic plan to gain more exposure.

Independent Artists Estimated to Make Over $1 Billion This Year

Independent artists are killing the music game! It’s estimated that last year self-releasing artists generated $643 million worldwide, collected through platforms like TuneCore, CD Baby, Distrokid and Ditto Music. The future is bright for independent artists.

Fyre Fest Founder Writing Book from Prison About the Failed Festival and How He Plans to Give It Another Go

Fyre Fest co-founder Billy McFarland (who is currently serving six years in prison for fraud) says he wants to give it another go with the infamous Fyre Festival. McFarland wants to share his story and is going to do so through the book he’s currently writing in jail.

Artists Signed to Universal Music Group for Over 35 Years Are Fighting to Terminate Copyright Grants

Multiple artists have joined forces in a class-action lawsuit against UMG to re-claim ownership rights of their music. This is based on a condition in the Copyright Act of 1976 that says after 35 years, “authors” can terminate any grant that gives ownership of their work to a third party. This, of course, threatens UMG’s pockets ($$) now and in the future, so obviously UMG is not with it AT ALL. They are making every effort to shut down the motions to ensure they can keep making money from owning all of their older act’s music. Stay tuned to see how it plays out!

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

Categories: Blog

Bay Word of the Day: Taxing

May 13, 2019 - 4:43pm

The post Bay Word of the Day: Taxing appeared first on YR Media.

Categories: Blog

‘Taking What We Can Get’: People of Color in Therapy

May 13, 2019 - 4:28pm

Elena Rivera was standing in the frozen food aisle on the phone with her mother when she finally said out loud, “I think I need to go to therapy.”

Rivera had just moved away from her support network for a new job in North Carolina. Her car had broken down, she was really anxious at work, and after months of being stressed and lonely she made up her mind.

Her mother’s response? “Oh, good. I was going to bring that up.”

It helped that Rivera’s mom was supportive. But finding an excellent and affordable therapist is tough under any circumstance. For people of color like Rivera, there can be an added challenge: identifying someone who isn’t clueless or downright harmful when it comes to race.

Elena Rivera said as a former social worker, she thought she could navigate mental health services. Still, she said, “even saying I should get help took me a really long time.”
Photo: Courtesy of Elena Rivera Shortage of Options

For those seeking a mental health professional of color, the numbers are daunting. Minorities accounted for only 16 percent of the psychological workforce in 2016 according to the American Psychological Association, which estimates a 24 percent increase in demand for therapists from people of color by 2030. Resources like the Institute for Muslim Mental Health, the Society of Indian (Native American) Psychologists and Therapy for Black Girls can help. But sometimes therapists who show up on lists are just people who clicked a box saying they use “multicultural” approaches, not people of color themselves.

For Rivera, the first therapist she found after talking with her mom was, in her words, “a nice, old, white lady.” Rivera is 28 and Latina. She said the therapist was reasonably helpful on the stress of applying to grad school and being away from friends and family, but the race barrier created moments of miscommunication.

“I was telling a story, but she wasn’t hearing all of it,” Rivera said, remembering a time when she was describing to her therapist how she felt like an impostor sometimes. “I wish she would have somehow been able to tell me: ‘This makes sense because of the different parts of your identity that are intersecting.’”

Not knowing whether your counselor understands the core aspects of your identity can throw off the therapeutic dynamic. All those microaggressions people of color face in day-to-day life can find their way into the therapy office, and pretty soon the client is sitting there helping or educating the therapist when it’s supposed to be the other way around. Subtleties get lost in the cultural divide. Or sometimes the client will avoid the subject of race altogether.

Holding Race Back

Amara Fisher is mixed race, her mom white and her dad black.

But her therapist doesn’t know that.

“We’ve been having these conversations about my mom and my relationship with my dad, but I have never mentioned their ethnicity and she has never asked,” Fisher said. “I feel like I’m lying by omission. I really don’t want to know or see her reaction, and I don’t know if she can be helpful. It has the potential to turn me off from the relationship entirely.”

Originally from New Hampshire, Amara Fisher said her first experience with mental illness occurred in college, and that the race of her therapist wasn’t an issue because her “brain was in chaos.”  (Photo: Courtesy of Amara Fisher.)

Filtering what you share with your therapist is not necessarily unusual, said Anisha Mauze, who is Indian American and an associate therapist in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, but she cautions against it. If a therapist reacts poorly to the way a client talks about race? “You two are not a good fit anyway,” Mauze said. And having a good connection with your therapist is, in her view, 80 percent of the work. Without that, it could be best to move on.

Switching for a Better Fit

That’s what Lauren Chinn said she did after about six months of seeing her former therapist, and culture had a lot to do with it.

“She tried to make all these assumptions about my Chinese culture,” said Chinn, who lives in San Francisco and is a web developer. “She was trying to be culturally sensitive, but she was making assumptions about me instead of understanding the culture I was in.”

Even if a misunderstanding with her therapist didn’t deal directly with race, it could still feel like it did to Chinn. She recalled when the two of them argued about how long it would take Chinn, 29, to clean her room. The therapist thought two hours, and Chinn guessed closer to 16 (she has ADHD). Chinn was frustrated that her therapist acted as if she knew better.

“I feel like white supremacy teaches white people that they know things,” said Chinn, who tired of the dynamic. So she used a progressive Christian Asians Facebook group to find a therapist with whom she had a better cultural connection.

“There is already so much background that we share that I don’t have to explain everything,” she said of her current therapist. “When I have a problem that I want to solve in a certain way based on my values, I don’t have to fight against my therapist about what are my values in the first place, before actually working toward it.”

Therapist in Therapy
Having struggled to find quality mental health support, for his own training Roberto Garcia looked for a program with an intersectional approach to therapeutic practice. Photo: Courtesy of Roberto Garcia (pictured with his daughter)

It’s not just a matter of shared values. Roberto Garcia is an associate therapist himself and practices at a Bay Area high school. In his own therapy as a client, a counselor once encouraged Garcia to give himself permission to get mad. In public.

Garcia is 6’5” and black.

He said he understood that the therapist was trying to address a genuine concern in his life — that he didn’t feel safe expressing frustration. But the racial context was missing. “I know my anger is seen as a threat. Society is not ready to handle my anger,” he said. “And you’re telling me to flaunt it around as if it’s not going to end up causing some kind of massive blowback on me or something?”

As a therapist himself, Garcia takes his own mental health seriously, but given the landscape, he’s kept his expectations low. “I wasn’t likely to find somebody who resonated with me on the same ethnic background.”

For those who can’t get professional help with their mental health, some find healthy ways to deal, like dance, faith or friends. But there’s also a tendency to self-medicate, according to Dr. Annelle Primm from The Steve Fund, an organization dedicated to the mental health of young people of color in honor of Stephen C. Rose, a 29-year-old who died by suicide. Food, drugs, alcohol or sex may bring pleasure initially, but in excess, people are “placing themselves at risk for a host of other mental health, physical health, and social problems,” said Primm.

Before working at Steve Fund, Primm was the director of minority and national affairs for the American Psychiatric Association. While she understands why people of color may feel the need to see a therapist of a similar race, she cautions against holding out for one. The math means it’s often not possible.  What’s more important, she said, is that therapists approach differences in race with “cultural humility,” which means learning without the patient teaching and setting aside their own bias or assumptions.

And very good listening.

“The Talk” … With Your Therapist

So what’s the best way forward if you’re, say, black, and you end up with a therapist who seems decent but doesn’t share your race, and you’re just not sure if they get you enough?

Gallaread often reminds herself — and friends — that you can always discontinue therapy even if it’s hard to say no to someone who exudes power.
Photo: Courtesy of Demetria Gallaread.

“If you’re still concerned after about three sessions, that’s when you say: I really need to take my black identity seriously and I would like to work with you to figure that out, “ advised Demetria Gallaread. “And then that’s when you get to know your therapist’s experience with this. What they do know, what they don’t know. You can work through it together if you need to.”

Gallaread, 28, said she’s been seeing a white therapist in Chicago for four years, who doesn’t always get the race stuff right. It can often feel tertiary to the things they discuss rather than integrated. But Gallaread said it’s working for her so far: “I’m taking what I can get.”


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Categories: Blog

How Being Raised by a Teen Mom Taught Me About Resilience

May 12, 2019 - 8:00am

My mom had me when she was 16 years old and in foster care. I’m 14 now, and I can’t wrap my head around what that must have been like for her.

Being a mother at such a young age meant my mom had to make sacrifices. She put college on hold for several years. She focused on providing for our family and raising me. She worked multiple jobs. When I was younger, she worked as waitress and a tailor.

Now, she works at Oakland Housing Authority, and she’s still studying for a master’s degree at Cal State East Bay.

After coming home from work, my mom cooks dinner and cleans the house. She asks me how school was and what I learned that day. After dinner, she helps me with homework, then reads to me until I fall asleep. It’s astonishing how much time and energy she has for me at the end of a long day.

My mom has taught me perseverance and grit. But more than that, she has demonstrated to me that there is strength in love.

Her resilience and grace are traits that I aspire to.

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Categories: Blog

Playlist: Crunk Hits

May 10, 2019 - 5:34pm

We all remember the time when southern Crunk stars had us screaming our hearts out to outta pocket bars and booming basses. This playlist, full of up-tempo, crackin’ Crunk slaps and waps from artists like Lil Jon to Boosie Badazz brings us back to colorful block set grillz, XXXL Rocawear shirts, and swangin’ solid gold rope chains — what a time to be alive! So, take a trip with us back to the old days full of WHAAAAT’s and YEAAAHs with sounds curated by Money Maka.

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Categories: Blog

New Ways to Play: Twitch Evolves

May 10, 2019 - 11:00am

Twitch, the premiere live-streaming video site best known for gaming is experiencing a wave of experimentation both inside the company and from independent producers using its platform.

While most people will think of eSports when they think of Twitch, the site has featured everything from hit role-playing game streams like “Critical Role,” to Bob Ross videos to collaborative multi-player game experiences like “Twitch Plays Pokemon.” It was the latter that was an evolutionary leap that showed Twitch’s potential for massive multi-user experiences with an eager community. From a tech and audience standpoint, this is one of the platform’s biggest advantages.

Two current projects show new ways that Twitch is being used.

“Twitch is a communal platform with a lot of technology. It begs for engagement and interactivity, but it doesn’t require it. That flexibility with innovation is what attracted me to it,” said Bernie Su, the co-creator of “Artificial,” a series about an artificially intelligent robot named Sophie (played by Tiffany Chu), that is becoming human. The series is on its second season on the platform.

“You can just watch our show and not participate and if you like our story, you’ll enjoy it,” said Su. “But if you’re commenting, debating with the rest of the audience, voting on polls, and playing with us you’re getting a rich participatory story.”

Su is no stranger to interactive web series, having earned Emmys for his work on ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” and “Emma Approved.” Those shows used social media to create an interactive experience for fans that rolled out alongside and around the episodes, but “Artificial” is performed live for the streaming audience, and the interactive elements become a part of the story.

“A lot of new viewers come into our series and don’t realize that it’s live, that they can participate, or wonder if Sophie is a real robot (she’s not). It’s a new habit. You don’t watch “The Avengers” asking if Iron Man is real or if you yell at the screen, [thinking] he might listen to you.”

Changing the relationship between viewers and show runners isn’t the only way that Twitch is evolving online entertainment. The site itself launched its first in-house game, and while the Twitch community is known for first-person shooters, battle royales, and MOBAs, the first game from Twitch is a karaoke game.

“Twitch Sings” lets users broadcast their karaoke sessions, naturally, but it is the social aspect that will make or break the game.

“We’ve been thinking about this for some time. Streamers have always wanted the ability to sing rights-cleared music on stream, often for charity or community rewards, so in many ways the genesis has been the desire of the Twitch community,” Joel Wade of Twitch told YR Media. “It’s been a fascinating project to be a part of because it’s both a game and a creator tool, built to be seamlessly streamed live on Twitch.”

Sure, there will be emotes for audience members to cheer on singers, but it’s the ability to pull someone — be it a friend or a fan — into a duet that sets this effort apart.

“We strongly believe there’s an opportunity for a new category of game to emerge that’s made to be streamed, where the audience isn’t just ‘nice to have’ but a part of a shared interactive performance,” said Wade. “ We knew karaoke would be the perfect place to start. It’s great live, it’s always entertaining, and there are really fun ways we can allow the audience to participate with singing challenges and voting for the next song.”

In some senses these experiments reach back into the DNA of Twitch, which started out as part of the “lifestreaming” platform Justin.tv before the focus on watching people play games became so popular that the parent company changed its name. Now, as part of Amazon’s vast digital empire, the platform acts as a pioneer of social interactivity that goes well beyond commenting and chat rooms. (Not that those go away, as the success of Discord amongst the gaming community shows.)

Both “Artificial” and “Twitch Sings” point towards a future for the platform where live events provide a catalyst for new forms of collaboration, even co-creation, between producers and fans.

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Categories: Blog

All Day Playlist

May 9, 2019 - 6:25pm

We are proud to announce the launch of All Day Playlist! Every week catch our top 10 selections of dope sounds. This week we’re playing amazing artists like Kelela, Steve Lacy, and Anderson .Paak! If you like what you hear, peep our 24hr live stream at ADP.FM .

More ft. Anderson .Paak – Flying Lotus Laputa – Hiatus Kaiyote Movin’ On – Matt Martians Out Of Your League – Blood Orange KAYTRANADA_WAITIN_115 BPM – Kelela interstellar house mix – monte booker Sparky – Santi Technicolor – Sunni Colon Sticky – Ravyn Lenae KLINK – Smino

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Categories: Blog

Rejecting the Brown Paper Bag Test

May 9, 2019 - 8:00am

Have you heard of the brown paper bag test? It was a practice that’s been documented in black fraternities and churches through much of the 20th century. Anyone whose skin was darker than a brown paper bag was denied entrance. It speaks to colorism, a hierarchy where even within the black community, lighter skin is valued over darker complexions.

I am a dark-skinned, black girl. All my life, I have received comments not just about my race, but specifically the shade of my skin. My classmates taunted me. I was compared to a gorilla. While walking down the hallway, I heard gorilla grunts behind my back.

When the teachers turned off the lights for presentations, often someone would joke, “Where’s Ashura? Where’s Ashura? She’s disappeared.”

You can imagine — especially as a teenager — these comments cut me. They led me to believe in my own ugliness. Tears streamed down my face as I caked on lightening creams.

When I was 17 — and I was so sick of hating the sight of myself — I started to repeat affirmations. “You’re beautiful, your skin is beautiful, your skin holds history and power.” I didn’t believe these messages when I first said them. But after months of repetition — holding onto these words like they were a prayer — it came true.

I looked in the mirror. I felt beautiful. I loved my skin — not in spite of its darkness. I saw the beauty melanin possessed.

We like to think that Jim Crow is ancient history, that nothing so backwards as the brown paper bag test could happen today. But the legacy of colorism has a long reach. No one taught me how to undo this thinking. I had to dig deep within myself.

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Categories: Blog

Male Birth Control Pill?!

May 8, 2019 - 11:02am

A male birth control pill just passed the first round of safety tests and could be hitting the market, but not for at least another 10 years. Kiarra and Nyge have a discussion about the possible side effects and if men would really even take it.

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Categories: Blog

Five Things to Know About Impeachment

May 7, 2019 - 11:55am

Impeachment is on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

Whether they want President Donald Trump to stay in office or wanted him gone yesterday, people can’t stop talking about the I-word.

But no one’s explaining what impeachment actually is and how exactly it works.

Here are five facts you need to know:

Impeachment Proceedings

The House of Representatives initiates impeachment.

Generally, the 41-member House Judiciary Committee conducts an investigation to determine whether or not a federal official has committed a crime worthy of impeachment. If the answer to that question is yes, the committee will draft articles of impeachment outlining these charges and vote on whether to bring the articles in front of the entire House.

If at least 21 members vote in favor, the entire House then votes on whether to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate. A simple majority vote in the House is needed to accomplish this.

Chances of Impeachment

Several 2020 Democratic candidates are calling on the House to initiate impeachment proceedings.

These include Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, and Julián Castro.

But that doesn’t mean these proceedings will necessarily occur.

The Mueller report leaves the question of obstruction of justice open to further investigation but says Trump did not collude with Russia. And a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 56 percent of Americans oppose impeachment.

In the House itself, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is saying she doesn’t support impeachment right now. But Attorney General William Barr is supposed to testify before Congress this week, and House Democrats are pursuing investigations that could lead to impeachment proceedings.

Impeachment Isn’t Removal

Impeachment happens in the House. Conviction and removal from office occur in the Senate.

If the House drafts and approves articles of impeachment against the president, a trial is set up in the Senate. Following the trial, the Senate votes on whether to convict the president of the offenses outlined in the articles of impeachment. This conviction removes the president from office.

But it takes a two-thirds majority — or 67 senators — to convict an official, and Republicans currently have a majority in the Senate. So even if House Democrats end up drafting and approving articles of impeachment against Trump, it’s unlikely the Senate would vote to remove him from office.

Clinton, Nixon, and Johnson

No president has ever been removed from office through an impeachment process, but some have come close.

President Bill Clinton was impeached on accusations of perjury — lying under oath — and obstruction of justice following a sexual harassment case brought forward by former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones. The Senate acquitted Clinton of the charges in February 1999, leaving him in power.

The House also successfully led impeachment proceedings against President Andrew Johnson after he dismissed the secretary of war without the approval of the Senate. This, U.S. representatives said, violated the now-repealed Tenure of Office Act. The Senate acquitted Johnson in May 1868.

The House initiated impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon in February 1974 during the Watergate scandal. But Nixon resigned in August of the same year before the process finished.

President Pence?

However unlikely, if Trump is impeached, convicted and removed, Vice President Mike Pence assumes his role.

The staunchly conservative former U.S. representative and governor of Indiana aligns with Trump on most policy issues.

One major exception is trade. Trump takes a protectionist stance on trade issues and favors high tariffs on foreign goods. Pence supports freer trade with lower tariffs.

Policy aside, Trump and Pence have starkly different demeanors. Trump is loud. Pence is reserved. And a Pence presidency would likely mark an end to our Twitter presidency.

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Categories: Blog

5 Things You Missed in Music Business News

May 6, 2019 - 4:53pm

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.

Pandora and Ticketmaster Sign New Deal

The new Pandora/Ticketmaster pact means artists can use in-stream audio marketing campaigns through Pandora to directly communicate to their fans about upcoming live events. Pulling from Ticketmaster’s touring data, Pandora will notify fans of upcoming tour dates in their area and when tickets are on sale.

80% Increase for Sony Music

Sony Music hit $2.1 billion in fiscal 2018 which was  80% more than 2017’s $1.15 billion. This is in large part thanks to successful albums by Sony artists like Travis Scott’s “Astroworld,” Camila Cabello’s “Camila,” and Luke Combs’s “This One’s for You,” and more.

Sony/ATV Signs DJ Mustard 

The new Chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, John Platt, has brought in DJ Mustard as one of his first signees.

Lemonade on All Streaming Platforms

Along with the success of her Netflix documentary, “Homecoming,” Beyonce surprised us again by releasing her 2016 Grammy-winning album on all streaming platforms. Three years ago the project was only available on Tidal.

Woodstock Festival Gets Cancelled

The Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival has been canceled due to insufficient production. Dentsu Aegis agency said, “We don’t believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees.” #nofyrefest

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Categories: Blog

Young Nudy Links Up with Lil Uzi for ‘Extendo’

May 3, 2019 - 3:25pm

Young Nudy recently dropped a new song featuring rapper Lil Uzi Vert titled “Extendo.” The song serves as a second single to Young Nudy’s tape “Sli’merre” with producer Pi’erre Bourne. The collab album is set to release on May 8th.

“Extendo” is a follow up to their first single from the project, “Mister,” which features 21 Savage. The feature is surprising, considering the track also follows a slew of unauthorized releases from Lil Uzi Vert, who currently has label issues with Atlantic Records.

Just in the last few years, we’ve seen producers like Metro Boomin creating projects with Big Sean and 21 Savage or Kenny Beats working with the likes of Rico Nasty, ALLBLACK and Key!. With “Sli’merre,” Young Nudy & Pi’erre Bourne are adding their names to the list of rappers and producers making collaborative joint albums.

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Categories: Blog

The Long Reach of Grief After Gun Violence

May 3, 2019 - 1:30pm

Anna Grace Snipe was in her first period class at Santa Fe High School last year when she overheard teachers saying there was a live shooter in a classroom across the school. “I was terrified when I figured out what was going on,” she told YR Media in a Twitter DM. The students around her were crying and “freaking out,” but she managed to stay relatively calm. That day 10 people were fatally shot and 13 wounded by fellow 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis.

Afterwards, Snipe obsessed over why the shooter chose that particular classroom and not hers. She wondered, if she’d been in the classroom where the shooting occurred, could she have helped someone? “I was quiet for weeks after because of it,” she said. But eventually she accepted that her guilt wouldn’t do anything, and she was able to let it go.

This feeling, often called “survivor’s guilt,” has been part of the conversation in the media in recent months, especially in reference to the apparent suicides of two student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and a parent of a student who lost her life in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

“A lot of what we see among survivors is that they struggle to understand why they survived when others didn’t, because they made the same decisions everyone else made,” said Dr. Laura Wilson, author of “The Wiley Handbook of the Psychology of Mass Shootings.” Wilson emphasized that each survivor and their recovery is unique and it’s essential not to generalize any “typical” survivor experience.

Wilson says survivor’s guilt can stem partly from a previously held belief in the just world fallacy. Whether or not they’re aware of it, many people believe on some level that the world is fair — that if they do good things, good things will happen to them. In the aftermath of a shooting, survivors are often left in emotional turmoil. According to Wilson, survivors may struggle to sort out why bad things sometimes happen to good people, or why people die even when they seemingly make the “right” choices.

Bree Butler was a senior at Santa Fe High School during the shooting there last May. Since the shooting, she has had increased anxiety, especially when she hears news of other shootings. Recently she says there was a shooting in a bar near her university. “I freaked out,” she said. “I didn’t leave my room for, like, three or four days.”

Butler is now finishing up her first year of college. She hasn’t told most of her college friends that she is a shooting survivor. “The only reason people would ever know that I was in a shooting,” she said, “is if they ask about my [gun control] activism, like how I got into that.” She doesn’t want them to feel sorry for her, which is how she says people usually react. “I just want people to know that, no, I’m not okay,” she said. “It’s fine. I’m not okay, but everybody’s going through it.”  

Survivor’s guilt can apply to many different types of survivors, not just those of mass tragedy. Olivia Sarriugarte grew up in Seattle’s Central District, in an area with high rates of violent crime. When she was 11 years old, she said she was with her family at a restaurant when a number of shots were fired and a bullet shattered a nearby window. Her family took refuge in their van. When she was young, she remembers the guys on her street regularly carrying guns and her block was controlled by the Crips gang. In December of 2017, one of Sarriugarte’s close friends, Mohamed Nejash, was shot dead in an apparent gang-related dispute. Sarriugarte said that Nejash had always been a protector in their neighborhood, the glue of the community.

Sarriugarte feels an incredible amount of guilt — that she survived, went to college (which Nejash had wanted to do) and that she turned 22, an age he will never reach. She described a “double trauma” — first the loss of a friend and second that “on top of that no one cared.” She was particularly distraught that a Seattle Times article on his murder was flooded with comments such as “gang bangers gunna bang” and “Another gun off the street. Success story.” Eventually, comments on the article were deleted and closed.

Olivia Sarriugarte got a tattoo in memory of her friend Mohamed Nejash, who was shot dead. MOB had been Nejash’s nickname. (Photo courtesy of Olivia Sarriugarte)

In the year and a half since Nejash’s death, Sarriugarte has struggled to understand why her friend was killed, even though he was a wonderful person. But then she second-guesses her own thoughts. “If he’s too good to die,” she wonders, does that mean that some other people deserve to die? “I’m in this weird no man’s land,” she said, “of, like, I have no idea how the universe works.”

Sarriugarte recently graduated from Pitzer, a private college, where she felt that her classmates couldn’t relate to her experience. “Everyone’s trying to do their schoolwork and graduate,” she said, “and I just keep being, like, ‘Hey, remember my friend got brutally shot and killed? That’s bothering me right now.’” Her friends were always kind when she brought it up, but after a while they stopped asking after her. She was angry that they had a choice to stop thinking about gun violence, while for her, “It’s here and it’s real and these are our peers.”

Wilson said it’s important for survivors to know that their path to recovery may not be linear. “One thing that confuses people,” she said, “is they might start to feel better. They might start to sleep better or they might feel less anxious. They might feel less sad and then all of a sudden, it comes flooding back.” Sometimes these ups and downs can be triggered by anniversaries of a tragedy, birthdays of people lost, or media about other shootings.

Mass shootings and school shootings are becoming more frequent. The 21st century has already seen more deaths from mass shootings than in the entire 20th century, according to a study in the Journal of Family Studies. Survivors are at risk of developing disorders like major depression, generalized anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some survivors find value in talking to other survivors or organizing with them. Several organizations, like The Rebel’s Project and Survivors Empowered, have formed to connect survivors as well as to advocate for gun control.

Through her activism with The Orange Generation, Butler connected with survivors of the Columbine High School massacre of 1999. She said she was comforted to meet one woman in particular, a survivor of the Columbine shooting, and that they’ve since become close. It’s nice for Butler to see this woman survive such a high-profile, destructive shooting and go on to lead a normal life. “She had, like, a kid and she lives in California and she has this life — [although] she obviously still struggles with what she went through.”

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Categories: Blog

Making Beats at the Warriors’ Practice Using Found Sounds Ep 6

May 3, 2019 - 11:00am

In this episode of “Found Sounds,” Clay Xavier pulls up to Warriors practice to record. Watch as dunks, dribbles, and drills get turned into a slapping beat!

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Categories: Blog