YPP Network Description

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.

  • 10 Tracks That Slap

    by Yared Gebru

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

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

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

    “Make Luv” (Brent Faiyaz)

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

    “Funeral” (August08, 88rising)

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

    “King Kong” (Gunna and Young Thug)

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

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

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

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

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

    “The Ways” (Khalid)

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

    “The Night Song” (Ravyn Lenae)

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

    “Buttcheeks” (6 Dogs)

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

    “Reasons” (Paris)

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

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

  • Dating While Trans: A Love Story

    by Teresa Chin

    It’s no secret that dating can suck. First dates are awkward, people come with baggage and drama, and sometimes, despite having the best intentions, things just don’t work out. But dating is especially challenging for me. Being transgender means I have to be very selective about who I let into my life.
    On a Saturday morning six months ago, I was standing outside the BART station in downtown Berkeley, waiting for a cute guy I had been chatting with online. This would be our first in-person meeting.
    I had just started to date again after a bad break-up. This guy seemed sweet and a little nerdy: a math student “trying to learn how to adult,” whose interests included transhumanism, gender, and “writing angry essays on the internet.” In short, he sounded like my kind of person.
    As I scanned the crowd, my heart beat faster. I was being nagged by a familiar question: He’s cis, and he knows that I’m trans — how will that affect the way he interacts with me?
    Once I reveal to someone that I’m trans, there are no take-backs. It takes a lot of trust on my part that they won’t react with disgust, anger, or violence.
    I have every reason to be careful: 2017 was the deadliest year on record for trans people in the last decade. Somewhere from 30 to 50 percent of trans people will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
    When I came out as trans at 14, part of me believed I was resigning myself to being alone. I was young, and coming out felt like entering into a heartbreaking catch-22. I had given up on ever feeling comfortable looking feminine, which quickly gave way to fear that I’d never look “convincingly” masculine. And when I did start passing, I fixated on how others perceived me. Would they see my features as handsome, or boyish? If someone calls me cute, is that a good or a bad sign? If I ask someone out and they don’t know that I’m trans, when and how should I tell them? And how will they react? Who will they tell? And how will THEY react?
    Online dating does make it a little easier to find partners. Certain platforms let me opt out of seeing or being seen by non-LGBTQ people. I can scan over the profiles of people I find interesting and weed out “chasers” who might fetishize me, as well as transphobic jerks.
    But there’s still plenty of covert transphobia lurking among people who aren’t straight: the kind that someone won’t say outright, but manifests in their beliefs and attitudes. After all, mainstream gay culture is just as steeped in idealized, gendered representations of beauty as any other demographic– think of all the hunky cis gay men whose Tinder profiles unabashedly specify “no fats, no femmes.” That’s why so many trans people end up dating other trans people; it makes it much less likely that your partner will somehow use your identity against you.
    Since coming out, I’ve had a couple of long, fulfilling relationships that helped to ease my romantic pessimism. I’ve also matured a lot, and I’ve largely detached my self esteem from whether people think I’m handsome, or even a man in the first place.
    That doesn’t make rolling the dice on a new potential partner much easier — a fact very much on my mind as I finally recognized my date outside the BART station.
    As he approached, another wave of self-consciousness washed over me, and I steeled myself for first impressions. We exchanged hellos and hugged. He was so much taller than me that I did a mini face-plant on his chest, but it was nice. Then, we meandered over to a local restaurant for brunch. So far so good.
    Like any first date, our conversation was tinted with nervous energy and awkward moments. He even tried to get me to order food for him (indecisive much?). But our mutual eccentricity kept the jokes, anecdotes, and trivia flowing between us long after we left the restaurant. As afternoon rolled around and turned into evening, I began to drop my guard. The intrusive questions and comments that I braced for never happened. At one point, he gently took my hand and looked into my eyes. I felt then that there was nothing to worry about.
    These days, that guy’s not so much a stranger as he is my boyfriend. And he’s freaking lovely; kind, smart, hilarious, adorable… I could go on and on with mushy adjectives. I’m still getting to know his friends and family, which presents its own challenges. But all in all I feel very lucky that I’ve found someone who respects and cares for me.
    Because trans folks don’t just deserve safety. We deserve love too.

  • Audi Aicon Campaign Uses Multiple Intelligences

    by Howard Gardner

    German car company Audi has unveiled the Aicon, an electric self-driving car, and a recent advertising campaign for the model uses Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences to highlight the vehicle’s various features.
    For example, the electric motor is highlighted as evidence of the car’s naturalist intelligence, which its autonomous driving capabilities are cited as mathematical intelligence.
    Gardner comments on this development below:
    My friend, Tom Hoerr, a leading authority on the theory of multiple intelligences, brought this advertisement to my attention. When I developed the concept of MI, I never anticipated how much mileage (!) others might get out of the idea. As I quipped to my children, they may get a kick out of this, but not a kickback—the idea of multiple intelligences has always been in the public domain.
    Click here to see more.

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

    by Teresa Chin

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

    Blue Valentine (2010)

    Does Ryan Gosling make you need a cold shower? Are your parents divorced? If you answered yes to either of these questions, watch Blue Valentine.  It’s a naturalistic indie-drama, cataloguing the catalyst and destruction of a couple’s marriage. It may be a tear-jerker for some, in fact I showed it to my bestie and she hasn’t believed in love since, but it conveys the transience of love and life all in breathtaking 35 millimeter. Available to stream on Amazon Video for $2.99, YouTube $7.99, Google Play $7.99, or iTunes $3.99.
    Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

    Get your screens ready for Y Tu Mamá También — a scoping road film that will invoke your lust for life. Follow Julio and Tenoch, who are BFFs minus the forever, as they take a wiser older woman on a beachfront road trip. Me? I’m single because I think monogamy is a sham, so this one really butters my biscuit. Y Tu Mamá También spotlights how jealousy is really a product of insecurity and hypermasculinity. Plus, Gael Garcia Bernal is in it. And if you wouldn’t trade in your tinder match of the month for this man, you’re lying to yourself. Available to stream on Netflix, Amazon Video for $2.99, or iTunes $3.99.
    Harold and Maude (1971)

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

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

  • Illustration Challenge: What If Black People Had Superpowers?

    by Teresa Chin

    What if only black people had superpowers? That’s the premise of the comic book series BLACK, written by Kwanza Osajyefo with designs by Tim Smith III and artwork by Jamal Igle. It’s the perfect read if you’re both waiting for the Black Panther movie and nervously checking the news for the latest racially-charged incident.
    The 2016 Kickstarter-funded comic starts off with an all-too familiar presence — a young black man is gunned down by police — but he survives unscathed thanks to a previously undiscovered set of abilities. We won’t spoil the series for you, but let’s just say it feels very relevant given today’s political climate.
    To that end, we contacted BLACK designer Tim Smith III and invited him to an artistic challenge with our very own design intern, Dominik Vaughan. They both had to draw themselves as superheroes and tell us why they chose their particular ability.
    Tim Smith III (BLACK #1): 

    “My power is the ability to see and understand the actual intentions of a persons character.” – Tim Smith III
    Dominik Vaughan (Youth Radio):

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

  • Teen Snowboarder Chloe Kim Wins Olympic Gold

    by Teresa Chin

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

  • Marijuana MBA? USC Business School Weighs In On Legalization

    by Teresa Chin

    Now that several states have legalized recreational cannabis, it’s an officially legit career path for anyone over the age of 21. But like… do you need go to college to become a grower, start your own dispensaries, or sell a line of edibles?
    Youth Radio’s Noel Anaya sat down with USC Marshall School of Business’s Mark Brostoff, assistant dean and director of the graduate career services office, and Anthony Dukes, professor of marketing, to ask how they would advise a future cannabis entrepreneur.
    The interview below has been edited for clarity and length.

    NOEL ANAYA: Let’s say a young person wants to go into the cannabis industry after they turn 21. How do you get into something that until so recently was illicit?
    MARK BROSTOFF: Every aspect of business — whether it’s marketing, finance strategy, internal consulting, or operations — is transferable to the cannabis industry. I could see entry points as including private equity and venture capital. Taking a marketing class at USC, you would learn to harness profitability from existing markets.
    How do you navigate the ethical grey areas — after all, while this is legal in some states, it is still illegal under federal law..
    BROSTOFF: I think one’s personal ethics always comes into play when it comes to a job search and an acceptance. I don’t think that it would be too different than if a student were offered an internship or job at one of the big wineries or alcohol distributors. Also, not everyone in the cannabis industry are users of cannabis. I think it’s important to separate out the user end, and the purchaser end.
    ANTHONY DUKES: From a marketing perspective and from a brand image point of view, it might be useful also to look at the alcohol industry or even the cigarette industry. [For example] the alcohol industry very carefully emphasizes as an industry that we should enjoy this product responsibly.
    Can you in really simple terms explain how the money works in this business? Is traditional banking not available to these businesses? Or does California’s legalization make it a non-issue?
    BROSTOFF: There is no doubt that [lack of access to] banking can hold back a very eager entrepreneur. It’s a matter of whether the federal government is going to crack down or not. Obviously that’s an unknown question. So there’s a risk associated with any investment and just take for example the wildfires that destroyed acres of marijuana in Northern California with no insurance — [at that point in time] you could not get an insurance policy on a marijuana crop. So you have to have a pretty high tolerance for risk in this industry.
    Are some parts of the industry riskier than others, from a business standpoint?
    BROSTOFF: When you look at [grow operations], they may have more difficulty because they’re producing a crop that that is illegal at the federal level, and there’s implications from that end. But a brick and mortar shop that is selling [cannabis products] but not growing is operating as a legitimate business with a business license — you’re a legal entity in the state of California collecting tax and paying taxes. I think the growers have greater [risk] exposure.
    What would you say if and when one of your advisees says they want to go into this industry?
    DUKES: If there’s a young budding entrepreneur looking at the cannabis industry, my advice from a career standpoint would be to assess whether or not you want to take any personal risks. The opportunity to gain work experience is tremendous because it is so new. But we don’t know 10 years from now how that will look on someone’s resume. I suspect that in California that may not be a problem, but it may be a problem going into a state where marijuana is not legal.
    BROSTOFF: From a career services standpoint, I would coach students to at least recognize that in the short term it could be great experience. But in the long term, we don’t know whether or not that resume item will will help or or detract you from career advancement.

  • Youth Radio Raw: Youf ‘n da Booth Episode 2

    by Youth Radio Raw

    Welcome to the 2nd episode of Youf ‘n da Booth on Youth Radio Raw.
    Make sure you tune in every week on Fridays from 6:15 to 7:35pm!
    On this show, you’ll hear the recent news, personal experiences and a diverse selection of music.
    For photos of the show, go to Youth Radio’s Flickr page.
    Check out live coverage of the show by following @YouthRadioRaw on Twitter and @yr_raw on Instagram.

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

    by Noah Nelson

    David Meza for Richmond Pulse
    By Abené Clayton | Video by Mitzi Perez | Richmond Pulse

    Last month, the hushed tones of people analyzing art filled a labyrinth-style gallery in a downtown Los Angeles warehouse. Heads tilted to find hidden writing and details in paintings of Black and brown folks in painful and joyous situations.
    A booming echo of ceramic plates smashing against a wall punctuated conversations in the gallery. The artistic plate destruction was a part of an installation where people wrote words like “patriarchy” and “oppression” on dishes before shattering them.
    This art installation was one of the main attractions of the first “Into Action” social justice festival held in Chinatown. Hundreds of families, friends, and solo patrons filled the warehouse gallery, and an “impact hub,” a smaller warehouse a few feet away from the main gallery.
    The goal of the art was to inspire people to think deeply about issues like homelessness and White supremacy. People of color and other minority groups have used artistic expression as a refuge from the violence and crushing weight of racism and poverty. Presenters from organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) sought to turn the emotion caused by the provocative art displays into actions that will contribute to the uplift of underserved communities.
    The main goal of the festival was to encourage people to act and prepare folks to leave the event ready to commit to a social justice cause.

    Economic inequality was a major theme in the event’s art displays and panel discussions, and activists with the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) put the plight of low income folks as the focal point of their installation. PPC staff brought a mule wagon (a mule drawn wagon complete with wooden wheels and a linen top) to the Impact Hub as a reminder of the historical struggles facing folks who live in poverty.
    The mule wagon became a symbol of the national campaign inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 movement to bring together “poor people from across the country for a new march on Washington.”
    PPC staff set up a replica of the mule wagon that was used during the original caravan to protest gross economic inequality in the United States. The wagon held pots, canned foods, and other essentials that people took with them as they marched from Mississippi to the nation’s capital. Festival goers could also watch a video inside the wagon about work the PPC is currently doing.
    Kait Ziegler chairs the PPC’s California steering committee, and said that touring the mule wagon from state to state is necessary to ensure that low-income people are at the forefront of PPC’s message. She says PPC does this by “making sure that impacted folks are a part of the creative voices.”
    The necessity of working directly with underserved communities was also emphasized during a “Know Your Rights” workshop, which featured activists from Black Lives Matter and the ACLU.
    “It’s about taking the art and making it meaningful, making it matter,” said Felecia “FeLove” Leneé, program director for Compassionate ARTS, the group that brought the panelists together.
    Compassionate ARTS is a branch of Compassionate California, a statewide initiative to “foster the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.” Leneé and her staff displayed tall cardboard lampposts that had civilian’s rights regarding filming the police painted on them. Leneé said these pieces were special because they were an opportunity to bring “cops into a conversation that they normally wouldn’t join,” Leneé said.
    The posts are visual conversations, and teachable tools,” Leneé said, “It wasn’t intimidating. We said, “hey you’re gonna make art!”
    Panelist Jasmine Adbullah, founder of Black Lives Matter in Pasadena, also spoke about the use of art as a tool to dispel popular stereotypes of activists as “angry, violent folks.”
    “It’s imperative that we get out there, and we show the beauty and the joy of activism,” Abdullah said.
    She is adamant that attendees become “activated” and continue participating in social justice movements after the art and revelry of the festival ends.
    “What we have to do as Black and brown people is build momentum,” Abdullah said. “In these spaces, it’s our duty to call these people out. We’re not doing a justice to our people if we don’t.”

    Click here to see highlights from the Into Action Festival.

  • Giving Up My Privacy In Exchange For Cheaper Rent

    by Youth Radio Interns

    Photo courtesy of Bernard Spragg via Flickr
    I’m a college student in San Francisco. To afford to live here, I share a two bedroom apartment with five other girls. I ask myself daily, is living in this town worth the cost of my privacy?
    After growing up in Southern California, I was ready for a change. So when I got the opportunity to move to San Francisco for college, I was thrilled.
    I knew that living in the Bay Area would be costly, but I still didn’t anticipate how it would put my health and happiness on the line.
    Housing has become one of my biggest stressors. I barely have enough room in my apartment to lie down. I can’t have guests without knocking stuff over. I don’t have a private place to go when I’m stressed. I can’t focus. My hope is by living like this, I can avoid financial problems down the line. But I don’t think it’s right I have to choose.
    I still have two more years of college, which means, two years of putting up with these conditions…and it’s not fair. Students like me should be able to focus on graduating — not worrying about rent.