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.

  • First-Generation Fashion

    by Denise Tejada

    Style can be about more than just what’s “on trend” — it can also be about expressing who you are and where you came from.

    We checked in with three first-generation style mavens to see how they use fashion to tell a bigger story about their families and cultural identities.

    Yasir Althami

    “My parents worked too hard to get me here for me to ever be ashamed of who I am and where I come from”, says 17-year-old Somali Yasir Althami.

    Althami says the greatest values that his Somali and Muslim cultures have instilled in him are a love and respect for family.

    Yasir’s outfit is a nod to the Macawis, a sarong typically worn by Somali men.

    Senait Hagos

    “My culture means unity,” says Senait Hagos, a 16-year-old whose parents are from Eritrea. “In anything we do in our culture, it’s together. In my culture and my country, you always have people to lean on.”

    During a span of about 22 years, about a third of Eritrea’s population, including Senait’s parents, were forced to flee the country because of poor living conditions and the outbreak of two civil wars.

    “In my country, each tribe has a distinct clothing piece, distinct hair type, distinct jewelry, so I think fashion plays a major role in my culture”

    Senait is wearing a traditional Eritrean dress called a Zuria as well as gold jewelry, a commonly worn accessory.  

    Valasi Alailima

    “My culture is who I am and it shapes the way I live. My culture is deeply rooted in Christianity. I’ve been raised in something called the ‘Fa’a Samoa’ or ‘the Samoan way,’” says Valasi Alailima, 16.  

    Valasi is wearing a dress called a Puletasi. It is most commonly worn to church and formal cultural events.

    Valasi says she’s very excited to be able to pass the practices of Fa’a Samoa on to her children and future generations to come.

    The post First-Generation Fashion appeared first on YR Media.

  • Review: Toro y Moi Looks Inward for “Outer Peace”

    by Yared Gebru

    Toro y Moi (aka Chaz Bear) is back with a new album, “Outer Peace,” and it couldn’t be a better reintroduction. It’s been two years since his last project, “Boo Boo,” and while away, Chaz Bear took some time to tour and even explore other forms of art.  It would be unfair to box this Toro y Moi album to one genre, as he explores funk, electronic, R&B and pop music, to create one cohesive sound.

    According to a press release by Carpark Records, Toro y Moi’s “‘Outer Peace’ is duality. It embodies whatever form you choose to inhabit in the  moment.” Check out our five favorite songs from Toro’s latest below. 

    Ordinary Pleasure

    First released as the album’s second single, “Ordinary Pleasure” is playfully cool as he tells listeners “Nothing can make it better, maximize all the pleasure.” The track opens up with rhythmic bongo-playing while introducing synthesized vocals, and a mesmerizing bassline throughout the song. You wouldn’t think that funk, techno, alternative and pop would mesh so well on a track together but Toro y Moi makes it work.

    Baby Drive It Down

    “Baby Drive It Down” is one of my favorites off the album, despite the track being three minutes long, it feels like it’s over way too soon. Beware, the replay value on this song is very high, it manages to be a psychedelic upbeat yet mellow track.

    Who I Am 

    “Who I Am” comes in towards the end of the album, with a contagiously fun beat that is for sure going to make people want to dance. Toro blends retro-futuristic 80’s synth-pop with a tinge of 70’s disco-funk. He gets real existential as he contemplates ideas of self- worth and his place in the world.

    Monte Carlo (feat. Wet)

    Toro doesn’t shy from his chillwave roots, everything about the song is hypnotic, from its breezy beat to its background harmonies that fill the track. The singer recruits Wet for a brief hook, but the melodic vocals from lead singer Kelly Zutrau are enough to steal the show.

    50-50 (feat. Instupendo)

    The singer cited this collab with Instupendo as his favorite song on the album, because it came with a challenge, pop music. Toro y Moi has been hesitant to create pop music in the past, but in this track, he takes pop music and put his own spin on it, and just like the rest of the tracks on the album, it turned out to be very rewarding.
    The post Review: Toro y Moi Looks Inward for “Outer Peace” appeared first on YR Media.

  • Found Sounds: All Episodes and Complete Track List

    by Rohit Reddy

    Full Episode List

    Episode 4: Urban Ore 

    Episode 3: Oakland Library 

    Episode 2: Open Cafe

    Episode 1: Latham Square

    Complete Tracks

    The post Found Sounds: All Episodes and Complete Track List appeared first on YR Media.

  • What To Do If Instagram Makes You Feel Bad

    by Paula

    If you’re like most people, you probably spend a lot of time scrolling through social media. But do you ever wonder if it’s good for you? 

    Instagram can be pretty fake, so how does it affect us when people try and pass off their embellished lives as reality?

    YR Media reporter Hannah Cornejo talks with Harvard researcher Dr. Emily Weinstein to find out how social media affects young people, and whether we’re searching in the wrong place for realness.

    Weinstein is a researcher at Project Zero, a center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She studies how how social technologies shape the lives of kids and teens.
    The post What To Do If Instagram Makes You Feel Bad appeared first on YR Media.

  • The Facebook Group Subtle Asian Traits Just Gets Me

    by Merk

    Have you ever come across a meme that is so hilarious you get those deep belly laughs, you’re crying tears of laughter and sharing the heck out of it? Yeah, I feel you. And in the prime age of Twitter and Instagram, it’s hard not to stumble upon these comedy gems every once in a while.

    But let’s not forget about Facebook. There lies the home of a group that brings me so much joy: subtle asian traits.

    A group of Asian-Australian friends in their late teens and early 20s started the group, inviting users to join and “add all your Asian friends :).” As it’s a “closed group,” only approved members can view the content.

    Incredibly, subtle asian traits reached one million members worldwide in December 2018, and its membership is growing daily. It has also expanded onto Instagram.

    A meme featuring Surprised Pikachu posted by the admins of subtle asian traits when it hit a membership milestone on Dec. 21, 2018. (Photo: subtle asian traits)

    One of my cousins sent me an invite to join the group a couple months back and I’m so glad she did. Not only do I come across posts that have me clutching at my sides with laughter (while simultaneously trying to tap the “like” button), I see so many Asian people I know IRL in the group. That gives me a true sense of community.

    There’s the obvious reason for how I feel: I’m Asian and the group was made primarily for an Asian audience.

    Sauce packets like these, pictured in a post on Jan. 16, 2019, are commonly found in Asian instant ramen packages. (Photo: Giovanne Lagas II/subtle asian traits)

    Then there’s the subtle reason: the group just gets me. Mind blowing, right?I find memes here especially captivating, because they express the nuances of what it was like to grow up with immigrant parents as a first-generation Asian-American. Sometimes, certain memes even zoom in to what it was like to grow up in a Vietnamese household like mine.

    A meme posted to subtle asian traits on Jan. 18, 2019, references how fish sauce, also “nuóc mắm,” is used in many Vietnamese dishes. (Photo: Maya Verónica/subtle asian traits)

    A post on Jan. 18, 2019, points out how some Asian dads are known to be strict — and blunt — about their disapproval when their kids stay out late. (Photo: Brandon Jiang/subtle asian traits)

    A hilarious and pretty accurate description of what’s inside fridges in many Asian households, posted on Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo: Vicky Chang/subtle asian traits)

    I grew up in a suburban city about 15 miles north of Seattle (shout-out to anyone from Lynnwood!). I went to a high school with a predominantly white population. That meant I spent a lot of time telling people how to pronounce my last name, fielding requests that I speak in Vietnamese on cue, and explaining why the lunches I brought from home looked “weird.”

    Though this was an often isolating experience, what made a difference for me was my group of friends, who are Asian for the most part. The parts of myself other classmates found it hard to wrap their heads around didn’t need to be explained to my friends, because they understood. Simply put, they got me.

    A Jan. 17, 2019, post features chicken feet, which are a familiar Chinese dim sum dish. (Photo: Amy Ong/subtle asian traits)

    I’m really fortunate to have a group of friends who’ve been there for me since middle (and elementary) school, but a few months ago I moved to New York City, far away from my childhood buddies. I still have yet to find a squad that truly understands me in the way they do, but subtle asian traits is definitely a start.
    The post The Facebook Group Subtle Asian Traits Just Gets Me appeared first on YR Media.

  • Narrative Objects: Sexual Healing

    by alexishope

    Note: This post includes content about sexual trauma. This is the first in a series of posts about Narrative Objects: physical artifacts — from the speculative to the functional — that tell new stories about the world we live in. Sexual Healing is a collection of sensory objects for people who experience sexual problems after a traumatic experience, focusing on individual agency and the reclamation of pleasure, rather than clinical treatment. These objects are meant to be functional at the […]

  • What Happens When a Teen Activist Turns 20?

    by Shawn Wen

    For the past few years, I’ve built a lot of my identity around being a teenager — or more specifically, a teen activist. But now, I’m turning 20. And I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what that means for me.

    When I was 16, MTV News ran a story about the nonprofit I started, which is aimed at empowering teens to disrupt the status quo. They titled their story: “This Muslim-American Teen Turned His Suffering Into a Full-Fledged Battle Against Stereotypes.”

    There’s a whole world of kids like me, teen activists and entrepreneurs who have been continuously celebrated for our youth. There are many of us, young people who have become spokespeople for certain causes: gun violence, education reform, drug decriminalization. We are listened to, at least in part, because we are young.

    I think people love stories about young people mobilizing because of the novelty of it all, but also because the next generation is always associated with hope. When young people give presentations, we are often told that we reignite people’s belief in tomorrow. The reality is that young voices have an opportunity to be heard because we are received as exciting, powerful and refreshing. The public wants to believe in the next generation, naturally.

    As I’ve come of age as a young American-Muslim, I’ve leaned into “teenagerness.” I gave a TEDxTalk titled, “Our Age Does Not Limit Our Activism” in 2015. Later, I founded a consulting firm, JUV Consulting, with the aim of teaching brands how to better market to Generation Z. As I moved into the lane of youth advocacy, my “teenagerness” became a massive part of who I was, the work that I did and how the world saw me.

    I’ve leaned into the idea that people have listened to me more closely because I’ve been young. But as I turn 20, I’m thinking now about what happens next.

    I realize that I’m not suddenly old because I’m 20. My ideas were no more valid when I was 19 than they are now. I’m grateful to have been given a platform while I was so young, and my hope is to continue to use my platform responsibly to focus on issues that matter.

    I’ve been tremendously lucky that my teens have been so good to me, but I’ve also been so non-stop in my “hustle” that a part of me does feel like my teens have just passed me by. There are moments where I worry that sometimes I’ve forgotten just to take a moment and enjoy my youth. So as I think about growing up into a 20-something, my goal is to savor these years.

    As I get older, I feel committed to passing the mic to many other young people, especially those organizing to make tomorrow better. I will also continue to be enormously proud to be of my generation — and to support those younger than me as they claim their seats at tables.

    As I think about what’s next, the answer is simple: the work. The fact that I’m 20 doesn’t change my passions, so leaning into my purpose irrespective of my age will be an anchor for this next decade of my life.

    And I hope people are willing to listen, even if “20-something” isn’t as catchy as “teen.”
    The post What Happens When a Teen Activist Turns 20? appeared first on YR Media.

  • From Our Oakland Teen Desk: MLK’s Legacy in 2019

    by Ajani

    America celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day today.

    MLK sparked a social movement in the 1960s that addressed civil rights issues in America, emphasizing the barriers people of color face.

    To see how MLK’s legacy continues today, we talked to some of the students and interns at YR Media’s headquarters in Oakland, California. (YR Media provides after-school programs and internships to a diverse group of young people from around the Bay Area.)

    Martin Luther King “motivates me to do better in school and do what I believe in,” Anthony, 17, said.

    Given that messages of white supremacy and racism are still all around us — from Rep. Steve King’s recent comments in defense of white nationalism, to the alt right and Charlottesville, Virginia — what would MLK do if he were still alive today?

    The post From Our Oakland Teen Desk: MLK’s Legacy in 2019 appeared first on YR Media.

  • Listen to ADP.FM: City Cat Radio MLK Episode

    by stoney

    The freshest DJs in the bay spinning live from a street-level studio in downtown Oakland, California.

    Happy MLK Day! This is an episode of City Cat Radio with DJ Henroc, airing from All Day Play FM. We hope you enjoy the show in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and continue to create his dream.
    The post Listen to ADP.FM: City Cat Radio MLK Episode appeared first on YR Media.

  • How Much Do You Really Know About MLK? Take Our Quiz.

    by Paula

    How much do you really know about the man behind the iconic initials, MLK?

    To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or if you’d just like to show off to your friends, take our quiz below.

    Are you up for the challenge?

    Photos of Martin Luther King Jr. courtesy Wikimedia Commons and the U.S. National Archives.
    The post How Much Do You Really Know About MLK? Take Our Quiz. appeared first on YR Media.