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.

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

    by Chaz H

    Fire. Floods. Drought.

    Today’s youth will have a lot to deal with as adults if politicians don’t step up to address climate change. 16-year-old activist Isha Clarke is leading the way to fight for change.
    The post Video: 16-Year-Old Climate Activist Takes On Politicians appeared first on YR Media.

  • 5 Things You Missed in Music Business News

    by Noah

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

    Kodak Black Faces 10 Years in Prison

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

    Woodstock 50 Is Back On

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

    Adidas x Kid Cudi

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

    Pledge Music Is Nearing Bankruptcy

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

    Rolling Stone’s Music Charts Delayed

    Rolling Stone’s highly anticipated music charts are said to be delayed due to unsecured data agreements. The launch was set for May 18th with the hype that it could surpass Billboard as the preeminent music charting service. 
    The post 5 Things You Missed in Music Business News appeared first on YR Media.

  • Oakland’s Pothole Vigilantes

    by Chaz H

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

  • Bay Word of the Day: Sum Light

    by Maya

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

  • My Little Brother’s Instagram Use Frightens Me

    by Youth Radio Interns

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

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

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

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

    I feel strange getting all protective of my younger brother’s Instagram. But now, in the Wild West of social media use and privacy restrictions — I guess my mom was right.
    The post My Little Brother’s Instagram Use Frightens Me appeared first on YR Media.

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

    by Yared Gebru

    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.

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

    by Youth Radio Interns

    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.

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

    by Yared Gebru

    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.

  • Worried About Instagram Likes? Soon You Might Not Have To

    by Nancy Deville

    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.

  • Ethics at Work: The Importance of Academic Honesty in Our Schools, Part I

    by Howard Gardner

    by Wendy Fischman
    Recently, an egregious scandal erupted in higher education. For perhaps the first time, several dozen parents have been exposed for blatant wrongdoings—paying others to change answers on standardized test scores; fabricating identities and resumes of their own children to disguise them as top tier athletes; paying coaches on the side to “recruit” their offspring. Questions have swirled about the degree of student knowledge and cooperation in their parents’ decisions and behaviors. How did these activities—unethical and illegal—come about?
    While many were shocked about the allegations, some of us were not surprised—especially those of us who have been investigating young people’s beliefs, values, and goals with respect to work and education. Indeed, this scandal joins together two lines of work in which my colleagues and I have been long engaged.
    In this blog, I review some of our early research on how young people—in school and in the first few years of their careers—describe their views on unethical and dishonest work, which includes cutting corners, lying, and blatant cheating. In subsequent blogs in this series, I highlight emerging findings from our national study of higher education about the importance (or lack thereof) about ethics and academic dishonesty on college campuses. In conclusion, I put forth suggestions for how to address these issues in educational contexts.
    The Good Project
    For the last twenty-five years, my colleagues and I have been investigating what it takes for individuals to carry out “good work.” We define this concept as foregrounding three Es: work that is at once excellent (high quality); ethical (considers the impact on others); and engaging (meaningful to the worker). We portray good work through a “triple helix of ENA” because all three strands (excellent, ethical, and engaging) are inextricably linked. Indeed, in more than 1500 in-depth interviews with professionals across nine different domains of work, we found that if professionals are to carry out work that is appropriate for the particular profession and in service to the wider society, the individual needs to care about the work—it needs to matter—otherwise the challenge may be too great.
    As an example, consider the print journalist faced with a dilemma: Should she knock on the front door of a home in which a mother just lost her son, in order to be the first to get a story? Her personal beliefs instruct her not to intrude; but at the same time, these values come in to conflict with her role as a budding professional, her ambition to become known (get her name on the front page of the newspaper in the morning), and the pressure from her editor to break the story (“if it bleeds, it leads”).
    Or, consider the geneticist who struggles about whether or not to patent a gene which he has not fully investigated—the patent may lead to considerable personal profit, but at the same time, it may also yield misleading information and prevent others from conducting further research.
    Such cases underscore one of our major findings: “good workers” need to navigate competing responsibilities—to self (both one’s values and ambitions), family and friends, workplace and domain, and the wider society. Indeed, we wrote a book on data collected from just one of our interview questions: “To whom or what are you most responsible in your work?”
    As part of the larger study of good work, we also studied the “origins of good work.” Specifically, we focused on adolescents and young adults who were passionate about a certain area of work, often considering it a “calling.” We sought to understand the formation of “good work” and “good workers”—the early influences and experiences that lead (or fail to lead) individuals to carry out work that is at once excellent, ethical, and engaging.
    Revealingly, we learned that though contexts can differ for workers at different stages in their careers, young people experienced many of the same conflicting responsibilities that mature workers must navigate. For instance, an aspiring high school journalist, who espoused values of objectivity and truth, struggled with the dilemma of printing a story about an alleged rape on campus—especially after a school administrator told her he would not fund the edition of the newspaper if she proceeded. A young geneticist in graduate school lamented his mentor’s pressure to “go public” with findings before they were triple checked, thereby violating one of the pillars of scientific research.
    The similar stories and reflections about dilemmas and difficult decisions were not the major surprise, however. Members of our research team were shocked that so many of these young students openly and directly told us how they often cut corners, lied, or cheated in order to get what they thought they wanted, at the time. Equally surprisingly, none of the students asked us to turn off the recorder (back in the days of a “tape recorder”!); nor did they give any indication throughout the interview that they were nervous or embarrassed to admit their wrongdoings (e.g. they did not whisper, preface the story with reasons why they had no choice, nor asked us how we planned to use the information).
    And the reason? Students apparently felt justified to make their own rules. They reasoned that they had worked hard and deserved to be at the top. After all, others cheat and get away with it, so why shouldn’t they?
    Most striking to us, however, these young students said that one day, when they are in positions of power and authority, they wouldn’t have to cheat, lie, or cut corners. Then, but only then, they will be able to “do the right thing.” In a book called Making Good, we highlight examples of these wrongdoings and their consequences for others.
    Which leads us right back to the offending parents—individuals who have status in American society—certainly fame and resources—to get what they (and/or what their kids wanted). In many ways, they reflect the “kids” we interviewed nearly twenty-five years ago—those who believe that their actions should be, or could be, legitimized in some way—those who may never have been stopped or questioned by a teacher, mentor, a supervisor, or family member. It’s quite possible that they feel that their earlier misbehaviors were justified and there is no reason to change course.  As Augustine memorably exclaimed in his Confessions, “Oh Lord, make me chaste, but not quite yet!”
    The scandal brings about important questions about the role of education in developing character—elementary school through higher education. For example, what are the responsibilities of educators to inform students of ethical boundaries of academic work? What are educators’ responsibilities when they come across academic dishonesty? Similarly, what are the responsibilities of administrators in terms of setting institutional policies, and of peers in reporting observances of academic misconduct?
    In the next blog, drawing on our large, national study of higher education, I focus on preliminary findings on academic dishonesty on the college campus: its incidence, its perceived importance, and its interpretation on the part of various constituencies.
    © 2019 Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner