Category: Lifestyle & Culture

A Conversation with Dr. Robyn Chandler

In 1969, following the residential dormitory sit-in at Mills House, Black students of the University of Massachusetts, at Amherst, produced the first issue of DRUM magazine as tribute to the Black literary experience.  The magazine went on to publish eighteen volumes before their last issue in 1988. Listen to Founder and Editor, Dr. Robyn Chandler, describe the political and social activity which DRUM was born in and the responsibilities of being a publisher at twenty years old.

Street Styles – Pt 2

Cynthia Ntinunu

Izzy

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Pronouns: they/them

Major: PoliSci

Outfit: Izzy sports a colorblock windbreaker with medium washed cuffed denim jeans. They finish it off simple with some black high top vibes. Izzy definitely gives off chill vibes without trying.

Style: For tops Izzy enjoys wearing turtle necks and button ups button all the way to the top. Their style is more on the relaxed side. They are all about wearing looser fitted clothing and paring those with jeans and some type of sneakers like converses. Izzy shows us that relaxed fit can be just as fashion forward as any other style.  

Hr

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 5.13.13 PM.pngPronouns: they/them

Major: Sociology and Legal Studies

Outfit: Hr makes layering look really fun. They are sporting a blue hoodie layered with a muted green button up layered with a black faux fur lined jacket. Hr kept it simple with very light wash jeans, worn down vans and fun mismatched socks. Also, do you see their fiery orange hair?!

Style: If it’s not comfortable then highly chance Hr is not going to wear it. Being comfy is very important when it comes to how Hr dresses. Along with being comfy, Hr finds the color scheme of their wardrobe to be more muted but it’s still color coordinated. Hr is also really big into thrifting which is apparent in the photo above.

Sasha

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 5.13.29 PM.pngPronouns: They/them

Major: English

Outfit: Denim on denim is route Sasha took with this minimal yet stylish outfit. They paired two different washes of denim that gives off a nice contrast. Sasha poses in a faux fur lined denim jacket, cuffed denim jeans and some black sneakers. To all those who say you can’t wear denim on denim, we’ll just show them this photo of Sasha and prove them wrong.

Style: Sasha’s style is always changing. They love trying new things and pairing different pieces together. Sasha gets inspiration from people they follow on Instagram and tries out what they are doing. One thing that won’t change about Sasha’s style, is their love for denim.

 

Street Styles – Pt 1

Cynthia Ntinunu

Despite the gloomy weather these past few days, we hit the “streets” of UMass Amherst to scout out those willing to bring any sort of color to the scene. We were lucky to meet two incredible people. Meet Favorite Irakunda and Sarah Wennemyr. Each of them have unique styles that are striking to the eye.

 

Favorite Irakunda

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Favorite stuns on her birthday with her statement jacket and necklace. Photographed by Cynthia Ntinunu

 

Favorite is a graduate student at the College of Nursing at UMass Amherst. Her bright red jacket gravitated us towards her and  we thought “we have to speak with her.” As we spoke with her, she mentioned how being French and African influences how she dresses. “There’s this idea of elegance intertwined with my culture,” said Favorite while sporting a red long jacket, paired with a cream tank top, black trousers and cute black booties. She also paired this look  with a circle pendant necklace, that added a hint of creativity without being over the top. Favorite’s key to achieving great style, is just having a few pieces. She doesn’t believe that you need to have all the expensive clothes to look well. You just need a few good pieces to pair together. We definitely agree with Favorite.

Sarah Wennemyr

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Sarah gracefully spins while showcasing her beautiful skirt.

 

As we walked through the campus center to scout out more people, we heard a group of people asking students if they wanted to join a club. Intrigued, we moved closer and we saw Sarah Wennemyr in action. While reaching out to students to join UMass Ballroom Dance Team, their vibrant floral skirt caught our attention.  Interested by the how their outfit was constructed, specifically the pairing of a velvet top with this fun skirt, we asked about their style. They said, “I would describe my style as relaxed vintage. I like skirts and shirts that are comfortable.” We think she captured, the relaxed vintage vibe well. If interested in seeing more of Sarah’s style in action, consider attending the next UMass Ballroom Dance Team meeting.

 

Black Panther: The Album review

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The soundtrack for Black Panther, the film that broke box office records when it was released, is and diverse mixture of trap, R&B, and experimental rap that expresses the immense influence of Black culture on music in America.

Kendrick Lamar’s intro, “Black Panther” proclaims his place in the music industry as “King.” This into to the album launches the overall theme of the soundtrack, the idea of Black culture as powerful, a moving force on the entire soundtrack. Lamar ends the track by claiming his throne as T’Challa, and also as Erik Killmonger, encompassing two significant powerful figures in the film. Lamar’s voice echoes through every track, a constant reminder of his place and a proclamation of his dominion.

“All The Stars,” the lead single for the record, where SZA sings the hook, “This may be the night my dreams might let me know, All the stars are closer.” SZA and Lamar collaborate on the track perfectly. The significance in this song being the title track is the need for guidance from stars or even ancestry, especially in a society that is so quick to limit opportunity for people of color.

Trap influences on the album are also prominent on tracks like “King’s Dead” and ‘Paramedic!” and “X” which all have heavy trap beats.

“Opps” is one of the most experimental tracks on the album, with heavy electronic influences, where Vince Staples’ influence shines through. “I am” by Jorja Smith and “The Ways” Khalid bring through the R&B influences on the album and “Seasons” brings out Jazz influence – all genres encompassing and influencing modern day music within one solid, eclectic album while also encompassing strong African influence.

Statements on the record hold the overall meaning of the project as a work through the perspective of people of color.  “They ain’t wanna see me win ‘cause I’m Black, so I pulled up in an all Black Benz in the back,” exclaims Young T.O. on “Paramedic!” On The Ways, Khalid sings, “Power girl, I really wanna know your ways” which references the character Nakia, a spy and skilled fighter for Wakanda. On Seasons, Sjava raps in Zulu, “Bebathi ng’yophelel emoyeni, beba right, manje ngiy’nknayezi,” which roughly translates to, “They thought I’ll disappear into air, they are right, now I’m a star,” a proclamation of rising from oppression to stardom through African language. A verse from Mozzy on the same track proclaims, “Trapped in the system, traffickin’ drugs. Modern-day slavery, African thugs,” referencing modern day neo-slavery through the prison system.

Listening to this album is an experience that can only be had by a person of color, especially when paired with watching the film. Since many of the songs are a symbol of power, the scenes are more pronounced and resonate with you long after you leave the theater. As a woman of color, the sight of seeing powerful women fight against evil to music made for people of color, by people of color gives off so much emotion. It makes you feel as though you could conquer the world to the soundtrack.

“Opps” blaring through the theater while T’Challa and his group chase after their enemies is a triumphant scene in the movie, and could not have been well portrayed without the music that accompanied it. Hearing “All The Stars” after the movie ended, just before the final cutscenes, giave of a hopeful feeling for the future of representation of people of color in marvel movies, and film in general. SZA, an icon for women of color such as myself, has a voice of strength that could be parallel to the character Nakia, a powerful fighter, while Kendrick parallels to T’Challa as the king of Hip-Hop.

The overall theme is of this project is power and an indefinite reclamation of Black culture through music. In the age of hip-hop music being used as a tool for industry, commercial, and monetary gain by white record company owners, “Black Panther” is a humanization of the art that originates from Black people through early jazz music, the building blocks of most modern-day music genres. It is also a call for people of color in the film and in the music industry.   

In times like this, an era of revolutionizing the way we view race and people of color, Black Panther is an extremely important staple to our generation. The film shows what people of color are made of, and the soundtrack just adds to the energy of the movie. Finally, a franchise, a movement, that encompasses the image of blackness as heroic, royal and breathtaking.

 

Fall 2017 Music Suggestions


Brent Faiyaz

Orginially from Baltimore, Brent Faiyaz moved to Los Angeles to pursue his music career. He write heartfelt and intimate R&B songs. He layers his voice, beats, and instrumentals beautifully. Most noticeably, he recently came out with his debut album entitled Somber Son, which speaks to a lot of his past and current life experiences in a vulnerable and real way.

Suggested songs:

    • First World Problemz/Nobody Carez
    • Talk 2 U

Brent’s Soundcloud

Maxine Ashley

Maxine Ashley is a Puerto-Rican American singer/songwriter from Bronx, NY. Her sound is contemporary R&B with electronic and soul beats. Her music is extremely versatile, growing up in NYC looking up to influences such as India Arie, Alicia Keys, and Salsa music. Many of her music videos play around with different sounds and looks, along with covers of songs such as Murder She Wrote by Chaka Demus & Pliers.

Suggested songs:

  • Between You and I
  • By Your Side

Maxine’s Soundcloud

Maxine’s Youtube

Tessellated

Tesellated, or Joshua Meeks, is a 19 year old singer/songwriter from Jamaica. He started making music when he was 16 and has continued creating into University. His music fuses his various musical influences to create smooth beats with electronic and instrumental influences. His music has a light smooth feeling, and as he describes “from the tropics spreading good vibes”.

Suggested Songs:

  • Searchin’
  • Pine & Ginger with Amindi K. Fro$t & Valleyz

Tessellated’s Soundcloud

A.CHAL

Originally born in Northern Peru, Alejandro Chal immigrate to the united states with his parents as a young child. Growing up in Queens , NY, he made beats and raps with his friends. His songs are smooth r&b/hip-hop with a trippy sedated feeling to them. His music is perfect to vibe out too, with mixture of Spanish and English.

Suggested Songs:

  • Love n Hennesy
  • Perdoname

A.CHAL’s Soundcloud