Kendrick Lamar’s Influence on Rap and Pop Culture

Kendrick Lamar, an 11- time Grammy winner is one of the most influential artists of 2018. Kendrick Lamar Duckworth is a rapper and singer with 4 studio albums and has gained popularity and success since the  2012 release of his album, “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” which peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200.

In 2017, Lamar dropped his most successful and influential album yet: “DAMN.” “DAMN” has 14 songs that all charted on the Billboard 100s. In this album, Lamar raps about important issues and problems, and often seems to be telling a story. The album features major artists like Rihanna, U2, and James Blake. Many songs in this album discuss his struggles with who he is and what he went through as a kid growing up. This includes how people told him he wouldn’t make it, the racism he felt and still feels, his political views, and his success.

In songs like “XXX,” Lamar talks about white privilege in America and his views on Trump and what it means to be “American.” Towards the end of the song, Lamar says, “It’s nasty when you set us up then roll the dice, then bet us up you overnight the big rifles, then tell Fox to be scared of us.”  In the song, the “you” is meant to address white people who automatically assume that “us” (black people) are the root and cause of every problem. The song tackles aspects of racism, and police brutality.

In Lamar’s 2018 Grammy performance he plays “XXX,” finishing off the song by saying, “I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America,” as the background dancers all dropped to the floor, following the sound of gunshots. Many believe that this album was one of the most influential and brutally honest albums written in the rap industry and 2017. This album and his future albums will forever leave an impact and continue to spread important messages.

March 14th: What We Did To Remember People Who Died

On March 14th there was a nationwide call for students to walkout of school and honor the memory of the 17 people who were shot while at school in Parkland, Florida on February 14th.   Students who want change current gun laws and/or just remember those who lost their lives participated. 

Here at Village we did something a little different. In stead of walking out, at 10 AM, we all met in the Commons area and watched a video that showed pictures of every student and teacher who died, stated their names, and some words about who they were. 

After, Jeff talked to us about how this day was made possible by students who used their voices and reminded us that we, too, have voices we can use to make change if we want.  He then showed us a current list of pending NYS legislation about gun control and let us know who our local representatives were so we could write to them and give our opinion- for or against- some laws they are thinking about. 

Hicksville Middle School Students Face Possibility of Consequences After Walk Out

It does not seem that the Hicksville Public School District is very supportive of the nation-wide walk out that took place on March 14th. For example, there was an event that went on in Hicksville Middle School.

Students nation-wide walked out in protest of gun violence.

Because of the tragic events that ocurred in Parkland, Florida, on March 14th, students across the country walked walked out of their schools at 10 am and spent 17 minutes memorializing the lives lost in Parkland.

Here on Long Island, this included students at Hicksville Middle School, who walked in protest of what is considered a nation-wide epidemic. The students had seemingly good intentions; they were however prevented from going outside by their assistant principals. It was said that both assistant principals Barbara Morzik and Todd Wallace were pulling them by their clothes.  

Superintendent Carl Bonuso stated,“To [walkout] would not only interrupt the educational program but also miss an opportunity to engage students in lessons about what it means to unify as a school family and effectively communicate our opinions and ideas”.

The proof is in social media videos that students posted. The students recited the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by 17 minutes of silence for each of the 17 victims, and then went back to class. Also captured on video was the assistant principal physically preventing some students from going outside. The 47 students that did walk out and protested are receiving punishments as the school administrator said that they broke school rules. The assistant principal didn’t believe it was right for the students to walk out of their classes.

Sherly Castaneda, a parent in the school district claimed, “My husband received a phone call from the assistant principal, stating that the number of children who did walk out would have to have some kind of consequences because they broke the school rules for walking out.”

According to Gabrielle Drapeylo, a student at the school,“He was pulling all the kids by their shirts and their hoodies and also there was people by the stairwell, like the teachers and the monitors blocking the stairways and blocking all the doors”. Student Anaya Raymond said, “One of the assistant principals stopped me and he said that if I went outside I would get suspended.”

A student named Keylla Torres said, “I have lunch detention on Friday, but she said to me that she’s being generous by not giving me anything more.”

The students had good intentions, as stated by student Julie Castaneda who said, “We wanted to honor their lives because their lives matter- they deserve it.” Castaneda also said, “They said that I was going to be suspended which later changed to in- school suspension and now it’s a detention which is outrageous because I’m here protesting because this is something I believe in.”

John Rodriguez, another parent, thought it was unfair that these students are being punished. He says, “Exercise her right to be heard, exercise her right to protest. She did so and to punish her seems to be teaching a bad lesson.”

On Wednesday night, a public spokesperson said that no students will be facing any sort of consequence for their actions and it was decided that the students who participated will instead be invited to a special lunch to have an open dialogue about social activism. 

Science Fiction Series: “The Tree of Life,” by Jennifer Rohn

The Tree of Life is a science fiction story by Jennifer Rohn about a virologist sent back in time to study evolution. She  goes back with a stranger named Paul. She does not like Paul at first, but they get closer as the story progresses. He sporadically visits her while she is trying to develop a seed that could be beneficial to the planet and could survive. They have conversations about science that helps her gain respect for him. Her project fails in the end, but they become friends and he comforts her in her disappointment.

The science of cloning in this story is very accurate as Jennifer Robins PhD project was about cloning. Jennifer Robin has a clear understanding of evolution. She clearly outlines how evolution works in the afterword. The story very accurately displays what the earth was like at its inception.

Jennifer Rohn is a cell biologist at the University of London. She earned a PhD in Biology at Oberlin College. In 2011, Rohn won the inaugural Researcher Fortnight “Achiever of the Year” award. No doubt, Rohn is very qualified to write this story.

Helicopter Crash in NYC

Photo by John J. Magers, of the helicopter crashing into the NYC East River.

On Monday the 12th of March 2018, a helicopter crashed in New York City’s East River. Passengers onboard were Brian McDaniel, Trevor Cadigan, Carla Vallejos Blanco, Daniel Thompson, and Tristian Hill. 

All five passengers aboard the helicopter were killed, and the pilot survived. Reasons for the crash are still unknown, but this is Liberty Helicopters third crash in 11 years.                                                         

According to JJ Magers, one of the witnesses and recorders of the crash, the helicopter was flying unusually low even before the crash. The pilot claims it was due to an engine failure, but evidence is still being collected to find the reason behind the crash.

 

Passengers within the helicopter were unable to cut themselves free from the safety harnesses and therefore drowned due to being stuck underwater in the helicopter, unlike the pilot who had cut himself free.

Amazon’s, “Alexa,” is Freaking People Out

It’s 2018 new, modern technology is advancing rapidly, and companies are constantly introducing new gadgets to help us perform everyday tasks.  Some new technology that has come out over the past couple of years are a Virtual Reality set which allows the user to feel as if he has entered the game world when wearing the set; Siri, Apples personal assistant; and more recently, Amazon’s “Alexa.” Alexa was released in 2014, but has gained popularity over the last year. Alexa is almost like a personal assistant in the form of a little round box, which is meant to help the user complete tasks handsfree.  For example, perhaps the user is in the kitchen, cooking and needs to phone someone.  She could just say, “Hey Alexa, call Mom.”

It’s pretty sweet, isn’t it? However, recently, many people don’t so. Of course, all technology malfunctions at times– it happens! But have you heard of technology laughing at you and

Amazon’s Alexa

searching up nearby funeral homes by itself? Creepy! Recently, there have been reports of people who own Alexa claiming that the little round box turns on by itself and just laughs. A video of the laugh has gone viral on many social media sites including Twitter and Facebook. The search of random funeral homes were just coincidental, as only one person experienced this malfunction. However, the video finally grabbed Amazon’s attention. Amazon claimed they knew about the issue and they’re going to fix it. Amazon believes that the malfunction is caused from the vague user command, “Alexa laugh.” Amazon believes that Alexa frequently mistakes voices giving that command, so they’re working on a new statement to activate her laugh; for example, “Alexa, can you laugh?”

Amazon is working towards fixing this malfunction, however some people are still spooked about it and believe that their Alexa is haunted.

Strange Time Period, But Great Characters

When 12-year-old Will goes missing, his mother, Joyce, launches a very unusual investigation to find her son. As Joyce and the local authorities go deeper into this investigation, they start revealing concerning mysterious, including supernatural forces, classified government experiments, and an atypical girl.

It stars Winona Ryder playing Joyce, David Harbour playing Chief Hopper, Finn Wolfhard playing Mike, and Millie Bobby Brown playing Eleven. The Duffy Brothers created this show. The genre is Fantasy / Science Fiction. It is a Netflix Original, rated TV-14, and has two seasons. 

This is a picture of the main Stranger Things characters. On the far left is Lucas and next to him is Will. In the middle stands Eleven. Next to her is Mike, and next to Mike is Dustin.

The show is set in the 1980s, which has no purpose to the storyline, in my opinion. There is no reason not to have the show set in the twenty-first century. Also, I think that they promote that the show takes place in a small town (Hawkins, Indiana) way too much. I know that the purpose of mentioning that this all takes place in a small town to follow the idea most horror movies try to use. However, early on we do establish that the show takes place in a small town, and I think that the concept is pushed a bit too much.

Although I do have some complaints about this show, I really like one character in this series above all. There is a very interesting girl in the series. Her name is Eleven and

This is Eleven, the unusual girl with special powers. She gets a nosebleed whenever she uses her powers.

she is becomes a strong, powerful character after years of abuse and being experimented on in a lab. Eleven is my favorite character in this series, as she is simply just an amazing character capable of many things. She is capable of choosing who lives or dies as her powers can allow her to harm a person. I think that this makes her even more of an amazing girl. Throughout the series, she consistently uses her power to defend the other main characters.

I want to find out what the Duffy Brothers aimed for when creating the character of Eleven. I’m curious if her character was a metaphor for how people can choose how moral they want to be. Throughout the series, Eleven could have easily turned against the other protagonists and started hurting them, but never did. I think it was interesting that she never did.

I always thought that Eleven would turn on the other characters, stop helping Jane find her son, and hurt Mike, but it never happened. I always thought that out of all the other characters, Eleven would hurt Mike first because the way Mike always showed affection for Eleven was suspicious to me. Mike and his friends first find Eleven out in a rainstorm one day and Mike let’s Eleven sleep in his basement. I don’t know if I would feel safe in some stranger’s basement in the dark, especially when his mother didn’t know that there was a person sleeping down there. However, I do understand that Eleven was homeless, stuck in a rainstorm, and desperately needed help, so I don’t criticize her for letting Mike help her.

I also found it weird that in Season 1, Will and Eleven were never in the same dimension. While Will was stuck in a place called “The Upside Down”, Eleven was in the normal world. However, when Eleven went back to The Upside Down with the Demogorgon, Will came back shortly after. I wonder if the Duffy Brothers did that on

This is the initial monster that is after Will and every other resident in Hawkins, Indiana.

purpose to make us think that Eleven was actually a demogorgon. It definitely left me in suspense and until Eleven and Will were in the same house at the same time, I really was convinced that Eleven was actually a demogorgon. Although that theory was never confirmed, I thought I was correct until Season 2 Episode 9. I do note, however, that is the final episode of Stranger Things, so to me, it seems that this could’ve been done on purpose.

This is the rebellious, bold, tomboy named Max.

Also, I did not like Max’s character at all. Max is more of a secondary character and is introduced in Season 2 Episode 1. This is after Eleven goes back to The Upside Down. Max was a cool girl – she was a tomboy who rode a skateboard, and was also outspoken, rebellious, and bold. However, I don’t think she had any actual contributions to the plot. She didn’t help get the monster out from inside Will, didn’t help close a portal to The Upside Down, and was just a girl the group became friends with after Eleven disappeared. I feel that Max might have been used to replace Eleven’s character, both were strong girls coming from broken families who were becoming very bold women. Even though Max and Eleven are drastically different from each other as Eleven does have special powers and Max does not, it almost seems like Max was a replacement.

Moving on from Eleven, I found it interesting that the writers related it to a Dungeons- and-Dragons-like game. That factor definitely made me keep watching as I am a fan of the game Dungeons and Dragons. I think this was excellent foreshadowing on the writers’ parts. In the first episode, Will places the demogorgon on the board himself as he says, “No, that noise came from something else…The demogorgon!” It was almost as if a notion that the demogorgon was coming to capture someone. His other friends were arguing as to whether he should “fireball” the demogorgon or cast the spell of protection, almost as if Will might have to choose between fight or flight sometime later on.

This is the logo for Stranger Things.

Stranger Things is a show I really like a lot. Though are there some unnecessary parts and some episodes may leave you with some questions, Stranger Things is, in my opinion, is a compelling and interesting show to watch. I do highly recommend the show to all.

 

Florida Passes Gun Bill

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On March 7th, Florida lawmakers passed a bill that would put some restrictions on firearms and also allow some school staff to be armed. The bill raises the age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21, and requires gun sales to have a 3 day waiting period. Other provisions of the bill are an increase in funding for school security and an expansion of mental health services. People who have been deemed mentally incompetent by a judge or have institutionalized will be unable to buy a gun. Under the new laws, police would be able to bar a person deemed dangerous by a court from owning firearms for up to a year. It would also ban bump stocks, a kind of device that allows guns to fire extremely fast. The bill still needs to be signed by governor Rick Scott before it goes into effect.

Academy Awards 2018

Guillermo del Toro, winner of the awards for best director and best picture for “The Shape of Water,” poses in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

This year’s Oscar winners were  interesting, but not surprising, as many of this year’s winners had already won in their categories at shows leading up to the Academy Awards. This year’s Oscars were held in Dolby Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. All Academy Awards have been hosted there since 2002. The winner for Best Picture was “The Shape of Water,” a film about a mute woman who falls in love with a government laboratory specimen. The Director of the film, Guillermo del Toro, won the Director award.

See complete list of Academy Award winners below:

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Logic’s Brings New Perspectives to Rap and Music Industry

Rapper and singer Robert Bryson, also known as “Bobby,” or his stage name, “Logic,”

Logic’s 2017 VMAs performance speech.

recently rose to popularity after the hit song, “1-800-273-8255.” This song, released early in 2017, gained a lot of attention after the meaning behind the song was revealed and

when the music video was dropped later that year. The song was named after the national suicide prevention hotline, and revealed Logic’s own experiences in life before he discovered music.

Logic performing at VMAs with suicide survivors.

Logic was raised in Montgomery County, MD. His parents both suffered with a form of addiction; his mother was an alcoholic and his father was addicted to cocaine. Logic suffered with anxiety, depression, and addiction. Despite these things, he began creating music, but even after gaining some financial stability after the release of his second album, he still worried about not being relevant or being able to ‘make it’ in the industry.  In his mind, he thought that he had to work constantly and never stop in order to ensure success. This pressure led to anxiety attacks and a stay in the hospital. He says now that he was having all these bad thoughts but nothing like,”Im going to kill myself.” But he did have an existential crisis and wondered why he was alive and felt he lost his purpose. But instead of dropping into a downward spiral, he put the negative energy and dark thoughts into his music. Through it all, he maintained a small but loyal fanbase called, “The Rattpack.”

Today, Logic continues to pour his feelings into his songs, allowing others who listen to not feel like they’re alone. After the release of “1800”  and his performance at the VMAS, the actual suicide hotline reported almost 50% more calls. Logic lives by the mantra, “Peace, love, positivity, and equality for all.” He performed at the VMAS in 2017 and the Grammy’s in January 2018, giving incredible speeches while standing with suicide survivors wearing shirts that read, “You’re not alone.” Because of his message of positivity and support, Logic has a fanbase stronger than ever now as he releases new music, goes on tours, and quickly becomes one of the most influential artists of his generation.