ON MY BLOCK by: Alina de Zoysa

This year has been a time full of new award winning movies, tv shows, and short films, and one on Netflix’s Original TV shows have received a ton of attention within the few months that the show has been available to the public. On My Block is “a coming-of-age comedy about four bright, street-savvy friends navigating their way through high school in the gritty inner city of South Central Los Angeles”. This new TV show is mainly aimed towards young adults and instills the fundamental morals of friendship. This adventures show takes its viewers on an emotional rollercoaster as the plot thickens and the friendship between the characters grows stronger. On My Block has also been nominated for the Choice Breakout TV Show category at the Teen Choice Awards, and many fans are excited to see this show receive this award after only five months of being on Netflix. Even though it has only been a few months since the show has been released, On My Block has been renewed for its second season on April 16, 2018.

The main characters of the show are Monse, Ruby, Jamal, and Cesar, who are a group of friends that are going into the ninth grade next year. The pilot episode begins when the four friends are talking about what their high school lives are going to be like, when Ruby’s brother, Mario Martinez, gives them a vital piece of advice, they need to stick together when they enter high school. This was a piece of information that will be important throughout the entire show and will be the driving force of the reason Monse fights for their friendship. After the first episode the group of friends go through many struggles and conflicts that build up to the very last minute of the last episode. Fans were holding onto their seats when the last episode brought them to tears. We are all devastated to wait about a year until the next season airs, and many hope there will be more than ten episodes (unlike the first season).

The show was not only recognized as a hit for its content, phenomenal storyline, and having a seemingly all people of color (POC) cast, but was also hit with a lot of press about one of their actresses, Ronni Hawk, who plays the character Olivia. Olivia plays a character that moves in with Ruby because her parents were deported. Many people thought that she should have not gotten the role as a Mexican woman, when she is not actually hispanic in real life. Affinity says, “ This fairy tale came crashing down when it was revealed that actress Ronni Hawk, who plays Olivia, is not actually Mexican as portrayed in the show, but is non-Latinx white.” Another reason people were upset was because she is a Trump supporter playing a girl who lost her parents due being deported back to Mexico. This is not the first show that she has been in as a Hispanic women, but was also cast as Rachel Diaz in the Disney show, “Stuck in the Middle”. Many fans caught onto the fact that Ronni Hawk has played two Hispanic characters and are outraged. On My Block has received a considerable amount of backlash about this particular topic and it is not confirmed yet, but it is hoped that the character Olivia, will be recasted for the upcoming second season.

This show is an action pact series that brings its viewers to tears, but it is receiving many messages from fans about how excited everyone is for the second season. The viewers are all hoping for another season about friendship, love, and suspense, as great as the first.

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Rape Culture by Monica Doliscat

Women were known to take a back seat in everything that was commonly done by men. Apparently men ran the world. They were the police officers, the criminal investigators, the judges, and more. Women were treated like slaves and were looked down upon for committing to jobs that were “out of their leagues”. Women in criminal justice have to face a handful. When women would would report rapes, there wouldn’t be enough evidence to support it. There was a time in the slavery era when African American women would report a rape, but would receive backlash because they were women of color and because they “deserve everything that was coming”. There is a movement that has been around for more than 10 years and it has been very helpful to the community of women that do not feel comfortable reporting their rape incidents.

The “Me Too” movement was created in 2006 to aid survivors of sexual violence, mostly for women of color. Women of color are looked down upon when reporting a rape or sexual assault incident especially by a “brother” because they are seen as trying to degrade their race or even get blamed for the incident happening to them. In an article, the purpose of The “Me Too” movement’s goal is to create an environment of “advocates, driven by survivors, who will be at the forefront for creating solutions to interrupt sexual violence in their communities” (“Me too”, para 5). Technology plays an important role in the “me too” movement because with the help of social media, the hashtag has gone viral and more individuals came out and created conversation based off of their personal stories. Tarana Burke found the “Me Too” movement and in an article, one of the statistics that were stated included, “17,700,000 women have reported a sexual assault since 1998” (Burke 1). These numbers continue to grow because the criminal justice system has yet to properly create a system where there can finally be a decrease in these outrageous numbers. Although “America wasn’t first… women in other countries have broken their silence about sexual misconduct, too, in recent years” (Sengupta, para 4), they have set it in stone for the justice system to be forced to change something around.

Movements such as the “Me Too” movement cannot stand alone. Individuals can scream, cry, chant, walk, run and more, but nothing will change until the government put their foot down to actually help those survivors. The movement will impact the Criminal Justice system in a way that’ll have our leaders open their eyes and realize that more individuals are reporting their rapes and sexual assaults. Some want to be heard and some actually want action to be done. The Criminal Justice System owes the survivors justice in their cases and for those whose’ cases were swept under the rug while serving for the U.S.

Being that I am a woman, there are certain things that I can say I should take precaution with. But in all honesty, the world comes with a lot of dirt, it is not always your job to clean it up. It is us to our superiors to put in place the correct laws and bindings that can help those who continue to destroy that lives of innocent people. Rape can start off from many different ways that include cyber stalking or even stalking in person. There are so many actions that can lead to rape and it is not the victim’s fault. The government often finds themselves asking the victim whether were taking part in drugs or alcoholic activities. I absolutely believe that that is unfair because no one willingly puts themselves out there to get raped. There should be safety procedures around our cities not just college campuses. There should be a buzzer every and anywhere so when someone feels that they are not safe, they can hit the buzzer and someone will help them right away. There are many ways that rape can be prevented if the government started to take action and listen instead of fighting back or sweeping everything under the rug.

My favorite Youtuber! By Asia Jones

Whether it’s make-up tutorials, virtual math tutors, or mini documentaries, YouTube is a resource that is used by individuals of all age groups. For the many students looking to study abroad in the near future, many YouTubers do a great job of depicting what living in other countries is like; however, how many of those bloggers are African American? While many people may discourage the thought, African Americans traveling experience in foreign countries is vastly different from those of travelers of Caucasian descent. As an aspiring traveler, I always dreamed of traveling to countries of Eastern Asia; more specifically, South Korea. While this dream is one I promise to fulfill, I can only imagine what the black experience is like in a homogenous country such as, South Korea.

Determined to learn more about living in South Korea, I frantically searched YouTube for vloggers who lived in this country. To my surprise, the first result in my search was a Vlogger named Hurricane Lala. As a black woman, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Hurricane Lala had been living in South Korea for a long period of time as an English teacher. Throughout her YouTube channel, one can find her discussing her experiences living in South Korea, which ranged from the good of South Korea to the bad of South Korea. Lala even spent a lot of time discussing what dating was like in South Korea, partying in South Korea, and working in South Korea. Her stories, which were typically told in a very comical point of view, were entertaining to watch and kept me interested from start to finish. While some people may not favor her energetic personality, Lala is doing a great job of communicating the black international traveling experience to the world. More women of color should find ways to share their experiences traveling and studying abroad to the community. This would help women decide what country they should visit, or study in. For someone like myself, one’s experience in a country will help me decide the decision I wish to make.

While Hurricane Lala lived in South Korea, her experience can be important for anyone looking to study abroad or live in a homogenous country. Unlike the United States, many countries around the world are considered homogenous. While only experiencing one culture and race all their lives, citizens of homogenous countries have had little to no experience interacting with people who do not look them. Because of this, many colored travelers tend to feel uncomfortable with their experiences in these countries. Not wanting to have a negative experience while visiting a foreign country, I found Hurricane Lala’s videos very informative in regards to life in South Korea for a person of color. I am sure that I want to go to South Korea in the near future, and I am happy to know, to some degree, what life is like there as a woman of color.

As of two months ago, Hurricane Lala moved back to the United States and no longer shares her experiences about South Korea. She continues to document her daily life, and wants to move on from being known as the black girl who lived in South Korea. While I am sad that she no longer lives in South Korea, I appreciate her sharing her experiences in South Korea and understand that she has to make the decisions that are best for her. I will continue to watch her channel because I enjoy listening to her daily activities and finding the best in some of the less pleasing situations.

Self Care is not selfish by Kailin Zhang

Let’s get that out of our heads. In fact, self care is necessary in order for us to flourish and truly thrive within our lives. With every day packed with activities and events, it is crucial to step back and spend time to rest and recover – and truly focus on ourselves.  From understanding it’s okay to take a break and understanding what you need is the importance and key assets to self care.


So what does self care look like? Well, self care is different for each and every person. Whether it’s working out, practicing yoga, reading, watching the sky, putting on a face mask, drinking tea, painting, or a huge variety of other activities, each person cares for themselves in a different way. By taking time out of a busy lifestyle to wind down and focus on ourselves, we make small improvements to both mental and physical health and wellness – which over time, amass a great impact on our lives.

With busy lives, it may often seem counterproductive to take time out of our days to focus on ourselves. Yet, self care actually helps us to progress in many ways that are often difficult to notice when we don’t pay attention. For instance, by taking a break such as going out for a walk, research has found that self care helps individuals to refocus and also reduces the negative effects of stress. Therefore, we are more focused and can be more productive in completing our work and getting everything finished, while also caring for ourselves. Self care has also been found to raise self-esteem, which is necessary in order to reach one’s full potential.

While many people may claim to not have enough time for self care, in reality, everyone has a different way that self care can fit in their schedules. Since self care is so diverse, what makes one person feel better may not work for another. Self care is an essential part of wellness, and should not be ignored due to a supposed “lack of time.” Whether it be three minutes or three hours, self care can be fit into any schedule.

What is love? by Naquill Ritter

More than half the world can agree that we have at least been in love once in our lives. We are able to retrace to our first relationship,whether it was our one and only true love, or the one who may have gotten away, or even the one who broken our hearts into a millions pieces. It ends up being the standard reasoning, typical relationship madness or too young to understand what true love is.  Being young and not being able to express how you feel is complete confusion, but we think we already know it. What humans would define the characteristics of a truelove would be of the following:

  • A deep intense feeling of deep affection
  • a person or one thing that one loves
  • A deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.

 

Most people would think true love wouldn’t include the sexual aspect. On the contrary, loving someone because of just sexual feelings towards them could represent love as well. Many people can easily argue that love isn’t just a sexual feeling, rather it’s more of an emotional feeling. Or even others may say that love is spiritual. Or some may even agree that it could consist of all three: sexual, spiritual, and emotional.  Humans can’t just love people based off of sexual attraction or based on their looks because looks decay just like a tooth, so people look for the other characteristics that will make them just as attractive. You can also argue that lust can play a part of being in love it’s emotional. Love could be expressed as an open, existing, and a feeling of appreciation someone for exactly who they are with no facades or expectations.  Ideally, love doesn’t have a single definition, there could be multiple meanings for humans in every aspect. One statement humans could agree on is that love is unconditional and abundant, there’s no way you could ever run of it.

 

Then here comes in the “knowing the difference between love and lust”  because many people seem to confuse the two. The definition of lust is a very sexual desire for someone. Which can easily and is still easily been mistaken as love. Since both could be described as desires, it could be confusing for which one you actually feel for the other human. Many people think they love someone based off of the lust they have for them when in reality it’s not love and that’s why it fades away fast. It’s more about the way they make you feel when they look at you. Then some may argue that true love is loving yourself first and knowing yourself before you can give yourself to someone.  Loving yourself first and being content with who you and the flaws you have helps the journey more. When you truly understand that you will have differences and you won’t always get along you find the true root of learning to love someone for who they are. You have to be able to love this person unconditionally which mean you’re willing to love this person no matter what they do you or what they don’t do. This love is given to this person regardless.

MAKEUP FOR BLACK GIRLS

By: Jasmine Greene

Is it just me, or is makeup just NOW trying to give the darker shades of skin tones makeup options? After Rihanna introducing Fenty beauty, other makeup companies decided to speak about how “been providing the countless shades for black girls.” I use quotes around that because being a dark-skinned girl who is into makeup knows that is a LIE. It is just so annoying that girls of darker skin tones have to go above and beyond to find something that matches their skin tone, while people of lighter tones have no problem finding a myriad of options for their shade. I wish there could be a makeup store that tends to black girls specifically so that I would not have so much trouble trying to find the right color. Don’t get me wrong there are SOME brands that have darker shades of foundation such as Makeup Forever, but those brands are also very expensive. I used try to stick to just drugstore brands but it was hard for me to find my shades there as well. The ONLY thing that is easier for me to buy is concealer that I use to highlight. Since my highlight is lighter than my skin it is easier to find, but finding a contour is twice as hard as finding foundation that matches my color. If I can’t find a foundation to match my skin tone then trying to find a contour darker than me is like lost hope. Fenty beauty foundation is literally my favorite foundation right now and I recommend it to everyone. It’s affordable, especially for my age group, it provides great quality, and doesn’t have an oily residue feeling after the day is over. The shade 470 fits so perfectly for my skin I could have cried and the coverage was not too much or too little. When I used to purchase from MAC or Sephora, it always felt like a chore because in order to reach my foundation, I’d have to mix different ones for my shade.  No matter where I went, I felt hopeless because I could never find the right makeup for me. Everytime I look at another brand of makeup there’s always so many light shades, and as they get darker they lessen. It makes me upset because if a company can make that many shades for lighter people, then why not the same for darker people? I remember one time I went to a beauty expo in NY and I tried to buy makeup and ended up leaving with just lipstick, eyelashes, and mascara. Every other item they had was created for shades that were not close to mine. Even some that I came across would have just one dark shade as if ever dark-skinned person is the same exact shade. Its 2018, I just wish that we can advance the makeup industry and be more aware of the people who are buying their products. I always have to go out of my way to find products and I wish it can just be as easy for my skin tone as it is for others when it comes to shopping for products.


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AN INCREDIBLE MOVIE

By: Kailin Zhang

 

Fourteen years is an incredible amount of time to wait for an incredible movie to come out! Of course we’re talking about the Incredibles 2! The movie starts out with the Parr family living a supposedly normal life, but the family is clearly miserable – no superpowers, can’t save the world and no adventures would be memorable. Yet, this all changes when Elastigirl – not Mr. Incredible, is called to action to help bring superpowers back in with the law. #GirlPower at its finest! Elastigirl is smart, cool, and both a brave mother and hero. She’s ready to save the day and take action, though a little reluctant at first to leave her family behind. We see Mr. Incredible grows a little jealous, as he is used to the attention focused on him, but we see his parenting skills develop in the absence of Elastigirl and all of the effort and love he has towards his children. The Incredibles 2 also present a new side to Violet, the girl we all knew and loved from the first movie. The movie highlights a newfound confidence in Violet, who leads her siblings in helping save her parents. One of the aspects I’ve always loved of the Incredibles series is the focus on family above all else. The movie does not only focus on the children saving the day like in many other children’s movies, but also gives a vital role to the parents as well – with a little humor as we watch Mr. Incredible attempt to care for all three of the kids at once. I won’t give anything away, but the plot was a teeny bit predictable for a teenager who has watched her fair share of animated movies.  On the other hand, I was still satisfied with the movie and could definitely see how the movie would be engaging and surprising for younger children. As Edna Mode once said, “I never look back darling, it distracts from the now.” After watching the movie, I looked back and replayed Edna and Jack-Jack scenes, which had everyone in the theater laughing over. Edna is so sassy and I would love to have seen more scenes of Edna and Jack-Jack together, but we’ll take what we can get. I’m a little biased, as Edna is one of my favorite Pixar characters of all time. Edna’s amusement and interest in little Jack-Jack’s powers show us a sweet side to the sassy woman we got to know in the first movie. The constant themes of family emphasized throughout the movie was so powerful and wonderful, and truly brings the movie together as the perfect family night movie. The Incredibles 2 was such a great movie and is one of my favorite movies of the entire year so far!

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