PHOTO ESSAY: I’m Natural and Protected Just Like My Hair

Features

By Aryanna Russell

Social media has started a trend that is sweeping across the screens of black women and girls. The Natural Hair Movement. Black women no longer feel that they must conform to eurocentric standard of beauty in order to be worthy.

They are no longer frying their gorgeous locks nor are they lathering them in harmful chemicals. Black women and girls are choosing to represent their people’s rich history through styles like braids, twists, and a loose afro. Throughout the photo essay you’ll notice vibrant colors and florals that bring out the traditional african hairstyles, but they also represent the feelings of freshness, purity, naturality, and strength of going natural.

The purpose of this photo essay is not shame women and girls who straighten their hair, but show to them how it looks and feels to be natural and protected just like your hair.

The Grill: A blast to the past

Features, Opinion

By Anna Hicks

The Classic City is not only known for its openness to new musicians, trends and great food, but also its timeless traditions. The Grill, a 50’s diner themed restaurant, is a place where it all comes together.

Located in the heart of downtown Athens, The Grill is one of the most nostalgic and recognizable restaurants near UGA’s campus. It’s one of the few places in Athens that is open 24/7, making it the perfect place for students and locals alike to snag a midnight snack. Opened in 1981 by Bob Russo, it is the second oldest restaurant in the city and is a place of wistful nostalgia for many alumni.

“I have many special memories at The Grill, from going with my parents before a football game as a child, to taking my own children there when we come to visit Athens,” Jennifer Wolford, a UGA alumni says. “It’s become a three generational tradition for us.”

Russo, a native New Yorker, moved to Athens to open a steakhouse, but soon began to open other international restaurants as well, including Gyro Wrap and Chow Goldstein. Russo’s introduction of international cuisine helped expand the food scene in Athens for years to come.

Although traditions and memories can make a place feel special, delicious food is often what brings people together and The Grill does not disappoint. As a diner-themed restaurant, a good burger with fries and a milkshake is often what people go there for. They offer a wide selection of burgers from bacon cheeseburgers to veggie burgers to burgers with onions and mushrooms, in addition to their hand cut fries with feta dressing. The feta cheese dressing is a one-of-a-kind homemade recipe you can’t find anywhere else in Athens.

“The feta dressing was really good, the chunks of feta made it amazing,” says rising senior Jayla Brown, after trying it for the first time. “It isn’t like sauces you find anywhere else, it’s different. I would definitely choose that over ketchup or honey mustard with my fries.”

Another trademark recipe of The Grill is their classic, malt milkshake. The shakes come in three flavors: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, and each one is made with fresh milk and a scoop of their powered malt. These creamy milkshakes make for the perfect late night snack to get with friends.

As a vintage, 50s diner themed restaurant, many would not think of The Grill as a place to find healthier and dietary friendly meals, but like much of Athens, The Grill has adapted to many of its customers needs and now offers vegan and vegetarian options, such as salads and veggie burgers.

“It was a surprise for me to learn they offered vegetarian and vegan options,” rising senior Scarlett Reicher says. “It can be hard for people with dietary restrictions to find places to eat and The Grill wouldn’t have been the first place I’d have thought to look.”

The Grill is an Athens staple filled with great food and memories for low prices. Although the older building could be cleaner and use updating, the authentic feel is what many customers like. Located right across from The Arch, it’s central location is ideal for UGA students and visitors. It’s definitely an experience worth trying on the next visit to Athens.

“When I think of Athens and The Arch, The Grill immediately comes to mind,” Wolford says. It’s one of the few places in downtown that has stayed and has really become a staple of the community. I couldn’t imagine Athens without it.”

Should the Hornets Re-sign Kemba Walker?

Opinion, Sports

By Noah Monroe

Kemba Walker, a three-time All-Star who was a third-team All-NBA selection in 2019, averaged a career-high 25.6 points per game (PPG) this year and is the Hornets all-time points leader. Unfortunately, he is now a free agent, and the Hornets have to decide whether to spend a lot of money to re-sign him or let him go elsewhere.

The Hornets have not made it past the first round of the playoffs since the 2001-02 season and have put themselves in contract purgatory. However, Walker is by far the best player the Hornets have had since Glen Rice was on the team more than 20 years ago. Charlotte and its fans NEED the Hornets to do everything they possibly can to keep Walker for numerous reasons.

Here is a snapshot of the Hornets roster for next year:

(snapshot taken from http://www.basketball-reference.com)

No player who is under contract for the 2019-2020 season will be able to fill Walker’s shoes if he leaves. Tony Parker might’ve been able to fill the leadership role, but he retired on June 10. Also, no one on the roster can be the dynamic player that Walker is unless a player like Malik Monk or Miles Bridges can significantly improve from last year.

In this year’s draft, the Hornets picked P.J Washington, a power forward from Kentucky. Washington’s potential has been described as a player who can stick around with team and come off the bench and start a few games here and there. This pick followed the trend of how the team has drafted in recent years, Washington won’t make an immediate impact, he might not even make an impact within the coming years. Nevertheless, the team will continue to be abysmal for seasons to come, making fans continue to wait for the team to be average again, if they can even achieve that. Having Walker on the team next year will not only provide a mentor for the younger players but will also provide a spark to the Hornets in their games.

Some believe that “But Walker deserves better” or “the city of Charlotte doesn’t appreciate him.”

Walker has been stuck on a team that has only produced two winning seasons in his eight years with the team, and he deserves to play for a playoff contender. However, the city of Charlotte does appreciate Walker. They are part of the reason he’s been selected to three consecutive All-Star games. The fans have loaded the ballot box with Walker’s name, and they have filled the arena consistently even when the team is underperforming. Yes, they may not appreciate Walker at all times, but you have to remember these are the same fans who criticized Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton during his MVP-winning season in 2015. They just want Walker and the Hornets to be the best they can be.

Reports have linked Walker to the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers, two of the most prolific teams in the history of the NBA. However, the fan bases of these two teams are some of the most critical people in the history of sports. Notably, the fans of New York have failed to support players like Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis in recent years and have run them out of town. In Anthony’s case, wasted their prime years, which Walker is still very much in as evidenced by his career-high in PPG last year.

The Lakers have one of the greatest players in NBA history, LeBron James. Albeit that James has carried teams to NBA Championships, he has also ruined the point guards that have played around him, most notably Kyrie Irving. Does Walker really want to risk his career for the slim chance that the Lakers have at winning an NBA Championship?

Instead of going to a city like New York or Los Angeles, he could stay in Charlotte where he is adored by the fans and will be the focal point of a team with aspirations of the playoffs. Walker could play his whole career for one team, a feat that is rare in today’s NBA and most important of all, he will surely have his number retired by the team, which would be just the second number retired by the Hornets.

Walker has said on multiple occasions that Charlotte is the place he wants to play. A few weeks ago at a youth basketball camp, Walker was asked if he would take less money to stay with Hornets. “Yeah, why not? I would take less, for sure,” he said. Will the Hornets offer Walker the max contract, will they offer Walker a little less than the max to give themselves a little more cap space or will they move on from Walker and go in a new direction for the future? Only time will tell as free agency starts June 30.

Bohemian Rhapsody: The Song to End All Songs

Opinion

By Sarah Clifton

The recent biopic Bohemian Rhapsody has catapulted Queen into the spotlight once more. The oscar-winning movie, about the band’s history, places a spotlight on frontman Freddie Mercury, who wrote the song that shares the namesake of the movie. Queen’s most famous song “Bohemian Rhapsody” has earned the title of timeless classic in the 44 years since its release. Originally almost rejected by Queen’s label, people today still blare the nearly six-minute long epic in cars and at parties. However, it’s not every day that a legendary piece of art is produced—the amount of work, talent and care put into the piece has cemented it as Queen’s magnum opus.

Experimentation was a big staple of Queen’s music—from the lyrical conceptualization to the sounds of the instruments and production methods, the band was no stranger to attempting to venture into uncharted waters. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a peak of experimentation for Queen. Certain elements of music production were new and budding when A Night at the Opera was recorded in 1975, such as reduction mixing, which condenses a plethora of audio layers into one track. The nature of the recording technique required a solid vision for the end product, because recording was a physical process, and it would be very hard, if not impossible, to just “edit” one layer. In addition, the audio is bounced around the listener. Some layers of sound are in the right speaker, some in the left, some in both, some in very nuanced positions. This was a tactic Queen often used, with examples in songs such as “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “Death on Two Legs (Dedicated To…),” “Keep Yourself Alive,” and “Killer Queen.” The experimentation gave the piece a unique sound, which continues to enrapture people to this day.

The complexity doesn’t end at the technical production level. “Bohemian Rhapsody” also shines in its ability to traverse multiple genres in one song. It begins with an overture, much like an opera does. The chords echo progressions that come in later parts of the song, and some lyrical, musical and thematic motifs are established. The intro ends, and progresses through ballad, operatic, and rock sections, with the motifs appearing throughout. It ends much like it began—a wistful outro that echoes the intro. There are few other songs that can attest to such varied structure and sound. Beyond that, Mercury wrote many strange, obscure chords into the piece that aren’t often used: diminished and augmented chords, six and seven chords, minor chords, and chords with a different bass note than the root for example. The piece is rather complicated to learn and master given that it is comprised of complex musical elements. In addition, Mercury wrote the piece’s lyrics and instrumental without collaborating with the rest of the band. The complexity and attention to detail show Mercury’s immense talent and creativity as a musician.

The lyrics add another layer of beauty and intricacy. Epic poetry is a form of literature that has effectively died out; the last true epic being Milton’s Paradise Lost. However, this piece exemplified and popularized a new breed of epic poem: a musical epic. Songs like Rush’s “2112” and Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” also utilize this style—using music to tell a long, poetic story. Upon inspecting the lyrics, one can see the story of “Bohemian Rhapsody” unfold. The beginning is a wistful, borderline existential reflection on life, death, and the meaning of it all. As the ballad section begins, a young man relays his tale: in a letter to his mother, he reveals he has killed someone and has been sentenced to death. Once executed, in the afterlife, he encounters characters from real life and fiction—Scaramouche, Galileo, and Beelzebub, and a chorus of voices (which are in reality just the members of Queen, but in terms of the story are a council of sorts in the after life, or potentially two sides of an internal conflict). After deliberating on what will become of his soul, he decides to transcend this fate he is condemned to, and comes full circle to once again contemplate the meaning—or lack thereof —of life. The piece attempts to come to a conclusion on the meaning of life, whilst relaying the whimsical story of the protagonist. Beyond what the piece explicitly does or doesn’t mention, the story is very human at its core—it traverses many emotions: fear, anxiety, excitement, desolate hopelessness, hope, and triumph, and sometimes a mix of many. The sound of the accompaniment and Mercury’s delivery of the lyrics creates a nuanced emotional experience.

In the creative world, finding something so masterful and unique is rare. This was Queen’s masterpiece: intricate production, lyrical excellence, and musical authenticity have made it shine above the rest. The song transcends most labels, because nothing like it existed in such an intense caliber before it. It resonates with me on a deep level, because it does what we all want to do in life—to break free from our constraints, to be outside of our respective boxes, to be a wild and beautiful human mess that makes no excuses or apologies for its existence. For that, “Bohemian Rhapsody” has been, and will forever be, one of the best pieces of art to ever exist.

Brutality Has No Place in Law Enforcement

Opinion

By Bridget Frame

America has a police problem.

Or rather, the police seem to have a problem with their fellow Americans.

In 2017, the police killed 1,147 people.(mappingpolicevolence.org). 1,147 lives lost. This is at the hands of those who are supposed to protect and serve the people of the United States.

Why is this normalized? There seems to be a rather skewed version of “protect,” and less of an emphasis on “serve.” Police must be the ones protecting us from danger, and not be a part of it.

Obviously, not all police are bad, or murderers. Most officers devote themselves to protecting and serving their community. But the rate of police using excessive force is disturbing.

In 2005, a study by the Guardian showed that minorities made up 62.7 percent of unarmed police killings. During this point, minorities also only made up 37.4 percent of the population.

Additionally,individuals dealing with various states of mental illness are being killed as well. Those with an untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed during a police encounter than those without one, according to treatmentadvocacycenter.org.

The most vulnerable—the ones in our society who need protection the most—are those being targeted.

These instances of force used on minorities and those who suffer from a mental illness is often attributed to a concept known as “implicit bias.” According to BBC News, this is where a person is more aggressive towards another because they view them as being aggressive or unsafe due to a negative stereotype perpetuated in society. Even those who are unarmed can be seen as threatening through this negative veil. Race does not determine intentions,thus implicit bias is not a logical excuse for violence.

Being a police officer in today’s society often gives them a disproportionate amount of power and influence. “Since 2005,research shows that only 35 officers have been convicted of a crime related to an on-duty fatal shooting,” said NBC News. It is rare that an officer is convicted of a killing, even if the victim was unarmed, or suffering from mental illness. Officer’s often state that they felt threatened. But there is little consideration of whether or not the victim may have felt threatened by the looming power of the police officer. Rather than just  taking the word of the living, we must also work to defend the dead.

The issue of excessive force and police killings needs to be corrected. Whether or not an individual is committing a crime, there needs to be great effort taken to avoid a fatality. Using excessive force or killing who unarmed, vulnerable, or ill is immoral and wrong. Wearing a badge doesn’t not excuse your morality. It just makes you an officer. Your job is to save lives, not take them.

Inequality Of Acceptance Of The LGBTQ Community

Opinion

By Nikkia Bell

“That’s for girls” and “man up” are just two of the phrases that young men hear from society. These phrases manipulate young boys into thinking that they have to act or dress a certain way to be boys, which is one of the reasons why gay men aren’t as accepted as gay women.

A prime example is the sports industry. In the WNBA, at least three players have come out: Brittney Griner, Glory Johnson and Diana Taurasi. But in the NBA, no players are openly gay.

From experience I know of people who will accept a gay woman but not a gay man. I have friends who love me for who I am. They have no problem with my sexuality but when they see a gay man they talk about how they don’t understand why or how he could be gay.  From an early age, men are told to “be a man” and are forced by society to act according to stereotypes of men. Women have also been forced to act according to stereotypes, but they’ve been successful at transcending many of those stereotypes and boundaries.

Men put expectations on other men as much as women do. If a man doesn’t dress or “act like a man,” people assume that they’re gay. This is toxic and can lead to men being insecure about themselves.

Nathan Walker, who is attending UGA’s Media And Leadership camp, is openly gay and dealt with opression from his parents after he was outed at the age of 12.

Not a lot of LGBT people live in Walker’s hometown, Fitzgerald, Georgia. “Living in the south and coming out as gay, especially as a gay man is kinda frowned upon and hush hushed. I wasn’t allowed to expressed myself at school. I wasn’t allowed to be myself. I had to hide it and be oppressed.”

Walker believes that gay men aren’t as accepted as gay women because gay women are seen as fantasies for heterosexuls and some straight men get uncomfortable around gay men.

If people realized that you don’t have to be super masuline to be a man, then some men would feel more comfortable in their own skin. Gay men aren’t attracted to every man they lay their eyes on and they aren’t out to get straight men.

According to the UCLA School Of Law Williams Institute There are more gay women than men in every state in the U.S besides South and North Dakota. These assumptions are the reason why people of the LGBTQ community, especially men, have trouble coming out. They worry most about what others would think and say about them.

The Trevor Project states that LGBTQ youth are almost five times as likely to attempt suicide compared to heterosexual youth.

Next time you have the urge to tell a boy to “man up,” consider the consequences. It could be a matter of life and death.

Media and Leadership Academy Teaches Real World Skills to Students

Features

By Bridget Frame

The Media and Leadership Academy is a one-week camp held at the University of Georgia by the Grady College. It is attended by students from all over the nation, who are pursuing different forms of communication studies. The students join one of four mass communication tracks: entertainment, broadcast journalism, advertising and public relations, and website journalism.

As Scholastic Outreach Coordinator at Grady, Stephanie Moreno is the director of the Media and Leadership Academy. “The Media and Leadership Academy is one of our biggest outreach programs,” says Moreno.

The outreach is effective, with students coming from states across the U.S. This year’s group is especially diverse, with around 60 students. The program has sparked an interest among these students. “This brings together students from all over the country, from all different life experiences and programs, and that’s what makes it so unique,” Moreno says.

The public relations and advertising track is filled with students wishing to explore what it takes to work in the field. The students are taught by Tom Cullen who says he was “impressed with this groups ability to be flexible to anything I’ve asked of them. They’ve achieved what I would expect of Major students on the AD/PR track.”

The students have worked on creating social media and a PR campaign for a local charity. Spencer Bullard says he chose the PR and Advertising program because he “wants to pursue it in Grady college in the fall.” He will be attending as a rising freshman.  

Maggie Hynes says her favorite part of the program “was visiting an agency. It was nice to see what a real job would look like in PR.”

The group visited the Jackson-Spalding Agency to see how a PR firm functioned.

Paige Cotter says “my favorite part about the program was Professor Tom. He’s done a great job of explaining the Ad and PR side of the world.”

The journalism broadcast track is a lively group. They have been producing a 20-minute newscast and done both behind the camera work and live camera work. Amber Jones, a student in the track, said “I want to pursue this track because it is a good opportunity to get closer to something I want to do.”

Michael Howard has goals for his future as well. “I picked the track because my dream to be a sports broadcaster…I hope this program will help me get there,” he said.

Chloe Franklin says, “I liked recording and going out to film stuff and learning how to put everything together and editing it.”

Many students in the summer program expressed an interest in sports journalism. “My favorite part of this week so far is learning about all the things that actually go on in broadcast journalism, also it’s corny, but the friends I made here, because everyone is really nice,” Sydney Smith said.

The entertainment track created a video project for this week.

Kelsey Henderson says, “I would say my favorite part was our first day of class specifically. We watched a lot of trailers and we reviewed them and gave our own perspective and it was good to hear everybody’s different perspective and be in a room of people with common interests.” The tracks enable students to work on a specified subject with others who share an interest in that subject.

AJ Dodd says “my favorite part was making a commercial. I like that because it gave a taste of what we’re doing now in entertainment and it taught me how to better interact and work with a group.” The campers in the program participated in various projects and worked individually and collaboratively to complete them.

The website journalism track produced The Greatest Gazette (www.thegreatestgazette.com) and wrote and reported several journalistic stories and opinion pieces.

“I like this program a lot because it helps me get more experience,” Aryanna Russell says.

“The class really taught me a lot. I learned different techniques on how to write articles which was really beneficial because I haven’t had much experience with it before,” Jenna Lo says.

During the evening, students participate in various activities throughout the week, including an escape room and bowling. This social aspect has brought campers together to form close bonds. “My favorite part of this week has been getting to meet a bunch of new people and make lots of new friends because that is one of my favorite things to do,” Paul Miller, Jr. says.  

Another social aspect that benefits students is simply living in the dorms, eating in the dining hall and getting to live like a college student for a week. “My favorite part was experiencing the college part of it,” Hunter Rensink says. “It’s kinda like a little taste test of college and hanging out with everybody, experiencing, and getting to know a lot about what’s coming up in the future ahead of me.”

The week in which the Media and Leadership Academy has taken place has been filled with friendship and hard work. Students have worked tirelessly all week to create their projects. They have seen what a college experience is like. The bonds formed here are strong as well as the exciting memories made.

Stress for Success

Opinion

By Jenna Lo

I’m tired.

There’s homework to be completed, tests to be studied, class ranking to maintain, clubs to participate in, college to always have in the back of my mind, and an unbearable number of other things I must stay on top of constantly. My school praises my hard work with awards and an uncomfortable amount of recognition of my achievements. I’ve worked my way to second in class.

But I’m tired…of all of this.

Schools use grades and class rankings to compare and measure every student in the grade. Students receive awards based on how high their grades are, and the two students who are at the top of the class get the special title of valedictorian and salutatorian. The competition among students is supposed to encourage students to work hard and maintain their grades.

But at what cost?

According to a 2015 study conducted by the New York University College of Nursing, 80% of all high school students reported feeling stressed to some extent, 26% of which reported symptoms of clinical depression. This staggering number is due to the school system’s push for competition among peers. The Pew Research Center found 61% of teens feel pressured to get good grades, which is significantly higher than the pressure students feel to use drugs (4%) or consume alcohol (6%).

For Nathan Walker, a rising junior at Fitzgerald High School located in Fitzgerald, Georgia, the weight of all his honor and AP classes, extracurricular activities, and his job has taken a toll on his mental health.

“I’m extremely stressed to a point where it’s unbelievable,” said Walker. “I’m not comfortable with my situation at all, but if I want to get out of high school and go to college I have to put grades first.”

Additionally, Sarah Clifton, a rising senior at Saint Scholastica Academy in Covington, Louisiana, revealed she has felt stressed about her grades since fifth grade. Now, she suffers from anxiety due to the competition of valedictorian and salutatorian at her school.

“I feel like I have to be on the same level as the rest of the super smart kids in my grade,” said Clifton. “There are these other girls at my school who are freaked out and constantly stressing about being valedictorian. I can see where the class ranking is a realistic and logical way to see where you are in comparison to other people, but it’s really not good for my mental health sometimes.”

With grades the only way schools measure their student’s intelligence and ranking, grades become a student’s top priority. Students often drop extracurricular activities and sports they enjoy to maintain their grades. However, while grades are important and the primary way to represent a student’s academic intelligence, they fail most of the time to accurately represent a student’s true intelligence. Every student is complex and learns and performs differently, and it seems absurd to limit a student’s intellect to a finite number. The stress over this unfair representation of intelligence is a problem, and the school system is the reason for this.

“Grades are important, and for the longest time I felt like I had to get A’s on everything,” said Clifton. “But grades aren’t that representative of who you are as a person.”

All the stressing over grades and ranking is ultimately for students to be accepted into a good college, however, Michelle McFalls, Academic Advisor for Advertising Majors at the University of Georgia, has witnessed college students still affected by the toxic competition faced in high school. The same students who overextended themselves in high school do the same in college by double majoring, minoring, maintaining a job, participating in sororities and fraternities, and interning which all leads to stress and eventually burnout.

“I definitely have noticed in the last decade more students with mental or emotional issues coming in, and UGA has a reputation of its admissions getting harder and harder each year,” said McFalls. “It’s very easy for a college student to overcommit. The reality is, that’s not life. No one can keep up with a pace of overcommitting indefinitely. Sometimes they think more is best, but that’s almost never the case.”

Studies have shown the percentage of anxiety and depression in young adults has increased over the years. Schools have continued to foster unhealthy competition in students, and the comparison has worsened even more with social media nowadays.

“It’s so hard for my students to not compare themselves to other students they think have everything perfect in their lives. No one has it perfect, but no one is going to share the crappy stuff on their social media,” said McFalls. “They all want to be the best. I can’t imagine what kind of toll that takes on a young person’s psyche.”

Instead of schools responding to this new wave of social media by dialing back on promoting competition, they double down. A school’s Facebook and Instagram page post student accomplishments for everyone to see, and the standards and pressures for academic achievement have consequently risen. High schoolers are already feeling pressured by social media in their social lives, but now they also feel pressured in their academic lives with this constant comparison and competition with others.

“Students nowadays care a lot more of what people think about them, and they value themselves less unfortunately,” said McFalls.

Our society is constantly progressing. We have abandoned old technology and techniques and have replaced them with new and high functioning alternatives. We have updated almost every part of our lives, and yet, the school system has remained the same. The dangerously growing number of kids suffering from anxiety and stress from school is a clear sign these techniques our schools are using are not working and need to be fixed. We can not sweep this under the rug. Something needs to be done before this problem is irreversible.

“There is an all time race for the top GPA, and I’m tired of running it,” said Walker.

LM5: Little Mix’s Powerfully Feminist Album is a Call for Unity and Love

Opinion

By Mira Eashwaran

Feminism: the seemingly perpetual battle for women to reach complete gender equality. It is omnipresent in aspects of our everyday lives, from women experiencing the gender pay gap at work, or girls in elementary school shoved into a box of wearing pink and skirts, to even the sexual harassment women experience all the time. Catcalls, wolf-whistles, and violating stares now suffocate feminists and women, and continuously try to impede the process of equality.

The music and fame business is infamous for mistreating women, from powerful men like Harvey Weinstein or the body-shaming Kesha experienced as a teen. However, the industry features plenty of strong-willed, intelligent women who stand their ground and are not afraid of making waves. The UK girl group Little Mix stands as a conspicuous example of such bravery. The girls met on the X Factor in 2011 and went on to be the first group to win the talent competition. The group has had four UK number one singles, the most Platinum certifications for a UK girl group, breaking the previous Spice Girls record. The four girls (Jade Thirwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jesy Nelson, and Perrie Edwards) have had a successful career in the music industry.

The National Manthem

This album speaks to a mature feminist awakening. The first song on the album, The National Manthem, is a thirty second piece that describes a “goddess” as a “bad b*tch”, with the girls ending by singing that “thou shall be faithful and honest.” This song effectively sets the scene for a power charged album.

Woman Like Me (feat. Nicki Minaj)

“Woman Like Me” is a quintessential track for Mixers around the world. It details the older ideals of what a woman should be (quiet, polite and knowing her place) and debunks that with confidence and distinct personality traits of the girls. The track is an uptempo piece, with slivers of reggae and modern pop slipped in. The lyrics detail how the girls wonder how someone could “fall for a woman like me”: four business savvy, talented women who wear their sexualities on their sleeves and promote love and peace. The track features the iconic rap queen Nicki Minaj on the third verse, proud and confident in her feminism.

Strip

“Strip” is a song filled with body positivity and self love, the music video featuring the four girls with no makeup and showing off their bodies for who they are. The track embraces female sexuality and encourages women to love their bodies, race and femininity. The video features an emotionally charged shot of all four girls nearly naked on camera, their bodies covered with demeaning words that they have been called during their time in the industry. “Strip” is an anthem for people everywhere to love themselves and feel beautiful in their own skin.

Fierce in Fashion

(from left to right) Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jade Thirwall, and Perrie Edwards pose for their new album LM5’s cover.

Joan of Arc

“Joan of Arc” is a track that goes back to hip-hop roots, featuring an uptempo drum beat that embellishes the girl’s confidence in their sexuality and their comfort with beauty and men. They allude to Joan of Arc, a famous French heroine during the 100 years war. The song includes a distorted male voice saying, “Oh, you’re the feminist type?” and a sassy response of “Hell yeah, I am!”

The group refer to themselves as goddesses, and features difficult soprano vocals by Edwards. They own their right to love, rapping that if they’re loving someone, it “’cause they can” and they “put my own rock on my hand.”

Woman’s World

In this emotionally charged song, the girls detail the work and pay gap between men and women. They point out the insanity of women being paid differently because of “the way her body’s made.” Thirwall takes over at the pre-chorus and debunks the man’s world, singing that they should “try living in a woman’s world.” The girls bring light to the fact that they always have “shouted to be heard,” and powerfully address the disparity between the genders. They reassure listeners that they will keep fighting for women’s rights in a passionate ode. They reaffirm that women are more than their bodies; we have brains and we will keep fighting.

With this new album, Little Mix has simply reaffirmed what the music industry already knew: these girls are four insanely talented, confident women who aren’t afraid to love themselves and love others. These ladies have executive produced a musically riveting, lyrically inspiring album that will stand to be the symbol of an iconic musical era in women’s activism.

Being A Masculine Woman And Non-Binary In The LGBTQ Commuity

Features

By Nikkia Bell

As a masculine woman I’ve always been comfortable with myself, but I noticed that when I’m around unfamiliar people I feel uncomfortable. I worry about what they may think about me and whether or not they’re judging me. I’m not used to feeling uncomfortable and this is something I recently discovered.

When someone meets me for the first time they assume that I’m a guy and they refer to me as one. Some people even think that I would prefer to be called male pronouns. When I have to correct people and tell them that I’m a girl it’s embarrassing, especially when people think its funny. When I assume I’m never going to see someone again and they misgender me I just ignore it. No one wants to correct every person they encounter about their gender, It’s a waste of time and inconvenient.  

My drumline instructor still misgenders me after knowing me for two years and I’ve told him multiple times that I’m a female. At this point I don’t care whether he gets it right or wrong anymore.

When I’m in public with my mom and they talk to someone they know or meet someone, the person asks, “Is this your son?” My mom used to correct them and say “no this is my daughter.” Now she just says “yes” and keeps it moving. These situations don’t bother me. I find it funny because my mom feels the same way I do about it. I correct people in public sometimes and other times I don’t care.

Opinion writer for The Red And Black, MK Manoylov, identifies as non-binary but is leaning towards being transgender. They’ve dealt with being misgendered as well.

“I work at the Grill and I was cleaning the women’s bathroom and I forgot to lock the door behind me. A woman came in and started screaming because they thought I was a man.”

Manoylov uses the men’s bathroom to avoid situations like this.

“I understand how I look I’m very male-passing so I understand that women feel uncomfortable with that,” said Manoylov.

Being misgendered is something that can’t be avoided. People can’t help the way they look or the way people perceive them. Yet, being misgendered and other situations that LGBTQ people encounter are uncomfortable to be in.

Hopefully as society becomes more accepting of LGBTQ people and issues, hopefully people will stop making gender assumptions. As noted earlier, I’m very comfortable with myself. You should be, too.