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The Emory Wheel

The Emory Wheel Emory's only independent news source, student run & written since 1919. The Emory Wheel is Emory University's only independent student-run newspaper.

The Wheel has been serving the Emory community since 1919. Today, the Wheel publishes content online daily and produces a once a week print edition that highlights the most important stories of the week.

Operating as usual

“I made the decision to step down because I desired to spend more time with family and pursue activities that could resu...
11/26/2022
School of Medicine dean steps down, remains on staff | The Emory Wheel

“I made the decision to step down because I desired to spend more time with family and pursue activities that could result in novel, affordable and scalable medical treatments in the near future,” School of Medicine Dean Sukhatme said.

Emory University School of Medicine Dean Vikas Sukhatme, who is also the chief academic officer of Emory Healthcare, announced on Nov. 22 that he will be stepping down from his roles in March 2023. He held both positions for five years. Sukhatme will remain in the School of Medicine community as a f...

The Emory women’s volleyball team ended their season with a hard-fought loss to Transylvania University (Penn.) in the s...
11/23/2022
Emory volleyball captures UAA championship, falters in second round of NCAA Tournament | The Emory Wheel

The Emory women’s volleyball team ended their season with a hard-fought loss to Transylvania University (Penn.) in the second-round of the NCAA Tournament.

Dancing to DJ Khaled’s “All I Do is Win” has been the Emory University volleyball team’s unofficial superstition this season. Before every game, the players danced to the song and partook in other pregame rituals to get the juices flowing and build team camaraderie. Coincidentally, for the t...

The Emory Conference Center Hotel reopened earlier this month after a $20 million renovation, which began amid the COVID...
11/22/2022
Emory Conference Center Hotel reopens after multi-million dollar renovation | The Emory Wheel

The Emory Conference Center Hotel reopened earlier this month after a $20 million renovation, which began amid the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2021.

The Emory Conference Center Hotel reopened on Nov. 10 following a $20 million renovation. The project began in December 2021 when the hotel was housing students with COVID-19, and was completed in October 2022. The hotel updated over 300 guest rooms along with six executive suites. In addition to th...

“As much as we are proud of what we did last year, there’s always that push to prepare for that the following year,” swi...
11/22/2022
Emory swimming & diving feeds off motivation from championship run | The Emory Wheel

“As much as we are proud of what we did last year, there’s always that push to prepare for that the following year,” swimming and diving head coach Jon Howell said. “We feel the potential to be successful this year as well.”

Last season, the Emory men’s swimming & diving program won the NCAA Division III National Championship and the women’s team was the runner-up to Kenyon College (Ohio). The program on both the men and women’s side finishes at the top of Division III year in and year out. The men’s team has fi...

“Over the next two and a half weeks, I want you to recognize that you’re doing more than putting a check next to a name ...
11/21/2022
Warnock encourages students to vote in upcoming runoff in Emory speech | The Emory Wheel

“Over the next two and a half weeks, I want you to recognize that you’re doing more than putting a check next to a name in a ballot box,” Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock said. “What you do in this moment is a letter to the future.”

When Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) addressed a crowd of over 100 members of the Emory University community on Nov. 19, he spoke not only as a senator up for reelection, but also as a proponent of Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership. Ultimately, Warnock said, he was still the second youngest of...

“I used to just not eat if I couldn’t find food, and now I’m able to rely on the community fridge for those times when I...
11/21/2022
Food Security Safeguard Program, community fridge addresses food insecurity at Emory | The Emory Wheel

“I used to just not eat if I couldn’t find food, and now I’m able to rely on the community fridge for those times when I am stuck with no food,” Dana Catalano (25C) said.

Emory University’s Student Intervention Services saw an 80% increase in students “requesting assistance with food-related needs” between the 2016 and 2019 academic years, flagging food insecurity as a prevalent issue at the University. Emory’s crowdfunding platform, Momentum, defines food in...

"We are collectively duped every day by these false claims of authenticity," says Bridget Mackie, "and 'Weird' grapples ...
11/19/2022
‘Weird’ wields the knife of parody with precision | The Emory Wheel

"We are collectively duped every day by these false claims of authenticity," says Bridget Mackie, "and 'Weird' grapples with this cognitive dissonance."

This article contains spoilers. “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” showcases a whole new side of parody-songwriter “Weird Al” Yankovic’s life from beginning to untimely end. Released on Roku Nov. 4 and directed by Eric Appel, the film focuses on a semi-fictional retelling of Yankovic’s (Dani...

The Emory women’s soccer team will face Messiah University (Penn.) in Pittsburgh at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 in the Sweet 16...
11/19/2022
Women’s soccer survives second-round scare, advances to Sweet 16 after penalty shoot-out | The Emory Wheel

The Emory women’s soccer team will face Messiah University (Penn.) in Pittsburgh at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Emory University women’s soccer team advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2022 NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championship after beating the Piedmont University (Ga.) Lions 7-0 on Nov. 12 and the Centre College (Ky.) Colonels 4-3 on Nov. 13. The Eagles hosted the first and second rounds in fron...

Maybe it’s not that they don’t care. But it’s hard to trust a stranger with the most personal information I’ve ever shar...
11/17/2022
The Emory Title IX Process: A survivor's worst nightmare | The Emory Wheel

Maybe it’s not that they don’t care. But it’s hard to trust a stranger with the most personal information I’ve ever shared when I’ve never received so much as a “we’re here for you.”

Content Warning: This article contains references of sexual assault.

Maybe it’s not that they don’t care. But it’s hard to trust a stranger with the most personal information I’ve ever shared when I’ve never received so much as a “we’re here for you.”

: As students, we have to face the harsh reality that even though student debt forgiveness helps us and people like us, ...
11/16/2022
Student debt forgiveness is a regressive tax | The Emory Wheel

: As students, we have to face the harsh reality that even though student debt forgiveness helps us and people like us, it’s not actually what’s best for most people in the country.

As students, we have to face the harsh reality that even though student debt forgiveness helps us and people like us, it’s not actually what’s best for most people in the country.

“For us as Muscogee people, it is my understanding that we have the right to know where our origin is,” Rev. Chebon Kern...
11/16/2022
Emory held indigenous language path listening sessions to honor Muscogee Nation | The Emory Wheel

“For us as Muscogee people, it is my understanding that we have the right to know where our origin is,” Rev. Chebon Kernell said. “We have a right to know how thousands after thousands of years, our ancestors lived and thrived on this territory.”

On Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, Emory University held Muscogee Nation teach-ins on both the Atlanta and Oxford campuses as part of the Indigenous Language Path listening sessions. The teach-in discussed Muscogee people’s history on both campuses and provided insights on developing physical rituals to pay ...

“I’m relieved our patients will now have a legitimate source where they can legally obtain cannabis products,” Assistant...
11/16/2022
Medical ma*****na access increases in Georgia as other states move toward recreational legalization | The Emory Wheel

“I’m relieved our patients will now have a legitimate source where they can legally obtain cannabis products,” Assistant Professor in Family and Preventive Medicine Ali Zarrabi said.

Voters in Maryland and Missouri recently elected to legalize recreational ma*****na, which was previously allowed in 19 other states and the District of Columbia. Legalization proposals were not passed in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota following the Nov. 8 election. In Colorado, where marij...

Content warning: this article contains mentions of eating disorders.‘Taylor Swift recently presented her listeners with ...
11/16/2022

Content warning: this article contains mentions of eating disorders.

‘Taylor Swift recently presented her listeners with a collection of brand-new synth-pop, dreamy songs. “Midnights,” her tenth studio album, is described by the singer-songwriter as a concept album, a “collage of intensity, highs and lows and ebbs and flows. Life can be dark, starry, cloudy, terrifying, electrifying, hot, cold, romantic or lonely. Just like Midnights.”

Not every reaction has been positive, however. While the music video for “Anti-Hero” has taken the Internet by storm, accusations of fatphobia have clouded its release… Swift fully reserves the right to tell her own story however she sees fit. As a society, we shouldn’t gatekeep who can and can’t experience issues with body image, nor should we invalidate another’s pain. It’s not our job as listeners to tell the artist how to present his or her craft.”’

Click the link in our bio to read the full article.

Story by Safa Wahidi ( Wahidi). Graphic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Emory Wheel is looking for community feedback in order to learn how to improve our coverage and commitment to the Em...
11/15/2022
Emory Community Feedback Form

The Emory Wheel is looking for community feedback in order to learn how to improve our coverage and commitment to the Emory community. Take 2 minutes to let us know how we can do better!

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"Smino meticulously and tastefully pieces together the many facets of love in all its phases in his album 'Luv 4 Rent."
11/15/2022
Much Luv 4 Smino’s “Luv 4 Rent”: Smino preaches on self-love, acceptance | The Emory Wheel

"Smino meticulously and tastefully pieces together the many facets of love in all its phases in his album 'Luv 4 Rent."

Love is complicated. So much goes into coming to terms with that intimate feeling, or even understanding what it is in the first place. Smino meticulously and tastefully pieces together the many facets of love in all its phases in his album “Luv 4 Rent.” Hip-hop and R&B artist Smino put himself ...

“One of the fundamental principles of being in a democracy is that every person has the right to vote, and this is just ...
11/15/2022
Emory community reflects on first election cycle under SB 202 | The Emory Wheel

“One of the fundamental principles of being in a democracy is that every person has the right to vote, and this is just undermining that,” Virginia Brown (23C) said.

The Election Integrity Act of 2021, also known as SB 202, was adopted by the Georgia General Assembly and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in March 2021. The bill instituted numerous changes relating to voter eligibility, voter registration and election processes. The 2022 midterms are the first election c...

“Find a veteran and ask them why they served,” Emory University Hospital Chief Executive Officer Matt Wain said. “I thin...
11/15/2022
Emory hosts 14th annual Veterans Day ceremony | The Emory Wheel

“Find a veteran and ask them why they served,” Emory University Hospital Chief Executive Officer Matt Wain said. “I think you’ll get a gleam in their eye of the day when they were most young, when they took a moment to be able to say ‘I will.’”

Emory University celebrated Veterans Day this year with speeches from Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Ravi Bellamkonda and Emory University Hospital Chief Executive Officer Matt Wain, a retired U.S. Army helicopter pilot, who was the keynote speaker. The Nov. 11 event was h...

The controversy surrounding FAIR is the most recent flare-up of a years-long debate about free speech that has splintere...
11/14/2022
Free speech debate reignited at law school with Emory Free Speech Forum event, students allege transphobia | The Emory Wheel

The controversy surrounding FAIR is the most recent flare-up of a years-long debate about free speech that has splintered the law school and garnered national attention.

When the Emory Free Speech Forum (EFSF) began to promote their event with the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR) at the Emory University School of Law last month, controversy quickly followed. Within a couple days, EFSF’s fliers about the event — coined “A Pro-Human Approach to C...

In total, Warnock and Walker’s campaigns directly received $59,396.97 from Emory employees, divided among 540 individual...
11/14/2022
Emory faculty donates $58,997.07 to Warnock, $399.90 to Walker in 2022 | The Emory Wheel

In total, Warnock and Walker’s campaigns directly received $59,396.97 from Emory employees, divided among 540 individual contributions.

Over the course of 2022, Emory employees have thus far made 5,909 individual donations to U.S. Senate and congressional candidates as well as related political organizations and political action committees (PACs), totaling $679,760.30. Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) received $58,997.07 through 53...

: Swift isn’t the problem; she’s only a piece of it. The primary issue is not Swift’s fear of being perceived as fat; it...
11/13/2022
Taylor Swift's fatphobia controversy reveals the limits of artistic integrity | The Emory Wheel

: Swift isn’t the problem; she’s only a piece of it. The primary issue is not Swift’s fear of being perceived as fat; it’s the fact that society gave her this fear in the first place.

Swift isn’t the problem; she’s only a piece of it. The primary issue is not Swift’s fear of being perceived as fat; it’s the fact that society gave her this fear in the first place.

"Chorus: Drake, Parodied by Ben Brodsky, (21 Savage)21, can you do something for me? (21) Can you do a collab album with...
11/13/2022

"Chorus: Drake, Parodied by Ben Brodsky, (21 Savage)

21, can you do something for me? (21) Can you do a collab album with me? (21) And 21, can you do something for me? (21, 21) Only rap on 26% of the collab album for me. Then 21 (21) I’ll unpack all my baggage, then I’ll put four solo songs (21), and then I’ll release my best album since 2015. (21)

The introduction to this review was my simulation of Drake versus 21 Savage’s share of their Nov. 4 collaboration, “Her Loss.” Although the king of Toronto hip-hop doesn’t explicitly proclaim this inequality on the first song, he quietly maintains the sentiment throughout the length of the LP. Both descendants of Southern hip-hop, Drake and 21 are among the most prominent of the subgenre’s sons."

Click the link in our bio to read the rest of this review.

Story by Ben Brodsky (). Photo courtesy of OVO Records.

: Passionate individuals and pre-professional ones are not mutually exclusive, but rather entities that rarely intersect...
11/13/2022
Preprofessionalism undermines academic discovery | The Emory Wheel

: Passionate individuals and pre-professional ones are not mutually exclusive, but rather entities that rarely intersect because of a daunting culture within higher education and the broader American economy.

Passionate individuals and pre-professional ones are not mutually exclusive, but rather entities that rarely intersect because of a daunting culture within higher education and the broader American economy.

"Art is about everything and everything is about art,” comedian Vandy Beth Glenn said. “So, there’s not an issue of huma...
11/13/2022
Emory’s Sexual Health Art Gallery showcases modern sexuality | The Emory Wheel

"Art is about everything and everything is about art,” comedian Vandy Beth Glenn said. “So, there’s not an issue of humanity that art can’t have something to say about.”

Imagine a symposium full of dance, comedy, art and poetry. Then, imagine a space where q***r and straight people alike can express their ideas about sexual health and pleasure openly. Combine those two, and you get Emory University’s Sexual Health Art Show and Exhibition (SHASE). The Emory Reprodu...

In preparation for the midterm elections, Emory University students rallied to increase voter education on campus and en...
11/13/2022
Emory students represent new generation of poll workers | The Emory Wheel

In preparation for the midterm elections, Emory University students rallied to increase voter education on campus and encouraged their peers to vote. Part of this mobilization effort included students who volunteered as poll workers.

Merom Arthur (25C) first signed up to be a poll worker as a junior in high school after her Spanish teacher told her about the opportunity to earn community service hours and get involved in politics. A Virginia native, she brought this experience with her to the Georgia midterm elections, working a...

“I’m a huge fan of what Stacey Abrams has been doing since the beginning in 2018, just like pushing people to vote,” And...
11/13/2022
Oxford students attend Abrams rally in Newton County | The Emory Wheel

“I’m a huge fan of what Stacey Abrams has been doing since the beginning in 2018, just like pushing people to vote,” Andy Waisser (23Ox) said.

Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D-Ga.) visited Newton County on Nov. 3 as part of her “Let’s Get it Done” early vote bus tour. About a dozen Oxford students and 100 residents attended the rally, which was held at a local Communications Workers of America union buildin...

Arts and Entertainment editor Eythen Anthony highlights films that frighten and lighten the mood.
11/13/2022
Eythen’s Blu-ray emporium: horror comedies | The Emory Wheel

Arts and Entertainment editor Eythen Anthony highlights films that frighten and lighten the mood.

A question for all of you here: Can you both laugh and be in fear? A difficult query, For a film that is scary, Yet also still full of cheer. I love horror movies, but sometimes I want to be sucked into the spooky world of a film without all of the scares. Sometimes, I […]

“I came really early because I thought there was going to be a long line, but there isn’t,” Fiona Chen (25C) said. “I do...
11/13/2022
Emory polling station is accessible, fast on Election Day | The Emory Wheel

“I came really early because I thought there was going to be a long line, but there isn’t,” Fiona Chen (25C) said. “I don’t know if it’s because it’s the morning and no one’s awake, but it was really easy.”

There was no line when Emory University’s 1599 Clifton Road polling station opened on Election Day at 7 a.m. Michelle Tucker (25C), who voted for the first time in the midterm election, was the first to enter the polls. “I’m really excited,” Tucker said. “I think I made some good choices.....

The Emory University women’s soccer team will face Piedmont University (Ga.) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament a...
11/12/2022
Women’s soccer clinches fourth consecutive tournament berth as men’s and women’s soccer close out season | The Emory Wheel

The Emory University women’s soccer team will face Piedmont University (Ga.) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the WoodPEC on Nov. 12 at 1:00 p.m.

The Emory University men’s and women’s soccer teams ended their regular season with games against the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Yellowjackets on Nov. 5. Both games began in high spirits with senior day celebrations and ended with late goals that earned the men a 1-1 draw and a 3-2 win for t...

"21 Savage’s authentic persona aids the attempts of “Her Loss,” supporting Drake with his thematic and cultural relevanc...
11/12/2022
On ‘Her Loss,’ Drake fosters lonely collaboration with 21 Savage | The Emory Wheel

"21 Savage’s authentic persona aids the attempts of “Her Loss,” supporting Drake with his thematic and cultural relevance."

Chorus: Drake, Parodied by Ben Brodsky, (21 Savage) 21, can you do something for me? (21) Can you do a collab album with me? (21) And 21, can you do something for me? (21, 21) Only rap on 26% of the collab album for me. Then 21 (21) I’ll unpack all my baggage, then I’ll […]

Tomorrow at 1 p.m. Emory women's soccer will matchup against Piedmont University (Ga) in their fourth consecutive UAA to...
11/11/2022

Tomorrow at 1 p.m. Emory women's soccer will matchup against Piedmont University (Ga) in their fourth consecutive UAA tournament appearance. Both the Emory University men’s and women’s soccer teams ended their regular season with games against the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Yellowjackets on Nov. 5. Both games began in high spirits with senior day celebrations and ended with late goals that earned the men a 1-1 draw to end their season and a 3-2 win for the women.

Click the link in our bio to read about the Eagles' soccer season.

Story by Madeline Shapiro. Photo courtesy of Riley Brackin.

: Affirmative action, in theory, supplies equity to those who have been historically denied educational opportunities; i...
11/11/2022
Affirmative action isn’t the issue; it’s the model minority myth | The Emory Wheel

: Affirmative action, in theory, supplies equity to those who have been historically denied educational opportunities; in order to uphold it, it needs to be reverted to its theoretical origins.

Affirmative action, in theory, supplies equity to those who have been historically denied educational opportunities; in order to uphold it, it needs to be reverted to its theoretical origins.

Crime Report: Criminal trespass at Briarcliff “Stranger Things” building, theft at Woodruff Health Sciences Administrati...
11/11/2022
​​Crime Report: Criminal trespass, theft by taking, simple assault, third degree arson | The Emory Wheel

Crime Report: Criminal trespass at Briarcliff “Stranger Things” building, theft at Woodruff Health Sciences Administration Building and Emory Dialysis Center, simple assault at Woodruff Residential Center, arson at Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

Criminal trespass resulting in property damage at Briarcliff Campus The burglary alarm was triggered in Building A of Emory University’s Briarcliff Campus on Oct. 27. The building in question is an abandoned mental health institute that gained notoriety in recent years as the filming location for ...

“Robert Schmad (23C) walks around campus with his satchel, taping up flyers for his club. In the days before the electio...
11/10/2022

“Robert Schmad (23C) walks around campus with his satchel, taping up flyers for his club. In the days before the election, the fliers have been getting torn down more than ever before. Schmad puts new ones up to replace them. Standing on a ledge, he tapes them to the highest possible part of announcement boards and lamp posts, out of reach. His flyers picture Richard Nixon and two anime girls with the words ‘all are welcome’ in blue letters above them, announcing the next general body meeting of the Emory College Republicans ().

Tearing down a flier is a simple, small action, but it is not insignificant. With this year’s contentious Georgia midterm election and its expected effects on hot-button topics like abortion and gun rights, political tensions and polarization are rising. As is, perhaps, an unwillingness among Americans to listen.”

Click the link in our bio or pick a copy of the Wheel on campus to read more.

Story by Chaya Tong (.tong_). Illustration by Anusha Kurapati ().

“If you go to college, you can improve your socioeconomic status,” Shereem Herndon-Brown said. “That’s not something tha...
11/10/2022
Fields’ new book aims to educate Black students, families and college counselors during the college admissions process | The Emory Wheel

“If you go to college, you can improve your socioeconomic status,” Shereem Herndon-Brown said. “That’s not something that is necessarily inherent in all across all demographics.”

Educational conversation as a means to promote individualization — this is the primary purpose of the book, “The Black Family’s Guide to College Admissions,” published on Sept. 6 and written by Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Emory University Timothy Fields and Shereem H...

A sold-out crowd of 21,000 fans showed up to State Farm Arena to watch the semifinals matches of the League of Legends W...
11/10/2022
League of Legends World Championships take over Atlanta, T1 and DRX emerge victorious | The Emory Wheel

A sold-out crowd of 21,000 fans showed up to State Farm Arena to watch the semifinals matches of the League of Legends World Championship on Oct. 29-30.

Pounding hearts and anxious breaths echoed as four teams from the world famous League of Legends esports league met in Atlanta this past weekend for World Championship Semifinals. Fans around the world, from Korea to Minnesota, convened in State Farm Arena to watch the highly anticipated matchups be...

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"Personal Power is the ability to take action."--Tony Robbins
Take action and free your mind from herd-like thinking for a happier and more prosperous life. This book on Amazon in ebook or printed is for you. Yours @
As he prepares to soon begin his tenure at Amherst, incoming president Michael A. Elliott '92 reflected with The Emory Wheel on his challenges and accomplishments as Emory University dean. https://bit.ly/3NZbzDN
A COVID Stricken World and Afrofuturism!!!


By John Burl Smith author “The 400th From Slavery to Hip Hop!”


Denver’s RedLine Art Gallery’s efforts to launch “Afrofuturism + Beyond 2022” was shut down in 2021 by COVID-19 and has been sidetracked again by this deadly monster. Originally set to debut in 2021, and now COVID, rising from the grave, like “the grim reaper,” has defied many who thought with warmer weather, America had seen the last of COVID-19. The one lesson “Republicans COVID-deniers and others who refuse to get shots, are still spreading COVID to even those who got shots. Denver residents are currently experiencing just such a spread, and out of an abundance of caution, and RedLine’s desire not to become a “super spreader,” has delayed the opening of its major exhibition “Floyd Tunson’s ASCENT” from 6-10/7-31-2022 to 7-11/16-2022.


The pause provides another opportunity to acquaint art lovers with RedLine’s quest to make “Afrofuturism” mainstream by presenting “Floyd Tunson’s ASCENT!!” Tunson has emerged as one of the driving forces supporting “Afrofuturism.” Along with Arish “King” Khan, international “Punk Rock” artist, who created “Black Power Tarot” we were in Colorado Spring (2019), for an appearance at the Gallery of Contemporary Art (GOCA) when Daisy McGowan, curator, introduced us to Floyd Tunson. “King” Khan and I were talking with Floyd, what has become “The 400th From Slavery to Hip Hop” and trying to visualize the role of “Afrofuturism,” as a vehicle. Our hope is to commemorate our ancestors’ journey into slavery, while celebrating our survival in 2030, as the Quadricentennial year of our arrival in North America. Envisioning enslaved Africans’ their arrival through this new and different lens, brought 2030 and “Afrofuturism” together as a concept, talking with Floyd.


For those less familiar with “Afrofuturism,” Floyd, Khan and I talked about making it more than just another “catchy phrase or gimmick!” However, back in 2016, I realized 2019 was just 3 years away. Moreover, I thought, “more noted individuals—artists, historians, civil rights activists or politicians—would be up front driving such a movement. With a regretful resignation, I watched 2019 zoomed by with only a whisper. Floyd took the artistic approach, looking for venues receptive to his artistic concept, hence RedLine entered his portrait with “Afrofuturism + Beyond 2022.”


“King” Khan blew my socks off, with his creation of Black Power Tarot, just as Prichard Smith was warping up production of the “Invaders” documentary. Their efforts inspired me to tell my family and other descendants of American slavery’s story, which began before creation of the “Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.” Writing “The 400th From Slavery to Hip Hop,” I recapitulate their journey all the way to Hip hop’s rise, which sidelined R&B on the way to becoming an international genre. I saw creating “The 400th Performance Period” as a multi-purpose platform that, among other things, will allow R&B to reposition, not remake itself. Utilizing Afrofuturism to exemplify and verify the multiplicity of genres Black Arts encompasses, Arish and I wanted to reflect its centrality in slavery’s descendants’ development.


Our hope is that young artists will pick up the challenge of Afrofuturism and “The 400th Performance Period” to address their image and lack of access to America’s economic system. Hip hoppers must tell their story or chance getting written out of history all together. Young people cannot allow the older generation to hold on to power they will use against them! They must see in Tunson’s RedLine exhibition, the viability of “Afrofuturism” as a vehicle and platform. Floyd brought “King” Khan and me on board RedLine’s opening week of “Floyd Tunson’s ASCENT!” For me “Afrofuturism” is a theme that makes Tunson’s exhibition the leading exponent of Afrofuturism.


Questions like, “What difference will a word or concept like “Afrofuturism” make, after 400 years of discrimination, political oppression, economic deprivation and isolation?” I answer, “Afrofuturism” and the “The 400th Performance Period” is a projected timeline that began in 2020 and culminate with activities throughout 2030. Then comes, “Why such a long time, Black people are so impatient; why wait 8-years to celebrate something we can do next year?” I respond, “All the major movements African Americans have mounted in the past—the March on Washington (1963), “the Poor People’s Campaign (1968), and the Million Man March (1995)—were organized as one day affairs. We wanted the concept and activities to be innovative, not dependent on one group to keep activities going. Slavery’s descendants need to learn how to sustain a process, without the “number one black leader” dictating to the masses. You do not need to wait on the OK nor join anything. If you have an idea, start developing it, you will have a head start. What we envision with “The 400th Performance Period” and “Afrofuturism” is a time frame and a goal beyond the present. During those 8 years (2030), activities will be planned. Artists and entertainers can modify their projects, while touring small communities, not only large ones.


Even more importantly, there are millions of descendants of slavery that were hijacked and carried to islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. These slavery descendants are artists, writers, performers and others who revere their slavery roots and will want to exhibit their cultures. With everything coming together for “Floyd Tunson’s ASCENT,” the opening week, it will bring African American Art to the fore, while elevating its contributions to a similar level of recognition white Art is accorded. Based on RedLine’s groundbreaking exhibition, which recast what was status quo before COVID-19. The world will see what that reshaped “Art world” looks like. Consequently, descendants of American slavery are truly fortunate to have such a prominent artist, as Floyd Tunson, on the frontline with his RedLine exhibition “Floyd Tunson’s ASCENT,” makes it the leading edge for Afrofuturism. For the first time in our history, slavery’s descendants will have artists, performers, entrepreneurs and activists, leading efforts to project possible futures with create example of what those futures can be! These are exciting times!!!
Of Mice and Men


By John Burl Smith author “The 400th From Slavery to Hip Hop”


The phrase “The best laid schemes of mice and men” is found originally in Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse,” written in 1786. The poem is a response to the author’s careless destruction, while plowing, of a mouse's nest in a field. The resulting poem is Burns’ apology to the mouse. Robert Burns (1/25/1759–7/21/1796) was a Scottish poet and lyricist, universally regarded, as Scotland’s national poet. Burns, a cultural icon, is celebrated as a national charismatic cult leader, during the 19th and 20th centuries and pioneer of the “Romantic Movement.” Posthumously, he became the inspiration of both liberalism and socialism.

On the other hand, John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (2/27/1902–12/20/1968) was a very prolific American author (33 books), which makes him a giant of American letters. Winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, Steinbeck is noted "for his realistic and imaginative writings, while combining sympathetic humor and keen social perception." One of his iconic works “Of Mice and Men,” published in 1937, is characterized as a detailed and intricate story set during America’s Great Depression, which began in 1929 and lasted into the late 1930s. Steinbeck wrote in various genres, and like Burns, uses the word “mouse” in one of his most significant works “Of Mice and Men.” Unlike Burns in his poem “To a Mouse,” Steinbeck’s mouse story has a different intent. For most readers Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” reflects America’s uncaring and total disregard for human life, as Burns plowman for the home of a rat. Steinbeck’s plot revolves around two nomadic farm workers, Lennie and George. George is a big strong man but mentally challenged, whereas Lennie is intelligent but uneducated, hence Lennie looks after his gentle-giant dimwitted friend.

For me both stories are reflective of Burns immortal line “The best laid schemes of mice and men,” and is a prelude to where America finds itself today, as it struggles to survive the disastrous whirlwind of Donald Trump’s uncaring and destructive presidency. Cosigned in their book, “I Alone Can Fix It Donald J. Trump’s Final Catastrophic Year” Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, brilliantly describes Trumps “best laid plans and how he became a “rat,” with his 1/6 insurrection, which continues to ravish America’s democracy. Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” as “I Alone Can Fix It” details the odious impact and implications for America, as Trump’s stench hoovers over states like Georgia, Arizona and Florida smothering democracy, with Republican voter suppression.
I use “The best laid plans of mice and men,” to segue a mice to a rat, which was revealed by “Tic Tokers,” which pulled the cover off of Trump’s scam, as president and re-election. Deploying a scam of their own they showed out of the gate, the “scammer-in-chief,” “orange hair and all, Tic Tokers convinced Trump, over a million MAGA lovers were headed for Tulsa. With dollar signs for eyeballs, Trump booked up all the hotels, and added overflow space for the giant arena, as well as an outdoor concert for his huge event. However, less than 6,000 MAGA fans showed up, as Tic Tokers punched holes in Trump’s invincibility. My point is kids figured out what grownups are still confused about today, which is “Trump is a RAT.” Moreover, I am convinced 11th and 12th graders and other young voters will be America democracy’s “saving grace!!” They are far smarter than they look and possess the voting power to prove it, while all Republicans have come up with are lies and voter suppression schemes in states like Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Texas and others.


The fast forward to the present is prompted by last week’s 42nd Harvard Youth Poll (HYP), which showed young Americans are very much aware of the threat Republicans represent to democracy. Young Americans, in this latest survey, shared concerns for repercussions from the pandemic, democratic government, the Biden administration, and climate change among other things. The HYP found young Americans are worried about democracy. Even more striking, 35% of respondents anticipate a second civil war during their lifetimes, where 25% believe that at least one state will secede. More than half feel democracy is under attack, and at least half of all respondents struggled with feelings of hopelessness and depression. Even more alarming, 50% of young people polled said that COVID-19 has changed them, and 51% say the pandemic had a negative impact on their life. While, 51% felt down or depressed at several different instances two weeks before the survey.

Additionally, young people felt strongly affected and worried about the threat of climate change. Significantly, 56% of young Americans expect climate change to have an impact on their future decisions and 45% already see it affecting their local communities. Moreover, large numbers of both Democrats and Republicans believe that individual changes in behavior can have the greatest positive impact addressing the climate change crisis. More than half of respondents believe the U.S. government is not doing enough to address climate change. In addition to addressing climate change, respondents see strengthening the economy, uniting the country, and improving health care as key issues for the Biden administration.

The HYP spoke with 2,109 people 18 and 29 years of age, on various topics from across the country and found a striking lack of confidence in U.S. democracy among young Americans. Only 7% view it as a “healthy democracy,” and 52% believe that “democracy is either in trouble or failing.” Support for Pres. Biden has also dropped across the board since the last Harvard Youth Poll in the spring. A majority of respondents were unhappy with how the president and Congress do their jobs. Among young Democrats, approval for Biden stands at 75%, a drop of 10 points since the last survey in March. Republican approval continues to tank, slumping to 9%—a decrease of 13 points since the spring—while among independents it dropped to 39%, a 14-point decrease. IOP Director Mark Gearan stated, “Our political leaders on both sides of the aisle would benefit tremendously from listening to the concerns that our students and young voters have raised about the challenges facing our democracy and their genuine desire for political parties to stop attacks and find common ground.”

This brings us back to where we began “the best laid schemes of mice and men” and Donald J. Trump face to face with his attempted insurrectionist on 1/6. The US census has been given Americans numbers that show young Americans between the ages of 18 to 29 constitute the largest voting demographic presently in America. Now, for the first time ever, the HYP has established through personal preferences expressed by young voters, older voters can longer force their demands down young voters’ throats. The older generation must finally admit its failure to give young people VOICE, created Donald Trump. Now that older voters are no longer the majority, high school 11th and 12th graders have the voting power at the polls to elect and defeat MAGA with their ballots. Young people no longer must take to the street, as the only way to be heard. This is the threat Republican voter suppression is aimed to stop. Consequently, high school, 11th and 12th graders must do for their rabid MAGA parents and grandparents, as Lennie (Of Mice and Men) did for his gentle-giant dimwitted friend, save them before Trump leads them over a cliff, like lemming or another kind of rodent, as part of his “RAT PACK!!!”
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