By: Trent Rhone
“Shut up and play ball…” that is what so many of our Black athletes are encouraged to do by their white counterparts, when it comes to political or social activism.
This seems especially true of the NFL, as the fans adore our athletes on game days and the team owners respect and support their actions-if it is going to make the team money. Yet, few seem to genuinely care about the everyday issues Black athletes, and the people that look like them, face off the field.
Still, in recent years, Black athletes, such as LeBron James and Steph Curry, have made it a point to voice their political views and speak out of issues that affect the Black community. Yet, no athlete has been as polarizing as NFL star, Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick, first sparked controversy back in 2016, when he refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem. Instead, he chose to take a knee to protest police brutality and racial injustices towards African Americans and other people of color.
Several public figures, including former president Barack Obama, rapper, J. Cole, and director, Spike Lee, supported Kaepernick’s use of his first amendment right and decision to stand for something.
Yet, others, particularly white conservatives, one being President Trump who referred to Kaepernick and his followers as S.O.Bs , maligned Kaepernick and pushed for swift punishments for those who “disrespect our country” by protesting.
However, the fact that Colin Kaepernick is no longer a signed player is not enough.
Earlier this week, the former San Francisco 49ners’ quarterback, released this advertisement for the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, with the caption “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Once again, white Twitter exploded. Although the campaign included athletes, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Shaquem Griffin, and Odell Beckham Jr., the spotlight was directly on Kaepernick.
According to an article on Time, “Kaepernick’s ad created 43 million in buzz for Nike in less than 24 hours.”
While Williams and James, stood by Nike, opposers, including President Trump, openly criticized Nike and it’s decision to allow Kaepernick to represent their brand.
Others took it a step further by destroying their own Nike gear and vowing to boycott the brand.
In agreeance with one supporter, who tweeted “Imagine a country where a shoe ad is more controversial than a school shooting,” it is sad that this what people are choosing to fight against. This is especially true, considering the fact that the opposition has refused to even openly acknowledge or consider the reasoning behind Kaepernick’s protests.
In preference, they choose to focus on their perceived “disrespect to our great country,” which has never been great for the minority, and “disrespect to veterans,” who are often denied the medical, social, economic opportunities needed to live a decent lifestyle after war. Therefore, if Nike boycotters were really concerned about veterans, they would donate the gear instead of destroying it.
Therefore the argument against players protesting is most likely driven by sheer ignorance.
However, considering the fact that 70 and 75 percent of NFL and NBA players respectively are Black, there will not be a shortage of athletes willing to speak out. This is not the 1950s and not everyone will be willing to “shut up and play ball.”
Although, Kaepernick currently remains a free agent, there is still hope for those who look forward to his return. He is currently building a case against the NFL for colluding to keep him off the fields. In spite of the outcome, we commend Kaepernick for his heroic efforts and refusal to be silenced. He is truly an exemplar of one who “Believes in something… Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
By: Amyre Dysard
Kanye West made headlines when he seemingly said that slavery was a choice. Then he made things worse by saying that he is “sorry for the people who felt let down by that moment.”
In May, West did an interview at the TMZ headquarters when he was apparently ‘off meds.’
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years?! That sounds like a choice,” said
West. The comment made social media go on an uproar. Multiple celebrities including Meek Mill, Chris Brown and Ava DuVernay have spoken out against West. Black twitter even went as far as to create the hashtag #IfSlaveryWasAChoice. Tweets made jokes about the musician’s comments by saying that slaves could call in sick days, apply for other plantations, or just flat out say no.
But there is more to West’s statement. He went on to say that “You was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally in prison.” In a poll conducted by WBLK 93.7 in New York, 52.11% of people agreed that slaves could have changed something in 400 years. Only 36.97% of participants said they believed that Calvert was not a choice while 5.88% were undecided.
In an interview with Tidal’s Rap Radar, Will Smith stated that he loves that Kanye is “willing to take the smashdown in order to push ideas. He’s making people think.”
So let’s think about it a little deeper. There’s a question that few have asked: Is there some validity to West’s massively frowned upon comment?
Of course, slaves didn’t literally choose to be taken from their motherland to a foreign one to be owned and beaten. But in a psychological way, did slaves choose to stay in a shackled state? West further elaborated on the topic in an interview with The New York Times.
“I said the idea of sitting in something for 400 years sounds like a choice to me, I never said it’s a choice. I never said slavery itself, like being shackled in chains, was a choice,” he said.
When slaves were shipped to the United States, they had a different dialect, a different religion, and a different culture. They were suddenly and harshly stripped from their way of life. Slaves were taught the customs and language of the people that owned them. They were taught to worship a deity whose skin does not match their own.
Slaves were taught that white people were superior. They were to smile, act happy, and not
have free thought. They were conditioned. The average number of slaves per plantation was 20 by 1830. However, there were plantations with hundreds of slaves.
The plantation owner by Col. Joshua John Ward owned 1,130 slaves. This being said, is it hard
to imagine that slaves could have rallied together to overcome their masters?
Of course there were some slaves that tried to escape. For example, the Stono Rebellion of
1739, the largest documented slave rebellion.The rebellion started off with about 20 slaves that were headed towards St. Augustine, FL where there was Spanish rule and no slavery.
Members of the rebellion raided houses, killed their occupants, and burned the remainder.
They gained more slaves along the way and ended with a group of about 100.
There’s a problem with this and other examples. There were slaves that chose not to participate and some even stayed behind to help hide and protect their masters.
In this sense, was slavery not a choice? Sadly, many of the rebels were rallied and killed. Perhaps more could have made it to freedom if the rest of the slaves had joined forces with the rebels. Unfortunately we’ll never know. Even Harriet Tubman couldn’t convince every slave she came across to follow her through the Underground Railroad. Some that did were tempted to return and were only stopped by Tubman’s protest and handgun.
Time and time again slaves have chosen the safety of the plantation over the need to be free.
Maybe Kanye’s not too crazy after all.
By: Kennady Harrell
Earlier this year, in January, the spin off of Black-ish, Grown-ish, aired, giving insight on
the college life of Zoey Johnson. In the show, college is portrayed as a place of freedom,
parties, new friends, new experiences, dealing with relationships, and mostly the place to be.
We have all been persuaded by shows like Grow-ish into believing that college was full of
excitement, which it is, but now that we are here, things are a little different than in the tv shows and movies.
College is a transition. It is a major change from high school to college. Recently, I had
the opportunity in interviewing two bright young ladies on their first week of college, here at
Southern University. Shelby Jeter, majoring in business and elementary education from Bosier, Louisiana, and Nina Santos, a nursing major from Bowie, Maryland, both gave insight on being away from home, the culture difference, difference in classroom settings, campus life, and their experience so far at Southern.
To begin the interview, I asked them what their expectations of Southern were and if
their expectations were met. Jeter’s response was, “My expectations were that is was going to
be exactly how I pictured it. With a lot of students walking around, enjoying college, and mostly independence... Southern did meet my expectations for the most part, I knew there would be bumps in the road because we all have them but my expectations were met”. While her expectations were met, Nina had a similar mindset. She stated, “I imagined Southern to be a lot of black students walking around being independent. On my first day arriving, I thought there would be a lot of vendors coming out, such as food, hair, and nails to showcase their businesses. Overall If i could rate it on a scale of 10, I’d give it a six.” Personally, I agree with the ladies, my expectations was to see a lot of students on campus in the form of a big family.
I expected Southern to feel like home and gladly, Southern’s faculty, staff, and students gave me a warm feeling. Nina Santos had the luck of experiencing the home feeling as well, she
mentioned when she first came on a tour here she met a staff member named Ms, Hughes, who made her feel extremely welcomed. She said Ms Hughes gave her true insight of what Southern would be like and she treated Nina like she would her own.
Moving forward with the interview, I had the pleasure of asking them about the culture
shock and the difference between where their from and Southern. Jeter, being from Louisiana, didn’t really experience much of a culture shock, she stated it was just different meeting new people from all over. On the other hand, Santos experienced a major culture shock coming from Maryland to Louisiana, she said “going to parties and events, it’s such a difference in music from PG County in Maryland. I love how they get hype, like this is their song when the DJ plays Louisiana music. However, I also wish they would include music from different states, like I want to hear my music played sometimes because there are people here from all over. We have people from Chicago, Memphis, Texas and etc. there should be some form of inclusion to kind of give that ‘at home’ feeling off.”
As the interview proceeded, we got down to a deeper rooted issue. I began to discuss
with Jeter and Santos about campus life, small things such as having to go to the cafe for your meals because even though we are free, we don’t have the ability to just get up and go get Chipotle or Raisin’ Cane's. Santos began to discuss the lack of funding Historically Black
Colleges and Universities receive. She stated, “While I love my HBCU, I sole heartedly hate the fact that we receive less funding. If we had more funding from the government rather than alumni and having to dig out of our pockets, our selections of food would be better, we would have better buildings, better housing, our campus would overall be improved. Take LSU for example, if you look at all of the nice buildings and the resources they have on campus, that is because of funding. If HBCUs receive the same amount of funding as PWIs, they wouldn’t be viewed with a negative connotation and we would have the same availabilities such as a variety of food choices as PWIs.” The lack of funding is something that dates back way before my time and is still an issue today. Recently, the president, Donald Trump, proposed a plan that would cut the funding towards HBCUs by 30 million dollars in comparison to the funding 10 years ago,according to the organization Educations Votes. Proper funding is something HBCUs desperately need in order to thrive, cutting the funding we do have is not beneficial.
Lastly, in the interview, we discussed the difference between highschool and college
from the class setting to our daily schedules. For me, in highschool, it was the same routine.
Wake up at 5:30 in the morning, get dressed for school, go to school, complete after school
activities, go to work, do homework, sleep and repeat. In college, it is completely different. You don’t have you parents or someone to wake you up for class, someone telling you to study, or do chores, or complete your homework. College teaches you independency. For Nina Santos, her take on the structure difference between college and high school is helpful. She stated the staggering of her classes and going to class at different times on different days keeps on on track. It helps her become mindful that she has to remember her schedule for different days and learn to adjust. On the other hand, for Shelby Jeter, she mentioned the difficulty it is because she doesn’t have her parents to wake her up and make sure she’s on task with everything. She has to learn how to become independent and self-reliant.
With having this talk with Shelby Jeter and Nina Santos, I’ve came to conclusion that
college isn’t the same as how it is portrayed in Grown-ish. College is a bit more difficult and
requires focus. I look forward to the great things and experiences at Southern University. With the turnout of welcome week and the first few weeks of classes, college has many lessons to teach me but nevertheless, I’m ready to learn, this is an experience I’d like to call Adult-ish..
Written By: John Livengood
A Little About Elly Elz
Elly Elz, CEO of SMG (Syck Music Group) is a D.C native who sound is like no other gives you a gritty, street hustler vibe. His high level delivery captivates an audience's attention immediately and his wordplay keeps them wanting to hear more. Multiple interviews with big time media personalities and companies, keep Elly Elz on your radar!
John: 3 Things We Don’t Know About You
Elly Elz: "I own real estate, I graduated from VSU [Class of 2013!], and I can play the Violin & French Horn"
John: Define Yourself in 5 Words
But the irony is this isn’t true
John: Favorite pre studio traditions?
Elly Elz: Before the studio, I gotta have a bottle of either Fiji or Evian water, (the size depends on how long the session is), a pack of sour gummy worms and 2 Tabasco Slim Jim’s... I don’t know why but yeah
John: Who are your Top 5 Biggest Musical Influences?
Elly Elz: The music industry is a very lucrative entertainment business. Based on the connections you make with people in it, this can determine whether you make a lot of revenue or not in my opinion.
John: Who are some artist & media personalities you would like to work with more?
Elly Elz: Well TheDMVDaily just because that’s the home team and there are not enough media outlets in the area willing to help up & coming artist, of course my musical influences in some way, and I would like to work with SayCheeseTV more.
John: Any Shoutouts?
Elly Elz: First and foremost, God. My Team Syck Music Group, My management Live Legendary, and The family of course
John: Name 10 artists you would like to work with
Elly Elz: To be honest, other than my musical influences, there are no artist I want to work with I’m really just focused on my craft.
Social Media Pages:
By: John Livengood
Livengood: Where did your media name come from?
Davy J: The Lunch Table came from the thought of a universal place that everyone comes to for peace and dialogue. Usually
lunch is everyone's favorite part of the day especially in school. That is the time to catch up on all of the gossip with
Livengood: What do you do?
Davy J: I'm a media personality as well as the CEO/Founder of The Lunch Table
Livengood: Describe the Entertainment Industry
Davy J: The industry is growing never the less. Media is in way more demand now as social media use is increased in
today's society. The thing that kills me is that sometimes media uses false information or misleading headlines for
attention. Little do they know this is damaging someone else's career and reputation.
Livengood: What makes you love it?
Davy J: I love media because if we look back into time it is the only thing that has saved us as far as knowing our history. If there weren't any pictures or videos of anything how would we remember this. It excites me to go back and look at old footage or pictures. It also excites me to be able to make something that can make another person laugh or be so entertained that they forget about their daily stress and get lost in the video/picture
Livengood: Spell out your first name in words that describe you
Davy J: D- Determined, A- Aggressive, V-Valid, I -Independent, D-Driven
Livengood: Explain The Lunch Table in five words.
Davy J: Powerful, Informative, Opinionated, Growing, Passion
Livengood: Goals for the Lunch Table
Davy J: I want The Lunch Table to be one of the biggest media platforms in the world and be still thriving after I die.
Livengood: Any celebs you personally want to work with?
Davy J: I would love to work with Terrance J. I really look up to him and everything he is doing
Livengood: Any shoutouts?
Davy J: God & All of our supporters that have helped us through the years and are still loyal! Thank You!
Social Media Pages:
Twitter & Instagram: @TLTBlogShow & @DavyJTheVirgo
Get a little taste of the food The Lunchtable Blog Show serves here!