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Maybe my obsession with hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar, formerly known as K. Dot, has made me delusional, but sometime around my 103rd listen of his platinum album “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” something dawned on me – the reason I could relate to the lyrics so well was because they described the Hopkins experience.
People around campus may know me as “the girl with the huge afro,” but my hair hasn’t always looked this way. My hair has been straight, curly and everywhere in between, but getting it to look the way it does now took years of education and experimentation.
Religion is unequivocally not the focus of our post modern culture today. Not too long ago, the majority of people’s lives revolved around sanctified deities and venerated scriptures, this is no longer the case. Our culture today prefers the sexy lure of celebrity, entertainment and wealth over the dreary elongated sermons of older men who can no longer relate to them, and why shouldn’t it? Vices are fun, they give us something to talk about, provide a secret identity and separate life outside of the monotony of quotidian activities. People of earlier times would seek refuge in religion and take comfort in knowing that God would save them if they subscribed to certain doctrines and behaved in a certain way. We as a generation are not so sure about this. We live in color, we are exposed to everything, and we are not particularly impressed with religion. Whereas previous generations were complacent in a faith they could not see and trusted god to make good on his promise, we are not as placable, we cannot wait, we want it NOW. In 2013 there is an endless supply of information. Any one person can communicate anything at all, whether it be a picture, video or deranged blog rant, to the entire world with a modem. Conversely, anyone with a modem has access to nearly anything he wants to know, whether it be a video of a grown man convulsing on the dance floor, or an illicit black market; it is all as close as the click of a mouse. In this world, can you blame people for not being riveted by things that happened to two-dimensional characters a very long time ago in a very far away place? Money, sex, and power form the holy trinity of our contemporary era and because we are exposed to so much, have such intimate insight into other people’s lives, we know that these things are attainable. These are not dead concepts forced upon us, to accept barring the endurance of our faith. These are tangible, attractive ideas that manifest themselves to us in our everyday lives. They are what we want, they are our motivation, they are what we think will make us happy. So who do we respect most in this irreverent society that lauds debauchery and mocks sincerity? The person who holds the best hand of cards, the dude with the biggest house, the gaudiest clothes, the baddest girl and the most influence. All things considered, Kanye West is an excellent candidate for our postmodern Messiah. With the release of “Yeezus” this past summer, Kanye asserted himself as the father of entertainment, and the conspicuous pun says it all. This is what makes “Yeezus” so compelling in concept: its honesty. Ask most Americans if they are materialistic or arrogant and they would indubitably reply, “Never.” Yet, we live in a society that revolves around materialism and rewards arrogance. We like to delude ourselves into thinking that our core values, what really, sincerely matters to us, are virtuous and moral, however, as nice as this sounds in theory, at a certain point our actions come to define us, and recognizing and coming to terms with our own materialism is important. In that sense West is ahead of the curve. West has the bravado to be up front about his perspective, he is unapologetically self-indulgent, arrogant and consumerist, and he doesn’t care what you think. This is what makes him great. He is indomitable, so glaringly offensive, but he is so supremely successful that no one can tell him to stop. He holds clout. He is above the system. Kanye and his fellow contemporary mega stars are the new deities; one of the tracks on “Yeezus” is even titled “I Am a God;” however West is the only one who can acknowledge this, whether it be out of haughtiness, innovation or sheer stupidity only he knows. Not to mention, the music is fantastic! It fuses hip-hop and dance music, with four of the songs being produced by Daft Punk. The beats are deep, melodic and variegated, with a manic Kanye West half shouting, half rapping just to weave space between the intricate sounds. West has perfected his craft, and his success is due to his keen musical intuition and his ability to evolve as an artist; however Yeezus goes beyond this. The primary significance of this album is symbolic. West has opened the door, and he has unabashedly reassigned traditional Western values and ethics to ease the dissonance between what we, as a society, actually want and what we think we should want. Kanye, our sacrilegious saint, has told it true to his perspective, time will tell if others will share enthusiasm for this candor.
We must not dwell on the brevity of its life, but on the beauty of its existence. To all my fellow fashion bloggers, New Yorkers, shopaholics and fashion enthusiasts, let’s take a moment to put ourselves together and briefly reminisce about those darling floral embellished Oscar de la Renta dresses, J. Mendel’s intricately detailed metallic brocade dresses, and Alexander Wang’s in-your-face graphic tops, so that we may then shed our desperate longing for the past week and remember New York Fashion Week 2013 as a time when digital floral prints, black leather tanks and beautifully structured outerwear reigned supreme. The fifth of September: Let’s not pretend like you had to press the snooze button the morning of BCBGMAXAZRIA’s 10 a.m. show. In fact, you probably didn’t even require your daily morning dose of your chosen Starbucks coffee. And if you weren’t one of the privileged few to have gotten an invite to the show, don’t pretend like you weren’t viciously scanning your favorite social media sites and blogs at 11:00 a.m. for pictures from the glorious event. But whether you were at Theatre in your Louboutins (or Steve Maddens…hey, we’re broke college girls here) rubbing shoulders with the Man Repeller, or at Brody, working with your Chem Lab buddy, we should momentarily look back and admire BCBGMAXAZRIA’s reinvention of the straight-line dress, made popular during the 1920’s. The duo design team, Lubov and Max Azria, replaced traditional satin with chiffon and discarded typical 1920’s glass beading and detailed embellishments in favor of digital floral prints, while keeping the integrity of the straight-line dress’ silhouette. Daisy Buchanan meets Cara Delevingne? Could there be anything more perfect? The sixth of September: Baroque-style gold leaf graphics decorating black leather tanks, noir black leather jackets with metal embellishments, structured jackets on top of frilly linen blouses paired with skin-tight leather pants, intricately black beaded tops with beige lace cardigans and layered gold chains. Nicole Miller truly outdid herself this year by presenting a collection that so creatively blended her eclectic sources of inspiration ranging from theatrical Baroque era decorative arts to early twentieth century fashion to edgy street-wear. Shall we now silently applaud Nicole Miller for amalgamating our adored but often overwhelmingly-old-fashioned-vintage-chic-style with an edge that will make you want to spontaneously purchase a big black Harley and ride it right out of the shop while sporting your new DVF stilettos? I think so. The twelfth of September: Lastly, we shall commemorate one of the most sumptuous, beautifully constructed, and daring collections of the season. Leave it to none other than Marc Jacobs to have created a dark and moody collection complete with bulky sculpted wool jackets adorned with military accents and tassels, matching tasseled jackets and Bermuda shorts in various floral patterns, and gothic sequined dresses with rather high necklines and rather low hemlines adding to the stark androgynous, gothic feel. Online blogger, OJ Williams, at STASHED perfectly attributes the phrase “Victorian decadence” to describe the collection. The dark, romantic Poe-esque vibe was achieved through the use of structured tailoring and Victorian silhouettes for outerwear, and the combination of deep reds, hunter greens, and stark navy blues all embellished with noir black accents such as tassels and braids. Marc Jacobs could not have executed his intentions and sources of inspiration more forcefully and skillfully, and has consequently driven us fashion aficionados into an even deeper nostalgia for the breathtakingly beautiful collections this past fashion week. Our beloved designers’ appreciations for such obscure yet pleasing trivialities of our world - such as a baroque gold leaf accent, vintage embroidery, street style, or the romantic spirit – unite us fashion enthusiasts, artists, and women, in a world in which every triviality from our history or present society is brought to light to be properly appreciated and turned into that magical something we call “fashion”. It is essentially that accessibility to our creative collective understanding that has made last week the most liberating and inspirational week of the year, and this week the hardest. Alright, Hopkins girls, don’t know about you but I’m setting my countdown. Just 360 more days!
Sure, fall doesn’t officially start until Sept. 22, but as long as classes have started, it’s not like we have time to enjoy the good weather we’ll experience before then. In no particular order, here are ten things you can do away with now that summer is (basically) over:
This past summer was an eventful one for hip hop fans. A lot of artists released projects and, naturally, I had some opinions about them.
If you’re a freshman at Hopkins you must be feeling good right now. The fact that you have been accepted to one of the most respected universities in the country is a confirmation that you were a dedicated, hard-working student throughout high school. Along with the disbelief and excitement of coming to Hopkins inevitably comes the nerves. In order to calm them some people may emphasize the fact that during your first semester as a freshman your grades will be covered. But DO NOT be fooled; covered grades are a blanket of false security!
We’ve all been there. There’s no use in denying it. You’re sitting in Brody or Gilman or wherever you choose to study and you spend ninety percent of your time fooling around and accomplishing nothing that will ever be helpful to you and maybe (if you’re lucky) you study for a grand total of ten minutes. If you’re going to waste a rather large chunk of your life in this way, you might as well get creative with your procrastination, right? That being said, here’s a list of nine new and creative things you can do in those hours of utter waste:
Have you ever bought something weird? How about something double-weird? Triple-weird? If you have bought something weirder than that, I won’t even ask — that is between you and your God.
Walking into Luigi’s is like walking into an old neighborhood favorite — soccer jerseys, pinned next to posters of Italy line the walls, and the tables and chairs look like they’ve come from different corners of your Italian grandmother’s attic. As soon as you see the authentic Italian merchandise (homemade pasta, tomato sauce which is NOT Prego, San Pellegrino Limonata and Aranciata, cannoli shells and more) available on the shelves in front of the counter, you know you’ve got the real deal. Much to our surprise, however, after we asked how long they’ve been a local hotspot, they said they’ve only been there for one year!
Dear AskMani, What should I buy my boyfriend for his birthday? Sincerely, Gifting Girlfriend
Though the days have been slipping by for some time, today I realized that I have five days of classes and 25 days on Homewood campus remaining in my Hopkins tenure. My once-in-a-lifetime college experience is ending.
It’s 6 a.m. and I’m squinting into the darkness outside Woodberry Kitchen, looking for a big white dump truck. There’s a hint of the sunrise to the east, but for now the watery pink of street lamps lights the pavement. My team: three other Hopkins students — bundled up, fiddling with cameras — all crane their necks like me, looking down the road.
If you’re 12-years-old and find remote members of your family on the Internet, I get that it’s pretty tempting to friend them on every aspect of social media that you have. But if those family members have no idea who you are, then you should probably think first before you act like a stalker.
While last time I wrote about albums to look forward to, I’m now going to look at the underdog albums released so far this year. These are albums with little to no major press, meaning there is not much hype to make or break their success. Hearing albums of this nature can generally be refreshing and help you not be as reliant on what popular media of any variety tells you to listen to. While I note the ironic message of the column, you should still check out these groups.
In honor of National Grilled Cheese Month, this week’s recipe is Portobello, avocado and roasted red pepper, goat cheese grilled cheese. The name of the recipe certainly is a mouthful, but that’s because this is not just your average grilled cheese. This is the classic grilled cheese stepped up several notches. The exciting aspect about making grilled cheese, or really preparing any recipe, is that it’s very easy to personalize to your own specific tastes. I’m not a fan of traditional yellow cheddar, so I’ve opted for a creamy version of the classic sandwich goat cheese. On this note, it is important to remember that you shouldn’t be afraid to play around with the ingredients. If you’re not ready to be adventurous with your recipes yet, then stick to the recommendations and your taste buds will certainly not be disappointed —or bored for that matter.
So this is what it feels like to be 21 — older, allegedly wiser, and bigger (in pounds and personality), and that much more superior to the younglings, a.k.a. people who were born after me, in this world.
It is incredibly likely that Happy Endings, one of my favorite shows, is going to get canceled. The show is a favorite of a small cult following. The time slot in which it currently airs was moved to Friday nights at 8pm on ABC. Yeah, I know.
Once I read that the universe is so infinite that every possible scenario for life exists somewhere. Meaning that any time you or I make a decision, some alternate universe version of ourselves is choosing a different option. Wow. Isn’t the universe beautiful? Also, koala bears feed their young their own excrement.
Last Friday night, we had the privilege of attending the fourth annual Greek Night in the Charles Commons Ballroom, held by the JHU Hellenic Students Association. The event was a feast for the eyes and stomachs, and attendees — ourselves included! — enjoyed their fill of delicious Greek dishes while watching (and participating in) traditional Greek songs and dances.