Social Stigma Against Black Men and Mental Health

After engaging in an onstage rant and ending his concert prematurely, it was reported in November that rapper Kanye West had suffered a “nervous breakdown.” After going on a lengthy tirade about a personal conflict with Jay-Z and Beyoncé, West warned, “Get ready to have a field day press, ‘cause the show’s over,” dropped the microphone, and walked offstage. While the rapper’s antics have become rather commonplace and even expected, something was different this time. This time was different because he was immediately admitted to a hospital – reportedly for a psychiatric evaluation – thus, bringing about a nationwide conversation … Read more

Is History Something to Sing About?

This past week was the premier of the live re-creation of “Hairspray” on TV. The movie revolves around a mother, daughter pair that go through their typical ups and downs during the ‘60s. In addition, it revolves around a TV show that stars students, primarily white except for one day a month which is titled Negro day. The movie tackles the ‘60s and the difficulties between whites and blacks and the acceptance of those of color as being apart of society just as much as white individuals. I have seen the movie hundreds of times, and have memorized every song; … Read more

Common’s New Album is Anything But

This week, the rapper Common released an album titled Black America Again. It’s genius. Pure activist genius, right before Election Day. His music is complex and interesting, his lyrics exploring the nuances of systemic racism in the United States. He focuses on an array of issues, including mass incarceration, the injustices occurring in Flint, Michigan, and cultural stereotypes, which marginalize people of color and perpetuate systemic inequality. “The Day Women Took Over” highlights the accomplishments made by black women, from Michelle Obama to Rosa Parks to Maya Angelou. “Letter to the Free” focuses on the New Jim Crow laws, with … Read more

Directorial Racial Choices and their Implications

I grew up in a mostly-white suburban town.  However, I was a part of the musical Once On This Island multiple times.  The premise of this musical is that there is a peasant girl (who was traditionally played by a black, female actor) who falls in love with a rich man (traditionally played by a white, male actor). The entire show centers around how these two very different worlds are not allowed to associate and talk to each other, and definitely not fall in love.  She winds up sacrificing herself for him essentially. In the two productions that I participated in, all … Read more

Designated Survivor: A Hypersensitive Culture?

I sit down every Wednesday to watch a new show called Designated Survivor. The show revolves around the idea of the designated survivor: the person the government picks to stay home when holding the State of the Union address at the capitol. The reasoning behind the idea of having a designated survivor is in case something were to happen to all three cabinets of the government during the address, there is someone to take over as President. The opening episode of the series is just this, an attack on the capitol building where a designated survivor now has to take … Read more

Art Imitating Life?: “Disgraced” at McCarter Theater

Every semester, the theatre department at Muhlenberg College requires students taking certain theatre classes to see a production off campus. The Pulitzer Prize winning play Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar at Princeton’s the McCarter Theater was chosen as that production for this semester. It was critically acclaimed when it premiered on Broadway and I was very excited to see it because I had not previously read the play before. Everything that occurred on stage came as a surprise to me and I was thrilled that a lot of the issues in the play paralleled directly with what we have been learning … Read more