Posts tagged with "Black Americans"

MLWXBF chapter 4 illustration via Alison Christenson for use by 360 Magazine

Ivy League BLM Courses

By: Emily Bunn

Ivy League Schools to Begin Teaching “Black Lives Matter” Courses

Proving their commitment to diversity and understanding, several Ivy League colleges will begin offering courses on the Black Lives Matter Movement. Whereas other Ivy League schools, such as Cornell, have created Africana Departments that focus on the centrality of Africa and the African Diaspora to the modern world, BlackLivesMatter classes are situated in a specific cultural moment. Though, of course, the Black Lives Matter falls under the umbrella of contemporary African history, it is positioned in a more concentrated, modern application. Princeton and Dartmouth are the two first schools to begin accrediting this intersectional coursework. While Princeton most recently enacted their BLM coursework, Dartmouth has been pioneering this change since 2015.

Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matter course discusses topics such as The Ivory Tower, understanding St. Louis and its racial history, race and class, racial violence, and systemic and unconscious racism, among other topics. Part of Dartmouth’s course description reads, “though the academy can never lay claim to social movements, this course seeks in part to answer the call of students and young activists around the country to take the opportunity to raise questions about, offer studied reflection upon, and allocate dedicated institutional space to the failures of democracy, capitalism, and leadership and to make #BlackLivesMatter. Developed through a group effort, this course brings to bear collective thinking, teaching, research, and focus on questions around race, structural inequality, and violence.” The course is taught by a wide variety of professors from different academic disciplines and social backgrounds. Taught for ten weeks by close to 20 different professors, Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matter coursework stands as a comprehensive example of a cross-disciplinary concentration that recognizes and situates history in a contemporary, American context.

Princeton’s #BlackLivesMatter class looks to examine the “historical roots and growth of the Black Lives Matter social movement,” and is “committed to resisting, unveiling, and undoing histories of state sanctioned violence against Black and Brown bodies.” Princeton’s #BlackLivesMatter’s course description reads as such: “This seminar traces the historical roots and growth of the Black Lives Matter social movement in the United States and comparative global contexts. The movement and course are committed to resisting, unveiling, and undoing histories of state sanctioned violence against Black and Brown bodies. The course seeks to document the forms of dispossession that Black Americans face and offers a critical examination of the prison industrial complex, police brutality, urban poverty, and white supremacy in the US.” The course’ sample reading list includes selections from Angela Davis, Claudia Rankin, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

Princeton’s course will be taught by Professor Hanna Garth, who has previously taught “Race and Racisms,” “Postcolonial and Decolonial Theory,” and “Theories of Social Justice.” Garth’s self-defined interest in “the ways in which people struggle to overcome structural violence” and past experience has well-prepared her for teaching this class. Garth remarks, “All of my research, teaching, and mentoring is designed around my commitment to feminist methodologies and critical race theory.”

While some have aggressively asserted that Princeton’s course readings are from a former communist party leader who once made it on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, their negativity further highlights the necessity of this course. While these assertions may be true, it is telling that certain critics commonly overlook the individual’s many (more recent) accomplishments. The author in question is Angela Davis – a revered, respected, and well-educated civil rights activist, philosopher, academic, and author. By painting Davis as an unpatriotic, dangerous criminal, it distracts from the important lessons that are to be learned from this influential leader. Similarly, Fox News’ article on Princeton’s new course links their mention of the “Black Lives Matter” movement not to an explanation of what the movement is, but instead to a page on US protests. As opposed to creating an educational resource for what the BLM Movement is, conservative critics are quick to jump to claims of Black violence and riots.

Especially in 2021, as the United States grapples with the fight for racial and civil justice, discussions surround race, policing, prison reform, and politics are more pertinent than ever. It is absolutely essential that our nation’s college students are exposed to critical race theory and critical thinking. By shielding America’s youth from the necessary history of this country – which is still being experienced today – we are only putting them in a position of increased vulnerability and ignorance. Knowledge is power and educating oneself on society’s issues is the only way to efficient work towards progressive social change. Hopefully, as the most prestigious academic institutions begin to model examples of intersectional and anti-racist coursework, other colleges and universities will soon follow suit.

Page Kennedy illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Q×A with Page Kennedy

ACTOR & RAPPER PAGE KENNEDY JOINS 360 MAGAZINE FOR SOME Q&A

By: Heather Skovlund-Reibsamen

Page Kennedy is well known as a rapper and actor within our entertainment industry. Kennedy’s recent acting skills brought him to play “Duck” on Netflix’s “The Upshaws”, one of their newest series to hit streaming platforms starring alongside Kim Fields (Regina Upshaw), Mike Epps (Bennie Upshaw), and Wanda Skyes (Lucretia). He is also known for his roles in “Blue Mountain State”, “Weeds” and his comedic genius skits shared on Instagram and TikTok.

Kennedy’s self-titled album ‘Page’ was released in February 2021 featuring heavyweight rappers Xzibit and Method Man is available now on all streaming platforms – make sure you go check it out!

360 Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing Page Kennedy where we discussed “The Upshaws”, his character ‘Duck’, music, and his fitness journey. We had an amazing conversation about his media roles, the love for Eminem, and also found out that we both favor Cardi B because of the way she represents herself: “Cardi B makes me feel like I know her”, said Kennedy.

Read on to hear about our conversation with Page!

Your Netflix series, “The Upshaws”, came out today- how do you feel about working with it?

PK: I love it, you know I was a part of it, and I still watch the series multiple times. I can’t get tired of it. I can just go to any episode and watch it- it has so many great jokes and the characters are diverse, and they bring their own style, energy and creativity. I think it’s the funniest show on TV.

How is it working with the cast?

PK: Working with the cast is great. You know, you got legends there. You’ve got Kim Fields, the ultimate foremost legend, Mike Epps who is a comic genius, Wanda Skyes- comic genius. They are good people, and everybody is happy to be here, so it makes it fun.

Do you feel that you have any similar traits to your character Duck within yourself?

PK: I’ve been asked that question and, let me see, I look at Duck as a different character than what I typically play. The only similarity that I see between me and Duck is his loyalty. He is loyal to a fault. You know, he spent 7-10 years in jail where he could have gotten less time where he could have ratted out his friend who could have been his co-defendant, but he just took it. I think I have a loyalty like Duck. Other than that, he’s a little different than me.

Let’s talk about your latest album. How did you feel about the creative direction within the videos for “Fear” and “Safe”? How did you work through the process of such a real and raw album?

PK: I wanted to make use of all of my talents to create an art- that was my goal. My goal was to take the amalgamation of talents that I have to coalesce to create art that could be ubiquitous forever. You know, that’s what I feel I accomplished because things are great 20 years from now and it’s still going to be great. You can still listen to Biggie because it’s incredible, it’s timeless and that’s what I wanted to do. I feel like I accomplished that.

Can you tell us about the song “Shine”?

PK: I think that the album needed some respite because it’s very heavy and after you listen to Fear and Safe, it’s so cumbersome that you need some respite. And so that’s what Shine provides. It still takes a look at how difficult 2019 was personally for me and then 2020 was for everyone. The face of darkness, there is light after, and I wanted to show that the Devil will not take that light away. We will shine.

Can you tell us about your album cover?

PK: The cover of the album is confluence of tragic incident of black Americans who have had their lives taken from them at the hands of police brutality. That confluence is to show that they are me. You know, they all make up me; I am the same as them and so I wanted to, through me, show them. Wait until you get to the song “Flowers”, that is my favorite song on the album.

At the end of some of your videos, there is mention of voting- what are you trying to show viewers?

PK: So, creating Fear was so I could galvanize the troops to go vote because we can’t just yell from the rafters “We are being disrespected”, “We are being overlooked”. We have to actually get in the dirt and, you know, do things that cause change. Our biggest voice was our vote. The virality of those videos was to have the embolism of to vote throughout the video. To help people want to get out and vote after they see the deleterious effects of what fear can do on both sides so that’s why you see that throughout the videos.

Let’s talk about your fitness journey. What motivated you to get started?

PK: I got tired of looking at myself in movies and TV fat as hell and I was more attractive in my head than I was externally, so I wanted to match that.

So, there’s a lot of excuses that I think many people use such as “I can’t afford to go to the gym” or “I hurt too much to do this”. How did you push past your own excuses?

PK: I have an additive personality so once I get into something, I’m locked in and I got my mind right and ready. I had help, a tool to help me out with the point of why I was overweight which was my addiction to food. And so, I got gastro sleeve surgery which made my stomach smaller so that I couldn’t overeat. That helped. That was like the catalyst to help me and the working out thing- I already had that down. I had challenges where I would workout 100 straight days and another challenge where I went a straight year of working out without missing any days. My mind was already set to go to the gym, I just needed to get the food stuff right.

Do you still workout consistently?

PK: Yep, I’m still in it. Even when the gyms were closed, I found a way to get the workout in.

What advice would you offer somebody as far as starting out on their journey? If they were with you and undecided about their journey because of lack of motivation.

PK: I would say to make it something that is a part of your daily life that you don’t have a choice of. You don’t have a choice if you need to go to the bathroom or not, you don’t have a choice whether you like eating or not. These are things that must happen regardless of what you want or not. So, if you make the gym or workout a part of that, you take the lack of motivation away. We can have things taken away for us and see how resilient we could be. If you’re in jail or in a weight loss camp or anywhere that caused your free will to be taken away and you are forced to do something, you can do it because you have to. So why have to be in a situation where some other exterior force forces you to when you have a mind and brain that is going to be the thing to make you do it anyway.

Do you have a specific meal plan?

PK: Sometimes, yes. I go in spurts. Some weeks I have no carbs and no sugar. Then some weeks I am a little looser. I just try to be moderate because I could easily go really far one way or really far the other way. It’s not until I’m actually preparing for something that I go super crazy. Other than that, I just try and stay in striking range.

Do you allow yourself to have treats?

PK: Yep, probably more than I should.

What kind of workouts do you do?

PK: Well, when I get off the phone with you, I have a trainer, so I am going to the gym. Wednesday is leg day, which sucks. I work out with a trainer 3-4 days a week and then two other days I have an Oculus virtual reality thing that I do a supernatural workout on or I ride my bike for 20 miles to the beach on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Is there anything else that you’d like to talk about or anything that you’d like to share with our readers?

PK: I just want them to the importance of the album “Page” and how it’s important to everyone in the world right to be aware of everything that happening right now and everything that’s going on. And that if this album was released by a bigger artist, it would be a Grammy-nominated type of album – that’s how important this album is. I just implore everyone to continue to listen to it and check it out because I think it’s necessary. That’s the main thing that I want- and watch “The Upshaws” on Netflix streaming now.