THE BLACK COLUMN: Music is All We Got


Story By: Taylor Lamb

“…never yet could I find that a black had uttered a thought above the level of plain narration; never seen even an elementary trait of painting or sculpture. In music they are more generally gifted than the whites, with accurate ears for tune and time… Whether they will be equal to the composition of a more extensive run of melody, or of complicated harmony, is yet to be proved.” -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia

You know those weeks when everything just seems super connected?

In my AAS class, we were reading The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois. This is one of the most important texts in African American Literature, and I’d say it’s required reading. (It’s only $2 at the book-store, get you one.) We discussed how he employs ethnomusicology in his work. He speaks of Negro Spirituals and tells us how you can listen to them to understand the people. The music tells of their lives, their struggles, their hopes, etc. The music is the story.  

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The End of #OscarsSoWhite…?

Story By: Taylor Lamb

The long-awaited weekend has finally arrived. This Sunday, at 8:30 EST, is the 89th Annual Academy Awards, more commonly known as the Oscars. This is the oh-so-exciting time when actors, directors, screenwriters, and basically everyone in the movie business get recognized (or snubbed) for their hard work. I am one of the hopeful few who aspires to work in the entertainment industry someday, so the Oscars is something that I always look forward to. However, this year even more so, because in the Best Picture category (among others), there are not one, not two, but THREE black movies nominated! And that, my friends, is no small feat.

If you were on social media at all around Oscar Nominations the past two years, then you should have heard about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. #OscarsSoWhite was a hashtag, started by writer April Reign, to highlight the lack of diversity in the nominees for the Oscars. She started it in 2015 when all 20 actors nominated for the lead and supporting actors category were white. In our so-called “Diverse” America, and the so-called “progressive” Entertainment industry, this is something that should never happen. And then, in 2016, it happened again. Not only did people fight back by lambasting the Oscars on social media, but celebrities actually chose to boycott the Oscars due to this grievance. The Academy reacted accordingly and there were letters written and changes made in response. Did it actually lead to change? Well, that’s up to interpretation but having three movies that not only feature black people in starring roles but also discuss black issues, nominated in major categories is definitely something to celebrate. Let’s get into those.


Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 11.10.38 AMNominations:


  • Best Picture
  • Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Naomie Harris)
  • Best Director (Barry Jenkins)
  • Best Original Music Score (Nicholas Britell)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Film Editing


Iris has already published a piece about Moonlight, so I won’t delve into this so other than to say that I agree with Maddie’s observations wholeheartedly. Moonlight is stunning. It’s thought-provoking. It’s a tear-jerker (I literally cried at least 4 times). And it is so freaking important. I would say that about most films that touch on blackness, but this is a representation of a black gay man, and that is not something to be taken lightly. So frequently, “black” and “gay” are treated as mutually exclusive burdens that one bears, and LGBT black people are ignored. The fact that a movie about these intersections has gotten all the acclaim it has (despite the fact that I had to drive 40 minutes to see it– it wasn’t even playing at Stonefield, which says a lot right there!) is so exciting. It has already received so many awards this season from other shows, and the Oscars better not be any different.

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Moonlight is the Best Movie of 2016 and You Can Fight Me on That



Photo courtesy of

Story By: Madeline Baker

I would like to preface this piece by stressing how little authority I have in determining what movies are worth watching and what movies are absolute garbage. I’m a 20-year-old white woman with limited life experience who hasn’t quite learned the difference between credit and debit. Apparently, society has anointed Quentin Tarantino one of the best filmmakers of our generation, and frankly I am appalled by this decision. Where was I for this vote? I have seen maybe two or three of his movies, including Pulp Fiction, and I can easily say they were all TRASH. This is beside the point, however, because now that I have completely destroyed any credibility I have as a film critic I would like to propose that why Moonlight is the one of the best movies I have ever seen.

I love movies that focus on multiple characters. I like seeing the evolution of each character throughout their respective plots within the movies, and I like seeing how the lives of the characters parallel within the movie. With this being said, I was a little hesitant to see Moonlight, a film directed by Barry Jenkins that tells the story of a young black man growing up in Miami and discovering his personal and sexual identity. I didn’t know if I would be completely bored watching one character on the screen for nearly three hours. I had never heard of the director either, and this only added to my wariness.

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What Eleven Students Wore to Alderman During Finals

Story By: Pinky Hossain


Ah, it’s that time of year again, folks. When students all across Grounds from a myriad of different majors and years congregate at the libraries to frantically finish their ten-page essay for Media Studies or problem set for Computer Science (… at least I think that’s what they do in CS classes) or review ten chapters of biology he/she was not in class to synthesize. I took to Alderman to observe some of our wonderful, studious students. In classic finals fashion, the line for Greenberry’s was out the door, and it took us three and a half years to find a table to work at.

We’re stressed and we’re tired and we’re sleep-deprived, but at least we look good. Here’s what eleven of us wore to Alderman during finals week.

This is Gillian. She’s fashionable as fuck. When I told her that I was taking pictures of what people were wearing during finals she said, “Well, you chose a great day – I spent an hour on this outfit.” Time well spent, Gillian. Time well spent.

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Top 5 Shows to Binge-Watch Over Winter Break

Story By: Taylor Lamb

Happy finals season! The beautiful time of year when the people who haven’t visited a library all semester (me) are suddenly there every night this week (me) and are getting dirty looks from the people who were there all semester and now have to fight for space (not me). This is a time of stress, all-nighters, and if you’re not careful, burnout. However, the one thing about finals season that should put joy in the hearts of every girl and boy is that winter break is right around the corner. A whole month free of classes, tests, papers, deadlines, and stress. A whole month to hang out with family and friends, sleep without an alarm clock, maybe make some extra cash, and most importantly…. watch TV. If you’ve been feeling like you don’t have a show to watch over break, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here are 5 shows you should binge-watch to your heart’s content. (Side note: Am I the only one who noticed that no one calls it “marathon” anymore?)

1. Jane the Virgin


picture1I’ve been watching this show since it premiered my first year here and have been loving it ever since. Loosely modeled off of Spanish telenovelas, Jane the Virgin is a comedy about Jane Villanueva, a virgin who gets pregnant through a medical accident. Hijinks ensue. Despite that unrealistic, comedic, premise, the show manages to shed light on a lot of important issues such as U.S. immigration laws and societal expectations regarding female sexuality. What’s more, the relationships among the three generations of Villanueva woman are so beautifully portrayed. You’ll want to go hug your mom. In fact, I definitely would recommend watching this one with your mom. You can find seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix.

2. Scandal

2This is a show I’m sure you’ve heard about, though maybe you’ve needed a push to finally give it your attention. Consider this article your push. Scandal is a political thriller about Olivia Pope, a badass political fixer with her own crisis management firm that helps her DC clients resolve all their dirty secrets. Also… she happens to be having an affair with the president. Five seasons in, the show has definitely become about a lot more than that, but I won’t spoil it for you. I was originally drawn to this show when I heard that Kerry Washington (Olivia Pope) was the first black woman to lead a network TV show in almost 40 years (and the second one ever)! After one episode, I was hooked. Not only by the incredible acting of the entire cast, but the character Olivia Pope, who, in my opinion, is one of the most amazing characters on television. And I’m not just comparing her to women, either. Not convinced? The first season is only 7 episodes, so you can definitely give that a shot when you’re in your food coma the day after your holiday dinner. Find it on Netflix.

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How Art Can Save the World

Story By: Taylor Lamb


Anti-Trump protest which took place in Las Vegas. Photo from Las Vegas Review Journal.

If you have read any of my articles before this point, you can probably guess my political views and, subsequently, how I reacted to the results of the recent election. I was hurt, confused, angry, scared… I felt betrayed. I felt as though my country had let me down. I skipped one of my classes because I couldn’t bring myself to face a lecture full of people who aren’t affected by the results in the way that I am, as a black woman. I couldn’t bring myself to face a lecture full of people who were possibly happy with the results. I wasn’t in a good place. Many people felt the same way. I had conversations with people wondering: What do we do? Do we cry? Do we fight? Protest? I had people tell me that they wanted to do something to impact the world, but they weren’t sure what. There are a variety of things one can do to improve the world, and I definitely can’t impose my views on anyone else. But if you’re looking for something that will change the world as well as something to find solace in, here’s my suggestion: create art. 

That probably wasn’t what you were expecting. Art is definitely devalued by society, and I might say this is even more true at UVA. Art majors are looked down upon. If you have a high GPA, but you’re not a STEM major or in the Comm School, people say it doesn’t mean anything. And here I am saying that art will change the world. Those might not add up in your mind, but this is not a new opinion I am introducing. I myself did not know this until college. Perhaps it is the world’s best kept secret, but art is the soul of the revolution. Look to your major movements, look to the leaders of the movements, and they will say the same. Throughout history, marginalized people have used art to express themselves, to inspire people, and to improve the world. I’m talking all types of art–literature, music, paintings, sketches, theatre, etc.

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