Tag Archives: culture

A Brief Enlightenment about Kwanzaa

Ms. Halina Vercessi, Editor-in-Chief

This year, the African-American and Pan-African, secular holiday of Kwanzaa started on December 26th, 2016 and ended on January 1st, 2017. Many people throw the word Kwanzaa around and treat it as some other random holiday, but they often have no knowledge of what the celebration is or means. Kwanzaa should be truly understood for the values it celebrates and the unity it encourages.

Kwanzaa was created by California State University Professor, Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 and is a relatively new holiday. During the time, Dr. Karenga was in search of a way to bring the African-American community together and rigorously researched traditional African history and celebrations. The name Kwanzaa that so many are familiar with, yet more or less ignorant about its meaning, was derived from a Swahili phrase translated as “first fruits” and is celebrated over the course of seven days, each day emphasized by a different principle. According to the Official Kwanzaa Website, as originally written by Dr. Maulana Karenga, the seven principles are as follows (though they can be interpreted in different ways in modern-day):

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CVU’s ELL Program Begins to Bridge the Gap

Mr. Max Brown

On May 8, I was able to sit down with some of the students in the ELL program here at CVU. What I found was a group of energetic, kind, and interesting people that I had never had the pleasure of actually meeting. Seemingly hidden away in a room dedicated to students who are learning English as a second, third, or even fourth language, I didn’t even know the program existed. As I spoke to the students, discovering their stories of relocating one by one, a pattern emerged. Making friends was the most difficult thing for all of these students.

One of the hardest things for people that move to America is adjusting to the culture. Feston Achinda, originally from Tanzania, moved to the U.S. about two and a half years ago with his family. He and his sisters, Phoebe and Fahari, are all CVU students. When talking to Feston, he described how he had never seen snow before coming to America. Coming from an African environment, to a state of long, cold, winters is a drastic change.

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REVIEW: Imagine Dragon’s “Smoke + Mirrors”

Mr. Charles Yarwood 

It’s difficult to find anyone who dislikes all of Imagine Dragons’ discography. Their sound is a mashup of musical styles that results in upbeat, powerful, and catchy songs that have appeal to people across all age groups and musical tastes. Taking vocal styles from outfits like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers and lyrics that are reminiscent of OneRepublic and The Neighbourhood, and the minimalist backing beats of Coldplay, it’s hard not to find elements of their music to like. They had several EPs in circulation before releasing their first full-length album in 2012, Night Visions. It peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 charts and struck a chord with many listeners. On February 17, they released their second album, Smoke + Mirrors.

While many of the songs on Night Visions had previously appeared on an EP, all of the tracks on Smoke + Mirrors are new to the world. The most extensive version of the album, the super-deluxe edition, features four new tracks that weren’t included in the standard release, as well as four previously released singles that the group had recorded for movies. The singles from Smoke + Mirrors are (in order of appearance on the album) “Shots,” “Gold,” and “I Bet My Life.” These tracks are frontloaded on the album, with all of them appearing in the first five songs, but they give the album some legs to stand on. “Shots” and “I Bet My Life” are similar to much of their previously recorded music, with emotional appeals written into the lyrics, raw vocals, and poppy rhythm sections. “Gold” takes a different tact than the other two singles. It features a tribal drumming rhythm to begin the song, a sound that isn’t similar to mainstream pop, and lyrics that discuss the struggles of materialism and wealth.

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