December 11, 2016

The Art of Trendsetting

By: Kristen Soriano

Imagine walking to the center front of a stage with the spotlight directly beaming on you. Everyone in the audience is watching. Your worse critic is front row. Don’t screw up. You can’t screw up.

A handful of individuals, if not all, have certainly felt like this at some point in their lives. Especially, when deciding what to wear in the morning and having a “mini” breakdown when you can’t find anything to put on.

But why do some stress over what they wear? Is it “just” clothes? Or, do they hold some sort of meaning?

“An outfit is more than just top and bottom. It is who we are when no one is looking, who we are when everyone is looking, and who we are when we’re alone,” says Victoria Cardona, a student from Syracuse University.

Cesar Calixto, a third-year student at John Jay adds, “The way we dress is a way we communicate to others a little of who we are without having to say a word. That’s the beauty of it. We get to wear stuff that speak for us.”

To some, style may revolve around individuality, however, for others it may not. People get bullied and made fun of for looking a particular way, and therefore, the constant pressure of following the crowd is reinforced. Though some fall victim to looking and speaking like their peers as a result, there are others who embrace the stares and the name-calling.

Alaina Leary shares her “Haters Gonna Hate, But I’m Still Gonna Wear Stripped Socks, Tiny Hats and Tutus” story on Seventeen’s website where she reveals her deep love for alternative fashion.

“I did the craziest thing imaginable: I wore what I actually wanted to wear in middle school. I put on my striped socks and layers of colorful bracelets, well knowing that I’d be stared at.”

Although she earned nicknames like “The Tutu Girl” both in middle and high school, Leary did not let it stop her from wearing what she wanted to wear.

“Dressing this way gives me a reason to be excited to get up in the morning, which was one of my original reasons for doing it. It fosters and nurtures my creative spirit, and allows me to utilize my love of visual design on a daily basis,” she says.

The scariest thing may be being afraid to look different than the rest, but as Lauren Conrad, former reality star and designer of Paper Crown, notes in her Style book, “There’s a lot of noise out there, from Dos and Don’ts lists to indexes of What’s Hot and What’s Not. Frankly, it’s nearly impossible to keep track. In my opinion, though, being a real fashion victim has nothing to do with breaking these sorts of rules: It’s trying to dress like someone you’re not.”

To pay attention to what others have to say in school, or not care—that is the question.

Conrad says, “Getting dressed should be fun, because everything we wear says something about who we are—from the pattern on a shirt to the length and color of a skirt. If I could do it [school] over, this would be my motto: Be brave and be different.”

From the minute you wake up to the second you fall asleep, social media is up and running. It plays a significant role in every day life. It even plays a larger role in fashion. Designers, clothing stores, makeup brands, YouTube Gurus, bloggers all use social media because of the enormous impact it has. It is an outlet for inspiration everywhere.

When asked about what she thinks of social media, Stephanie Garcia, known as a style expert to her friends says, “I think social media is awesome. It’s a way for everyone to stay connected and inspire one another. I follow a bunch of bloggers on Instagram and if they post a look that I really love, I’ll try to recreate it with the pieces I have in my own closet.”

When asked about the relationship between bullying and what one wears, Destiny Soriano says, “It’s the 21st century. No one really judges anyone anymore in terms of clothing. People aren’t called “nerds” or “geeks.” The “cool people” are pretty much friends with everyone. These days, it’s all about being open. Respect, too. We respect each other on a level that maybe didn’t even exist before.”

Fashion evokes the meaning of being who you really are, not following the shadows of others. Style is making fashion your own. The real trendsetting is accepting and embracing the differences in everyone standing in front of you.

Soriano adds, “Life is about expressing yourself. It’s about what makes you happy. It’s not caring about what anyone thinks because it’s you who has the power over your body and emotions. Other people don’t have a say. Don’t let them have a say. There’s a reason why you are on this Earth, because you have a purpose and it’s not following what other people do, say, or wear.”

Superheroing 101

By: Tariq Sims

On March 25th Batman V. Superman hit theaters and instantly caused chaos within the fanbase. Like its predecessor, Man of Steel, it features a darker version of Superman. After the events of Man of Steel, Superman is being held accountable by Batman for all the damage that has been caused since his first public appearance. Batman decides he must prepare to fight Superman, and if needed, kill him.

This has been an ongoing trend for years, taking a known superhero and reimagining them in a darker, more realistic light. It, and other superhero movies, helped to breathe new life into the dying medium of comic books.

So why do we like dark and edgy superheroes? 

The idea of darker and edgier superheroes stemmed from what is called The Dark Age of Comic Books. It began with Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen, both published in 1986. These comics deconstructed the superhero genre that had been established at this point, and started to add more political and psychological statements and more graphic depictions of violence.

The most impactful idea to come from The Dark Age is that not all superheroes are the pictures of purity. They were starting to be shown as individuals with psychological issues and violent tendencies.

A lot of heroes have gotten a redesign, after The Dark Age rebooted them. One of those rebooted heroes was Batman. After The Dark Knight Returns, Batman was made a lot more serious, and the blue and light grey costume he wore was replaced with a black and darker grey one. Batman has still been well-received as a hero and had a squadron of fans.

“I liked him because he doesn’t have any powers and he’s always looking out for what’s best even if it’s at his expense,” Ieasha Galloway, a graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice said. “His trauma fuels him. He’s a hero because he doesn’t want others to experience what he’s been through.”

“Part of the allure of superheroes is that they give people a figure to look up to. A figure that, at the end of the day, ultimately prevails in what he or she is doing,” Jamel Burroughs, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and a licensed psychotherapist in New York, said. “The more psychologically damaged characters provide someone to relate to.”

Batman V Superman, and by extension, Man of Steel, has shown a drastically different Superman than any of the previous incarnations of Superman to hit the big screen. Throughout the movie, one of his biggest struggles was that he felt like he was outsider, since he is from another planet.

“He’s not perfect, and he struggles to do what he thinks is right and balance that with what other people think of him,” John Mooney, a 21 year old senior, said. “He has flaws and suffers emotionally because of it. Personally, I like it.”

Relating to a superhero is part of the reason why people like them. Viewers are made to see these heroes and heroines as the ideal individuals.

Superheroes also satisfy the idea of escapism. Escapism is something that exists to distract a person from any unwanted, unpleasant or unnerving thoughts, and provide an escape for them. A person read a comic, or saw a movie and now wants to imagine that they are that hero that they have seen, without the pressing issues in their own lives. It’s not just superheroes that have done this. Almost anything that a person can take an interest in can be a form of escapism, from stamp collecting to base jumping, from music to art. Some individuals with depression have used the idea of escapism to temporarily relieve their depression.

“Escapism is a form of coping, also known as avoidance coping,” Burroughs said. “With this, a person could take some negative stimuli from his or her life, and push it away by bringing their attention to anything that can be a distraction.”

Projection and hope are two reasons that people like superheroes, according to Galloway. “They want to believe that they and others out there who want to do good just for good. They want to believe that something greater can happen and sometimes they want to see themselves as the hero.”

Batman V Superman has brought back a trend stemming from Ancient Greek times, according to Mooney. “Like the Greeks before us, we like seeing our idols in their own flawed image. It shows that even super powered beings have similar emotions to us and how they struggle in situations make them more human.”

Richard Felipe, a 22 year old senior, thought that the escapist idea was something that superheroes represented. “Be it the personality, the body, the life they live, etcetera. You can imagine yourself as that hero”

The changing times have also changed things about heroes. Spider-Man’s alias is Peter Parker. When he was first introduced in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962), he was a 15 year old high school student with a love for science. In 2016, Peter Parker now owns his own company.

Interpreting Horrendous Crimes Through Art

By Nicholas Tejeda Editor

On Tuesday, Dec. 2, Assistant Professor Irina Zakirova, alongside Professor Bill Pangburn, and Professor Julio Valentine hosted an art contest in John Jay’s Anya and Andrew Shiva Art Gallery. The contest, which was open to John Jay students, required the artists to take a story from Professor Zakirova’s book, The Pain Within My Soul: Short Stories About Crime And Life.

In her book, Zakirova, a Russian native, looks to her past as a police officer and crime journalist to share personal experiences and insight into a variety of different crimes, explaining both the impact it’s had on the victims and looking at the causation of crime in general.

“Nothing is simple in causes which lead to crime. It is first and foremost pain, which always accompanied these people to crime. I have pain in my soul for all of them, “Zakirova said.

The book, which is a compilation of various short stories, is used as a supplementary readings to students in different sections of Law and Police science courses. “We all know the text can be dry,” said Professor Valentine, to a group of about 20 students. “But Professor Z’s book offers students the chance to grasp the dry material through stories.” Students in the contest were encouraged to use any art form to detail their interpretation of one of the many short stories. The winners received prize gift cards, paid for by the Faculty Student Engagement Fund. Along with cash prizes, the winners will also have their art displayed in professor Zakirova’s next edition of the book.

Interested in reading The Pain Within My Soul: Short Stories About Crime And Life? It is currently up for sale on Amazon.com and Ebay.com.

Comic Book Culture: The Influence of Superheroes

By Kelvin A. Hualpa

Comic book culture has had a profound on adults andchildren alike. In ancient times, people told myths and folktales as a form of entertainment and as a way to build imaginations. However, in this new generation, what has taken the place of folklore and myths are comic books. There has been a dramatic change, and as a result of the surge of comic book culture.

Although the surge in regards to comic book culture can be attributed rrecent films that have taken over the box office, such as The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, their foundation cannot be denied. The groundwork for the success of comic book movies lies within the comic books themselves.

The grandfather of all superheroes is “Superman”. Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, “Superman” debuted in 1938 setting the stage for the Golden Age of superheroes. Since then comic book stories have influenced people all over the world.

“The cult of the hero became a thing. I grew up with this idea of the guy that is super strong, which can stand up to anything and anyone. The idea of a superhero was what inspired me to join the Marine Corp,” said John Jay Sophomore, Klevi Fusha.

“As a kid I would say that my favorite superhero was Superman, but as I grew up, I preferred Batman, not necessarily because he was depicted as a real human being, but it was because he was a self-made person. Batman shows us that it takes hard work to make a difference. A lot of people tend to forget that”, stated Fusha.

Fusha also added that comic books have given us a new definition of what it means to be a man. “I think superheroes do affect my actions, it does subconsciously, so since I grew up with the hero cult if I was faced with a confrontation, I cannot walk away from it without feeling like less of man. I mean, Batman would not walk away, why should I?”

As a serviceman, it is not unusual for comic book heroes to have influenced Fusha as it did. History shows us that comic books had a dramatic effect on American pop culture. During the height of the Second World War, the sales of comic books increased dramatically, since many of the comic book stories were often patriotic and positive, such as the popular hero Captain America.

Originally, comic books were aimed at children as a portable means of entertainment, but they soon became useful for adults and even soldiers. In November 1945, a Yank Weekly article was published, titled The Comic by Sanderson Vanderbilt that cited, the estimates of the Market Research Company of America, which found that about “70 million Americans, roughly half of the U.S. population, read comic books. The ages of readers heavily favored children, with 95 percent of all boys and 91 percent of all girls between the ages of six and eleven reading comic books.”

While the marketing for comic books was heavily focused on children, with 70 million readers, it was undeniable that among these readers were adults as well. The Yank Weekly article also stated, “The study also revealed a high percentage of adult readers, with 41 percent of men and 28 percent of women aged eighteen to thirty admitting to regularly reading comics. This impressive study proves that, in the Golden Age, comic books were not limited to children.”

The comic book age that coincided with the Great Depression and WWII was known as the Gold Age of Comic Books as it lasted from the 1930s to the 1950s. Comic Books reached a new level of success in both commercial successes and becoming a form of entertainment that was culturally significant.

The Golden Age of Comics was important because it was necessary for the commercial success that comic book related to culture is having today.

In an article published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Comic Books No Longer Just for Kids by Maria Sciullo touches upon the unrealism. “A lot of comics have become more and more exaggerated over the years. And so, there is that impulse to ‘Make him bigger. Make her sexier,’ [or] exaggerate more. It gets to the point, where, in my opinion, it gets ridiculous.” Comic books at times bring forth this unrealistic expectation of a hero according to some readers. A counter argument can be stated, where perhaps this expectation is necessary so that people can keep striving towards excellence.

Although there exists some doubt about the benefits of comic book culture, most people seem to have a positive outlook on it. In recent years, comic book conventions have blown up in attendance. San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic-Con set new records of attendance every year. The two events have become incredibly important in pop culture. Slowly comic book culture has begun to merge with pop culture as it did once in the past. The media seems to be enjoying this modern Golden Age of Comics.

Get Your Zen On

By: Aimee Estrada

Staff Writer

Club meetings, guest speakers, lunch, socializing, studying, and special events like karaoke; community hour is jammed with competing events. However, every week a few dozen students take to the mat instead. Yoga Wednesdays are back, and this semester yoga classes are being offered on Thursdays as well.

Rachel Shanken, a counselor in the Counseling Department, teaches Wednesday classes in the combative room (T300).  Jessica Greenfield, a Women’s Center counselor/gender-based violence prevention and Response Advocate, teaches Thursday classes in the dance studio on the C-Level of the T-Building.

So, why yoga? “What AREN’T the benefits of yoga?” Greenfield asked, “There are emotional; decreased anxiety, decreased depression, lowered stress, increased concentration, improved memory, etc, and physical; strength, flexibility, stamina, heart heath, increased lung capacity, etc. benefits.”

According to the American Osteopathic Association, “The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome,” Natalie Nevins, DO, a board-certified osteopathic family physician and certified Kundalini Yoga instructor in Hollywood, California, explained.

Additionally, Dr. Nevins said, “regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness, increases body awareness, relieves chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, centers attention, and sharpens concentration.”

“My first impressions were how friendly and welcoming the yoga instructors were as well as the ‘yogis,'” Icaro Soares said, a Sophomore and Forensic Psychology major who is new to yoga, “it was a non-judgmental environment which made me feel comfortable.”

Soares was part of the first class, which had a turnout of about 24 students. According to Shanken, turnout is normally around 30 students, however they were competing with karaoke that day. The students were a mix of beginners and more experiences yogis.

For those new to yoga, they can expect “to focus on breathing, moving your body, stretching, and getting your Zen on,” Shanken said. Her advice is to “wear comfortable clothing and come with and open mind.”

“Yoga was more intense than I expected but at the same time very relaxing and I felt encouraged by the instructor to keep going,” said Soares. “I’ve been going every Wednesday and I don’t plan on missing any class.”

The Women’s Center created the yoga program in the winter of 2012.  According to Greenfield, they thought, “yoga would be a great complimentary support for students dealing with some of the issues that are central to our mission.” However, at the time there were no trained yoga instructors on staff, but Greenfield said, “we were fortunate that we were able to find a registered yoga teacher who was willing to volunteer to come to John Jay and teach the class on a weekly basis.”

In May 2013, Shanken became certified as a yoga teacher and the yoga program became a joint initiative between the Women’s Center and the Counseling Department. Greenfield became certified in May 2014 and this semester classes are offered on Thursdays as well.

“I would definitely recommend friends since yoga is something that anyone can practice and it is free here at John Jay,” Soares said. “it’s been really relaxing and helping me keep focus on my studies.”

Which is the point, as Greenfield said, “Our hope is simply that our classes inspire students to take what they learn about themselves on their mats and bring it with them into their lives.”

Fashion Faux Pas

By: Darren Harris

Staff Writer

Summer is almost over and the season is beginning to change to fall, and along with the change of season, fashion seems to follow right along.

The summer fashions have seen a tremendous outburst of color such as violet tulip, freesia, white, placid blue, sand and dazzling blue in
jeans, shorts, blouses, shoes, and accessories.

So, what are the fashion mistakes to steer clear from when transitioning your wardrobe from summer to fall?

According to womens-fashion.lovetoknow.com, one of the biggest mistakes women make during the fall season is “mixing prints,” where “florals don’t complement plaid, and paisley doesn’t work with polka dots.”

This column is not saying not to wear prints, but instead, ensure that you’re going to wear a solid color that will complement the print blouse of your choice.

Priscilla Sanchez, a John Jay student, said “every girl should have a cute print top, but they shouldn’t overdue it, and that seems to be the issue i have noticed a lot on campus is the print can sometimes overpower the entire outfit.”

Another fashion mistake during the fall season according to www.gurl. com/fashion-mistakes-faus-paux is “not layering properly,” and the importance of layers for the morning, afternoon, and evening outfits.

New Yorkers tend to experience the emotions of the weather changes, and it’s important that they layer properly through the day.

Barrie Nulman, a John Jay student, said “I always try to wear a good amount of layering during the fall season, because I know that the weather can change during the day, and it’s essential that I wear layers that not only complement my style but also the New York weather.”

What about snow or rain boots? Should you bring an extra pair of shoes to change into once you reach your destination? During the fall season, New York City can experience large amounts of rain and snow that can often kill even the most pre- pared fashionista. Rain or snow boots can conflict with the style of an outfit if they aren’t form fitting to add to the appearance. In a recent poll at John Jay, 85 percent of students voted that it is easier to keep their rain or snow boots on throughout the day instead of changing into shoes. Students, such as Denise C. Taylor, hassle with keeping on wet boots. “Although it is easier to just keep the boots on, they become difficult to walk in, and really kill the look on a girl’s outfit,” said Taylor. In this case, looks come over comfort. According to John Jay student Marcela Nash, “style outweighs comfort any day and it’s just a fashion nightmare to wear rain boots that do not compliment someone’s outfit.”

If a person decides to wear rain or snow boots, then try to choose a neutral color that can be worn with multiple outfits. Fashion is always evolving and changing, and it’s important that fashionista’s stay on top of their wardrobe to ensure that they don’t become fashion victims during a season that often demands you to choose between comfort or style. Looking at the trends that are perfect for the fall and winter seasons, such as robe coats and dresses over pants, one must be

careful with these looks as they can make or break an outfit. There are statement making trends this fall season, and if

you’re selective yet fashion forward with your style, you’ll be making heads turn.

Men’s Do’s and Don’ts

By: Jenifer Valmon

Contributing Writer

For those of you who enjoyed the hot days of summer, withdrawals are likely on the way. No need to break out the box of tissues or shed tears for your favorite summer shorts, because fall is around the corner, and I’ve got just the right tips that can help revamp your wardrobe.

Nick Carvell, from the UK GQ magazine, reviewed the fall trends of 2014 in London.

According to Carvell, biker jackets and mankets (yes, mankets) are going to be this fall’s male trend. Mankets are the scarf/cape hybrid worn by Paul Galvin, an Irish soccer player and fashion columnist for the Irish Independent News- paper, as a sort of overcoat.

Corey Stokes, of www.complex.com, noticed trends in New York to be sweater layering and “techy, fleece outer wear.” Both Carvell and Stokes were able to agree that “scarfs that weigh as much as three babies,” also known as mankets, are going to be big for the fall.

But the question is: Who is wearing a manket in the “move or get run over” city of New York? If you need to stop the doors from closing when you’re about to miss your train, mankets can be the perfect accessory for the fashionable subway surfer.

If you live anywhere within the five boroughs and commute to class, biker jackets are the right pick for you. They are versatile and more practical for the active John Jay men.
Biker jackets can be worn as a casual piece with a pair of sneakers,denim pants and a white t-shirt, or it can be used to bring a little edge to a pair of slim trousers and a button down shirt. Either way, little effort is needed to put together a stylish outfit.

Black is always a safe color to choose but if you want go for other colors try to keep it neutral. Look for dark indigos, dustybrowns, and shades of hunter green. These colors will allow you to mix and match when creating the rest of your look. It will also make it easier to find the right layering pieces when the temperature drops.

Leather is ideal for longevity, since it wears very well and usually looks better with time, but nylon or cotton blends will do the job while being gentle to your budget.

Whether John Jay men will wear mankets or biker jackets, only time will tell. Whatever you choose, remember to make it work for you, regardless of your style. Don’t kill yourself to follow the trends and end up fashion road kill.

Souled Out Or Sold Out

By: Ryan Durning

Staff Writer

Jhené Aiko’s debut album “Souled Out” was released on Sept. 9th. The Def Jam signed songbird has slowly brought attention to this project through a mixtape, guest appearances, and last year’s “Sail Out” EP.

Thankfully, Aiko doesn’t disappoint her fans, bringing introspective songwriting to this album in spades.

The West Coast singer is not known for having a particularly strong voice or a wide range of notes she can hit. Instead, she offers interesting takes on R&B’s well-tread subject matter through wordplay to keep listeners engaged.

Aiko usually presents lyrics that differ from the standard mainstream fare; quite often her songs convey a message or take on a deeper meaning.

The song titled “Limbo Limbo Limbo” kicks the album off with an immediate strong start, as it sets the tone for the serious nature of her LP.

“She was born in limbo / With the need to be as simple / As her makers and the made up things she dreamed” describes Jhene’s abstract style.

The distortion effects used in the last verse take away from the track but overall it’s a solid introduction to what she brings to the table as both a songwriter and singer.

The second track is one of the best songs on the album, titled “W.A.Y.S,” which is an acronym for why aren’t you

smiling. The song has an uptempo flow matched with a hypnotic beat and personal lyrics that draw on two of her biggest inspirations, her daughter Namiko and brother Miyagi.

She displays an impressive use of alliteration on the hook, singing “Life can get wild when you’re caught in a whirlwind / Lost in the world when you’re chasing the wind.”
The next couple songs are two of the

three singles released off the album, “To Live and Die” featuring Cocaine 80s and “Spotless Mind.” These songs include some of the strongest production and lyrics on the album as a whole.

The only problem is “Souled Out” doesn’t feature too much variety in terms

of sound. Heartfelt lyrics and solid technique are wonderful to have but when some of the beats start to blend together, it can quickly take away from the enjoy- ability of the song.

As the album marches on, the centerpiece “Wading” is the weakest song. “As good as it gets / I’ll have one regret / You’re something I cannot miss” doesn’t

strike the mind as memorable and Jhene’s vocal range don’t help either.

Some of her music on this album suffers from sequencing, it seems. For exam- ple “Wading” and “Eternal Sunshine” suffer from being placed right before better songs such as “The Pressure.”

“Promises” is a song about her pledges to both her deceased brother, Miyagi and

her adolescent daughter Namiko. Lyrics dedicated to her daughter like “I’ve been coming home late night / I’ve been sleeping past day light /I’m waking up you’re not by my side / Baby that ain’t right” are intimate and touching. A song that is both heartbreaking and profound, Ms. Aiko tugs at the heartstrings one last time.

Closing out the album is “Pretty Bird (Freestyle),” a spoken word/song hybrid with some unflattering vocals. Chicago rapper Common has the last verse and some uplifting wordplay to balance out Jhene’s sulky verses.

Souled Out is an impressive album in the sense that it features almost no other voice except Jhene herself. While this is increasingly rare for a major label debut, it also places all of her strengths and weak- nesses front and center. Thankfully her writing and honest approach overpowers her underpowered voice and occasionally bland beat choice.

Jeezy Spits Fire

By: Ryan Durning

Staff Writer

Jeezy has been through a lot in the music industry in the decade since his first album, including a recent arrest for gun possession after a man was killed backstage at one of his concerts.

On his latest LP, “Seen It All: The Autobiography,” he’s more concerned with his place in the rap game as a pioneer of Atlanta Trap music. Released on Sept. 9th, this is his 7th album, a feat most rappers don’t often reach.

Never a great lyricist, Jeezy gets by through perseverance and an uncanny ability to pick beats that perfectly fit his gruff voice. No one could ever accuse him of making profound, deep music that raises hard questions about the mysteries of life. Jeezy makes anthems that motivate, songs that you can work out to.

On “Seen It All”, it’s not always great that Jeezy balances his newfound need to remind us of his achievements with hisprevious ability to make bangers about drugs, women, and money. “You know I like to turn up at the spot / Act a fool with the money / G told me keep it low-key” from “4 Zones” stands out as something he has said a million times before.

“They say great minds think alike, Know what I’m thinkin? /A great grind will change your life” is an example of Jeezy hitting the right note between the two divisive styles. The title track, “Seen It All” featuring frequent collaborator Jay Z has an hauntingly looped sample and a rich layered instrumental that pairs well with both artists’ reminiscent verses.

Other times, like on “Black Eskimo” and “Beautiful”, Jeezy’s persona just isn’t enough to make up for songs we’ve heard from him 25 times on 6 previous LP’s. “I gota condo up in the sky/‘Fore I fake it, I’d die / Foreign b****, no lie /Man, that b**** beautiful” just doesn’t pass as good music anymore for such an experienced artist.

The album does have a couple bangers though, “1/4th block”, “What You Say”, and “Beez Like” all feature Jeezy at the top of his game. The Atlanta rapper excels when he is trying to push others to new heights, and these songs embody that spirit. Tracks that focus on his seedy past like “Holy Ghost” and “Win Is A Win” excel because he is able to vividly paint pictures that his charisma helps sell.

The album closes on the introspective “How I Did It (Perfection)”, which in the same vein as the title track, shows that Jeezy’s haunting past and drugs to riches

story is much more interesting than when he raps “first to tell you m********* ‘trap or die’ that’s me ok”.

Jeezy’s main problem is telling people how great and novel you are only works when you make music that isn’t generic, which is sometimes the case. Reminding everyone of the trail that he blazed working for Jay Z, when he started worrying about his legacy as he first retired. All it does for Jeezy is sound whiny and that’s the last thing we want to hear from the man who has made millions off motivating the streets.

Know Thy Selfie

By:  Jose Oropeza

Contributor

If you have an Instagram or Facebook account, chances are you’ve seen one. Sometimes with more than one person, and often with a “#” symbol in the caption.

The selfie, a trend that took social media by storm, rose to hashtag status shortly after the introduction of smartphones – specifically the iPhone 4, which was released in 2010 and came with a front-facing camera.

In 2013, “selfie” was made ‘word of the year’ by Oxford Dictionaries, and is defined as “A photograph that one has taken of oneself and…uploaded to a social media website.” Researchers at Oxford found recorded uses of the word “selfie” rose from less than 500 per billion instances in January to more than 5000 per billion instances in October.

Although the concept of the selfie is by no means new, recent events like Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie at the 2014 Oscar’s ceremony caused a record breaking, re-tweeted selfie, that crash Twitter. The 2014 EDM song “Let Me Take A Selfie” has given the term new levels of popularity.

Judith Naeignacio, a John Jay sophomore, shared her outlook about selfie content: “These people do the duck face, their tongues sticking out like Miley Cyrus. Trying to look silly and cute, sucking in their stomachs and pouting. Some people are narcissistic.”

Two years after its first 2002 online appearance in Australia, social media outlets like Tumblr have been using “selfie” as a hashtag. Since then, users having been referring to self-taken pictures as such.

Younger people post more selfies on Instagram than older users. In New York City, the average age of people that post selfies is 25.3, a study conducted by the CUNY Graduate Center found.

The Mental Health Association is buzzing about Selfie addiction dominating places like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Even astronaut Steven R. Swanson got in on the fun. While in orbit, he one-upped his peers by being the first to Instagram a selfie from space.

Selfies are 38% more likely to receive a ‘like,’ and 32% more likely to receive comments when compared to snapshots of places, a Georgia Institute of Technology study found.

Women were found to be more likely to take selfies than men, according to the GIT study. They are also 150% more likely to tilt their head in the selfie.

Women who base their self-worth on their appearance are more likely to post selfies and maintain a large following on social media sites, a SUNY Buffalo study found.

Nikita Shurygin, a freshman at John Jay, doesn’t find the study hard to believe. “I think people who take a lot of selfies are trying to draw attention to themselves.  Maybe they have self-image issues,” he said.

And self-image issues can lead to greater problems. Danny Bowman, a 19-year-old from Britain, spent 10 hours taking selfies on one occasion.  He skipped school, lost his friends, and attempted to take his own life after not being satisfied with the quality of his seflies, The Independent reported.

“People take this selfie stuff way too seriously,” Shurygin said shaking his head. “It seems like selfies on Instagram and the ‘likes’ they receive socially rank people.”

But selfies are not to blame, some experts say.

“Clearly there’s something more going on. Selfies were just a medium [Bowman] was using. It’s not the selfie that’s the problem,” Deborah Miller, a certified school psychologist, said.

“He sounds like he has obsession, and clearly, self esteem issues. His suicide is not connected with selfies, nor are selfies a cause of what occurred.,” Miller said.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a treatment offered to combat this trend of socially handicapped individuals. According to the Beck Institute, CBT “helps people identify their distressing thoughts and evaluate how realistic the thoughts are. Then they learn to change their distorted thinking. When they think more realistically, they feel better. The emphasis is also consistently on solving problems and initiating behavioral change.”

Regardless of emerging statistical evidence concerning selfies, they might be helpful to individuals.

“Young adults in college are typically very concerned with their appearance, and when they can take photos of themselves when they look their very best – that’s important,” Miller said.

Selfies can boost a person’s self-esteem, Miller argues. “Individuals are able to stage how they look, and post photos that they find to be most attractive. It’s a quick fix for issues concerning self-confidence, and self-esteem.”

Well, thank goodness for selfies. #winning 

Marcela Sanchez contributed to this article. 

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