A Manifesto for a Latinx History Book Club

     If there ever was a time in which people needed to understand Latin American history and Latin American people, today may be the most essential of all.

     In the Southeast alone people of Latin American-descent have been present since before the 1970s. If we take into consideration the relationships formed between Spanish colonizers and Creek natives in what is now Florida and Georgia, then the history, perhaps, arguably goes back much further.

     To study Latin American history is an attempt to wonder about complex social creations. Where does Latin American history start? Does it start as soon as European settlers first stepped foot on this continent? Or do racial hierarchies and experiences of today’s Latin American people suggest that the history goes back much further? To study Latin American history is to study human movement and nature.

     Where were we after our ancestors first carried maize’s ancestor, teosinte from South America and developed it in Mesoamerica’s fertile land? What memories can we recall on our hour-long high-school history session about Latin America? The Mexican-American War? The Mexican Revolution, perhaps? Ojala! Does our migrant history start in the Southeast when North Mexican people arrive in Georgia during the 1980s, or can we try and understand the broader socioeconomic history between Mexico, Central America and not surprisingly, the United States, in order to understand the brown people in our classrooms today?

     Dr. Julie Weise, Professor at Oregon State University accounted the oral histories of early migrant Mexicans in the late 1970s in Tift County, Georgia in her book called Corazon de Dixie. She also researched how Mexicans fleeing the Mexican Revolution had different experiences east of Texas in the early 1900s. They experienced racial categories classified differently than in the U.S. Some Mexicans surprisingly were allowed to go to White-only schools while others who faced harsher discrimination for their skin complexion were forced to go to segregated schools.

     It may be surprising to many that Mexicans are not alone in the diverse human migration story on this continent South of the border. Throughout the Cold-War the United States of America’s drive to influence and even physically change the political landscape of Latin America caused much social upheaval. Such social, economic, and political change caused Nicaraguans to make a home in Los Angeles and for Guatemalan people to work America’s fields, kitchens, and construction sites.

     In the era of family separation at the border and condemnation of Puerto Rican lives, we must invest in understanding. Though politicians demonize us, we have a home here. We have migrated this continent for thousands of years, and this is the latest chapter told of our human migration. We flourish where we go. We create our Spanish speaking communities and speak Spanglish in our attempt to live all the worlds that we are part of. We create indigenous-language speaking communities of Chol, Mixtec, Tzeltal, Otomi, though they are unaccounted for. We work alongside Asian and Haitian migrants, though they have a deep history in Latin America as well. We must know our history to know where we will go. The face of Latin American migration to the US changed several times. From the Southwest and some Caribbean islands, migration also overlapped to a stream of people from Central America and some from South America. What are their stories?

     As the Venezuelan waitress at my favorite Mexican restaurant takes my order, I think of the beauty and struggle of my people throughout history to persist, love and create a home. And though I am filled with sadness about the political unrest in Venezuela, I can only hope for compassion and true human understanding of another chapter of Latin Americans in America. For this untold history and for many more reasons the History and Government Club will start a book club on Tuesday about Latinx History. The meeting will be at 5 pm at King 113. It will be every two weeks. We will begin with a book about the Mexican Revolution. Along with discussing history books, we will discuss podcasts about contemporary issues in the Latin American community. September 15 and 16 marks the anniversary of the independence for Mexico and many Central American countries. It also marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month. If you have any questions, please contact me:


Eminem closes out August with a surprise attack

     In the waning days of August, Marshal Bruce Mathers, better known as Eminem, collapsed the contemporary music world overnight. “Kamikaze” became Eminem’s tenth studio work and was completely unannounced previous to its release.

     Eminem’s rise to prominence in today’s vastly different rap landscape can be attributed to his hold over the music world in the early 90s and 2000s—as he became the first musical act to open up with eight works on top of the charts—and the collateral devastation of “Kamikaze.”

     Eminem commences the work with “The Ringer,” where an imitation of a plane nose-diving and eventually erupting as it hits its target can be heard; The track that follows marks the beginning of the resulting carnage. Eminem sets the angry attitude familiar to many long-time listeners as he vents about the present-day hip-hop world, previous critics of his work and even President Donald Trump.

     IllaDaProducer’s intensive production is effortlessly matched by Eminem’s expressive aggression, which might explain why Illa produced four of the tracks on the work, including this track. The explicit barrage of dense lyrics barely goes a few lines without throwing shots at some figure, such as Lil Xan and Lil Pump, or concept of pop culture including the over infatuation of jewelry or bragging about sleeping with somebody’s girlfriend/wife.

     “Lucky You,” featuring Joyner Lucas and produced by Illa, Boi-1da and Jahaan Sweet, shows the polarizing opposite lives that Lucas and Eminem live. Lucas has just barely scratched the music world with his track “I’m Not Racist” which went viral last year, while Eminem recalls winning “a couple Grammys but I sold my soul to get ‘em.”

     Lucas compliments Eminem’s flow and articulation unquestionably well, as another tension-building instrumental reminiscent of Eminem’s earlier works dramatically frames the parallel duo. Eminem’s diction remains individualistic, however, with staccatos and a sense of pressured lyrics.

     While the album remains a staple example of Eminem’s work, it also shows how unyielding Eminem is, as many have labeled the album and his recent works as ignorant and distasteful. With lyrics touching on the fringes of homophobia and misogyny, Eminem has received comparisons to Trump for his behavior, such as relishing in the fact that he has made an enemy of the media. 

     While some can argue that this behavior will attribute to the 45-year-old’s downfall, Eminem has composed another work that keeps to his explosive reputation intact and makes sure his side is heard. If anything, Marshall Mathers has managed to stain multiple generations of the rap world and has left his imprint.


A Night with UGA Symphony Orchestra

     The seats were packed full in the historic Tift Theatre, Sunday afternoon. The University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra performed for ABAC students and staff. As well as, scholarship donators and others around Tifton.

     The Orchestra performed three songs. The first was, “Ma Mre l’Oye, cinq pieces enfantines” a French piece by Maurice Ravel which means, “My Mother Goose, Five Pieces for Children.”

     The piece was conducted by Assistant Conductor, Jean Gomez. It is very reminiscent of Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” The way “My Mother Goose” moves through its movements. It begins with a soft fairy tale like sound. The flute and the harp slowly introducing themselves until they are slowly joined by the orchestra. The piece is meant to describe a story of a princess much like Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” based on the original French tale. It all culminates in a peaceful and heartwarming sound described by the composer as, “Building a happy ending, the music drives to a grand fanfare glorifying all that is good and beautiful.

      The second piece was conducted by UGA Symphony Conductor, Mark Cedel. The piece entitled, “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story” by Leonard Bernstein is a direct adaptation from the successful 1957 play, West Side Story. Bernstein took heed from fans that his music is put for orchestration. The music had the ability to grow, like a classical symphony. It moved through basic themes into a variety of moods that fit the different ideas of the play.

      The piece includes five movements, it begins with a tense scene describing the feud between the Jets and the Sharks. It moves from their peaceful reckoning, a soft and delicate tone. To the gang’s feud being relit depicted as a giant battle of dueling string within the orchestra. The piece ends in a mournful tone as it depicts the death of the main character, Tony dying in his lover, Maria’s arms. The piece included a solo by principal chair cello, Andrew William Reynish to depict Tony’s last few moments.

     After a thirty-minute intermission, the orchestra prepared for its final piece. Cedel ended the intermission by thanking all those who came out and taking his place on the stand. The final piece was Symphony No. in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig Van Beethoven. This is regarded as the composer’s greatest musical achievement. The piece includes four movements, three of which include “Allegro” which means fast.

     The piece requires a tremendous amount of dexterity to perform well and the orchestra is no exception. The piece is thought to describe the composer’s own loss of hearing. The performance of the piece is both amorous and powerful. The orchestra perfectly captured the transitions from minor to major, from darkness to light, from conflict to resolution the piece personifies. The piece even demanded an intense solo performed beautifully by concertmaster and first violin, Fei tong.

      The orchestra did a fantastic job with all their pieces. Each one was beautiful and wonderful to hear. The event was part of ABAC’s Performing Art’s Series. Future events include Hispanic Heritage Day Celebration and All That Jazz. For more information on events and how to get a free student ticket contact Band Director Johnny Folsom or Choir Director, Dr. Susan Roe.


Kurt Sutter’s Mayans MC doesn’t disappoint

     Exactly ten years after Kurt Sutter’s last hit TV show “Sons of Anarchy”, Mayans MC continues the story of outlaw motorcycle clubs in California. This time however through the perspective of the Mayans, a motorcycle club made up of primarily Latin men. Set four years after the events of the Sons of Anarchy finale. The series premiere gives us just a little look into what Kurt Sutters has in store for us with the nice use of real-world problems

     While Mayans MC is still heavily focused on family, unlike Sons of Anarchy it’s primary focus is on the struggles the club has to go through while working with the most notorious drug cartel on the California-Mexico border, And how it endangers the civilians around them.

     The characters that make up the primary cast are some of the best I’ve ever seen. The protagonist Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes,  played by JD Pardo, was a good man that went to Stanford University before going to jail for reasons unknown. With a photographic memory, charm, and intelligence. He definitely seems worthy of taking the mantle from Jax Teller, the protagonist from Sons of Anarchy.

     The main antagonist Miguel Galindo, the leader of the cartel, is very interesting. While the show has him torture and kill whoever he has to, they also give him a life outside the cartel, with a wife and son the audience can easily empathize with a man that in other shows would just be the bad guy.

     At the start of the show, EZ is a prospect hoping one day to become a full patched member of the Mayans motorcycle club in the Santo Padre charter in Southern California. The Mayans are on the wrong side of the law with the Galindo Cartel in Mexico as well as the rebels in Mexico opposing the Cartel.

     Unlike most drug-crime shows which primarily focuses on the criminals and the law enforcement trying to apprehend them. Mayans focus is on the inner works of the crime and the differences between the two organizations as well as the complications caused by the rebels. Also including the civilian casualties, this is unlike any other drug-crime show I have seen.

      Overall the premiere episode was refreshing, by not hanging on completely to what Sons of Anarchy left while keeping the show seem familiar. With the combination of character development, real-world issues, and the return of familiar faces and fan favorite characters. Mayans MC is very promising and I personally cannot wait for the rest of season one.


‘Crazy Rich Asians’ fights the pressure of cultural traditions

     Summer box-office success “Crazy Rich Asians” released in United States theaters on August 15th, 2018. Grossing $164 million worldwide with a budget of only $30 million, it is safe to say that the movie was highly anticipated by those who read the novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan. The film’s plot depicts Rachel Chu, a talented economics professor at NYU in New York City, accompanying her boyfriend of one-year on a trip to Singapore for his close friend’s wedding. However, what Rachel does not know about her boyfriend, Nick Young, is that he comes from one of the wealthiest and most famous families in Singapore. She makes this discovery once they arrive at the airport to leave for the Asian country.

     Rachel originally thought that she and Nick would be traveling in the economy class, but he arranged to fly first class. He revealed that his family lives “comfortably,” which Rachel points out that only rich people would make this statement. Upon their arrival, they are greeted by Nick’s best friend Colin and his fiancée Araminta, and the group spends the night out on the town eating all sorts of traditional Singaporean street foods. The next day, Rachel takes time for herself to reunite with her past roommate, Peik Lin, who resides in Singapore. Peik and her family’s eclectic personalities add to the movie’s comedic effect, and their screen presence keeps you drawn into the film. Once Rachel reveals Nick’s last name to Peik and her family, they all react dumbfounded and quite surprised that Rachel is dating one of the wealthiest men in the country. They immediately trash Rachel’s clothing choice for Nick’s family’s party and are quick on their feet to help her readjust her style.

     Peik and Rachel arrive at the party, and Rachel is nervous yet confident in meeting Nick’s family. Even though she made a good impression with his grandmother, she realizes that his mother, Eleanor, is not too fond of her due to the fact that she is Chinese-American and was raised untraditionally by a single mother in the United States. The next day, Rachel attends Araminta’s bachelorette party which included shopping sprees and a spa. Nick’s ex-girlfriend, Amanda, also attended the bachelorette party and befriends Rachel in an attempt of underlying intimidation. Rachel is furthermore antagonized at the party by receiving a dead fish on her bed with an accusation of her “gold-digging” written on the walls. Nick’s cousin, Astrid, comforts her to make her feel less targeted. Rachel continues on with her head held high regardless of the attacks on her.

     Nick later apologizes for being so secretive about his true wealth, and he takes her to make dumplings with his family. Eleanor continues to successfully undermine Rachel, and she is quickly losing her confidence. Peik saves the day by encouraging Rachel to strut into the wedding proudly and looking more beautiful than ever to prove herself to his mother. After undergoing a second makeover with Peik and another relative of Nick’s, she attends the wedding and leaves the other attendees jaw-dropped from her beauty.

     During the reception, Eleanor reveals Rachel’s true backstory to her and Nick. I do not plan on spoiling the entire backstory of Rachel, but I will say that Rachel’s mother lied to her about her true father. Eleanor states how detrimental Rachel’s family issues are to the family name and how the press would have a field day with the story. In hysterics, Rachel leaves the wedding and ceases all contact with Nick. Even though it seems the movie ends horribly, Nick chooses to leave family traditions and pursues Rachel with a proposal despite the family differences.

     The plot of this movie was very similar to the novel, but some of the subplots in the film differed from the novel which isn’t necessarily a negative thing. I was afraid this movie would feature undesired racial stereotypes that tend to be used in some films, but I was definitely proved wrong once I watched it in the theater. “Crazy Rich Asians” represented the pressure of family traditions and social classes very well, and this made it easy to relate to without bringing up any offense. With a perfect balance of comedy, drama, and a happy ending, I could not recommend this movie enough to any skeptics.