Published Writing

Out of Place, Out of Time

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Read the full story at Shoe Leather Magazine

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(L-R) Davis, Lee, and Jackson

Four million people visit Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park annually, making it the state’s most popular tourist attraction. However, a racially motivated shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in June, 2015, thrust the park’s Stone Mountain Memorial—a Confederate Mount Rushmore that looms over the predominantly black town—into the center of a contentious debate. It pits civil rights activists, who are pressing for the removal of the carvings of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, against descendants of the Confederacy who defend the monument as a symbol of their Southern heritage. This dispute is part of a larger discussion following the tragedy in South Carolina centered on the meaning and acceptability of Confederate symbols on public property. The current controversy, when placed in the context of the memorial’s bizarre backstory— which involves southern women’s groups and the Ku Klux Klan—highlights America’s failure to fully acknowledge its tumultuous racial history.

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5 Femvertising Companies Using Their Profits For Good

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Originally Published on GENYU on December 9, 2014.

For a long time feminism seemed like a “dirty word” that often evoked images of hairy, man-hating women.  But recently this negative stereotype has begun to fade.  In fact young celebrities, like Emma Watson and Lena Dunham, have made feminism seem “cool.”  And companies have found a way to cash in on this changing stigma with “fem-vertising.” These ads use “girl-power” messages to sell products to women.   Although, the idea of makeup and shampoo companies profiting off of women’s rights issues seems a little suspect, these ads have only grown in number.  Thankfully, there are some companies that have been funneling a portion of their profits into projects that help women and girls. Read the rest of this entry »

Marketing to Millennial Women: Simply add Feminism and Stir

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Originally Published on GENYU on December 9, 2014.

Courtesy of Always #LikeAGirl Campaign
Courtesy of Always #LikeAGirl Campaign

In a brightly lit studio, director Lauren Greenfield asked several teens and young adults what it meant to act “like a girl.”  Doing the first thing that came to mind, a young woman flailed her legs and complained about messing up her hair as she ran “like a girl.” A man clawed at the air in front of him as he fought “like a girl.” And a boy barely extended his arm as he threw “like a girl.”  In contrast, another group – girls ages 5 to 13 years old – showed off how fast they sprint, how hard they jab, and how well they pitch.  Condensed into a roughly three-minute video, the social experiment explored how the meaning of this simple phrase differs among age groups.  Dedicated to redefining this insult, the video launched the #LikeAGirl campaign, coincidentally sponsored by the feminine hygiene brand Always. Read the rest of this entry »

Victoria Finnegan

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Originally Published on GENYU on November 11, 2014.

Courtesy of Victoria Finnegan
Courtesy of Victoria Finnegan

Victoria Finnegan endures the Long Island Railroad daily in her commute from her family home on Long Island to New York University in Manhattan. However, as the 22-year-old journalism and English major embarks on her senior year, she faces questions far greater than how to keep busy during the hour-long train ride. And like most 20-somethings, her future presents exciting, yet undefined possibilities. Read the rest of this entry »

Millennial Dating: Who Pays When Men and Women Go Out?

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Originally Published on GENYU on November 11, 2014.

Lubanga - Issue Picture from Getty Images
Courtney of Getty Images

As midterm exams were just a week away, University of Georgia student, Austin Simmons, 19, wanted to have a little fun before studying consumed all of his free time. His girlfriend, Jacquelyn Harms, 19, had mentioned a craving for Outback Steakhouse, so he invited her out for a Friday-night dinner date. The pair both dressed up for the occasion and ate too many onion rings as they talked and laughed. As the evening wound down, the waiter delivered the check, and Simmons reached for his wallet.  Read the rest of this entry »

Carefree Black Girls Challenge Negative Stereotypes

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Originally Published on GENYU on November 4, 2014.

Courtesy of Lanira Bledsoe
Courtesy of Lanira Bledsoe

Braided hair swings low and teased afros reach high in a certain corner of the Internet. Photos of young, African-American women of different shades, shapes, and sizes populate the social media landscape. Some women wear flower crowns as they pose in grassy fields. Others wrap colorful scarves around their heads in urban settings. All exude laughter, smiles, and dances. They frolic. They play. And above all else, they take joy in life’s simple pleasures. Filtered and unfiltered, these are the images of the#CarefreeBlackGirls.

The free spirit and whimsical nature of the Carefree Black Girl stands in stark contrast to the stereotype of the Angry Black Woman, which made headlines after a New York Times television critic used the trope to describe “Scandal”-creator Shonda Rhimes. This negative stereotype portrays black women as bitter, emasculating, and overbearing. Moreover, it is prime explain of why an MTV study found that nearly 70 percent of millennial minorities feel their race is poorly represented in the media. But rather than wait for the mainstream media to correct this issue, African-American millennials use social media hashtags to take matters into their own hands. “What [millennials] are doing is essentially reshaping the narrative and retooling the narrative so that it’s more inclusive, so that it’s genuinely reflective of their own experiences, and so that it’s more accurate,” says Meredith Clark, a journalism professor at the University of North Texas. Read the rest of this entry »

Filmmaker finds inspiration in personal tragedy

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Originally Published on Cooper Squared on May 5, 2014.

Fredgy Noël makes her directorial debut with the short film Milking It.
Fredgy Noël makes her directorial debut with the short film Milking It.

In late November 2013, while the rest of New York City was preparing for the holiday season, Fredgy Noël sat crying in her therapist’s office.

Just five months earlier, her mother-in-law, Eve Michael, had lost a hard-fought battle with cancer. The family knew it was going to happen, but that never makes it any easier.

“She was such a fighter that I just kept on believing she was going to be okay. And it just affected me,” Noël recalled of her struggle to cope with the grief. “[Eve was] the closest person to me that’s ever passed away.”

During this particularly emotive session, a teary-eyed Noël asked her therapist, “Don’t you wish you could just date guys for their moms?” Read the rest of this entry »