music festivals

The Summer of Music Festivals in 2017

Author: Nicole Chininis, Current Events/Politics

The summer of 2017 has been an incredible time for music festivals. In a time where much of the nation is divided, it seemed as though music was what brought many together.

I was able to attend three separate festivals: Boston Calling, Newport Folk Festival, and Lollapalooza. The music was incredible and vibrant, and the vibes were all varied — but all exciting and alive. All three were different in their own like, but all strived to unify the surrounding community through music. Ranging from Mumford and Sons to Big Sean, The Head and the Heart to Chance the Rapper, each festival brought a variety of music, and exposed their attendees to new sounds.


Boston Calling

Obviously in Boston, this festival had upgraded to a bigger and better location than prior years, allowing concert-goers to easily go back and forth between stages. Although the location had improved, there were many issues with food and drink vendors, and the incredibly long lines in order to purchase anything. Boston Calling tried to rectify the situation by changing processes on the second day, but it definitely left its mark amongst concert goers. Nonetheless, even though the food trucks weren’t serving, the music did. The headliners were as diverse as they come: Chance the Rapper, Mumford and Sons, and Tool. This lineup most definitely pleased many, as Boston is known for its up and coming music scene, featuring all genres. There were other great bands including Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Majid Jordan, Brandi Carlile — who had shown her vocal strength through her set — and Mumford and Sons, who played a very diverse collection from their four albums.

Newport Folk Festival
This has become more than just a festival, but a tradition for so many music fans, many millennials included. Located in Newport, Rhode Island at Fort Adams State Park, Newport Folk Festival is rich with history (it’s where Bob Dylan got his start!), and the festival does an incredible job of honoring those who have played every year. Many ask what type of bands play in Newport, and although the focus is mostly on folk music, Newport Folk Festival always pushes the boundaries on what folk actually is. What Newport does best is getting people before they explode. Hozier is one example, as they had him as a performer in 2014, right before Take Me to Church was on your radio 24 hours a day. More traditionally considered folk bands performing included Mandolin Orange, The Head and the Heart, and newcomers Joseph. Stretching the boundaries of folk, there were more soulful, rock singers like L.A. Salami, the Seratones, and Regina Spektor.

Lollapalooza
This festival arguably is the one that stole the show. It’s one of the most diverse in music genres, and that may even be an understatement. A massive event with a tremendous amount of talent, Lolla (as it’s known for short) brought creatures from all walks of the earth to celebrate EDM, rock, hip-hop, and soul. The line-up included known artists such as DJ Snake, Big Sean, Blink-182, Lorde, and Alt-J, as well as not so known artists like Noname, Maggie Rogers, Leon, Jacob Banks, Sampha and Bibi Bourlley. However, the one who stole the show was Chance the Rapper. Making his third appearance at Lolla, Chance made his homecoming worth it to every person who was there. Chance’s show was said to be the biggest crowd ever at Lollapalooza. Although the crowd was big, they were happy and thrilled to hear songs like Sunday Candy, Juke Jams, and the incredible Blessings. Chance did not disappoint by bringing copious amounts of energy, fly dance moves, and amazing fireworks.

 

All and all, these three festivals were different in their own like, but all strived to unify the surrounding community through music. It’s important for millennials to realize that we’re not so different, and these festivals are a good reminder of that. It’s an opportunity to come together to enjoy and celebrate music, and enjoy the community around us.

boston

A Real-Life Look at the Boston Free Speech Counter Protest

Author: Nicole Chininis, Current Events/Politics

On August 19th, 2017, I gathered with about 40,000 other people on the Boston Common to fight against hate.

The events in Charlottesville bothered me, and many others, to my core. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to sit back and let whatever “free speech” rally happen in my city. I had to go and stand up for what I knew to be right, and stand beside the marginalized communities who are directly targeted by these hateful organizations.

I don’t think anyone knew what to expect from this protest. On Facebook, there were two main event pages for counter protest, estimating about 6,000 people total. When we all got there, we gathered with a large group of people near the gazebo in the Commons, which is where the Free Speech rally was supposed to take place. There was a large divide between both groups, police on bikes, and more police surrounding the Gazebo. Some were Trump supporters, and were either wearing a hat or carrying banners, that would purposefully walk through the crowds to get people riled up. It worked. People would respond by chanting “SHAME” or “Black Lives Matter.”

Police escorted those gathering to rally around “free speech” through the crowd, and on the opposite side of the fence, which was dividing the Free Speech Rally and the counter protesters. Everyone around us kept on wondering when the “real rally,” filled with the possibility of “free speech” statements about white supremacy, was going to start, due to the small amount of people who were there, but it never took place due to small attendance.

But boy, did the city of Boston show up. I was incredibly motivated and inspired, as I gathered with 40,000 other people who were standing against hate. I shouldn’t have expected anything less. After attending the Women’s March in Boston earlier in the year, I knew that my city was capable of coming out to do what’s right. And it gave me hope for the entire country.

One positive was that the overall mood amongst the counter protesters was peaceful and united. Many of us were talking with each other about what this week’s past events meant for us and for the country. One thing was common: the majority of us were (and still are) filled with genuine concern about where this leaves us as a country.

If anything, I think that the number of people who showed up to peacefully take a stand against hate shows what our country can be. We have the capabilities of doing what’s right and moving in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go. However, if we continue to stand up like Boston did, I have no doubt that we can take leaps and bounds to creating a stronger and more peaceful nation.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

Bannon

Another One Out the White House Door

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Current Events/Politics

Another day, another Trump appointee removed from the White House.

First, it was Michael Flynn. Then, it was Jeff Sessions, but it wasn’t, and then it was, and then it wasn’t… and then, it was Sean Spicer. And who could forget Anthony Scaramucci‘s ten-day stint as Communications Director?

Then, on August 18, now former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon became the latest member of the Trump team to be out of a job.

Why is yet another appointee leaving the White House?
Depending on who is asked, Bannon’s departure from the White House was “long-rumored,” according to the New York Times. Between his long-reported disputes with Trump’s National Security Adviser Lt. General H.R. McMaster, his general lack of approval from Trump’s new Chief of Staff John Kelly, bad-mouthing fellow Trump staff members, and downplaying the threat of North Korea in an interview, critics (including Chief of Staff Kelly) have been calling for Bannon’s removal.

Who made the decision?
CNN is reporting that Bannon was fired following his failure to resign — and was, in turn, “forced out.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not confirm or deny that Bannon was fired, or left of his own accord. But, Bannon and Kelly “mutually decided” that August 18 would be Bannon’s last day. So, the stories are shaky all the way around, to put it nicely.

What’s next for Bannon?
Bannon’s previous employer, white nationalist news outlet Breitbart, is likely to welcome him back with open arms, the CNN report also states. Which reminds us to raise the question of why a known white nationalist like Bannon was even appointed in the first place — especially in the wake of the events in Charlottesville.

So, is this a good move or a bad move?
It’s a considerably good move considering Bannon’s white nationalist history. Following Trump’s initial reaction to Charlottesville and subsequent “many sides” statement, it looks good from a public relations perspective to remove those with ties to a white nationalist news outlet from the administration. It can give the appearance that Trump won’t tolerate that sort of rhetoric from his staff. And, of course, the whole making light of the North Korea situation couldn’t possibly look good for anyone involved.

But, what does it say about this administration, now that another appointee is out the door?
No matter the reasoning behind the move, or who orchestrated it, another appointee leaving on the heels of Scaramucci, Spicer, and Flynn… and Sessions (oh no, wait, he’s still in) could, and will, make the American people scratch their collective heads. We’re wondering what’s “really going on” in there. We’re watching Trump’s public persona and wondering how anyone could work for him. And our eyes are on the White House as though watching a reality television show (like, say, The Apprentice…). Our political system shouldn’t be viewed that way. We shouldn’t be wondering who gets “voted off” next week. And that’s exactly what’s happening.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

Where Hateful Acts Are an Everyday Reality

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Current Events/Politics

In the wake of the white supremacist events in Charlottesville, it’s easy to be disheartened. To lose hope. To wonder how these types of acts continue, how we’ve allowed them to continue, and how their perpetuators think any of it is acceptable. While it’s apparent that the mentality has existed in Charlottesville even before these rallies, many of us are hearing about all of it for the first time, or may not have even known this was still happening in our country.

Sure, we’ve known about the existence of white supremacy, even in 2017, when we’ve “made progress.” We’ve seen and become outraged over hate crimes. We’ve fought for acceptance for all races and supported and realized the importance of Black Lives Matter. But after Charlottesville, this is right in front of our faces. And while we should never have let it get this far, we didn’t take what led up to it seriously enough. As a result of the belief that we didn’t think it was “this bad,” we are nothing short of shocked.

The good news for America? We still live in a country where there is shock and anger and heartbreak over events like Charlottesville because we have certain freedoms, and we have enough of a collective conscience (minus, of course, the members of groups like the KKK and the National Policy Institute) to know that this type of racist, bigoted thinking is wrong. As a result of our freedoms, we’re allowed to the belief that it’s wrong, and we can raise our voices without fearing for our lives or the loss of the freedoms we’ve always known.

In certain other countries, acts similar to what happened in Charlottesville, and worse, occur ever single day at the hands of the government. They occur in the name of bigotry and hatred. In some cases, civilians commit these acts and the government either responds with denial, or doesn’t respond at all. What’s worse, in some cases, they are the law of the land. And as they’re occurring, civilians aren’t allowed the right of peaceful protest — as they fear for their lives as well as the potential loss of whatever freedoms they do have.

 

North Korea
The nuclear threat out of North Korea has been in the news for weeks, as well as its general threats toward the United States. But what we don’t always hear about is life in North Korea for civilians. Women and children are being executed at the hands of the government for what is considered a crime — including watching a movie out of Hollywood. In other words, something that isn’t propaganda in favor of the government. Something that doesn’t promote hate and violence. This viral video gives even more of a glimpse:

South Africa
According to Human Rights Watch’s 2017 World Report, the government of South Africa has been based in bigotry, hatred, and corruption for years. It has not “developed a national strategy to combat the high rate of violence against women and the continued underreporting of rape.” It has “failed to hold accountable those responsible for xenophobic attacks on the businesses and homes of refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants between March and May, 2015.” And it did not condemn or properly address Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini’s 2015 remarks that foreigners should “pack their bags and go home.”

Latin American countries
These countries — not limited to one or two — have a long and unfortunate history of violence. According to an openDemocracy report, seven out of ten countries with the world’s largest murder rate for women are located in Latin America, based on 2015 statistics. While these murders — based in a sexist line of thinking — are often found to be based in the home and not based out of the government, many of the countries are based in “male-dominated power structures.” In other words, the governments may not be perpetuating the acts, but their actions promote the notion that they are acceptable. Additionally, such power structures allow for women to be forced into organized crime in order to protect themselves, and the government hasn’t done a whole lot to stop that.

India
While not all of the hate perpetuated in India is at the hands of the government, women live in a state of constant fear. And while the government may not be the source of the hate, officials haven’t done much, if anything at all, to stop the country’s general attitude toward women. As if that’s not enough, the hate crimes that take place aren’t just specific to women, but also to other races. Human Rights Watch cites an incident in which a student from Nigeria visited India and received a public beating. While the government condemned the act, it did not acknowledge it as a race-related hate crime.

Poland
Again, another government that did not commit the acts, but, in a somewhat worse display of judgment, let neo-Nazi acts perpetuate. VICE News reported in May 2017 that Poland’s populist government has allowed “far-right extremism explode into the mainstream.” While that echos of Charlottesville, the situation appears to be even more out in the open. Not to mention, “Openly xenophobic far-right politicians have seats in Parliament, and the populist government of the conservative Law and Justice party has adopted a nationalist, anti-immigrant platform that shares much ground with the far right.”

 

While Charlottesville may have opened our eyes to the fact that white supremacy and other hateful acts are unfortunately alive and well, it’s important to recognize that in no country should they be permitted to just be a fact of life where not one person, not even government officials, bats an eye. Millennials, let’s not forget that this is happening both in our own metaphorical backyard, as well as across the world.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

Charlottesville

As America Reacts to Charlottesville, How Will We Take Action?

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Current Events/Politics

Following the completely unacceptable white supremacy rallies in Charlottesville that started with violent protests at the University of Virginia, many reactions of those in power were mixed. While our country’s leaders should be universally condemning the events as to say that they stray from the ideals of liberty and justice for all is an understatement, some called for action, some expressed an appropriate degree of grief, and some… didn’t even acknowledge the seriousness of the situation.

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Eventually, the White House’s statement was changed to acknowledge that the attacks came from white supremacists. But initially, while President Trump acknowledged the hateful and violent nature of the attacks, he failed to acknowledge the fact that they were rooted in white supremacy. Which isn’t surprising, considering the immigration reforms he attempted to implement at the beginning of his term as President, and his rhetoric surrounding those of other races.

 

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Former Vice President Joe Biden responded to President Trump’s initial press conference, in which he declared that there is hatred and bigotry on “many sides” of the situation. Just as in the tweet above, the press conference failed to acknowledge the white supremacist basis of the rallies. And he’s right.

 

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And earlier in the day, long before POTUS even made a statement, Uncle Joe called us to action, too.

 

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Senator Bernie Sanders nailed it all. He called a spade a spade — in this case, the spade being the fact that this is an incident rooted in white supremacy. He then reminds us that what happened in Charlottesville has become a way of life, and hate crimes are a real, unfortunate fact.

 

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POTUS 44 quotes one of the greats to express how unacceptable this event is — but also, expresses just how easy it is to love instead of hate. Love takes much less energy.

 

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Senator Elizabeth Warren also called a spade a spade, and good for her. She didn’t shy away from terminology that isn’t reality, didn’t sugar-coat with euphemisms, and called us all to action. We tend to shy away from words like “Neo-Nazi” because collectively, we operate under the belief that we conquered white supremacy following the ending of the Holocaust. In actuality, groups like the KKK continue to have a presence.

 

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Sally Yates echoed Warren — and pointed out just how it easy it is not to beat around the bush.

 

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Yes, Senator Mike Huckabee, yes. But not entirely sure where your call to action is.

 

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Virginia’s governor, Terry McAuliffe, asks us all to take action. There’s a difference between hate speech, violence, and free speech.

 

Millennials, where does this leave us? Those in power are telling us to take action, but we shouldn’t need their cue in order to do it. The message is clear — this needs to end, and should have ended a long time ago. What will you do today to change this culture?

 

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.