Ice Cube and Mike Epps lead the way in the New Line Cinema film “All About the Benjamins.” The film is also directed by Ice Cube himself.Now I must admit, I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy this movie from the start. It wasn’t because of the plot or the cast. More so because it’s a short movie. When I go to the movies, I want to go for a few hours as opposed to an hour and 30 minutes. Sometimes I find that shorter movies tend to rush just to get to the climax or just to fit in every point that they are trying to make.My opinion after the movie was completely different and it proved to me that I shouldn’t under-estimate short-running movies.From the start, the movie is filled with action and comedy. It stars Ice Cube as Bucum Jackson and Epps as Reggie Wright. Bucum is a bounty hunter in Miami who has had past run-ins with Reggie. While trying to take Reggie in for avoiding court appearances, the two find themselves in a bind that leads can them both to the “Benjamins.” They become partners and then the action and excitement begins.Epps, of course, has the comedic role in the film and his comedy will keep you laughing throughout the entire movie. He and Ice Cube make a good pair, just as good as or better than their joint performance in the “Friday” sequal.Ice Cube plays a more up-tight type of character with a hard shell about himself and doesn’t like to say much about his personal life. By the end of the movie, Epp’s character pulls a little sensitivity out of Ice Cube’s character and causes him to reveal personal things about himself.Also starring in the movie are Eva Mendes, Tommy Flanagan and Carmen Chaplin.Overall, the movie is great and Ice Cube has definitely made a name for himself in the director’s chair as well as in the starring role. As of March 21, the movie held the number six slot on the box office charts and had also raked in over $17 million.From The Register, the movie gets an overall rating of *****. Take our word for it and go see it for yourself. It will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The series between the N.C. A&T Aggies and the S.C. State Bulldogs has intensified over the past several years as these teams are seeming to get pretty used to each other. However, it seems as if S.C. State has A&T’s number as they’ve won eight of the nine meetings by an average of 3.2 points. This year was no different as the Bulldogs used a miracle shot from Andre’ Riviera to spurn the Aggies 63-61 in the quarterfinals of the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference Tournament. “It’s just been very frustrating against S.C. State,” said Aggie head coach Curtis Hunter, speaking of A&T’s recent failures to the Bulldogs. “I thought that we’d be able to change some things against them this year with the way things have been going in this series. They had us way down, but we fought back because that’s how we play. Had we played that way the entire game, who knows what the outcome could have been.”A&T didn’t help themselves at all offensively, hitting just 38.8 percent from the field and committing a dubious 21 turnovers, but they would not give in. Trailing 56-44 with just over nine minutes remaining, A&T went on a furious 17-5 run to tie the game at 61 with 57 seconds remaining. S.C. State’s Dexter Hall would miss a jumper on the ensuing Bulldog possession, setting up A&T with what was shaping up to be the final shot of the game. As Aggie guard Marque Carrington drove the lane, he was stripped of the ball by Hall, who fired a pass to Riviera. Riviera intially had plans to drive to the basket but was cut off by A&T’s Beckwith and forced into a fadeaway shot. With time expiring, Riviera’s shot, which swished through the net, signaled the end for the Aggies. “I didn’t think he’d hit that shot,” said Beckwith. “The shot was a tough one but he made it and they won. I felt that we weren’t out of it until the very end.” Riviera torched the Aggies, scoring 29 points on 11-of-15 from the field, including the game-winner. S.C. State did a particularly good job defensively , shutting down A&T’s star Bruce Jenkins, holding him to nine points (1-of-9 shooting) and seven rebounds, well below his season averages of 19.1 points per game and 12 rebounds per game. Senior Anthony Debro led the Aggies, scoring 15 points while Jafar Taalib added 14 points and 14 rebounds. A&T ended their 2001-2002 season at 11-17 overall after starting the season 1-13.
Athletes in today’s sports are bigger, stronger and more athletic. In fact, they are arguably more gifted, but there looms a large cloud above many of them. It’s simply because many of them are greedy. Contracts today are at its highest point ever, so why are athletes so quick to complain about how much they make? Just recently, the NFL’s New York Giants had a problem with one of their star players. Michael Strahan, new owner of the NFL sack record, turned down a proposed contract offer of seven years that would pay him $58 million, including $17 million in the next two seasons. Strahan’s excuse? He felt that the Giants weren’t making the moves to win, but keep in mind that he initially asked for more money. Alex Rodriguez, the Texas Rangers superstar acquisition in 2001, got a contract that’ll make many people cry tears of joy. His contract of 10 years and $252 million makes him the highest paid athlete in the history of sports. Sure he’s a star and very gifted, but is he worth that kind of money? Is anyone? Hey, he makes more over the 10 years than the $250 million that the team is worth! Now you have just the average athletes asking for more money than they’re worth.Are athletes of these days truly playing for the love and passion for the game or is it about those benjamins?
Maurice Hicks, Qasim Mitchell and several other Aggies will look to continue to impress NFL scouts when they go through intense workouts in the coming weeks. Maurice Hicks, A&T’s all-time leading rusher, was a shoo-in to the NFL draft prior to his knee injury, but the injury has scared some scouts away. Hicks is still confident, however, about his chances of being drafted. “I’m not 100 percent yet but I’m about 90 percent recovered,” said Hicks, who rushed for 1,325 yards and 15 touchdowns this past season. “I feel pretty good though and I’m confident that I can impress the scouts enough to be drafted.” Hicks’ 4.4 speed in the 40 and quickness is what the scouts were yearning over prior to the injury and he hopes to show that he can still produce those types of things. Qasim Mitchell, an offensive lineman, hopes to also impress scouts enough in time for the NFL draft. Mitchell has shed 25 pounds from his once 360-pound frame and says he feels as strong as ever. Both of them, along with tight end Marcus Bryson, tackle Dwayne Hammett and fullback Taalib Smith, are anxiously looking forward to the draft, which will be held April 20-21.
Though it’s not a new craze, yoga is certainly becoming more common at local gyms, YMCAs and other fitness facilities throughout the Triad.Many people are looking at yoga as a means to relieve the stressfulness of their lives and to also improve their physical well-being. Cindy Ramsey is the fitness and wellness director, as well as, yoga instructor, for Central YMCA at the corner of West Market and Tate streets. She has been an aerobics instructor for 19 years and yoga instructor for four years. In her three years with the YMCAs of the Triad she has seen a boost in yoga throughout the region.”The age range for my classes are from 13 to about 70 something. We will also be starting a children’s yoga class in May,” said Ramsey.Ramsey explained how yoga can improve one’s health and also provide a way to deal with the stress of life.”Yoga is a mind and body connection. It also improves flexibility and other components that many people often times neglect,” said Ramsey, “also the length and strength of the body.”Unlike other exercise techniques, yoga involves several types of systematic breathing routines.There are many benefits to practicing yoga other than its calming effects on one’s mind and body.Yoga also has an effect on the nervous system. One’s nerves become stimulated by the compression and extension of muscles and in return allow a fresh supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients to be released throughout the body.I know what you’re thinking. When will I start seeing results?”After only one session (you can see the difference) due to the breathing techniques and the calming of the body. You become one with you senses,” said Ramsey.And as far as words of advice…”Be in the moment, be present. When not thinking about what you are doing it is possible to injure yourself or let stress into your life,” added Ramsey.The goals of practicing yoga are:* Deep breathing, which is the key to longer life* Achieving a union of body, mind and spirit* Stilling the mind* Achieving liberation* Relieving suffering of all kind.
Spring is here and plans are set for the second annual Piedmont Jazz Festival.Richard Williams, of the festival stirring committee, opened a press conference March 20 at the Embassy Suites to announce the continuation of the festival as “a dynamic event, still building on a dream.””We identified something last year that that brought us (the Piedmont) closer, and rather than put it on a shelf, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work,” said Williams.The festival will be May 1 through May 5 and will highlight more local and regional artists as opposed to the previous year. It will also feature more educational activities and collaborations with local restaurants, museums and organizations.Festival coordinator Ryan Maltese says although the planners faced challenges they have tremendous support throughout the Triad.”Coming off of last year’s festival, the one thing that resonated loud and clear was that there was plenty of local talent right here in the Piedmont Triad that should carry a more significant part of the festival,” said Maltese. “That is something we somehow failed to capitalize on in our inaugural event.”Winston-Salem Alderman Fred Terry, High Point mayor Arnold Koonce and Greensboro Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson were also in attendance.Terry believes the festival will have a great impact the economic balance of the Piedmont.”The festival is important to the economic base of the Triad. People spend money for entertainment and it’s time to take advantage of that,” said Terry.Koonce is in support of the festival and also the recognition that High Point will receive for its involvement.”This is an opportunity (for High Point) to do other things besides market and promote furniture. It is a step forward in promoting cultural events for the Triad,” said Koone.For Johnson the festival is an outlet for everyone to enjoy this cultural experience together.”The Piedmont Jazz Festival is the opportunity for all to be free and enjoy the legacy together,” said Johnson.There will be performances by local high school bands, college jazz bands and also jazz workshops with performers and music educators at area colleges and high schools, all free and open to the public.Other events include Poetic License, a poetic slam event that will feature performers from HBO’s Def Poets at the Greene Street Bar in Greensboro, a day-long music extravaganza at Oak Hollow Overlook Park in High Point and an International Music Explosion in Winston-Salem, among many other events.Local artists who will perform include those of Sankofa, Carl Grubbs, Martha and the Moodswingers and Cle Thompson.The Piedmont Jazz Festival is a collaborative effort by art councils, convention and visitors bureaus and various civic organizations in Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem.
The students gathered in Harrison Auditorium for the annual Honors Day Convocation. The event started with A&T professors marching in, followed by ROTC students “posting the colors.”After the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was sung by all, and SGA President Greg Drumwright delivered a heartfelt prayer.Royall M. Mack Sr., the speaker of the day, is the corporate vice president of civic affairs for the Gillette Co., and an A&T alumnus. Mack fondly talked about his pride in his alma mater, referring to a story when he was in England, and wearing an old A&T shirt from 1967, he was spotted by a military official and met with our proud greeting of “Aggie Pride.” He told students the importance of giving back to our school when we graduate and challenging us not to forget about Aggieland when we leave. Mack stated he has several degrees and certificates from other educational institutions, but he said he got his education from A&T. Students were given encouraging words on their journey through and after college.The importance of solid communication skills was also something Mack stressed, saying students needed to be knowledgeable in that area. “What good is a 4.0 grade average if your oral and communication skills are a 1.5?” he asked.After Mack’s speech, the university choir performed and the honors presentation followed. After the students from each school were honored, one teacher from each school was given the distinction of Teacher of the Year. The audience was filled with rousing screams and applause as the students cheered for their favorite teachers. Upon completion of the event students and teachers shook hands and congratulated each other on their achievements. There were over 1,900 students who were honored from various departments. Those receiving honors had a grade point average of at least a 3.0 cummulative.
On March 21, the UNCG chapter of the NAACP sponsored a women’s history lecture with highly recognized poet Yolande Cornelia Giovanni a.k.a. Nikki Giovanni.Giovanni is a poet, activist and a professor at Virginia Tech, and has a new book coming out on March 22. She talked about that new book, going into detail about the poem she wrote about Martin Luther King, Jr. Giovanni said that she wrote the poem as if Martin were still alive and if he were living in 2002. She said that Martin was adventurous and would probably have vote or freedom tattooed on his arm and cornrows. Giovanni said that her tattoo would say Thug Life.Giovanni spoke to the crowd about not getting paid for the job you excel in.”Sometimes you just think that you want to have a purpose in life and I want to mean something,” she said. “Then there are other times when you just say naw, I just want to be rich.” The crowd was filled with laughterGiovanni spoke on her role as an activist. “To advocate for women’s rights and Black Americans or anybody for people in need is the right thing to do,” said Giovanni. “Hopefully, maybe I have helped people to look at issues differently. Maybe I have brought something to somebody’s attention. When I was younger we sat-in and I was a part of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Now, I teach at the university and we touched the students in another sort of way.” Giovanni spoke on her transition from being a poet to being a professor at Virginia Tech.”This was my first real job. I didn’t actually have a real job until I accepted a position at Virginia Tech,” she said. “Twenty years ago there were no black professors. It’s not like bang, bang I want to teach you. It’s more like, I want to take Nikki’s class. I have been there for 15 years and it’s been very exciting.” Giovanni is going to be honored with the first Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award, and said that she is thrilled about it.Giovanni also spoke on changing the world and self-empowerment. “We are making an evolutionary change. You have to know what you’re doing and whom you are doing it with. I don’t think it’s our job to tell you what to do. I think it’s our job as a generation, we did what we had to do. We get ragged on a lot and the political right is still very angry. We lost the battle of race and we lost the battle of gender,” said Giovanni.Giovanni says her inspiration in writing is storytelling. “The American experience is a storytelling experience. It is my east Tennessee roots that really inspired me.”She shared her views on Tupac Shakur by saying that he was really special to her generation because of his mother Afeni Shakur who was a Black Panther and his godfather Geronimo Pratt. Giovanni made reference to some of the known rap artists today. She mentioned that she was a big fan of Q-tip, Outkast and thought that Ja Rule was “a cute kid.”
Scholarly achievements were recognized on March 20 at the Golden Key International Honor Society Spring New Member Induction Ceremony. The event was held at 6:30 p.m. in the Stallings Memorial Ballroom. One hundred and seventy-nine new members were inducted at the ceremony. Golden Key International Honor Society is an organization designed to further enhance the enrichment of scholarly achievement through community service. Juniors and seniors who are in the top 15 percent of their class are eligible for membership.Senior Zanjabil Williams and junior Sarah Branch, both 4.0 accounting majors, were awarded $500 scholarships courtesy of Ford Motor Corp. The scholarship recipients were selected based on their collegiate achievements prior to their induction. “It was a real honor receiving the award,” said Williams. “After giving birth to my third child on March 2, winning the scholarship was a pleasant surprise.” Dr. Rita Lamb, director of N.C. A&T’s Center for Student Success, was the keynote address for the event. Soloist and freshman music vocal perfromance major Angelia Ray provided the entertainment accompanied by music professor John Henry on piano. Four A&T faculty members were granted honorary memberships. Army Battalion Commander LTC Larry Bumett, Dr. Tracy Hanner from the Department of Animal Sciences, Dr. Randolph Hawkins from the Department of Sociology and Social Work and Dr. Teresa Styles from the Department of Speech and Communication were each presented with a certificate and pin symbolizing their honorary induction. “I was not an honor student when I attended school here. This is one of the most exciting things that ever happened to me. This is not your average organization,” Bumett said.Faculty adviser and School of Business and Economics instructor Dr. Robert Howard pinned six chapter officers for their hard work and service. President Destiny Ramjohn, Vice President Lakisha Allen, Treasurer Cecilia Alston, Recording Secretary Candice Brown, Corresponding Secretary Latisha Falcon and Public Relations Director Jason Boyd all received pins.”Golden Key members have truly made being president an enriching experience,” said Ramjohn. “Whether it was convincing my tone-deaf members to sing Christmas carols for the elderly or sharing screams on the haunted trail. I have formed a perpetual bond with these scholars.” Howard added, “Golden Key is a recognition of academic excellence. Golden Key is a lifetime membership so it’s important that they continue to excel.”
Goodwill Industries is asking people not to put off tomorrow what they can do today. The Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina has been seeking donations for its retail stores. Donations are needed to meet the increasing consumer demands over recent months.”Not everybody needs the same things so we have to try to meet all the needs,” said Kris Caughron, marketing specialist. “It’s like ordering a la carte around here.” Retail stores are expecting to see a boost in donations in April because it is generally the time for spring cleaning.Immediate donations are needed not only to accommodate the consumer demands but also to fund many programs that Goodwill Industries provide.”The profits are used to fund our educational programs that teach the job skills needed to survive in a competitive work environment,” said Celeste Allison, vice president of retail operations.Donations are so important to Goodwill’s mission of providing vocational services and work opportunities for people with special employment needs. Eight-five percent of the profit generated from these retail stores goes directly to the job-training programs like Work First and Wheels to Work.The Work First program is designed to assist welfare recipients in developing careers to become self-sufficient. Participants in this program are typically experiencing difficulty in finding work due to outdated skills and lack of training or education.The Wheels to Work program assists people in resolving transportation issues. Private individuals contribute cars to the program to help provide a source of transportation for individuals who do not have reliable transportation and public transportation does not operate during their working hours. The two programs combined helped 283 people last year alone.”It’s simple. Donations help put people back to work in the Triad. Last year alone added over $6.5 million in new salaries,” said Rick J. Gorham, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina. Generally, people want to help when donating things but many are unaware that Goodwill cannot resell certain items.”I can’t tell you how many mattresses and box springs we turn away,” said Caughron. “Not many people know it’s illegal to resell those items in North Carolina.” Clothing seems to be the fastest-selling item but Goodwill also accepts donations ranging from furniture to books and games.In the upcoming weeks Goodwill Industries will be teaming up with local churches and businesses. On April 7, Goodwill will be providing a clothing drive at Mount Zion Baptist Church on Alamance Church Road.”We are working with businesses in the area. We generally set up a trailer at a business site, (preferably in the parking lot) and let people donate items on their way in to work,” said Caughron.More information about donations and career opportunities in the Triad can be found at Goodwill Industries website www.triadgoodwill.org.
With a few days before elections, the race for the vice presidential offices of internal and external affairs is heating up.Vice president of external affairs hopefuls Brian Holder and Karen Fairey and vice president of internal affairs hopefuls Paulette Foster and Jose Barros have their chance to share with the student body why they should be in these executive positions.The race for vice president of external affairs is a two-party race, but it’s no doubt the most interesting. Brian “Barbados” Holder and Karen Fairey are running for this position that is probably more important than even the president. One of these two would be responsible for making this campus fun again.Holder may not have any fancy fliers plastered around campus but one thing that he has is a lot of heart and surprise. “Barbados” doesn’t want to talk a good game, but live it.”I want my actions to speak for themselves,” he said. The only thing Holder wants mentioned is that the students know what to expect with him.”Everyone knows I’m wild and crazy,” he says. “So they know whatever I plan will be fun.” On the opposite end of the spectrum,candidate Fairey’s focus is about healing the rift between the student body and the SGA and to give back to the surrounding community. As far as community issues are concerned, if elected, Fairey would have programs such as highway cleanup, Big Brother/Big Sister mentoring and programs that would help the elderly. “We need to give back,” said Fairey. “A&T started with the community, and now we’re kind of separated from the community.”The race for vice president of internal affairs is another two-candidate battle. Paulette Foster and Jose V. Barros (who could not be contacted for an interview at press time), are the two that are gunning to improve university relations internally.Foster has very lofty expectations for her position and her platform. She wants to increase student involvement in the senate and increase the participation of the senate on campus. “I want to motivate the senate to become more involved with residential districts and to take an active role in keeping students more knowledgeable in SGA,” Foster said. Foster also believes in getting back to fundamentals: the student constitution. Foster believes that reliance on the constitution would increase the knowledge of the workings of the university and help cure the confusion of roles of the SGA as a whole. “If you are knowledgeable of the constitution, you would understand checks and balances and procedures and protocol of the SGA,” Foster said.Another tight race that has been brewing in the last few weeks is that for the office of Miss A&T. Melissa Slade and Brook Myatt are the two women that feel strongly about what they could bring to the students and the university if elected.Slade’s campaign is all about “continuing the quest for Aggie success.” One way to accomplish this goal is her plan to cater to the student body with her “student first policy.” Slade feels that it takes communication to make this policy work and the says that the lines of communication on this campus needs to improve. “Communication between the student body and SGA as well as SGA and administration needs to be more open,” she said. Myatt was interviewed in last week’s edition.Elections are March 27 in the Student Union from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Royall M. Mack Sr. was the keynote speaker for N.C. A&T’s Honors Day Convocation, which was held Thursday, March 21, in the Richard B. Harrison Auditorium. Mack talked about how A&T has contributed to his success in life, as well as offering ways in which students can achieve their ultimate goals. Mack, a 1969 graduate of A&T, holds the position of corporate vice president of civic affairs at The Gillette Co. in Boston. He has the responsibility of leading civic affairs programs worldwide.