A style of art and diversity: Collaj Collection

He can be spotted sitting in the student union, going to classes in Craig Hall or hosting a party at the club.  But from passing, it is unlikely that one would know much about him. Not only a full time student, but also an artist, entertainer, entrepreneur and fashion designer, Ayinde Kwaku Purnell is a celebrity Aggie in the making.Now a senior business major at A&T, Purnell has already accomplished many of his goals.Amongst his accomplishments, he owns a clothing line called Collaj Collection.  He thought of the concept, name and design of his business and is also the head of promotion and marketing.His unique fashion designs consist of an urban style mixed with Philly, D.C., New York and Italian culture.Purnell’s own sense of fashion is implemented into all of his clothing.

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How safe are we?!

Are we really safe? 911 is not just an emergency phone number, but it’s a date to be instilled into the minds of Americans.I believe that we, as a country, have totally let down our guard and defenses as oppose to keeping security at a stronghold. It’s not like we don’t have our troops in countries where they are not wanted, so things are not just going to be all peachy at the end of the day and terrorists will just go home. This is an on-going process; a process that might never end. So how are you, as a reader, feeling about this? You think this is just another random warning? Because it’s not.Al-Qaida has issued reports to Muslims living in the U.S. to get out. Especially those in the Washington D.C. and New York areas because big terror attacks are due. This time, the attacks will not be headlined weapons like airplanes; they will only use something more along the lines of weapons of mass destruction only.These weapons have allegedly been smuggled across the Mexican border into the U.S. The World Net Daily previously reported that Adnan El-Shukrijumah, who is a trained nuclear technician and accomplished pilot, will serve as the field commander for the next terrorist attack on U.S. soil. He also has been singled out by Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri for his various accomplishments.The FBI has also reported that in 2004, El-Shukrijumah was last seen in Mexico, where he hi-jacked a plane so he could transport a nuclear weapon and nuclear equipment to the U.S. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but I’m concerned that this man hi-jacked a plane and smuggled nuclear equipment into the country and he’s just had time to sit back and plot. No one even knows if he’s in the country still because the last time he was spotted was two years ago… so, how safe do you feel?To add insult to injury, there’s a mosque in N.Y. that is known for putting out terrorist activity. They have raised millions of dollars for the Jihad, and they have basically been brewing up terrorist activity since the early 90s and maybe before. Even Gulshair el-Shukrijumah, father to Adnan el-Shukrijumah, was appointed duties of the Imam when he moved to the Brooklyn Mosque in 1985. So, were we destined for failure for over 20 years?Just like the levees weren’t ready for Katrina, the U.S. wasn’t ready for our twin brothers to fall. So, will Uncle Sam protect our family this reunion?Joshua Capers can be reached at jacapers@ncat.edu.

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Aggies weigh in on age-old debate

On Sept. 20, the Pan Hellenic Council held a forum to allow students and faculty to discuss the impact and changes of the “N” word.This was a chance for the student body to educate themselves on the nature of the word and how it is perceived now versus how it was perceived in the past.It was very apparent that there were several differing opinions, but in the eyes of speech professor Dr. Myra Shird, that was not the underlying issue.”I think that we as Blacks today find it difficult to agree on the word ‘nigga’ because of the many different things in our culture,” Shird said, “We need to get past this one idea of Blackness.”Shird encouraged those in the discussion to own the word, and all of its baggage. Stating that there really is no difference between nigger and nigga, Shird brought up many touchy issues about the word that kept the room abuzz and presented some challenging ideas.”The Ku Klux Klan, in certain sects, has denounced the use of the word because they say ‘oh, the niggas own it now,’ Shird said, “we use it more than they do. We need to yank nigga away from White supremacists.”Not all the speakers on the panel agreed fully with Shird’s opinion. Ms. Shawna Irwin from the Office of Student Development claimed that she never used the word at all.

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Economics: not just about the economy

If I told you that your loan of $2,000 would cost $3,000 next year, would you be concerned? What if I told you that if you give me $700 now, in a year I will pay you back $1,000 – would this interest you? Finally, if I told you that the starting salary of $50,000 for next year is only “really” worth about $40,000 before taxes in today’s dollars, would you care?In the face of the disparities facing the African-American community, whether in health or in wealth, too few of us are literate in economics to address the issues in a matter that forces us to collaborate and unite under one common goal to produce solutions that better life for everyone.We, the Aggie Economics Association and the Department of Economics and Transportation of Logistics, are introducing this column so that an ongoing conversation about these kinds of disparities may begin and can be conducted within a framework that relies on economic knowledge.To talk about African Americans being consumed with materialism is trite, tried and true. With the disparities we have, we need to infuse ourselves with economics, an area that affects every aspect of our lives. So instead of talking about the obvious, I will provide an overview of economics and in future articles, address a number of problems that befuddle our community.Just the other day when I told someone that I was an economics major, he asked me if that had something to do with cooking. Just like him, many people are unsure of what economics is. Others just think that it is the study of the economy or the market. A more formal definition of economics is the study of the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. Economics studies how individuals and societies seek to satisfy its needs and wants.Economics is so fundamentally important in everyday affairs, yet how many people actually study or use it? What you decided to wear this morning is economics! When you decided to put your money into a certificate of deposit rather a regular savings or checking account, that was economics! More recently, when you decided to eat your salads with lettuce instead of spinach for the fear of E.coli, that is also economics!Sometimes, economics seems so uninteresting because it is oversimplified to just the study of the economy. Economics is much more than that! When NFL and NBA sports announcers compile a list of stats and show those across the television screen or on the website, who was responsible for those statistics? What about when the same announcer says that, in the history of the NBA, 78 percent of teams who win the first two games of the finals win the finals. As an aside, with the recent upset of the Dallas Mavericks’ loss, those stats will have to be adjusted! But the point is, economics can be interesting.The discipline has many areas of study. They range from resource economics to health, micro-, macro-, political, international, labor and even include econometrics and statistics. The jobs are varied and span further than just being an Economist.So, if everyone is affected by economics, they can better plan the future with the basic knowledge of how it works, and it is a field where there are a plethora of job opportunities available, then why does the number of African American economic majors pale considerably in comparison to every other ethnic group majoring in economics?In a study conducted, it was found that out of the top 25 graduate schools, there were only 13 black economists. One reason that African Americans do not major in economics is because of the lack of exposure to the field in high school. Most high schools offer business classes, but most of the courses are business and accounting. Economics is hardly ever offered. I can attest to this because I, too, had never heard of economics until I was recruited by the chairperson of A&T’s Economics and Transportation Logistics Department.Furthermore, professors have a wide latitudinal stretch in how they teach economics. Some professors are more theory-based, while others are more math-based. Either way, after Principles of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, it becomes a little sticky. To divulge further, it is not like economics is a major topic of discussion in the household. After all, I have never heard my mom talk about the marginal rate of substitution, income effect, or the effects of interest rates and inflation on credit card rates, home loans, or school loans!Economics is interesting and challenging, whether you are great at math or not. Rather, the question is what social problems are you willing to solve, and how determined you are to develop a rational solution. Future columns consist of attempts to relate national economic issues to the impact they have on the African American community.Feel free to contact me at valexander07@yahoo.com with any comments or suggestions as to what you would like to have us cover.

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Famed drama to be performed at A&T

A&T’s school of theatre has decided to present to the Greensboro community and Aggies their fall production “Dreamgirls.”Reigning for ten years on Broadway, Dreamgirls is roaring with talent and is definitely entertaining. The story is about the rise and fall of an African-American girl group (Deena, Effie, Lorrell) and in theracially turbulent 60’s.  Actors in this production were referred to as a “triple threat, someone who can sing, dance, and act,” said Dreamgirls director Greg Horton.Greg Horton has directed Dreamgirls four times and has served as costume designer seven times.”The show chose me. I refer to it as my signature show,” Horton said.The play was written by Michael Bennett, who was an American musical theater director, choreographer, and dancer.  According to the website www.glbtq.com, “the winner of eight Tony Awards, Bennett’s legacy to musical theater is undoubtedly his fluid, cinematic style of choreography and staging which reached its ultimate realization in Dreamgirls (1981), where even the computerized towers of the set were choreographed into the action of the play. Like Robbins, he did more than choreograph steps; he put the entire show into motion.”Dreamgirls is scheduled to play in theaters December 2006.  Beyonce will be playing the leading role of Deana Jones. On movies.about.com, Knowles said “I’m so excited about it I can’t even talk and my voice just starts shaking because I’m so happy! I’ve been hearing about Dreamgirls since I was about 15. I’ve never seen it because I was born the year it was on Broadway, but I have seen the bootleg tape of it and I’ve been hearing about Deena and everything about her because my choreographer is obsessed with her.”Other cast members include Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Jamie Foxx, and former American Idol Jennifer Hudson.  Filming began January 24, 2006, and the expected release date is set for late December.The original 1982 Broadway play cast members were Jennifer Holiday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine.  In the A&T production of Dreamgirls, Horton selected eight Dreamgirls because he has two casts.  Jeremye Totter, Asia Hester, Joan Anderson, and Cameron Dashiel make up this year’s Dreamgirls. Alder Quick also is a Dreamgirl and she is not a student. The theater had a lot of support and participation from the community.Director Greg Horton said “the message this play sends is that anybody can start from the bottom and go to the top.” Tickets can be purchased at Target, RBC, American Express, and for more information you can contact the A&T theatre office. The price for tickets are as follows; adults $20 and North Carolina A&T students $5 and children under 12 are $15. Show dates are only in the month of October and the first show is Oct. 5.

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Nation’s first undergraduate minority-owned nursing school in the making

On Sept. 15, the California Board of Registered Nursing voted for the passing of the application for the American University of Health Sciences (AUHS) to open a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science degree nursing program, being the first private for profit minority-owned school of nursing in the history of California.The AUHS School of nursing will open in Jan. 2007, starting with only 24 students. It will only be open to those that have taken the pre-requisites to obtain a nursing degree.The program was created to operate at a fast pace, allowing students fresh out of high school to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing in three years. The curriculum is focused on evidence based practice and nursing research as the beginning steps toward developing much needed scholarly nurses.Located in Bixby Knolls, Calif., AUHS, formally called the American Institute of Health Sciences, began in 1994 and was founded by Kim Dang and Rev. Gregory A. Johnson.AUHS is the first minority-owned, minority serving, Christian-based School of Nursing at the bachelor’s level in the history of California. This proposal culminates six years of effort to obtain approval for the unique program.”I am excited, and it is truly a blessing to get where we are.  We have been working at this for six years and finally the board sees the big picture and necessity for the program,” said Dr. Charles Jogwe, chief academic officer.The program is being directed by Betty Smith Williams, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN and former dean of the School of Nursing, at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.  She was also a professor from California State University at Long Beach and the first hired black nursing professor in the state of California since 1956.In a recent article in Nursing Spectrum, Dr. Williams said, “we’ve made very little progress in alleviating health disparities related to lifestyles and cultural lifestyle issues.”  Williams, also president of the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations, (NCEMNA) further states, there is limited information about why these disparities exist. She believes that the nursing research offered by the new program will find much needed answers to help close the health gap.This new program aims to address the nursing shortage and is the only three-year nursing program in Orange County and L.A.”We are very excited about the three-year baccalaureate nursing program that will be offered in Long Beach,” said Rev. Gregory A. Johnson, COO of AUHS. “But we are most excited about the relationships we have built with the area health care system and the opportunity they will now have to partner with us to offer scholarships for our students. Such [a] partnership will mean so much to have their support of our program and support for health and welfare of the citizens of Long Beach, L.A. and Orange County.”It is hoped with the development of the program that hospitals, health insurance companies, governmental funding agencies, private individuals and philanthropist will reach out and work through the university’s non-profit arm.In Rev. Johnson’s closing remarks to the board, he thanked the board, its nursing education consultant, its executive officer and most importantly God, for this much needed and historical achievement.

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Want some “Food and Liquor” with Fiasco?

With the airwaves over flowing with lean wit’ it, rock wit’ it rhythms, the rap game has lacked the one thing that has characterized its existence since day one, “realness.” Music has gone bubblegum, and until Jay’s return in November, there is this young cat that should be given an ear.Chicago-born Lupe “Skatepush” Fiasco has dropped his debut album, “Food & Liquor,” on Atlantic Records, and it might be the only thing to hold you until Jay arrives.Production from heavy hitters like the Neptunes, Kanye West and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, “Food & Liquor” will set you at ease. Equipped with food for the soul, Fiasco has hit the rap game in the stomach, and a taste of his LP is definitely needed to combat that bubblegum indigestion.With a couple of teasers already out, singles “Kick, Push”, and “I Gotcha”, already got the streets asking who this kid is.In the beginning, Fiasco’s style was compared to Pharrell’s.There was also a short rumor that linked him to Kanye West over the “Diamonds are Forever”track. However, with all that behind him, Fiasco has set himself apart from the rest.Artists all over the industry are speaking on how he could be the next Messiah.With tracks like “Real,” featuring Sarah Green, and “Pressure” featuring big-homie Jay-Z, Fiasco is taking music back to the days when music was about making ends meet and designed to focus on issues that are affecting people.”Real,” a hard?”hitting, drum-driven beat, discusses how people are continually being lied to.  Lupe wants to give people something real, something they can feel.”Give um’ a bunch a lies’, and teach um’ that it’s real-.,” is how Fiasco describes the lies that kids are told in school from day one and how they are taught to live following those lie.”Pressure”, a more string-filled track, gives you two versus where he uses his life to take everyday pressures off. He gives the final verse to Jay, where he finishes it the only way he knows; ‘Grand Fashion.’  With a debut LP that touches on real life issues, Fiasco doesn’t fall into the gap of grills and rims.Fiasco’s musical style is similar to that of fellow Chicago artists: Kanye West, Common and Twista, where like them, he uses his talent for the uplifting of hip-hop.Fiasco has a platinum, one-way ticket to the top that has been cashed in.Armed with a swagger different from that of music that has been clogging the airwaves lately, Fiasco is that well needed breath of fresh air that will definitely put you in Skate, Push, Coast mode.The album is filled with bangers and a couple of songs or your soul. If the co-signing of President Carter isn’t enough, break down and bust that $20, I promise Lupe Fiasco Gotcha covered.

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Dunwoody’s mentoring program meant well

It has never been my style to cause controversy; it should have been obvious that it would happen when I uncovered information about a possible NCAA rule infraction committed by the former men’s tennis program.

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World renowned gospel group performs at A&T’s Harrison Auditorium

Grammy Award winning gospel group Sweet Honey in the Rock performed at A&T this past Sunday for the reopening of Harrison Auditorium.Sweet Honey in the Rock is an acapella group that sings gospel music. Their music is described by fans as rhythmic and melodic boasting educational, spiritual and uplifting lyrics.Carol Mullae, a member of Sweet Honey in the Rock, describes the music as being “great black music.”

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Harrison Auditorium re-opens after two-year renovation

A&T’s Harrison Auditorium has been re-opened after a two-year renovation.Closed for renovation since 2004, Harrison Auditorium was once home to an assortment of student programs and performances.In 2006, Harrison Auditorium will continue to house musical performances, theatrical performances and student programs.  Natasia Watkins remembers how well the facility has served A&T students in the past.”When we have speakers ?” it’s cheaper to rent out Harrison as opposed to the Alumni Center. We could afford a bigtime speaker,” Watkins said.Senior Development Officer Martine E. Chavis recounted the historical significance of Harrison Auditorium; she said Richard B. Harrison, the son of two fugitive slaves, became A&T’s first drama department director after initiating the program himself.Chavis named several of the many culturally significant leaders who graced the stage of Harrison Auditorium, such as singer Marian Anderson and philosopher Alain Locke. Marcus Bass, a sophomore business administration major, was also moved by the occasion.”Seeing the inside of this facility- it was really a monument; a testament to us as African Americans and to us as past and present Aggies.  I feel privileged to be a part of this history,” Bass said.The newly renovated Harrison Auditorium has better acoustics and more comfortable seating. Chavis, who believes in “the transference of knowledge and history”, is confident that the newly reopened state-of-the-art Harrison Auditorium will continue to positively impact our community like Harrison himself.”[The newly renovated Harrison Auditorium] will take this institution into the next century,” Chavis said.

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