Posts Tagged ‘politics’

The Creative Mind in a Chaotic World: Balancing Mental Health, Art, and Political Involvement

Wednesday, July 28th, 2021
https://www.instagram.com/chann.smith/

Channing Smith is a woman of many talents: filmmaking, photography, and screenwriting being a small few. I spoke with her one on one about how she balances her artistic inclinations with her mental health and political involvement as a student. 


TC: Can you give me the official rundown of your major? 

CS: I am a senior film major. I’ve really concentrated on documentary [film] just because I think it’s a really amazing social justice tool to teach and inform other people about issues that they might think is not a concern to them. Documentary film tells you, Hey, this is happening. And you might not know it, but you should know about it now. And here’s why you should know about it.

So currently–you’re kind of getting a new exclusive here– my senior thesis is going to be about women’s experiences in solitary confinement. And I’ve actually been speaking with women for months now who have experienced solitary, whose wives are in solitary, whose mothers, sisters, and daughters are in solitary. Because I think that the narrative around incarceration, especially working with Re/Creation is really centered around men, which there’s nothing wrong with that because there are disproportionately a lot of Black men that are in prison. But I think we also need to not forget women. As a woman myself, I would want to be included in that story. So it’s about women in solitary confinement and the treatment that we don’t see. 

TC: I think the project that you’re describing is so necessary in the representation and the work that it does. It reminds me of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and how heartbreaking it was to read. It’s reporting live and it’s giving these people humanity. 

How does your art relate to your political stances? 

CS: So first I would like to say one that I am Black. I am a woman and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. And all of that is already enough to make a statement when I’m in the room, you know? I am a masculine presenting woman. I don’t conform to what women should do or what women should say or how women should act [according to] patriarchy and racism. So with that being said, my being is political. My personhood is being policed in multiple ways every day. And so in order to combat that my work has to be political because that’s my life.


https://www.instagram.com/lightandsmith/

TC: How does your art relate to your mental health?

CS: In terms of mental health I definitely will say that there’s kind of a bifurcation between helping and hindering. Meaning, [I’m often] stuck on something for so long and I’m just beating myself up about it when it’s not perfect yet, but then really when is a piece ever finished? When is a piece ever perfect? When will it ever be exactly the way I see it in my head? Probably never; it never really ends up happening that way. And I just have to have someone tell me to stop and just put it down. 

My mind is really full all the time, racing all the time. And some of that is in my control and some of it isn’t, but I will say that art, my medium specifically, really helped with being able to relieve that sense of busy-ness. Even if I’m writing a script and to a normal person it may seem like there’s a lot going on, [for me] that’s the most still my brain can be. I feel the most energized after I’ve done a shoot with someone. I love being on sets. I feel like my mind is most still when there’s chaos going on around me which is very hard to explain to people who don’t understand or have some sort of mental illness.

TC: How would you say that you manage stress and anxiety as it relates to your work? And then also as it relates to world events? Because I personally could only imagine working in a field that relates so closely to heavy subjects like mass incarceration and inequality. At some point it can weigh on you.

CS: One, I will be completely transparent and say medication. [It’s important to] just take care of myself first. And if that means medication, if that means therapy, if that means working out [that will help me] to optimize myself. Also, probably the thing that I’ve found to be most important is finding community in those areas.

I definitely have different sets of communities. When I’m dealing with mass incarceration work, I have my Re/Creation family. And we’ve all been in the thick of it since the very beginning of Re/Creation. And then I have my film community. So that has really helped.

Because it is a tough thing to also learn that a lot of artists in any medium deal with anxiety and depression. It’s kind of a weird reality to live in where some of the most beautiful art or the most thought provoking or the most emotionally provoking art in whatever medium was made by someone who had a mental illness. I can still create art in the mental state just exactly how I am. So that’s also kind of cool, but in a creepy cool kind of way. 


https://www.instagram.com/lightandsmith/

TC: Do you have any advice for other artists and other creatives about how to balance mental health, art, and political involvement? 

CS: One day at a time, honestly. I feel like people with depression and anxiety often think about the world on a much broader level. And it’s just like, man, everything kind of sucks. 

And so I was thinking about that and [talking with] my friends and they were just like, you just got to be gentle with yourself. You just gotta take it one day at a time and one project at a time, one idea at a time. 


To learn more about Channing’s prison abolition work with Re/Creation, visit: https://reslashcreation.com/

To see Channing’s latest artistic projects, visit her art Instagram page @Lightandsmith


By Taylor Custis

Taylor Custis is a recent graduate of NYU where she made her own major because it sounded like a cool thing to do. She enjoys stories of all kinds, ethnic foods, and spiritually charged candles. She is currently in Queens embarking on a career in written and visual storytelling.


For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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The Crossroads of Creativity and Activism: A List of Fully Expressed, Politically Active Artists

Monday, July 12th, 2021
Image Credit: https://www.culturetype.com/2018/03/28/titus-kaphar-and-ken-gonzales-day-explore-unseen-narratives-in-historic-portraiture-in-new-national-portrait-gallery-exhibition/

I am an artist. I want to put stories into the world. Stories to connect, to influence, to convict, but mostly to express. I live in an imperfect and unjust world and to create a better future, it is important that I lend my voice and my actions to ethical causes. This sometimes feels like a dead end. Like maybe it is selfish for me to want to create something as frivolous as art when lives are at stake. 

I am complicit in so many unjust systems–economic, national, political–and at the same time I am targeted by a host of other systems that control our world. I think politics and activism are necessary parts of each of our lives but I also believe that they must be present at varying degrees depending on the person. Maybe you don’t organize the march but you go to it. Maybe you don’t march the whole time but you hand out refreshments. Maybe you don’t go at all but you donate to the cause and raise awareness. All are necessary parts of liberation and progress. 

I also take this idea a step further. Activism is directly correlated to art in that art and expression are directly correlated to life. I do not see creative expression as frivolous but in fact life affirming and an ordinary facet of being human. So implementing activism into art or into one’s life as an artist is a very natural and intersectional progression. 

When I am uncertain about exactly how to balance my artistic inclinations with my political beliefs, I look to a host of entertainers, artists, and public figures who I feel are exemplifying this process of marrying art and politics. These people prioritize their creative gifts in a way that also uplifts and highlights their activism. 


Here are a few of the artist-activists that I look up to…. 

Bob the Drag Queen

Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi7cIUhc2tuAf6_3FrKgcfg

Bob uses he/him or she/her pronouns and has been a professional drag queen, performer, and public figure for over a decade. She rose to popularity after winning Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Since then she has gone on to co-host an award winning podcast, Sibling Rivalry, and co-host the HBO reality series We’re Here. Above all else, Bob is an activist. She is outspoken about LGBTQ+ rights and the Black Lives Matter movement. In June of 2021 she hosted a 24 hour virtual charity stream in order to raise money for Black Queer Town Hall. She raised over $60,000!

Kendrick Sampson

Image Credit: https://www.interviewmagazine.com/uncategorized/kendrick-sampson-juneteenth-insecure-blm-september-2020

Kendrick uses he/him pronouns and is an incredibly talented actor. He has appeared in several television shows including two of my favorites, Insecure and How To Get Away With Murder. He is also a community organizer, activist, and liberator. He co-founded BLD PWR, whose mission is to engage “pop culture, education, and activism to build and train an inclusive community of entertainers and athletes to advance radical social change.” He is an active dissenter of the current police state and seeks to bring about intersectional justice especially in regards Black lives and the US justice system. 

Jonathan Van Ness

Image Credit: https://pittnews.com/article/165304/arts-and-entertainment/165304/

Jonathan, affectionately known as JVN, uses he/she/they pronouns and is a grooming specialist, podcast host, and reality star. I came across JVN on the popular trailblazing reboot of the reality series Queer Eye. On the show JVN is a force of positivity, light, and fierceness. On their podcast, Getting Curious, Jonathan explores all sorts of topics related to social justice and political awareness. JVN has interviewed an incredible cache of guests from Bill Nye to Stacy Abrams. 

Jane Fonda

Image Credit: https://oceana.org/blog/qa-jane-fonda-fighting-good-fight-climate-action

Jane Fonda uses she/her pronouns and is an actress with a repertoire that is too extensive to list. My generation was introduced to her through the fantastic comedy series Grace & Frankie. Jane is also a huge activist, feminist, and environmentalist. She is well known for attending climate awareness protests and for getting arrested at them! She also co-founded the Women’s Media Center, “an organization that works to amplify the voices of women in the media through advocacy, media and leadership training, and the creation of original content.” This is only a small portion of her life’s work and accomplishments. 

Titus Kaphar

Image Credit: https://www.culturetype.com/2018/10/17/titus-kaphar-whose-paintings-reconstruct-accepted-historic-narratives-is-a-2018-macarthur-genius-fellow/

Titus uses he/him pronouns and is a painter and multimedia artist. His work revolves around the representation of Black bodies in history and the act of taking up space in high art and historically white environments. In his 2014 work entitled “Beyond the Myth of Benevolence” Titus does the work of revealing suppressed histories; the piece is a portrait of Thomas Jefferson rolled back to reveal a Black woman previously concealed beneath the first canvas. His works shift the gaze of history and show viewers a colonial past laid bare.  


I could go on and on. These are just a few creatives that inspire me. In my own life I take their lead, working to incorporate my values into my artistic endeavors. As creatives we must find and follow our passions. Then we must take the next step and find a way to marry our passions with our politics, letting one fuel the other or participating in art and politics simultaneously. It is possible. We can let art be a respite in the most fearsome and discouraging times.


By: Taylor Custis

Taylor Custis is a recent graduate of NYU where she made her own major because it sounded like a cool thing to do. She enjoys stories of all kinds, ethnic foods, and spiritually charged candles. She is currently located in Queens and is embarking on a career in written and visual storytelling.


For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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The Covid Cooking Club: Chapter 8: Dessert

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

The Covid Cooking Club

Chapter 8: Dessert

Chocolate Cake - Preppy Kitchen
The Cake is a Lie! And other sayings from 2008.

Dessert is the least important and therefore best part of any meal. A good dessert will make up for a meal full of bland “healthy” garbage, while a bad dessert won’t really affect anything because you can just choose to not eat it. Unfortunately, I have literally no dessert-related advice to give. I was told to outline my series of blog posts before writing them, and I chose dessert as the last topic because I think I’m much funnier than I actually am. The fact that I did not actually have anything to say on the subject escaped my mind until the last moment. I figured I could buy myself some time to experiment by creating a low-effort fake chapter for last week, but after doing that I forgot about it until right now. The only dessert I know how to make with any degree of competence is cake, and I can’t actually do that because I only have an oven. Also it tells you how to make it on the box. Honestly there’s no reason to even make dessert when you live right next to a Trader Joe’s. They have these great ripoff Tim-Tams with a complicated name that I can’t actually remember because they stopped selling them. That’s a good thing because I would absolutely have given myself diabetes if I had unlimited access to them. Honestly I’ll probably end up doing that anyway, but at least it’ll be name-brand.

Looking back on it, this was a pretty stupid idea for an article series. For one thing, I’m pretty sure I’ve only genuinely contributed two recipes anyone can’t find immediately online, and one of them was literally just “put some bread in a bun.” And for people to reach those recipes they would have to put up with my exaggerated obnoxious authorial personality, which is a feat few can manage. Actually, this entire column is counterproductive to the very idea of this website since you can’t even use the coupons for home cooking. Fortunately, Andrew Cuomo agrees with me and has decided to unilaterally end the lockdown starting Wednesday, which he apparently has the power to do or something? Anyway seeing at how masterfully he managed the nursing home situation I can guarantee that we’ll all be fine, which is why I’m switching over to restaurant reviews next week. Because let’s be honest, you don’t really want to cook, do you? (“You” here refers to a genericized reader and not you as a person. Don’t feel insulted. I love you.) Cooking is messy and takes time and you usually fail. Most people who cook that aren’t professional chefs only do it because they can’t afford to eat out. The rest do it because being unable to provide for yourself is one those embarrassing social qualities that causes reasonable people to look down on you, like not washing your hands or voting Republican. In my case I do it because it’s easier than resolving my crippling sense of inferiority towards my family by actually talking to them. I’d be shocked if even a single person used any of the advice I’ve given, and I’d be even more shocked if it actually helped them in any way. If you actually enjoyed reading these, I’d like to apologzie for tricking you into wasting your time.

You should still totally read my restaurant reviews though.

https://www.campusclipper.com/new/popup1.php?CUP_COD=4019

Alexander Rose studies satire at NYU Gallatin and wishes he was actually just Oscar Wilde. He is interested in writing, roleplaying games, and procrastination. Describing himself in the third person like this makes him feel weird.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  


At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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From New York to…D.C.

Monday, August 7th, 2017

We live in a very politically aware time. For that most are both thankful and disappointed. New York is one of the best cities in the world to express your political views (more for the left than the right, but there’s a healthy amount of both). With protests for all sides, causes, and points of view, in this day and age New York is ripe with political activity. Naturally, another place for this is D.C., which besides being gorgeous and extremely hot, is a hotbed of political activity.

http://www.grayline.com/

http://www.grayline.com/

http://www.PBase.com

http://www.PBase.com/

Here’s a good way to get involved in both cities:

Protests.

Currently, protesting or marching is a huge part of being invested in whatever causes you’re pro or against. Most types of protests and rallies have a website that will give details on time and place. In NYC these usually take place along 5th Ave. if the protest or march is really big. Battery Park and Union Square are also popular places for rallies or marches. In D.C. Constitution Ave. and The National Mall have hosted some of the largest rallies in history. The White House also used to be a popular place to protest.

Rally against Islamophobia at Battery Park. Taken by Jainita Patel.

Rally against Islamophobia at Battery Park.
Taken by Jainita Patel.

The National Mall. Taken by Jainita Patel.

The National Mall.
Taken by Jainita Patel.

 

Earth Day March in D.C. Taken by Jainita Patel.

Earth Day March in D.C.
Taken by Jainita Patel.

 

Volunteer.

If protests aren’t your cup of tea, volunteering for a political campaign or any museum or cultural center that you care about can be a great way to support a cause you care about. In D.C., volunteering for a political campaign is a popular way to support local and federal government for the party you’re apart of. If the humanities are more your type of deal, the Smithsonian or even some smaller museums are always happy to take volunteers. The Holocaust Museum is also usually looking for volunteers. In NYC, most museums or cultural groups—especially those involving minorities—are looking for people to help run events. In both cities, homeless shelters are great places to volunteer to learn more about social and economic issues while helping someone out.

Inside the Holocaust Museum. Taken by Jainita Patel.

Inside the Holocaust Museum.
Taken by Jainita Patel.

 Vote.

This is the most important part of getting involved politically. NYC and D.C. are two cities that are very directly impacted by local and national elections. Registering to vote is super important if you want to make an impact in your city. You can register to vote in New York here and in D.C. here. Once your register to vote, you can help volunteer by going to this site for New York and this site for D.C. Voting stations are everywhere in both cities. In New York, there are a plethora of places to vote and they can be found here. If you’re in D.C., you can find where to vote here.

Polling Station in NYC. http://www.amsvans.com/

Polling Station in NYC.
http://www.amsvans.com/

 Get to Know Your City.

One of the best ways to become politically aware in both cities is to know your city. The best way to do that is to get out there and figure out the problems in your city that you feel strongly about so you can vote for the correct candidate in your next local election. These issues don’t just have to social or economic issues, they can range from even the simplest city infrastructure problem to how your city can become more green. In a smaller town, it’s easy to go to a town meeting and voice your opinion, but this is a lot harder in a bigger city so make sure to keep up on local news and double check your sources for online articles when it comes to events in your city. Even so, the best way to figure out what you care about is to witness these issues first hand.

Whether you’re into politics or not, politics effect both of these wonderful cities. Hopefully if you enjoy the political aspect of NYC, you’ll get to experience it in D.C. one day and vice versa.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

By Jainita Patel

Jainita is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is double majoring in English and Environmental Studies at NYU. Though writing fiction and painting are her two main passions, she also has a love of travel and adventure that has taken her across the globe.  Jainita writes under the pseudonym Jordan C. Rider. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015. 

 

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