Pierce Pioneer

Tacoma Mural Project

Tacoma is a city with a vibrant art scene, from its Art Museum and Glass Museum, to its Musical Playhouse, and the dozens of family owned boutiques and jewelry stores in between. Still, some of the most prominent pieces of Tacoma’s local art (as well as history) comes from its colorful murals decorating downtown Tacoma. 

The murals in Tacoma mix culture, advocacy, and tradition into art and with the help of Downtown on the Go and Spaceworks Tacoma, the legacies and meanings of these murals can be explored and discussed via a virtual 1.1 mail tour.

The first mural the tour shows you is titled Working Forward Weaving Anew, and according to the guides this mural “is designed to honor cultural traditions, the natural environment, and our need for new harmonious and sustainable paths into the future.” Painted by Esteban Camacho and Jessilyn Brinkerhoff with the help of a team of nine Native American artists, this mural was handpainted in only 6 weeks and is part of the Prairie Line Trail Project and reminds us to respect the land we share with others and nurture those relationships. 

A recent mural that was shown during this tour was a solo painting done by Tiffany Hammonds in honor of the 2020 protests, this mural isn’t painted directly on the storefronts and instead was painted on the boards during the protests in response to the death of George Floyd and the ongoing police brutality. In an interview with Chase Hutchinson of the News Tribune, Hammonds talks about the message behind this piece. 

“The message is hope,” says Hammonds. “If it’s our vision, that means we are capable of doing it.”

A more diverse twist on the usual painted murals on the tour was one done by David Long and Al Pikart who took screenshot images from webcam chats and turned them into an art piece drawing attention to the mistreatment of people detained at the NW ICE Processing Center. The words “Queremos Libertad” translates to “We want Freedom” and pushes Long and Pikart’s message that no human should be treated illegally. 

The final mural shown on the tour was a beautiful tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The artist, Nori Kimura painted this mural with four of his middle school students as he said it would be more meaningful to him. It was RBG’s work for equal rights, activism for women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community that inspired Kimura to paint this mural as a tribute to her work and legacy as an advocate and activist.

My takeaway from this tour was that our state is steeped in history and culture and although it may not always be pleasant we must remember it and keep it with us, for me, the art displayed on this tour is a reminder to embrace who we are, who we live with, and where we come from so that we might pave the way towards a better future.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Meaning Behind Each Pride Flag

The month of Pride is upon us and already you’ve probably seen the beautiful flag colors popping up across towns and on social media. However, if you’re a new ally or a new member of the LGBTQ+ community many of these flags can be confusing. There are a lot of them after all, and each one of them has its own unique meaning. Worry not, for in this listicle we’ll cover each pride flag and the community they represent.

  • The Pride Flag

The rainbow pride flag is symbolic of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole and stemmed from an earlier version of the flag, created by Gilbert Baker, who chose a rainbow for the flag to represent hope and positivity.

  • Lesbian Pride Flag

The original flag for this community was created by Natalie McCray in 2010 and included a kiss mark on the top left corner. However, after facing allegations of transphobia, biphobia and racism in 2018, the community redid the flag. The dark orange represents gender nonconformity; the middle shade of orange represents independence; the light shade of orange represents community; the white is for unique relationships to womanhood; the light pink is for serenity and peace, the middle pink is for love and sex and the dark pink is for femininity.

  • Bisexual Pride Flag

Bisexuality can be described as an attraction to more than one gender, often men and women. Micheal Page created the Bisexual Pride Flag in 1998 to increase the visibility of the bisexual community. The pink represents same-sex attraction, the purple attraction to both sexes and the blue attraction to the opposite sex.

  • Pansexual Pride Flag

The creator of the pansexual flag isn’t known, but this flag gained traction in 2010 and is representative of people attracted to all genders and sexualities. The pink represents people who identify as female, the yellow as nonbinary attraction and the blue as people who identify as male.

  • Transgender Pride Flag

This flag was designed in 1999 by Monica Helms, a transgender activist, author and veteran. Helms designed this flag so that no matter how it was displayed it would always be correct. The pink represents girls, the blue represents boys and the white represents those who are gender neutral or transitioning.

  • Philadelphia’s People of Color Inclusive Flag

In 2017 the city of Philadelphia added black and brown to the traditional pride flag to symbolize and bring awareness to LGBTQ+ people of color. The flag had been created in response to racial discrimination in the city’s gay bars and was donned by Lena Waithe in the 2018 Met Gala.

  • Queer People of Color Flag

During the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, this flag gained traction within the LGBTQ+ community and became symbolic for LGBTQ+ allies of the BLM movement.

  • Asexual Pride Flag[1] 

The asexual spectrum consists of people who feel sexual attraction less than average, varying from none at all, to infrequently, to only after they’ve formed a strong connection with another person. This flag was created in 2010 to bring awareness to the asexual community. 

The black represents the entire asexual spectrum, the gray represents gray asexuality and demisexuals (people who only feel sexual attraction when they have a strong emotional connection with another person), white represents sexuality and the purple represents community.

  • Aromantic Pride Flag[2] 

The aromantic spectrum consists of people who feel no romantic attraction to others or romantic attraction only after they’ve formed a strong emotional connection with another person. The dark green represents aromanticism, the light green represents the aromantic spectrum; white is for platonic and aesthetic attractions, and gray and black represent sexuality.

  • Genderqueer Pride Flag

Genderqueer is a term for people who don’t conform to or act as the gender they were assigned to at birth. The genderqueer flag was made in 2011 by writer and musician Marilyn Roxie. The lavender represents androgyny, the white is for agender identities and the green is for non-binary identities.

  • Non-binary Pride Flag

Non-binary is somewhat of an umbrella term and depending on who you ask it can mean many different things. At its core the definition of non-binary means not adhearing to the traditional male-female binary or identifying outside of it. 

The flag was created in 2014 for people who didn’t feel that they fell under the genderqueer flag. The yellow represents genders outside the gender binary, the white is for people who identify with different genders, the purple is for people that identify as both male and female and the black is for people who identify as agender.

  • Agender Pride Flag

The Agender pride flag was created in 2014 by Salem X and represents people who don’t identify with or connect to any gender. The black and white represent the absence of gender. The gray is for semi-genderlessness and the green is for non-binary genders.

  • Genderfluid Pride Flag

People who identify as genderfluid shift between genders, be it male, female or non-binary. This flag was created in 2012 by JJ Poole to create a flag that was less broad than the genderqueer flag. The pink represents femininity, the white is for all genders, the purple is for both masculinity and femininity, the black is for a lack of gender and the blue is for masculinity.

  • Intersex Pride Flag

Intersex is an umbrella term for people whose bodies do not conform to the male-female binary. This can be having both sets of genitals, a varying combination of chromosomes, or different sets of internal reproductive organs. 

The intersex flag was created by Australia’s co-executive director of Intersex Human Rights Morgan Carpenter in 2013 to create an image intersex people could identify with and join under without depending on stereotypes. The gold represents the reclaimed slur “hermaphrodite” and the purple circle in the middle represents being whole and complete, as well as symbolizing the right for intersex people to make their own decisions about their bodies and genders.

  • Polysexual Pride Flag

The polysexual flag was created in 2012 and lies between both the bisexual and pansexual flags, in being that people who identify as polysexual are attracted to more than two genders but not necessarily all. The pink represents attraction to women, the green is for attraction to non-binary genders and the blue represents attraction to men.

  • Polyamourous Pride Flag

Not to be confused with the polysexual pride flag, the polyamourous pride flag is representative of people in open relationships or in relationships involving more than two people. The original flag was made in 1995 by Jim Evans, who used blue to represent honesty and openness in the relationship, red for love and sexuality, and black for people who had to hide their relationships. 

Evans’ flag also featured a golden pi symbol on the front, the symbol for infinity or infinite partners. Over the years, however, the flag has changed to be both easier on the eyes and less stigmatizing by desaturating the colors and changing the pi symbol to a golden heart with an infinity symbol across it.

  • Straight Ally Pride Flag

The straight ally flag is exactly what it sounds like, for people who don’t identify as LGBTQ+ but support the community. The black and white in the background represents the allies, while the rainbow in front represents the LGBTQ+ community. 

While this is far from all the flags you’re likely to see at Pride this year, as more subsections of the community blossom and grow each year, these are the ones that have gained the most traction within recent history and should be the easiest to identify. If there’s ever a flag you don’t recognize this year, don’t be afraid to ask. You’re likely to learn so much more about the community and how to support it!

8 ways to spend Memorial Day 2021

What is memorial day? Why do we celebrate it?

America’s tradition of honoring fallen soldiers is not new to the 20th Century. Dating back to the Civil War, which took the lives of over 600,000 men, citizens have mourned and gathered in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Originally known as Decoration Day, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, founded the holiday on May 30, 1868. During this time, it was known as “Decoration Day” for the act of decorating the graves of buried soldiers with flowers and reciting prayers.

When the country was faced with WWl and WWll, the Decoration Day commemorated the deaths of soldiers from all wars instead of just the Civil War. From 1868 to 1971, the nation honored and mourned on May 30, but in 1971, Memorial Day was established as a federal holiday and moved to May 31.

Today Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and attending parades. It is a time to be thankful for our freedoms, honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives, and to give back to those who serve. There are many ways to observe this holiday, here’s a few to get you started for Memorial Day 2021.

Things to do for Memorial Day 2021:

  • 1. Give thanks to veterans

    Suggest calling a loved one, family friend who has served, or their family and thanking them for paying the ultimate sacrifice. Or if you want to send a letter or package to a soldier that you don’t know, think about participating in organizations such as A Million Thanks and Operation Gratitude.

  • 2. Visit a cemetery

    Pay tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for our country at a veterans cemetery near you. The Tahoma National Cemetery, is a great local cemetery to visit and honor Washingtonian veterans. If you can’t find a local veterans memorial, you can sponsor flowers to lay on a veterans grave through Memorial Day Flowers.

  • 3. Watch a documentary

    To get in the memorial day spirit and understand what our veterans have gone through, watching a war documentary is a great way to learn about our history. Here is IMBd’s Top 100 list of the best war documentaries of all time.

  • 4. Donate to veteran charity/non profit

    To directly help veterans and their families, consider donating to a charity or non-profit organization of your choice. Research trusted groups and determine what cause you want to support, either being homeless veterans, the wounded, their families or those struggling with PTSD.

  • 5. Shop veteran owned business

    Shopping veteran owned businesses on Memorial Day or any day, is an opportunity to support our heroes financially and keep our communities flourishing. Veterans Owned Businesses and Washington Department of Veterans Affairs are easy portals to find a business near you.

  • 6. Fly a flag

    A simple way to pay your respect and show love for America is flying a flag. This could be a large flag placed on the side of your house, or smaller flags stuck in the ground. Here’s a few things to remember when displaying your flag and performing proper Etiquette.

  • 7. Take a moment of Silence

    No matter what your plans are for Memorial Day, take a moment of silence at 3 p.m. local time for The National Moment of Remembrance. Taking one minute of silence to send your thanks and prayers to all who have served and or are currently serving, will remind you of what to be thankful for in America.

  • 8. Get outdoors

    If you’re looking to get outside and enjoy the nice weather, taking a hike is a great way to appreciate America’s beautiful landscapes that veterans have died to protect. Also, get together with family and friends for a barbeque or a picnic to honor our veterans’ sacrifices and celebrate our freedoms in a way for all to enjoy.

Park Appreciation Day at Wapato Park

COVID-19’s Effect on Sports

Feb. 19, 2020 – the last day that we stepped on a field together. 

It has now been almost 12 months since we last laced up our boots, but we finally resumed play on Feb. 9. We were given a second chance to play the game that we love, for after what felt like an eternity away from my teammates.

Unlike Feb. 2020, this year looks very different. Every player is required to wear masks; players aren’t allowed to socialize outside of practice and social distancing is a part of our daily lives. Yet, with a different appearance to the world’s most beautiful game, on the field, it never changed. 

I still love this game just as much if not more. It has done so much for me over the years and I will do whatever it takes to compete on the field every day.

My teammates all seemed to share this opinion and on the first day of practice, you could not see the faces of each teammate, but you could tell that they were smiling from ear to ear. After all the strenuous and annoying suspension of Pierce College athletics, the team had never been more ecstatic to compete. We had 12 months of energy and passion balled up inside waiting to be poured out on the soccer field. 

Playing for Pierce College’s men’s soccer program has been one of the most enriching experiences of my young adult life. It has brought me new friends, new possibilities and a chance to play at the collegiate level. Yet all of that would be put on hold when the Covid-19 pandemic took over all of our lives.

Back in February of last year, the team was in good spirits and met for the first time since Nov. 2019. We had a new class of recruits to build upon a strong list of returning players, who represented essential leadership going forward into a new season later that year. 

The previous season ended with a devastating 1-0 defeat in the first round of the NWAC playoffs. We were left with a bitter taste in our mouths and knew we had to push ourselves to the maximum during the off-season.

Consequently, our off-season was postponed when all Pierce College athletics were suspended in March 2020. This was a hard pill to swallow as the opportunity to strive as a program was stripped away from us. The team could no longer meet in person, workout together, or even hang out outside of practice, we were deprived of the opportunity to play the sport that we loved.

Although, this didn’t stop us from persevering through the separation of players, as we engaged in individual workouts and training sessions. Our coaches required us to download and participate in a virtual training app called Techne Futbol. 

We were required to complete five hours of training sessions each week, as the app would track our minutes. This created a competitive atmosphere between the players who wanted to improve the most, but it lacked accountability.

Fast-forwarding throughout the off-season, our start-up date continued to be pushed back further and further. We were originally told April, then July, then August, then December, and finally January.

The team continued to get our hopes up for a return to play, but our hopes were crushed every few months. It was hard to gauge when we had to turn on the jets and train hard for the season and created an emotionally draining process that left us feeling grim. Yet, when given the first opportunity to return to the field, we took it, even if that meant wearing a mask knowing that we were healthy.

From now until the end of the season we are required to wear masks at all times, from when we step out of our cars until we leave. I have been wearing masks for months now and have become accustomed to wearing them in indoor places, but never while running outside. The majority of us aren’t in game shape going into the first weeks of training and wearing a mask while running only makes these matters worse. 

I am all for taking priority in players’ health, but it can’t be doubted that masks bring performance complications and hinder the amount of oxygen that we take in. According to our Athletic Director Duncan Stevenson, our state government and the NWAC are moving forward in hopes of not wearing masks during games, which would be applauded by players who on average run seven miles per match.

Our current safety protocols include filling out a health check form every day that we meet, temperature checks before entering the field, and applying hand sanitizer before each competition. These protocols may cause extra pain and add to more things to remember daily, but they have the best interest of players in mind. 

The thing that I will miss most is having fans at every game. Seeing my friends, family, and fellow students at each game adds to the motivation and competitive atmosphere. My parents never missed a game last year and were disappointed by the news, and I’m sure that they still find some way to watch my games. For everyone else, our games will be streamed online which expands our outreach but takes away the in-person spark that fans fuel you with as a player.

This season is unlike any other season, but I will trade Covid-19 protocols any day of the week if it gave me the opportunity to step foot on the soccer field one last time. All I can ask for is an opportunity to prove myself as a player and a man, thankfully I got the opportunity this winter. 

63rd Annual Grammy Predictions – Who Should Win vs. Who Will Win?

At last year’s Grammy ceremony, we saw teen sensation Billie Eilish sweep the awards show stage with a collection of pop songs that fuses  relatable melancholy with grandiose visual and musical aesthetics. This years ceremony finds itself in a new predicament, one where the music industry and the major components of it, such as ceremony shows and concerts, are sidelined due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Some artists took the pandemic as a time to practice escapism, creating music that is exuberant and bright, cheery and representative of a better time than the ones we’re living through currently. Others dove into their inner psyche, and wrote music that reflected the shifting social climates of America, and the way that ur brains all struggled through a period of self-isolation.

Which of these forms of artistic exploration and expression will the Academy reward; and of the nominated categories, who are the most likely winners, and who I believe should be the likely winner? Here, we present predictions for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.

Pop Field

With Justin Bieber, Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift leading in nominations within this field, it’s safe to assume that this will also determine the winners for major categories. Lipa and Swift have reasonably distinguished themselves as major front-runners for the year, as both are representing contrasting sides of the pop music community and its purposes today. 

Dua Lipa represents a younger generation focused on experimentation and escapism within pop, evidenced by her nominated smash hit, “Don’t Start Now”, which features a glossy and danceable, disco-inspired sound to compliment its rather standard pop song conventions.

Taylor Swift, the well established pop icon, abandons her somewhat inconsistent reputation as the princess of country-pop to write and produce some of her most mature and nuanced music to date. With a remade version of Fearless looming in the near future it’d be hard to discredit her merits as one of America’s iconic songwriters, and the Academy has certainly been unafraid of claiming so.

Other notable nominations include teen sensation and Grammy darling, Billie Eilish, present in this field with her second top-ten Billboard hit, “Everything I Wanted”, one of the strongest popular commentaries on fame in recent memory. Also nominated for her No Time to Die Bond theme song, it feels likely that we could witness the young star claiming more Grammy fame.

Additionally, Lady Gaga finds herself underrepresented at this year’s Grammys following her most bombastic pop releases in almost a decade. She’s likely to receive recognition for her pop banger with Ariana Grande, but the rightful group that dominated the last year and represented western cultures growing interest in K-Pop would be BTS. Their first single to top both the Global Hot 100 and US Hot 100, “Dynamite” is easily the most joyous boy-band single in years, and is worthy of awarding.

Best Pop Solo Performance:

Who Should Win: “Everything I Wanted” by Billie Eilish

Who is Going to Win: “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa or “Cardigan” by Taylor Swift

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance:

Who Should Win: “Dynamite” by BTS

Who is Going to Win: “Rain on Me” by Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande

Best Pop Vocal Album:

Who Should Win: Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa

Who is Going to Win: folklore by Taylor Swift

Dance/Electronic Field

With one of the most diverse groupings in the category’s recent memory, it’s evident that the Grammy committee is dedicated to appearing as though it is changing with the times. Kaytranada is the only nominee within this category to score a nomination in the major fields, being as he’s in consideration for Best New Artist. 

Kaytranada’s BUBBA release was met to general critical acclaim and a somewhat mixed fan reception. While singles such as the nominated “10%” performed well, but most non-single tracks on this album have been considered deep cuts within the DJ’s ever-growing discography. 

This field has notoriety for awarding bigger EDM artists over smaller ones, so it’s most likely that Diplo and Flume, both previous Grammy award winners, are the frontrunners. For both artists, these tracks represent earnest creativity from both producers, and are both some of the artists best works. Despite that, Diplo’s “On My Mind” is easily the popular choice from this list, especially following its brief tenure as a TikTok meme.

The real sleeper hit in this list of nominees is Jayda G’s “Both of Us”, a slow burn house track that was produced by Jayda and producer Fred again. With an incredibly simplistic beat and understated, raw vocal performance, the track is emotional and intelligent. 

Dance and electronic spaces have notoriously underserviced black artistry and undercredited those same black women despite a heavy utilization of black aesthetics and sound. While I find it unlikely that Jayda G’s joyful romp is rewarded, it is the rightfully deserving winner.

Additionally, Arca became the fourth trans person to become a Grammy nominee, joining late friend and collaborator, SOPHIE, as the second trans woman nominated for Best Electronic Album. While SOPHIE did not win for her stunning debut, Oil of Every Pearls Un-Insides, her influence and sound can be heard on both Arca and other nominees music. 

To see Arca win this award for her most accessible album, KiCk i, which is an avant-garde fusion of pop and deconstructed club, would be monumental to left-field experimental music. 

Best Dance Recording:

Who Should Win: “Both of Us” by Jayda G

Who is Going to Win: “On My Mind” by Diplo & SIDEPIECE

Best Dance/Electronica Album:

Who Should Win: KiCk i by Arca

Who is Going to Win: Energy by Disclosure

Rock/Metal/Alternative Field

Phoebe Bridgers has certainly set the scene for herself as music’s latest critical darling, and that continues to show due to her and HAIM being the only nominees in this field to also be nominated in the major leagues. Additionally, Fiona Apple finds herself nominated only three times for her critically acclaimed record Fetch the Bolt Cutters, which undoubtedly was one of the strongest records of the last year. 

Grace Potter and Big Thief are both the indie picks on this roster. Big Thief, helmed by Adrianne Lenker, was previously nominated for their first record of 2019, UFOF. While I believe they are unlikely to be rewarded this year, “Not” is easily the most engaging and cathartic track nominated this year.

On the other hand, Grace Potter largely avoided critical reception on her latest two records despite receiving commercial success. “Daylight” is simultaneously a slow burn and heavy hitter; it may not impact a listener on their first experience, but it’s the type of song that once you’ve heard, sticks with you forever. However I think it is most likely we see previous Grammy winner Brittany Howard rewarded here for her abundantly soulful ballad, “Stay High”.

The metal category sees some noteworthy nominations as well. Poppy became the first woman to be nominated in this category as an individual artist. A win for her would push the boundaries on not only who metal music is being created for, but under what grounds of consumption. 

Additionally, both Power Trip and Code Orange have become notable critical darlings within the metal scene since their inceptions; I think it is more likely that we see a co-signing of these up-and-coming bands from the committee. 

Ice T’s band Body Count also received a nomination here, allowing a majority black band to find its space once again in what could be considered a largely white scene. A win would mean that the said standard for success is possible for people who don’t necessarily appeal to the genre’s standard demographic.

A few longtime Grammy favorites also find themselves representing the Best Alternative Album field. While rising critical darling Phoebe Bridgers stands a large chance at being rewarded for her 2020 record, Punisher, Fiona Apple, Beck, Tame Impala, and Brittany Howard all stand decent chances at taking the award. 

Tame Impala further develops his brand of psychedelic rock into pop formats, creating danceable and accessible indie tracks that are worthy of praise and enjoyment. Additionally, Brittany Howard’s soulful Jaime is a testament to her lived experiences, and what America is like for a poor, biracial lesbian. It’s worthy of praise, and the Grammy’s seem to know that. 

Best Rock Performance:

Who Should Win: “Not” by Big Thief

Who is Going to Win: “Kyoto” by Phoebe Bridgers

Best Metal Performance:

Who Should Win: “BLOODMONEY” by Poppy

Who is Going to Win: “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Ax) – Live” by Power Trip

Best Rock Song:

Who Should Win: “Shameika” by Fiona Apple

Who is Going to Win: “Stay High” by Brittany Howard

Best Rock Album:

Who Should Win: Kiwanuka by Michael Kiwanuka

Who is Going to Win: Sound & Fury by Sturgill Simpson or The New Abnormal by The Strokes

Best Alternative Album:

Who Should Win: Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple

Who is Going to Win: Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers or Jaime by Brittany Howard

R&B Field

Following a tumultuous summer of racial turmoil and campaigns throughout the world, the R&B category sees itself most affected by these events, with numerous songs having been written and recorded in response. In contrast to Jacob Colliers avant-pop R&B fusion, and Beyoncé’s “BLACK PARADE”, most of the R&B performance nominees are somber expressions of love, pain, and struggles for power in a system that specifically disables some from obtaining such. 

While “BLACK PARADE” is easily the most popular nominee in this category, as well as being the only song also nominated in a major category, “Goat Head” is a nuanced and soulful introspection on Brittany Howard’s relationship with race and oppression, due to her parent’s interracial relationship. 

Additionally, Emily King surprises with an incredibly simplistic acoustic track that carefully straddles the lines between soulful mourning and call to action, and is worthy of praise.

The best R&B song category also finds itself in a somewhat odd place, with both somber emotional tracks such as Robert Glasper & H.E.R.’s collaboration “Better Than I Imagined” and the buoyant and groovy pop track, “Do It” from sister act Chloe x Halle. 

H.E.R. finds herself as a double nominee in this category this year, also nominated for her collaboration with Skip Marley, “Slow Down”. Both of these tracks are simple love songs that are accessible and high quality, with the former being a fun and dance worthy fusion of dancehall and modern R&B’s guitar-centric style. 

Best R&B Album finds itself in another odd predicament. The assumption to be made is that Jhené Aiko’s Chilombo is the frontrunner, seeing as it’s the only album in this category that is also nominated for Album of the Year. 

While Aiko certainly has established a reputation for developing what could be considered modern neo soul, this is not very represented in her latest record, which often puts attention grabbing hooks and sensual vibes over tracks with actual substance. 

Thundercat has previously won a Grammy for his work on Kendrick Lamar’s “These Walls”, and has been critically well received for many years. While his latest record largely explores and incorporates musical elements from his 2017 release, Drunk, It is What It Is is certainly his most accessible and enjoyable record to date, and worthy of praise. 

Additionally, Chloe x Halle had one of the most notable pop moments of the year with their Ungodly Hour record, which saw them do numerous live streamed performances and music videos. With a Chrome Edition of the record just released, the album is certain to attain the sister further Grammy buzz.

Best R&B Performance:

Who Should Win: “See Me” by Emily King

Who is Going to Win: “BLACK PARADE” by Beyoncé

Best Traditional R&B Performance:

Who Should Win: “Wonder What She Thinks of Me” by Chloe x Halle

Who is Going to Win: “Wonder What She Thinks of Me” by Chloe x Halle

Best R&B Song:

Who Should Win: “Do It” by Chloe x Halle

Who is Going to Win: “BLACK PARADE” by Beyoncé

Best Progressive R&B Album:

Who Should Win: Ungodly Hour by Chloe x Halle

Who is Going to Win: Chilombo by Jhené Aiko

Rap Field

Highlighting new artists and protest songs in a newly unprecedented manner, the Grammy committee seems dedicated to persuade American audiences that they’ve come to terms with their own issues with diversity. 

Genres like Rap/Hip-Hop and R&B have always existed to separate black artists into a position where they are “recognized” but still not considered for major awards. This is evidenced with none of this year’s Best Rap Album nominees being nominated for Album of the Year and with no Hip-Hop producers being considered for Producer of the Year.

Most of the nominated tracks spent extended periods occupying the Billboard charts. Of these songs, Roddy Ricch makes a case for himself as a standout with acclaimed single “The Box”, as well as a double nominee position on his collaboration with DaBaby’s “Rockstar”. 

While the relevancy curve has arguably not been doing Roddy any favors as of late, with white America’s “rapper-of-the-moment” constantly fluctuating, “The Box” still stands as a highlight of life pre-pandemic, and is worthy of awardship. 

On the opposing side, Best New Artist nominee, Megan thee Stallion, certainly had the most show-stopping year of her fellow rappers. With 2 number one singles, one of which is the nominated “Savage (Remix)” featuring Beyoncé, as well as a debut record that is sure to be in rotation for months to come, Megan makes a strong case for herself as an adversary in what is otherwise a male-dominated category. Megan reigning supreme would be a legendary moment for women in rap.

Additionally, DaBaby is another multi-time nominee at this year’s ceremony, including nominations in the major categories. With his level of production value and the overwhelming popularity of his multiple hits in the last year, he stands a decent chance at being crowned an upset winner in this field. 

Additionally, the committee has rewarded white rappers in the past and I would not be shocked to see “What’s Poppin’” claim awards over aforementioned artists due to the general accessibility of Jack Harlow’s brand of pop rap.

Best Rap Performance:

Who Should Win: “Savage (Remix)” by Megan thee Stallion & Beyoncé

Who is Going to Win: “Savage (Remix)” by Megan thee Stallion & Beyoncé

Best Melodic Rap Performance:

Who Should Win: “The Box” by Roddy Ricch

Who is Going to Win: “Rockstar” by DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch

Best Rap Song:

Who Should Win: “Savage (Remix)” by Megan thee Stallion & Beyoncé

Who is Going to Win: “Rockstar” by DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch

Best Rap Album:

Who Should Win: Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist

Who is Going to Win: King’s Disease by Nas or A Written Testimony by Jay Electronica

General Field

This year’s general field finds itself in an almost precarious situation. The battle seems to be coming down to Taylor Swift, who is en route to establishing herself as one of the pop greats, and Dua Lipa, who is benefitting from the high of a euphoric sophomore era. While Swift has certainly made artistic development worthy of praise, it would be a safe move to crown Swift in the present moment. 

Other nominees in the general field stand out because they did not receive many nominations in other categories. HAIM’s Women in Music Pt. III only received a best rock performance nomination despite also being in contention for Album of the Year. Women in Music, Pt. III is the most finely crafted and varied album up for the major award, however it is unlikely that the sister trio is rewarded for such.

Critical success’ such as Phoebe Bridgers and Kaytranada also find themselves on the roster for Best New Artist, despite both of their debut albums coming out over three years ago. I think this actually hurts artists like Bridgers and Kaytra because it means artists who are actually benefiting from the relevancy curve of a true debut record, such as Megan thee Stallion, stand a larger chance. 

That is not to propose the idea that Megan is an undeserving winner however. Megan winning in a major field would be the first time a female rapper has done so since Lauryn Hill, and would be a major stepping stone for both black women and rappers in the industry today. 

Megan is a clear standout of the nominees, and stands a chance at walking away this sunday as a multi-time grammy award winning artist, and certainly the most deserving best new artist of 2020.

Best New Artist:

Who Should Win: Megan thee Stallion

Who is Going to Win: Megan thee Stallion or Phoebe Bridgers

Record of the Year:

Who Should Win: “Savage (Remix)” by Megan the Stallion & Beyoncé

Who is Going to Win: “BLACK PARADE” by Beyoncé or “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa

Song of the Year:

Who Should Win: “Everything I Wanted” by Billie Eilish

Who is Going to Win: “cardigan” by Taylor Swift or “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa

Song of the Year:

Who Should Win: Women in Music, Pt. III by HAIM

Who is Going to Win: folklore by Taylor Swift or Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa

Ultimately, we’re likely to either see the crowning of a newly reigning pop diva, or the establishing of a genre-fluid pop icon who’s set to become one of the most esteemed artists of her generation. What it likely to happen is that we’ll see a Grammy ceremony like no other, deeply impacted by the political turmoil of America’s last year as well as the social struggles of artists across the globe that hope to express themselves despite limited accessibility.

Travel Journal

Student Life's Outreach Coordinator Tracy Vo, wanted to put this event together for people that may be unfamiliar with the Seattle area. Her vision of this event was to inform people of all the different locations and places you can visit while in the Seattle Area.

Cultural Exchange

These are the faces of fun at Pierce

They spend their time dreaming up ways to make each week something special for their peers

Anne Hammond / Staff Photographer

Yajahira Parham

Special Events Coordinator

[email protected]

Parham hopes to surpass event attendance goals, attract students who don’t normally attend events and create new events.

Last year she worked as an Entertainment and Recreation coordinator for Student Life.

“Planning events is like a piece of pie for me now,” says Parham. “I definitely like going all out.”

As an organizer and planner at heart, she is also focused on her board goal of increasing attendance at all board events and activities.

She plans to earn an AA in dental hygiene and then continue at Pierce in a special program.

Anne Hammond / Staff Photographer

Kaela Belen

Issues and Awareness Coordinator

[email protected]

Belen organizes events that raise awareness for certain causes such as mental health, Breast Cancer Awareness and Hispanic heritage. Mental health is a priority for Belen.

“I want students to know where they can get help and know the resources and hopefully help people feel like they belong,” said Belen.

She hopes students feel like Pierce College is a community and a family where they can get to know each other, not just a school. She wants to help students build connections and feel happier as a result.

“I like to think big,” she said.

Belen wants students to remember an event. That it made an impact on them, they got something out of it and it helped them or a friend.

Belen is an education major who came from a large family and loves to cook.

Anne Hammond / Staff Photographer

Tracy Vo

Outreach Coordinator

[email protected]

Vo wants to create memories, opportunities for creativity, and attract new students to engage more in college so they learn how much Pierce College cares for them.

When students complete their college education, she wants them to leave with lots of good memories, in addition to knowledge. She feels that Student Life events can affect students in positive ways and increase their happiness.

“We can find more services for the students, such as the free bus pass,” says Vo.

Vo says she is passionate about what she is doing; she’s creative, very organized, a good learner and loves working with people.

“My strong point is that I’m an international student and I want to create new things that all students can enjoy,” says Vo. 

“People are curious about differences.”

Vo is studying business at Pierce College and ultimately will specialize in marketing elsewhere.

Anne Hammond / Staff Photographer

Dennis Johnson

Communications Coordinator

[email protected]

Johnson is in the digital design program, and is passionate about helping students with mental health by providing speakers, resources, and by increasing awareness of what exists.

“I just want to sit down and talk to people,” said Johnson. “Because a lot of people who suffer from depression don’t want to talk. They just keep to themselves and will be the ones hiding in the back of the room.”

During the first two days of classes he was personally walking lost students to their classes as part of the board’s ‘Welcome Days.’

Johnson’s also focused on improving the social media presence on Instagram, Facebook and possibly Twitter by updating it regularly and providing a lot of relevant content that’ll keep students up-to-date regarding events.

Johnson is enthusiastic about a campus cleanup effort, including a focus on trash, recycling, and landscaping.

“We are committed to the students,” says Johnson.

Anne Hammond / Staff Photographer

Taimane Rice

Entertainment and Recreation 

Coordinator

[email protected]

Rice is studying digital design, and has creative ideas on how to broaden the variety of students at events.

“I want to ensure that we create a platform that accommodates both Running Start students but also students who may just want to come by on the way to class, who probably have to go pick up their kids later and maybe have a job as well,” says Rice.

She wants to entice more people to sporting events, including those held off campus.

Rice has exciting plans for an international Passport Café with free drinks and tables with treats.

She grew up in a big family where her mom entertained, then she became a wedding planning assistant for her aunt.

“After a while I ended up becoming her right hand,” says Rice. “She put that little bug in me to want to be able to plan things.

“I like that ability to be able to affect somebody so much that even years later they’ll remember it,” says Rice. 

Kaitie Ferencik

Promotions Coordinator

[email protected]

As a digital design student, Ferencik creates constantly -- all the posters, flyers, handbills, and the quarterly event calendar.

“The calendar has a list of all the events that Student Life holds which is really cool because almost every single one of them has free food, free resources, giveaways, games, things that they can do,” says Ferencik.

She’s looking forward to creating three very different calendars – fall, winter, and spring – that are gender-neutral, and easy to read and navigate.

Ferencik is also making sure that all promotional material is posted in ways that students can access it.

“Our biggest issue is reaching certain demographics of students, like students that take online classes or nighttime classes,” says Ferencik. “I’d really like to create promotional banners for Canvas. We have a very large demographic of people that are not right-out-of-high-school college students, so our goal is finding events that they would like to go to as well as students that are just out of high school.”

 

Homestay & New Student BBQ

The Scoop #4 – Phantom

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Hosted by: Maxwell Smith and Khuong “Finn” Ho

Edited by: Maxwell Smith

The Scoop #3 – Pizza Shoes

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Finn and Maxwell talk shop about the week for 28 January. Who’s Jake Beck? What are Pie-tops? Turn up your speakers and set your listening device next to Alexa.

Hosted by: Maxwell Smith and Khuong “Finn” Ho

Edited by: Maxwell Smith

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