About the Author
Kinsey recently graduated from the University of Alabama. She enjoys music as an art form and a way of life. She can be found at a concert taking pictures or interviewing bands. She also indulges in coffee, soap operas, 90's cartoons.

The View Of Trump’s Election From Alabama’s Black Belt

I have never been one to follow the crowd.

But as a writer, I feel I should discuss how I feel about this election for the sake of my personal journalistic ethics.

Politics have never been something I have cared for.

We rarely discussed them in my house, because we agreed on everything.

I was taught to never ask someone who they voted for, as it was none of my business. I still live by that rule.

Previously, I have voted in two local elections, but those did not compare to the tremendous amount of pride I felt when I walked into my polling place in rural Providence, Alabama.

The right to vote is something we are truly privileged to have as Americans.

As a woman walking into the polling place, I felt extremely privileged and humbled as my right to vote is something still relatively new in our country’s history.

At first, this election felt like one big joke, where we all waited for someone to jump out and yell “GOTCHA.” But as time went by, it became evident we were not being fooled.

The two major political parties nominated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to compete for the highest job in the country – President.

My home state of Alabama has always been and will always be a red state. But my particular area, The Black Belt, has always been blue.

The term is said to have a double meaning; the most popular coming from the type of soil found in the area.

Additionally, the area was heavily populated with African-American slaves and sharecroppers.

Some of the most important moments from the Civil Rights Movement happened in the area such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Bloody Sunday, and The Voting Rights Act of 1965.

I do not conform to the idea of a two party system because there are elements of both that I can get on board with.

I am also extremely neutral in almost every opinion I form because I can always see both perspectives.

I do not like Donald Trump.

That being said, I do not like Donald Trump. Of all the qualified candidates the GOP could muster up, they chose him?

A reality TV star, an actor, and a sketchy businessman? Trump successfully mastered the art of a bad deal.

From unreleased tax returns to failed business ventures (i.e. Trump University, Trump Steaks, Trump Airlines etc.) he has proved he cannot be trusted with responsibility. How can a man who is offended by a Saturday Night Live skit, have the strength it takes to defeat one of the world’s biggest and dangerous terrorist organizations?

He also finds joy in making fun of those who are not affluent white men.

From disabled reporters, to immigrants, and women who do not conform to his standards, he is insensitive and just plain rude.

I also do not care much for Hillary Clinton.

While I adore the fact she is a woman who ran for office with all the odds against her, I am uncomfortable with her role in foreign affairs.

I do not doubt her knowledge (as she knows more than I), but it is what she does with that knowledge that scares me.

Foreign policy is not why the Black Belt is blue, though.

Simply put, the area depends on the democratic view of Clinton’s social policy, which helps the majority of the area’s population.

Democratic views on public housing, education, healthcare, and other social aspects are the main reason why Alabama’s poorest counties are blue.

The presidential election of 2016 will be something that we one day will look back on and laugh.

But for now, we need to keep a close eye on our country and our friends.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Kinsey Haynes

Up And Coming Country Star Mitchell Tenpenny Is Proving Nashville’s Relevancy

In the music industry, Nashville has once again become a fresh hot-bed for rising talent, which makes new music more difficult to stand out. Artists are having to find new and creative ways to promote and brand themselves in the ever changing city.

Born and raised in Nashville, country singer Mitchell Tenpenny is working on becoming a success in this booming industry.

“I think I stand out by trying to have a different sound and approach to how I present my music,” Tenpenny said. “I want every song to feel authentic and real.”

Tenpenny started playing music when he was in the 7th grade. He went to a friend’s house to play a round of golf but found several instruments to play instead. The next day, he picked up a guitar.

Growing up in Nashville influenced Tenpenny to strive for excellence – to make himself stand out.


Country singer Mitchell Tenpenny. Photo Credit: Mitchell Tenpenny/ Facebook

“The music scene has changed a lot. I’ve seen what’s worked and what hasn’t. Everyone is trying new ways and techniques to make a living in this industry with streaming,” Tenpenny said. “It didn’t exist when I grew up watching songwriters have hits.”

He has seen some of his favorite songwriters and artists break through from the beginning and he said that it is one of his favorite feelings.

“I’m not trying to write music for a lunch time,” Tenpenny said. “I’m trying to write music for a life-time.”

One of his favorite aspects of the experiences the city has to offer is how it is ever changing. The moments all lead to other adventures like hearing his songs, or ones he’s written on the radio or being performed by someone, and getting to write with such talented musicians. Nothing can top those moments for him he said.

His best advice to anyone trying to “make it” in Nashville is to “be there.” Be a part of the city and the culture that is there. It is one of the “tried and true” ways to gain acceptance.

Paying your dues is also just as important. With long hours, hard work, and heartbreak, Tenpenny said a big break will come. You just have to earn it.

“I’m not trying to write music for a lunch time,” Tenpenny said. “I’m trying to write music for a life-time.”

FBI Investigated Wu Tang Clan Members In Drug Dealer Murders

On November 2nd, official documents were released which stated Wu Tang Clan founders RZA and Raekwon (Real names Robert Fitzgerald and Corey Woods) were investigated by the FBI in 1999 for a revenge plot.

There is speculation the band members paid a powerful New York drug dealing dynasty run by brothers Anthony and Harvey Christian, to reportedly kill 17-year-old Boo Boo Estella and for robbing the band members’ families.

The other link to the Wu Tang Clan came from the Christian brother’s lawyer, Michael Gold, who speculated as such in an interview with the Staten Island Advance.

“These reports seem to suggest someone else was liable for those murders. I’m not suggesting that Wu-Tang committed these crimes. The FBI did,” Gold told the Staten Island Advance. “What I’m trying to ascertain is their stated belief in an official file that Wu-Tang ordered this homicide.”

The Christian Brothers were sentenced last October for their 20-year drug dealing empire in Staten Island’s, Clifton neighborhood. Their lawyer is demanding that any and all relevant police files be turned in immediately so that his clients may be exonerated before their trial.

Gold stated the reports will hopefully prove that Estrella was murdered “at the instruction of members of the Wu-Tang Clan, a rap group, as revenge for robberies” so his clients names will be cleared of any wrong doing.

A former member of the Bloods gang, informant, Brian Humphreys has mentioned in numerous interviews that Estrella robbed RZA’s little brother, which led to the Christian brothers being hired to murder him.

In an interesting turn of events, according to the New York Post, prosecutors believe that any possible Wu-Tang connection has no effect on whether or not the Christian brother are guilty and their trial is pending.

What will happen if RZA and Raekwon are tied to the murder? Well, that has yet to be seen.

READ: Wu-Tang Clan Court Filling (Uploaded by Staten Island Advance)

Wu-Tang Clan court filing by Staten Island Advance/

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Cover Photo Credit: The Come Up Show/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

One Direction Fandom Is A Cute Little Cult- But It’s Still A Cult

Boy bands have always been a staple of Pop music culture. They come in numerous, eclectic forms, ranging from The Jackson 5, The Beatles, and The Bee Gees, to New Kids on The Block, Backstreet Boys, and NSYNC, and most recently, One Direction.

Flashback to 2010. Five boys came together on popular British TV show “The X Factor.” Even though they collectively finished in third place, England nor the rest of the world were ready for the mass hysteria of One Direction.

Watch: One Direction final performance in 2010 X Factor

In a sense, Harry Styles, Niall Horran, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik have been compared to a modern day Beatles. Not only are both from England, but they also stole the hearts of millions of girls when they transitioned overseas to America.

But why did these kids transition into fame instantly?

“The Internet is what made One Direction what they are today,” Kelly Brickey, One Direction fan and journalism student at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee said. “Online resources like Twitter and YouTube gave the boys a platform for fans to jump on the bandwagon. Even [the band] themselves have credited online fan presence for their success.”

The increase in popularity of social networking sites such as Twitter have skyrocketed conversations between fans from all over the world.

At any given moment, there is always at least something “One Direction” related trending. Some of the hashtags used range from, simply #OneDirection and #DirectionersRunTwitter, to more obscure fandom references like #BodyShotsWithHarry and #LiamWearsThongs.

“These days there’s more of an ability for fanship to manifest itself on social networks and other kinds of internet channels that point out just how intense fanship is,” Dr. Eric Weisbard, Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Alabama said. “[Popularity] is something that we measured before through screams and people standing in Times Square, outside of MTV studios, and we can now measure it in more concrete ways.” Like social media.

Fast forwarding to 2015, One Direction fans, “Directioners” as they are called, had their worlds turned over: within a three month span, member Zayn Malik announced his departure from the band. Rumors then started forming about a potential hiatus.

In typical Boy Band fashion, sometimes the members “age out of the category” Weisbard said.

“They have been working nonstop for five years now,” Brickey said. “They may get a couple weeks here and there for themselves, but their dedication to their job is hardcore. They just need a break.”

So there you have it, girls love music more passionately than others. When they come together for a common purpose, fandoms form. A new language evolves between members which could be attributed to a cult. But something about these five boys from England has made a lasting impact on society and is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

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Cover Photo Credit: Eva Rinaldi/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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