Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gay Fashion is the New Straight Fashion

By Anthony Waters

Listen to this commentary!

What’s the New What? Mark Anthony Waters says, gay fashion is the new straight fashion, in the ‘hood that is, and that’s what makes it new.

Anthony says he’s always had a distinctive sense of fashion…until recently that is. Now, the very same boys who teased him as a kid are jacking his style, shedding their plain blue denim and white T’s for ornamented skinny jeans and patterned shirts in every shade. In this story, Anthony explores the intersection of fashion, youth culture, and identity, reframing what it means to look tough, and reminding us that the best fashion is always dangerous.

What’s the new what? I say, gay fashion is the new straight fashion… in the hood, that is. And that’s what makes it new.

In ghetto neighborhoods in my generation, male fashion has always been about blending in. I know you’ve seen the look before: white T’s, blue jeans, and Nikes. The rapper, Keak Da Sneak, even recorded an anthem dedicated to the boring uniform of the street.

I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the white T look. I’m all about big shiny sunglasses, sparkling necklaces, tight legged jeans…and this cute shirt I spotted at one of my favorite stories: DD’s Discounts.

Look at this! Oh my gosh, I’ve been looking for this shirt forever… (more ambi)

The straight boys who used to whisper about me on the bus haven’t discovered DD’s yet, but they are jacking my style. It all started when artists like Kanye West, Pherrell, and Cam’ron showed up on the TV screen, suited and booted in outfits I would have picked out in middle school. Now my uber-macho nephew, AR, is raiding my closet.

AR (on tape)
Tell you the truth, unc, you got swag.

AR loves that word swag.

AR (on tape)
Swag is how you dress, it’s how you make people compliment you on everything you do, even how you walk, that’s swag.

I’m so proud AR doesn’t look like every other fashion reject in a white t-shirt. But standing outside my closet at home, I ask AR if he thinks my favorite new shirt is “swagalicious” (his word, not mine). It’s got a rainbow pattern and says, “I will not apologize.”

AR (on tape)
(Sigh). I mean… no disrespect to the homos, but that’s not my swag.

No disrespect taken, cause I’ll always dress better than he does. But then I ask AR if he’d at least compliment a gay boy on a nice pair of jeans.

AR (on tape)
If they do got something nice on, I will respect that, and I will let em know that. I like the jeans.


Hearing that comforts me. But Duke University Professor Mark Anthony Neal, who writes about gender and race, isn’t so optimistic. He says straight boys might push the boundaries in terms of fashion…

PROF NEAL (on tape)
But might not push those boundaries in terms of the cultures and life styles that some of those clothing styles come from. So they can dress gay in their minds, but they might not want to have friendships with gay men.

They don’t have to be friends with me… They just better realize they wanna look like me. And if ghetto fashion has always been about looking tough, there is nothing tougher than being who you are, without apologizing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kayaking Is the New Canoeing

By Molly Adams, Blunt Youth Radio/Youth Radio
Listen here!
Read it here!

What’s the New What? This week, our story comes from Maine, where outdoor enthusiasts are enjoying the lingering warm days and going on full moon adventures in the water to wrap up the season. Molly Adams of Blunt Radio reports there’s been a sea change in Maine when it comes to how people are riding the waters.

INTRO: It’s time again to hear what’s in and what’s out from our friends at Youth Radio in the latest installment of their series What’s the New What? This week, our story comes from Maine, where outdoor enthusiasts are enjoying the lingering warm days and going on full moon adventures in the water this week (Sept 14-16) to wrap up the season. But as Molly Adams of Blunt Radio reports, there’s been a sea change in Maine when it comes to HOW people are riding the waters…
SCRIPT: What is the new what? Kayaking is the new canoeing.

The open-hulled canoe is classic Americana. Boy Scouts don’t kayak…they canoe. They even get canoe badges. But lately faster, sleeker, lighter kayaks have overshadowed and outsold the heavy lumbering canoe. And who cares? Well, we Mainers do. Canoes are the Maine paddle-craft! They are part of our history.

KELLOGG: A lot of place names here in Maine, Kennebec, Penobscot, Presumpscot, Machias, they’re river names. That’s Zip Kellogg, the author of “The Whole Paddler’s Catalog.”

KELLOGG: They have names like that because the Native Americans were traveling on these rivers in their canoes mostly. My earliest memory of a canoe is falling out of it. Maybe that's why kayaks sell better. They don't tip as easily. Zip doesn’t think so.

KELLOGG: Um…Personally, I don’t think that’s true because I think the canoe does fine on its own. It’s when people get in it that things start to happen.
You can see how the canoe vs kayak debate gets personal.

But preferences aside, Maine’s top paddling retailer Johnson Outdoors says kayaks are outselling canoes almost three to one.

AX: Water sounds
I went to try out a kayak myself, something I haven't done in a couple years. LL BEAN GUIDE, STEVEN CUSTER: Go ahead and get in there and get your butt as far back in the seat as it will go. MOLLY: All right. (fade down here) AX: Water sounds I’m in the Harraseeket Bay in Freeport, Maine on a kayak tour. I meet Ken and Eric Desmitt there, a father-son pair from Ohio.

ERIC: Yeah. I’d rather go kayaking than canoeing.

MOLLY: Is it ‘cause it’s like, faster? ERIC: It’s easier too.

MOLLY: Now have you ever been canoeing before, Ken?

KEN: Uh, many, many years ago in the Boy Scouts. That’s the problem right there. Kids these days… they learn how to paddle in a kayak not a canoe, like the Boy Scouts did and do. Families are buying three or four kayaks a piece if they can afford it; two small or tandem kayaks for the kids, two for the adults. That’s a big shift from buying one canoe per family. And in Freeport, Maine, LL Bean’s Alice Andrenyak has canoes in stock, they’re just out-numbered.

ALICE: Recreational kayaks are significantly up in sales. This is a me boat, so people who have limited time can go out by themselves.

These “me” boats…in personalized colors like “cloud” and “sunrise”…are taking over, even as canoe sales remain steady.

In a sign of the times, an Old Town, Maine fixture “Old Town Canoes” is now called “Old Town Canoes and Kayaks.”

I feel somewhat wistful about the rise of the kayak. I like canoes. They’re kind of dorky in a slow, sweet way and you can meet a friend in the middle to share a sandwich.

Maybe in a few years, canoes will become an object of nostalgic lust and come back on top, but for now, here in Maine, kayaking is the new canoeing.
Host Back Announce: Molly Adams is a reporter with Blunt Radio in Maine. That story was produced by Youth Radio.

©2008 Youth Radio, Oakland, CA

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Slacktivism is the New Apathy

Youth Radio’s Nico Savidge examines the trend of “slacktivism” – how internet awareness campaigns and “social” ventures offer political involvement, without offering real pathways to action.

Listen to it Here
Read it Here

Photo By Melanie Burger

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Convention Is The New Nightclub

Listen to it here!

By Ankitha Bharadwaj

Minneapolis-Saint Paul___Now before you get your baffled face on, let me explain.

When Youth Radio was preparing its Republican National Convention reporter team, the first question they asked us was...

Youth Radio: "How old are you?"

Ankitha: "What? I'm 18, why do you ask?"

Youth Radio: "That's good, because only journalists 18 and over are allowed into the RNC."

Seems like a lame rule, doesn't it? The obvious reason might be that only people over 18 are allowed to vote, so if there are die hard political junkie journalists who are on the younger end of the spectrum, they're denied the chance to play a vital role in this year's political process.

Much like this convention, many nightclubs across the country require partygoers to be at least 18 to enter. The resemblances don't stop there. If you've ever been to a club, I'm sure you've had interesting experiences with the huge bouncer, who guards the club doors to make sure only the "worthy" are allowed in. Similarly, the Xcel Center in St. Paul was guarded by security officers, metal detectors, and scanners. Moreover, just as you'd need to have your name on a special list, the convention requires credentials for anyone to enter the Xcel Center, and getting those credentials is tricky business if you're under 18.

Maybe it's just me, but isn't it a little weird that the RNC didn't allow journalists under 18 when they're trying so hard to appeal to the youth? And moreover, this just gives the Democrats more power, since the DNC happily welcomed underage reporters.

We spoke with folks from YPress, a media organization similar to Youth Radio headquartered in Indianapolis. They were frustrated when the RNC denied them any credentials, forcing YPress to look elsewhere for RNC coverage. And the worst thing is that they've covered both the DNC and the RNC for years now, so it's a little confusing why they weren't credentialed this time around. But the YPress team got some pretty awesome stories; they interviewed Fred Thomson, Mike Huckabee, and a few other cool cats. So take that RNC.

At the very least, Youth Radio producers reported, Youth Radio was in the “Special Press” category (under college media and weekly newspapers) handled by the GOP directly.