We Gon’ Be Alright

Amani Nassar

English 1121

Dr. Hall

March 12, 2019

We Gon’ Be Alright

Music has become the most expressive form of power in times of struggle. The Compton born, Kendrick Lamar has been making history all throughout his time in the music industry with one of his most groundbreaking album “To Pimp A Butterfly.” The multi Grammy winning album speaks on the many issues people of color face as well as mental health in songs like “King Kunta”, “The Blacker the Berry,” “U”, and one of the most influential songs of our time “Alright.” This notable Hip Hop album pulls a rally of emotions to call for a push to change the world we all live in. Who would have known the tremendous impact this song would have on our generation?

The song has reached many platforms from a chant at rallies for protest at institutions to even protest at presidential campaign. The chants of “we gon’ be alright” have become so symbolic as the people look for a reason to keep hoping for change. Past acts of oppression and current acts have helped create songs like “Alright” where Kendrick created music that resonates with so many people helping them get through tragedies they may face almost everyday. There is a sense of unity within the song that Lamar creates that reflects the black community.

 

Kendrick Lamar is such a renowned artist, yet very few of his songs are played on the radio. He is just one of the few artist who actually makes music with an impactful message unlike others who only rap about money or sex. I admire him for standing out in a crowd of individuals who all sound alike, he has so much to offer his fans.

 

The music video starts off with a monologue where Kendrick talks about his journey growing up as a young black man in society. The videos includes acts of police brutality. There are several visuals that Kendrick uses as metaphors to allude to the black community rising against oppression and police violence in scenes like where you see 4 white police officers carrying the car in which Lamar and his friends sit in. There are other scenes in which we see singers and dancers on top of police cars acting almost as if there was nothing bad going on around them. This seems to bring a hopeful feel to the video that together we are strong and we can get through anything.

 

Response to Beyonce’s Lemonade

Amani Nassar

English 1121

Dr. Hall

As I read the article titled “Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ Is A Revelation of Spirit” I found myself confused at one point as to why the writer chose to keep relating Beyonce’s work to other artist instead of just focusing on her album giving it more critic and explaining a deeper meaning behind her album. I later realized that he used the explanation of other artist work to add to not only his writing, but to kind of add to the development of how Beyonce has changed over the years. Hilton does point out some really good things like when he brings up “what once mattered can quickly seem depressingly old.” The music industry is constantly changing just like almost everything else, people are having to reintroduce themselves in a new way to keep up with the demands of their fan base to keep up their reputation. Beyonce has always portrayed a message of female empowerment while making a lot of comments towards love or men, like most artist do. These are topics we can all relate to at one point or another in our lives and artist like Beyonce make the music that helps us get through these things. I was able to learn a lot from this article like the meaning of the songs from the album, the symbolism behind things like the drowning of the police car, and the inclusion of other artist in her music.

Response to group essay

Amani Nassar

English 1121

Dr. Hall

After reading my groups essay, I realized that we all had a similar theme of having two different situations in which we had to adapt to. My essay was focused around having to combine my cultures, some of the essay’s from my group focused on different school environments, another essay was about moving from one country to now New York City, and so. From reading all the essay I think we all agreed on how not only the teachers can affect our learning, but the environment within the school can also affect our learning too. To better our education system teachers and even principals should be more understanding and not judgmental to students. Everyone has a different way of learning and yet we are still forced to follow the same rules dictated by those who have control over our learning. There needs to be a balance of strictness that is more flexible within schools that doesn’t make students feel like they can’t be themselves or causes them to grow a hate not only for the school but for learning as well.

The learning environment is also very important in schools that are created by not the staff members, but also from the students in the school. One of my group members speaks about her experience with students from Columbia and her experience here in the United States. The students were more welcoming and wanted to start a friendship whereas here in the U.S. our teachers may be more likely to spark a connection between students at a younger grade level. There might be a way to change students behavior to make them more friendly and decrease bullying, but certain behaviors often come from home and not necessarily the school environment. Even though these behaviors may start at home, there can still be a way to encourage better relationships throughout schools in the United States.

The Palestinian Boricua

Amani Nassar

English 1121

Dr. Hall

February 14, 2019

The Palestinian Boricua

Coming from such a diverse background of being Palestinian and Puerto Rican, I have gotten a lot of mixed reactions from people when I tell them about my background. Some would be shocked and ask “how did that happen?” Others would say something like “wow, that’s an amazing combination” and occasionally I get a “you foreign Amani” from my friends. One reaction in particular that I never liked getting was when people would ask if I was a Muslim or a Catholic.

Religion can be a sensitive topic to discuss for some people, and for me this question made me feel rather uncomfortable for the simple fact that I felt as though I had to choose one religion over the other. If I were to say I was a Muslim people would question why I never wore a hijab. If I were to say I was a Catholic, people would ask why I did not attend church regularly or ask me something about the Bible, all of which I would not have an answer to. I had never put much thought into my religious nature or upbringing. In my household, religion was never really a huge topic of discussion, no one was judged for believing in what they believed in or how they chose to believe. My parents never forced religion on me, they had always left it up to me to choose any religion I wanted or even no religion at all.

My mother was brought up as a Catholic from a young age, attending every now and then. My father was a devoted Muslim, born and raised in Israel, later coming to the United States. Typically, most Palestinian men have children with women within their religion, but since my mother is a Catholic my father was actually able to marry my mother and have children together. Even without knowing much about religion, one could assume that being a Muslim is quite different from being a Catholic. They have different places of worship, different names for their God, different scriptures, different ways of praying, and all around many different practices for fulfilling their religious duty. I felt like I had a confliction of religions that seemed to be more different than alike.

I grew up in my Puerto Rican household with my mom, brother, abuela, and my father once upon a time. All of my life I only knew about my Puerto Rican roots, the food, the music, the Spanish language, and of course the people. All of my family functions consisted of the boricuas (another name for Puerto Ricans) on my mother’s side. Any birthday I ever had, was attended by only my Puerto Rican family. I celebrated, and still do celebrate holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, which Muslims do not celebrate. I do not fast or celebrate Eid and I do not pray 5 times a day, but one thing I do follow as many other Muslims do, is not eating pork. Although I did not follow many of the Islamic practices my brother, who is fully Puerto Rican, actually adopted to the practices of Islam and converted to become a Muslim because of his interest and liking to the religion, he grew fonder of the religion and found a new appreciation for it.

My name often times grabs many people’s attention too. Amani is an Arabic inspired name meaning desire or wishes. Nassar is also an Arabic name meaning helper, protector or victory. I’ve had people who are from a middle eastern descent ask if I was also from a middle eastern descent. There has been instances where my teachers would even ask me where I was from after reading my name off of the attendance sheet and seeing what I looked like. I remember sitting in 9th grade English class one day having a discussion about Hinduism as a collective group. My teacher had made a comment about Indians, then out of nowhere looked at me and said “no offense to you.” I didn’t know how to take that comment. One part of me felt disrespected for being singled out like that and on top of that being categorized for someone who I was not based on an assumption of what I looked like. On the other hand I thought it may have been just a honest comment that wasn’t intended to offend me, which made me decide to take the comment as an emphasis on my Palestinian side being noticeable from the outside.

Everyday is a new learning experience for me when it comes to my cultures. From my first semester of English class, I have learned new things about the Muslim beliefs from classmates writings and discussions of practices. My brother even talks to me about Islam and the meaning behind certain things in the religion like the people and the names of parts of Israel. Being mixed is something that I have always embraced and will continue to embrace. I love everything my cultures have offered me from my thick curly hair to thick eyebrows and even my effortless Spanish tongue. Although I do not know much about my Palestinian culture or family, it is something I plan to indulge in as time progresses. I want to learn Arabic, I want to know more about my family, and I even want to read the Quran.

Final Draft

Your marginal comments are HERE. Your grade and endnote are in the comments. 

Rough Draft

Amani Nassar

English 1121

Dr. Hall

February 7, 2019

My Better Halves 

Coming from such a diverse background of being Palestinian and Puerto Rican, I often times came across the issue of learning my culture’s language. For better or worse, I never got the chance to learn Arabic as I lived at home with only my Puerto Rican family. My grandma is a fluent Spanish speaker and my mother sort of is too, both also knowing English fluently. The difference between us is that they are, of course, fully Puerto Rican where I on the other hand, have a confliction of two cultures that are more different than alike. Here and there I would learn words and phrases from them growing up and I still do to this day, but I would say my spanish is in fact, broken.

Here’s what I mean by broken; I could be having a conversation with someone like my abuela and find myself switching back and forth between English and Spanish like its the normal thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing with doing this especially if it’s with family, but it’s definitely not the correct way of speaking. But whose to truly say that this is an incorrect way of speaking? This shift of language is what many people call Spanglish which is something that has been around for quite sometime and is evolving to soon be considered a language. I also tend to throw Spanish words somewhere within my English sentences like “¿que? What are you talking about?”

I took Spanish class all 4 years of high school and even took AP Spanish during my senior year. I guess you could say I learned spanish from those long 4 years, but the reality of it is that I learned just what I needed to get by or just used my previous knowledge from the Spanish I spoke at home. Spanish class never taught me how to become a fluent speaker, it was more so a class where you would have a textbook to read, answer some questions about what you’ve read and recite a few sentences to the teacher every other class or so, there was nothing really there for me to carry outside of the class, it was quite repetitive. As a student I know it’s my duty to do more work outside of classroom, but I didn’t have the foundation or much knowledge to do so with what little I had learned.

From the very beginning of that class I noticed that textbook Spanish was very different from the Spanish I spoke at home and even the spanish I heard out in the streets. One, needless to say, was much more formal whereas the other had more of a slang twist to it.

 

 

Being that I live with my Puerto Rican side of the family, I felt as though I was missing out on the experiences my other culture could offer me and I still do feel this way. It’s hard to learn or even adapt to a culture I never grew up with.

 

Response to Gilyard

Amani Nassar

Dr. Hall

February 4, 2019

Gilyard’s writing was very intriguing from the beginning to the end. His precise use of details really helped the scenes come to life in my mind, like when he was running away from the police, describing the alleyway, the fence and even how he scurried behind the bushes. Through these details, Gilyard is able to build up the readers interest and anticipation for what might happen next or even resemble a feeling us as the readers may have in a situation like his. This is a writing technique I would like to include into my own writing to help keep my reader not only interested, but to add more depth to my writing. I also liked how Gilyard included his own thoughts into the scenes as they were happening like when his dean and teacher asked to see his arms. Gliyard stated “I didn’t mind obeying his order… was curious to see what they knew,” instead of us assuming this nonchalant attitude Gilyard may have had due to his previous actions, he was able to give us more of an insight into his thoughts that would help us understand his actions more and later on his reflection. Gilyard was able to go through almost his whole life story, highlighting and reflecting on the key events of his hardships in a way that made me want to read even more.