Two Cans are Richer Than One

It is always interesting when parents are interracial, in addition to being from different countries. I have a white stepfather (I don’t like that term), so I have a white father, a black mother, a black brother and a mixed sister. Quite a combo I would say; however, you will never understand how different America and Africa are till you have people from both continents as parents. Yes, we have all seen the African parents be like videos and always trending memes (if not then please send me an email I will redirect you). We also have the very relaxed or over protective American parents in shows like Wife Swap, Trading Spouses or the ever popular Nanny 911. One would think those are exaggerations, but I would disagree, because it could not be closer to the truth.

With African parents there are just things that an African kid knows. It’s a fact, the sky is blue. Well, unless your parents say the sky is purple, then it is purple. Spare the rod, spoil a child might just be a parent’s motto, but as you grow up you will largely be grateful for all the beatings received. I know I certainly am.

Others include going to 12 hour weddings due to “disconnects,” and finding out the woman you knew as your aunty, really is not your aunty. As a matter of fact, you will never know who your true blood relatives are. Learning that rhetorical questions such as “Am I your friend?” and “You think I’m stupid, huh?” are never to be answered. Practical jokes like informing your mother you are pregnant during April fool’s day are not to be entertained ever. When you’re told to use your imagination before a story, it’s completely a waste of time.

African parentI have never meet an African kid who has not experienced being called downstairs to pass the remote even though the remote is literally half a stretch away. Never slam the door and don’t be showing off with that 98 percent for all they know you were sleeping in class. The devil is to blame for everything wrong, and avoid all scenes that are more mature while with your African parent. Finally you know it’s real when you are threatened with being sent back to the village, so I would suggest getting one‘s act right. Remember many others are with you when you find ugali in a biscuit tin. Do not despair. Stay strong

It just might be my father, but I find he is more relaxed, not as extreme, for lack of a better term as my African mother. But there are certain things that are fact. Just like the sky is purple, I now know that the American way is best. Especially compared to anything Canadian and especially THE BRITISH. I am to refer to soccer not British. Always amusing.

I see all these articles on American parents being too permissive. My father was in the military, Americaplus African parenting is sort of engraved in you,  so I will never be a wild child. The worst thing that could happen is me becoming immensely obese due to the fact that Pops loves his country’s food and is a strong believer that his children should too.

Those things aside, experiencing two different worlds as my own makes my life quite unique and very rich. I have a deep insight into two cultures that most could only wish for. Aware of their points of tensions and where they overlap, I have a deeper insight into two cultures. My perspectives and experiences have a “width and depth they would otherwise lack.”
-Erykah Zimmer

Larry Madowo: Bringing Life to Broadcasting

Even though reporting news will one day be my profession, I can attest that watching local news used to be quite a task. However, I have found that as years have passed, it has gotten progressively easier. I can remember a time when news was strictly informative; the anchors pulling “I hate my job” and on a good day, no-nonsense expressions. This made nine o’clock a very dreaded time.

Larry MadowoKnowing that a movie was always played after the bulletin, my having to wait for an hour was agonizing. Often I was falling asleep while waiting for the end or I would put on a DVD just to kill time. I would say this might be the reason one might find a typical Kenyan house stocked full of DVDs. This has been a habit ever since.

As I look at the news now as opposed to being strictly informative and boring it is something I look forward to, thanks to Larry Madowo. Larry Madowo grew up in Siaya, Kisumu, as well as Nairobi, but then attended St. Gabriel in Kisumu. Later on he enrolled for a communications degree at Daystar University.

Larry is a broadcast journalist, blogger, writer and twitterer or tweeter. He started his television career at KTN being involved in business and financial reports, but regularly broadcasting breaking news. As I said, he is a tweeter and was responsible for the formation of the KTN Kenya Facebook and Twitter pages.

He is now the technology editor and news anchor at NTV Kenya. He anchors for NTV weekend edition, Friday through Sunday, alongside Victoria Rubadiri, and also one of the most popular shows in Kenya known as The Trend. On The Trend, he speaks to everyone from Wesley Korir, a politician, to Huddah Monroe, a socialite, and even the common Nairobians. One can tell he loves his job and even got the opportunity to work at CNBC Africa, but resigned after a few months, going back to NTV. He brings his love to work, and expresses it whist at it.

I would say it’s as if you were to watch a different local news channel, the room would be in black and white. Once you flip the channel to NTV and Larry is on, his presence just fills up the room with color.  There is simply no other way to state it. Thanks to Larry I can now watch the bulletin without tears to my eyes, and what a better way to prepare for a future job, than to learn from watching the best do it themselves.

-Erykah Zimmer

The Homeless Epidemic

Ever since the world began, there have always been homeless people. Even now, in the 21st century, things haven’t changed much; in fact, things are worse. Today homeless people are increasing rapidly; it is becoming an epidemic. According to dosomething.org, there are approximately 1.7 million homeless teens in the U.S right now, and nine percent of all the homeless people are under the age of eighteen. About seventy five percent of those teens are abusing both drugs and alcohol, as a way to self-medicate and to ‘help’ forget or handle the traumatic experiences they have and do go through.

Homeless 1Five thousand young people die every year of the assault, illness and suicide by being on the streets. A study taken by the Health and Services showed that about 46 percent of homeless youth left their home because of physical abuse, and that 17 percent left because of sexual abuse. Such a substantial amount of the homeless don’t have a place to call home not because they don’t have money or roofing, but because those who should care for them and protect them are the ones that are doing them harm and making them leave their homes. Over fifty percent of young people in shelters for the homeless and on the streets have reported that either their parents or guardians have told them to leave the house they live in, or the guardians knew they were leaving but didn’t care enough to do anything about it.

According to dosomething.org, the average age that people become homeless is 14.7 years old. Homeless 2This just shows how people that become homeless aren’t just people who lose their homes at a mature age, but young people that are kicked out, are sent out, and some that just cannot take it where they live. To make matters even worse for the young is because most of the homeless people don’t have proper guardians or people to give them advice, they don’t have enough good information that will help them know how to conduct themselves, whether it is hygienically, physically, psychologically, or even sexually. Due to this the chances of getting HIV and AIDS increases from two times to even ten times more than the average teenager.

According to a survey done by the CrisisUK.org on one night in 2013, 2,414 people slept rough on the streets, which was a thirty seven percent increase from another survey that was taken three years before. Other local agencies reported that 6,437 people slept rough in London alone throughout the years 2012 and 2013, which was a sixty two percent increase from the past two years. These are just a few numbers that show the increase of the homeless in a small section of the world. If this is what is going on in a developed country like the UK, in a city like London, imagine what could be happening in other countries in other places in the world.

Homeless 3The world is becoming a technological world that is full of information, which makes it somewhat more difficult to live in; we should not only work for ourselves and what we want, but we should also try to be selfless to some extent, or at least humane enough to realize that we live in a world where things are unfair and that there are people in the world that are not fortunate enough to even have a place to call home. Let us work together to make the world a better place.

–          Michael Sossy

King Dope

Lance Armstrong: cancer survivor, philanthropist and seven-time winner of the Tour de France. Last year, he admitted to blood doping, and the media crucified the king of cycling. His kingdom, however, remains very much intact in almost every level of every major sport.

king dope”So ends one of the most sordid chapters in sporting history,” wrote the US Anti-Doping Agency after the outing of Armstrong. WRONG. Out of 21 podium finishers in the Tour between 1995 to 2005, 20 have been directly linked to doping. Dwain Chambers, the fastest 100 meter runner in the UK, reported that over half of the U.S. racing team at the 2008 Summer Games were doping. People are still cheating. People will keep on cheating, most of them won’t be caught and will continue to “taint” competitive sports.

If this is true, and the facts speak for themselves, why then do we continue to come down so hard on the athletes that are caught? Wouldn’t it be more productive to control the doping that is happening by relaxing the rules? A more sensible doping system would be one that allows doping until a certain point. That would be easier to test; for example, cyclists in the Tour de France frequently use erythropoietin, which is a drug that increases the amount of red blood cells in the blood stream. If given a limit up to which they can dope it would be easier to find those who are overdosing.

Julian Savulescu of the Oxford Centre of Neuroethics says,  “Lance Armstrong never failed a doping test, despite being subjected to thousands. Nearly every recent winner of the Tour de France has been implicated in doping. About 80 percent of 100-meter finalists are or will be implicated in doping. The fact is that blood doping and use of growth hormone have not been possible to detect, and because doping mimics normal physiological process it will always be possible to beat the test. Thus, we should embrace the inevitable, and control doping as best we can.”

Many assume that steroid use or doping would diminish the nature of sport. That the quality of the competition would go down. This is not true. Steroids don’t magically make you a better athlete. For example, I could take a copious amount of steroids and still not be faster than Usian Bolt (I’ve made peace with this). Steroids simply help you recover faster after training. The key word here is training; the athletes would still have to train in order to compete. Others argue that doping isn’t ‘natural.’ This is a flawed argument. Caffeine is allowed, and caffeine is a drug that fights fatigue and improves reaction times. Hypoxic training tents, which simulate training at high altitudes by causing blood to carry more oxygen, are also allowed. Carb loading, which is a system of storing as much glycogen in the muscles by tiring the muscles out a week before a competition, then binging on as much carbs as possible, is legal.

Two hospital physicians, Leon Creaney and Anna Vondy, are against doping in sports. They believe in the idea that doping is a moral, and not a medical issue. They believe that allowing doping won’t even the playing field as it would then become impossible to compete without them and this would put athletes who would rather achieve “naturally” in a comprising position.

Mr. Loewer, a mathematics teacher at Rosslyn Academy would agree: “It’s so harmful to players. The trickle down thing goes all the way down to kids. I taught in Texas and lots of kids were taking steroids. It hurts society and hurts the game. When you see a game you want to believe what you’re seeing is real. ”

Bioethicist professor Andy Miah of the University of the West of Scotland argues that we should have a “World Pro-Doping Agency,” and would disagree with the two physicians and Mr Loewer marginally, though he does address the dangers of performance enhancement drugs. He states that “At the moment athletes look to find dangerous substances with significant health risks, but with the correct framework in place athletes can know the risks involved.” Many performance-enhancing drugs can be dangerous. Anabolic steroids, for example, can cause acne, infertility, impotence, and psychosis. However, if a sort of government body regulated the intake of these drugs then many health risks would be avoided.

Lance Armstrong may have been the king of cycling but he certainly isn’t the king of doping. His incident wasn’t isolated. The drugs he used weren’t special.  He managed to beat a system that only catches about 2.9% of those doping in sports. 2.9%. Dope is king. Let’s stop fighting it, reap its benefits and enjoy the show.

– Stanley Kalu

Shop Till You Drop

On every fashion lover’s bucket list is to attend a high profile designer fashion show, buy the best brands at unbelievably discounted prices and get a chance to meet their favorite designers. Now imagine having all of these come true, in just one weekend- this is Nairobi Fashion Market. Dubbed as Nairobi’s ultimate discount shopping experience, Nairobi fashion market is the place to be for every fashion lover.

nairobi-fashion-market-2014 posterThe 6th edition of Nairobi Fashion Market was hosted this past weekend at the Ngong Racecourse from 10 to 7pm. The event alone speaks for itself, which is why it is rarely ever advertised. By nine o’clock last Saturday, the traffic on Ngong road was bumper to bumper- all roads lead to the Ngong Racecourse. People from all walks of life began streaming in as soon as the doors were opened.

Ladies in flowing floral sundresses and men in funky printed pants. Name any style that exists, it was there: There was the preppy British boy, the rather shy and conservative girl in jeans, the fashionista that oozed confidence in her six inch Loboutins and wide brimmed hat. And then there were the others- some rather strange, but each with a unique sense of style. It’s all part of the experience. Seeking inspiration from other people’s outfits, model scouting and street style hunting for fashion bloggers. Nairobi Fashion Market offers a perfect platform for interaction with designers, stylists and all the ‘big people’ in the industry. In fact, last year as well as this year, a Rosslyn student, Salem Belay, was approached by two modeling agencies who wanted her to grace their runways. It provides an opportunity for young and promising people to venture into the fashion industry.

This year’s list of designers and show casers was broader than ever. They had designers from all models 1over Africa, sending their models down the runway in the finest of the finest. With the rates of mass production consumption increasing in Kenya, NFM provided just what the city needs. Each stall was packed with unique pieces with various fabrics, so none was remotely close to the other. Print, Print, Print. It screamed left, right and centre. There was a lot of African fabric with vibrant colors and geometric prints. The kanga has been making a huge appearance on the fashion scene locally, and after seeing the designers’ garments, it surely is here to stay.

Nairobi Fashion Market caters to people from all around the world. There are handmade leather bags made by a designer from Montenegro, to a designer from the outskirts of Nairobi. There are stalls selling baby things, and there are stalls with the latest charity scam. It really is an affair for all. When a body walks in, the first thing they smell is horse manure; I’m beginning to think that’s the charm of NFM- it’s what people call, “rustique.”

models 2People are dressed their best on that day, for you never know who you will meet. On one side are the shady guys, who come in only to pick up girls and maybe score a model; on the other side are the rich housewives who have nothing better to do then meet up with their friends and have a fresh juice, courtesy of the food court, and buy the most expensive thing they see. Hint- usually it involves the word “Italian.” The girls in their crop tops and micro skirts have a blasé attitude as they saunter around, making a mental list so they can get Daddy to buy it. The biggest thing to designers that day is contacts. A lot of them will not define a good day as a day when lots of their products were sold, but by how many people contacted them after. It is a day of marketing in a new and refreshing way, enjoyed by all.

There’s also a section for kids. It’s lovely; it’s filled with screaming kids and their sticky fingers from cotton candy. Personally, I enjoy passing through that section just to see the looks of terror on their nanny’s faces, while their mums shop around

A lot of designers had very interesting stories; many of them were first time designers. I talked to neema nfma pharmaceutical engineer who was showcasing for her first time. As she was telling her story, her mother had a very proud look on her face. She became a designer when her friends started asking her to help them with picking materials and cuts and styles. Now, her outfits can go for up to 8K.

Another designer was a math professor. I talked to her a lot, and with all the clothes, she tried to explain, there was a geometrical aspect to it. There were right triangles and there were equilateral triangles, some were long and some were short. “Teaching brings me joy,” as she said, but designing clothes was what she seemed to be destined for. The fabrics she used were very thick and vibrant, such as Leso and Kitenge.

Nairobi Fashion Market is something that brings people together. It is the one event of the year that nobody complains about the heat or the lack of stores in Nairobi; it’s just a weekend of fun for everyone. I was lucky enough to meet some Chinese journalists and they were writing for a page called Humans of Kenya. To me, I was mind blown. Kenya is not just a place the famous phrase “Hakuna Matata” originated from; it’s a place full of people from all around the world who actually care, and who are able to see the beauty in Kenyans and their vibrancy. I also sat in on one of the interviews that a designer gave from Nigeria. She was showcasing everything from stilettos, handbags to shoes. The one phrase she reiterated time and time again was “this color never fades.”

It’s where people from all around the world come to enjoy, and they also get to buy things from all around the world. That tiny overpriced bottle of hand sanitizer and that one couture leather bag brings a smile to many faces that weekend. NFM is not only about fashion, it is also about the essence of culture. Be looking out for the next one in October!

– Divita Raithatha and Stephanie Mithika

Unbinding Labels

Horse. Donkey. Cow. Dog. What comes to mind when you first see these names? All I think is ‘animals,’ pure and simple. However, in the twisted society that we live in, and with our fallen nature, people have distorted these innocent and harmless titles. Now, names that were once meaningless things we didn’t even think about before saying have derogatory meanings.

mausDuring the Holocaust in Nazi Germany this occurred. The Nazis were cats and the Jews were mice. An author called Art Spiegelman wrote a book entitled Maus which talks about this and more. It depicts human races as animals. The non-Jewish people were pigs.

In U.S history and even currently, Black Americans are thought of and referred to as monkeys by some. What likens a human being like any other to a monkey? I believe that they are called that to show that Black people are of lower intelligence and importance than white people.  It is saying that Black people are less evolved, if you will, than people with white skin.

And ass was nothing but a donkey before. Now it is used to insult people. Then, because people can always get worse and worse, they added “hole” to the word, making it even more insulting. It is the same as walking around and calling people anuses. Nobody wants to be compared to a butt hole, or a donkey for that matter.

A female dog is called a bitch. In elementary, I don’t recall if we did the opposite of ‘dog’ when we got to that section. Hot-cold, fire-water, boy-girl, man-woman, dog-bitch? I don’t remember. But the point is, back then it meant nothing, it was simply the opposite. But as the years progressed, we picked up the vibe that saying “that word” was bad, and we would gasp and giggle whenever someone said it. Now, things have changed once again, and bitch is somewhat accepted. Guys refer to girls as bitches with no hesitation as if it’s nothing. Other times, they use it to degrade females and hurt their feelings. It’s all very confusing and rather twisted.

Cow. Those big friendly animals with four stomachs that give us milk. Somehow, people ended up Apecalling each other that as well. Even though it may not be as hurtful or dehumanizing as bitch, it is still unkind. Why would you call someone a cow? To say that they are fat? Lazy? Whatever it is, it unkind. Same goes for calling someone a cat, or catty. It too is not as severe as other names, but hurtful nonetheless. Calling someone who is plump a pig may seem funny to you, but it may be very hurtful to them. Just because they don’t necessarily count as “dehumanizing” does not make them okay.

Why call someone an animal at all? The dictionary is full of other adjectives that can be used to describe people. We humans can be so inhumane. Let’s leave the animals with their names, and we can keep our own. No stereotyping, no racism, no labels.

–          Henrika Amoafo

Do It for the Thigh Gap

Want a thigh gap? No problem. Now, start the day of with a bowl of five strawberries and half a Yoplait smoothie. For lunch split a cucumber and enjoy with a few almonds. Now do some heel pulses, sideway scissors, froggers and leg raises for about an hour and a half. Have a light snack of four carrot sticks and an apple and find a bike to ride for another hour or so. Finish your day with a hearty plate of two cauliflower stems, a kiwi and the remainder of the smoothie. Don’t forget yoga and palates before bed for half an hour at least. Repeat this process daily until a space between the inner thighs appears and try not to freak out a month later when a doctor says your bone structure will not allow a thigh gap.

thigh gapsCue screams! It’s true, thigh gaps- the latest fashion accessory after hip bones and back dimples- the oh-so-desirable female feature over the last year has taken over and is increasing in popularity and unhealthiness. Hitting the teenage generation only recently, many girls use it to get the attention and undermine of their fellow “competitors” all while gaining the respect of their fellow followers. What many don’t understand is the complexity of the accessory.

“Do It for the Thigh Gap.” Do what for the thigh gap, exactly? Self-starve and eat dangerously low amounts of food, or don’t eat at all while excessively exercising without the knowledge of harming yourself? Basically that’s what the caption implies. It is a trending caption and hashtag flooding the Tumblr website in particular. It isn’t as simple as the hashtags make it seem. Only certain body types are guaranteed to get these gaps with precise, healthy and particular exercises and dietary plans. Unfortunately for the many girls unaware and use means of dangerous methods that lead them to frustration and depression over the lacking of inner thigh gaps.

Since when did thigh gaps become so…attractive? Though thigh gaps have silently reined the model industry for years, December of 2012 was its time to publicly flaunt itself. Victoria Secret models of that year were photographed on the runway with distinct gaps and in less than two months, crazed teenagers, hooks on status, copied the look and made it a trend. #thinspiration!

Scams and scandals to do with the trend hit social media immediately. Companies photo shopped their already slim models to appear with thigh gaps for new clothing lines; agencies refused to hire girth without gaps and guys began refusing to like girls without them too. So how can one even obtain a thigh gap without all the turmoil? Honestly, it’s nearly impossible.

Seriously speaking, even if this sounds cliché and the desire for a thigh gap burns deeper than most, consult a specialist concerning bone structure and learn what structures can obtain gaps and which ones can’t. Plan a health dietary plan that will ensure health and fitness. Trends are only trends until the next phenomenon comes along so don’t get too invested and don’t do it for the thigh gap.

-Adel Franklyn

Teenagers and the Internet Dilemma

This generation is a generation of keeping up with technology. Also, we are a generation that thinks that having many of these fancy gadgets is what’s cool. The world is now connected through the internet and social networks in a way that makes it seem like the world is a very, very tiny place, and teenagers don’t want to be left behind. This is why one will usually see teenagers on some kind of screen, whether it’s a desktop computer, laptop, PDA or just a smartphone; teenagers these days are always, ‘keeping up with what’s going on.’

Kids on phonesAccording to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), about ninety three percent of people between the ages of twelve through seventeen go online, of those seventy five percent of them have cell phones, and of those, seventy three percent have social networking accounts set up. These are all teenagers who spend much of their time online tweeting and chatting on Facebook, which can be helpful and useful to reach others, especially to family and friends who live far away from each other. But sometimes this use of the internet can get unhealthy and addictive, especially when one starts at such an early age, like twelve. Some of the younger web users don’t know or even understand what they are getting themselves into.

According to a website, about fifty five percent of social media teenage social media users give out personal information, like where they live, where they go to school, their favorite food, and even their personal appearance. Teenagers post this information thinking it’s what should be done and that it’s cool, but in reality they are posting information on the internet, and that is information that will forever be there, and that no matter what way one looks at it, the age of information is taking over the lives of people in ways that that they don’t even realize.

According to Onlinesafteysite.com, a recent study by the of American psychological association kids on phones 2found out that internet predators don’t pose as children, as previously thought, but they can state their true age and intentions, and the teenager on the side of the conversation opens up to the predator about their own personal desires. This is the kind of negative impact that the web has.

This generation is kind of phasing out actual face-to-face conversation, like how my parents use to do it; now it is the age of technology and being aware of what’s new and fancy out there. Being a teenager isn’t what it used to be; now it’s more about being cool, dressing the right way and having the best gadgets. It isn’t about talking and laughing together, which is what being a teen should be about; taking a moment and think about yourself, who you are and what you really want, even if one has no idea what that really is. Being a teenager requires one to make mistakes, both intentional and unintentional, but that is part of life.

Being a teenager is also about building character, having the courage to go and talk to the girl or guy one has a crush on, not stalking them on Facebook for weeks ‘in order to find the right thing to say.’ The technology has taken over lives and cast a wide shadow over the lives of millions of teenagers who not only spend their whole day on the web, but are also becoming addicted to the material that is online. Some is harmless (in moderation), but some is just unhealthy both physically and psychologically.

So let us be careful as we use the web, both for us and our loved ones, because as useful as the internet is, it can also be quite dangerous.

–          Michael Sossy

2014 Oscars: Best and Worst Dressed

Jennifer Lawrence tripped, Leonardo di Caprio didn’t win an award, Ellen DeGeneres broke Twitter with the world’s greatest selfie, Benedict Cumberbatch photobombed U2 and Brad Pitt handed out pizza to Meryl Streep—that’s right, ladies and gentlemen, this is the 2014 Oscars. 441098-oscars-2014-red-carpet-moments-jennifer-lawrenceHollywood’s most glamorous night got celebrities stepping out in gorgeous gowns that many rocked—and others did not. This, however, is the 2014 Academy Awards Best Dressed list.

4. Jennifer Lawrence, or rather, America’s Sweetheart, stepped out to the red carpet in this gorgeous red Dior gown. The sides were accentuated with half peplums, giving her body more of a curve. She wore accessorized with a silver Ferragamo clutch and Neil Lane jewelry—of course, wearing her necklace backwards, as you do. Although this is reminiscent of her Oscar’s 2011 dress, it looks as if JLaw’s style has matured within the past two years. From long, messy locks to the short pixie cut, and overdone makeup to the subdued, subtle look—there’s a definite aura of development around the girl, and the American Hustle actress was working it pretty fiercely.

3. Walking down the red carpet in Dior Haute Couture as well is Charlize Theron—with minimal Charlize-Theron-Oscars-2014-Red-Carpetaccessories, and her short side swept hair, all eyes were on her elegant gown. With the sheer illusion of her straps, and the full dramatic skirt, her dress was definitely one that was stared at for hours. Oh, by the way, her flawless cluster diamond necklace was roughly 31-carats. Her whole outfit subtly screamed ‘drama,’ and her perfect outfit deserved every glance.

2. Kate Hudson looked like an absolute angel. Her stunning, figure Kate-Hudson-Oscars-2014-Red-Carpet-Dresshugging Versace gown was a gorgeous tone of white that complemented Kate’s skin tone, and its cape-like appearance at the back gave the illusion of wings.  Her silky, blonde hair was parted to the side, and her dark smokey eye makeup fit perfectly with balancing the dress out. To accessorize, she went with Jimmy Choo shoes, a Versace clutch and Neil Lane jewelry.

1. And of course we have the fresh-faced Lupita Nyong’o. The star dazzled in this princess-like Prada gown, and she chose it because it reminded her of home—Nairobi. Instantly, #NairobiBlue started trending worldwide on twitter. Her simple, yet elegant choice perfectly suited her body, showing off her glowing skin on her bare 86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivalsarms. She really did look like royalty. #TeamLupita #YayKenya

The red carpet event had most celebrities in their awards show finery, as listed in our top four picks. But, as in every red carpet event, there had to a few missteps. Some people just don’t get it right year in year out. Oh well, what would the Oscars be without some terrible fashion faux pas? In no particular order, these are our least favourite ensembles:

Lady Gaga took a bit of a twist with her ensemble this year. Knowing Gaga, we all expected the big, flashy, out of this world pieces that she dawns to events… well shock on us! When Gaga got onto the red carpet, what she wore wasn’t quite her style- although there had to be a touch of Gaga to it. The ‘poker face’ cusinger donned a strapless metallic Versace gown, and a pink scarf that draped all the way to the ground. This outfit could have worked, but she had the accessories all wrong. The scarf that was meant to be the finishing touch only washed out her skin tone even more. This could have been a killer gown, on someone like Beyonce perhaps. But if you’re going to don Versace… you best get it right.

Anna Kendrick was warmly welcomed to the Hollywood scene two years ago, and has continued to rise in fame. She hasn’t quite been known to be the ‘fashion mogul’ and so red carpet events have passed without her standing out, yet she still manages to look good. But once she tries to pull a twist on the ‘Jolie leg,’ then evidently things don’t work out too well. The Pitch Perfect star was wearing a J Mendel dress, along with Christian Louboutin shoes and a maroon Rauwolf clutch that plays up the colour of the red on her dress. In all honesty, the gown kind of looks…awkward; it doesn’t fit her height or form. The red and black may go well with her skin tone, but the dress doesn’t do anything to enhance her figure. Good luck next time, Anna.

Julia Roberts, the renowned actress in the movie Osage County, was definitely far from fashionable in her gown for this year’s Academy Awards. Her gown was straight off the Givenchy julia-roberts-oscars-2014Couture runway, accessorized with Bvlgari jewels. You would expect Givenchy to work on anyone, right? But no, this had to be one of the worst looks of the night. Yes, the actress was glowing. Her hair and make-up was simple yet stunning. It brought youth back into her face, but this wasn’t the case with her dress. The lace black gown was a reminiscent of a mix between a funeral and a vampire cocktail party. It was frumpy, a little bit oversized. The added peplum didn’t really enhance her figure; in fact, it made her look bigger than she is. This outfit was a mix of moods, but her stunning make-up may just have saved her from being on the top of the worst dressed list.

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen, the 86th annual Academy Awards best and worst dressed list. Out of all the events around this time of year, this is one event that has fashion critics and fashion lovers at the edge of their seats, yearning to see who graced the red carpet in who and what. There were dresses that were simply stunning and others… not so much. With the good, comes the bad. That’s just how fashion physics works… if there’s anything like that. Not everyone can win an Oscar, and not everyone can look good on the red carpet. Speaking of which… am I the only one bummed over the fact that Leonardo di Caprio didn’t get even one Oscar? Oh, he deserves ALL the Oscars.

-Silmi Jariwalla and Stephanie Mithika

What is a Martyr?

Belief is such a strong word. When I picture belief, I see dark gloomy dungeons. Rays of light peeking through iron barriers, the sound of scurrying and scratching seem to dispel a heavy shadow of gloom. There is a little girl in the middle of it, crouching on the dirty floor; blood stains her pure white dress. She seems crestfallen; her wings have been clipped but she manages to raise herself up. She brings her palms together, touches her lips, and raises her hands to the sky. “Angels exist,” she murmurs to herself. She feels the warmth invading her body, invading her soul. She cries because she is free, she has fought. That little girl’s mother was a Christian who refused to renounce her religion.

Angel drawingMartyrs are recognized throughout all culture and history. To die for one’s beliefs is no easy path. It takes great courage, and in my opinion, an iota of stupidity. Martyrs are seen as heroes. The biggest aspect is that these people don’t choose to become martyrs; they don’t wake up one day with a big smile on their face saying, “I want to die.” I have met people with tremendous faith, but I have never met a martyr, because they’re dead. I “strongly dislike” (my mother so often reminds me that hate is a strong word) martyrs. Clarity can be heartbreaking; the world prefers to live in ignorance. People like to say how the best one can do for its country is die. I completely disagree with that. The best one can do for its country, or anything, is to fight. That’s what martyrs do, they don’t die for their beliefs, and they kill with lethal poison tipped arrows of love.

If all one has to do is to die for something to become a martyr, why aren’t smokers considered martyrs or heroes? Society today has tarnished the true meaning of being a martyr to the general public. When we think of martyrs, we think of those cold, dark dungeons with that little girl. I asked my mother if she would renounce her religion to save her children. She said, unfailing and unflinching, “If I had to save you guys. In a heartbeat.” For me, my mother is a martyr. She would fight for us in a heartbeat. But if a martyr means dying for something, call that alcoholic on the street corner a martyr. For he fights for what he believes in, whether it’s right or wrong.

Those who are persecuted for their beliefs are nothing but persecuted. They are the hunted, more often than not, and we forget to applaud the hunted that bit the hunter back. More often than not, we forget what fighting truly means, and what death truly means. I would never want to become known for martyrdom, for dying. If I was to become a martyr, I would want it to be known that I died fighting. If not, I would feel ashamed. Life has become something that a lot of people take for granted, every little boy wants to become known, so society can decide his worth and tell him how awesome he is. How many “likes” or how many “comments” he gets on his Facebook page.

I want to die whilst fighting, fighting for what I believe in.

–  Divita Raithatha