China can’t take a joke

Story by: Carly McWilliams, staff writer
Photo by: Amanda Wiggins, staff photographer


China caused a controversy this past April 1 when their state media declared a ban on April Fools jokes.

The news agency Xinhua announced through social media that “‘Fools’ Day’ is not consistent with our cultural tradition or socialist core values. We hope you will not believe, create, or spread rumors.”

Many replies to the post were humorous, some even mocking. One user commented that the announcement was “the funniest thing today,” while another even said, “The most amusing ‘April Fools’ news is that Xinhua is seriously saying ‘don’t believe rumours’.”

Within hours, the post had been shared over 8,600 times. After receiving the uproar of responses, Xinhua blocked all comments and shares on their post.

Band: Sport or nah?

Story by: Carly McWilliams, staff writer
Photos by: Jennifer McGowan, staff photographer

band sport or no

For years, the debate has been raging and has yet to be settled: should band be considered a sport?

To answer this, one must first ask what a sport technically is. Believe it or not, sports do not just consist of passing a ball around to make a goal.

The Oxford dictionary defines a sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” From this definition, band meets all of the regulations.

Musicians have to be very talented to play all of their pieces perfectly, and it takes a lot of physical skill to play each instrument while marching down a field. Also, the members of the band compete regularly to achieve first chair in their class, as well as competing against other schools.

band sport or no 2The concert band recently participated in ISSMA and received gold and silver ratings for their solo and ensemble groups. Also, marching band placed 4th at finals earlier this year.

So why is this still not agreed on by everyone? Maybe because the physical abilities needed to be in band are different from those in sports like track and soccer, or maybe because the band does not get as much recognition as other sports for their titles and achievements.

Band member Tara Paarlberg, 10, added, “In marching band the top half of a person must be a musician and the bottom half must be an athlete.  Much like another sport, if someone on the field messes up, the entire group suffers. Everyone matters and contributes.”

Instead of thinking of band as just another class, or the background music at basketball games, recognize it for the sport it is

New music videos looking for equality

Story by: Carly McWilliams and Lauren Pilkington, staff writers

New artists have been releasing loads of music in 2016. With these new songs, they have also been surprising their fans with sporadic uploads of their music videos to go along with the songs. The music videos are used to bring more meaning to the lyrics, or they can be used as an extra entertainment factor. Basically, they are just another way to watch popular artists sing their music while dancing with more talented people.

However, these videos aren’t just made for dancing around to popular songs. They have become a new, growing platform to help artists to stand up for what they, as musicians, believe in.

With more and more people shouting out against inequality and standing up for the minorities across the world, musicians have continued to reflect themes of pride in their differences and cultural backgrounds in their music videos. A few videos that really stood out were just released in these first few months of 2016, highlighting topics ranging from race to gender to sexual orientation.

Racial inequality has been a growing topic in the media throughout history. However, the increase in protests against police brutality has brought little to no change in cases of violence against minorities by police officers.

Beyoncé brings these issues to light and shows everyone that she isn’t giving in to her oppressors in her video for “Formation.” Some powerful shots in the music video, released this past February, include a small black child with his hands up in front of several police officers and graffiti that states “Stop Shooting Us.”

MV student Gabby Warner, 10, responded, “I liked the video because Beyoncé was strong, danced however she wanted without fear and included women of color throughout the video.”

The video depicts Beyoncé sitting regally with a parasol dressed in all lace, as well as the line “I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making,” showing that she is still successful even though she is faced with racism in America. There is even a flashback to Martin Luther King Jr., in case the audience didn’t quite get the message. Black lives do matter, and this video gets the idea across.

Next is Troye Sivan’s new song: “Youth.” This catchy tune came out with a lyric video in November of 2015. However, Sivan surprised his audience with an official video on February 24, 2016. The music video has LGBTQA+ references throughout the entire video, including the flashing rainbow lights and the normalization of same-sex couples seen at the party.

Troye came out online to all of his YouTube friends in August of 2013, and he and his YouTube community are all huge supporters of LGBTQA+ rights.

This video emits their great pride in who they are, and shows viewers what it is like to have fun at a party without drugs and alcohol. In the video, the house is full of couples at a small house party. There are tents, teddy bears, roller skating, and overflowing bathtubs. Also, one of Troye’s good friends, Lia Marie Johnson, can be spotted dancing and socialising throughout the video. Overall, the video perfectly fits the bubbly lyrics and the pop sound.

Geneva Pleasant, 11, added, “Troye Sivan has created yet another masterpiece. His music video combines his amazing lyrics with his beats and musical genius, and brings the song to life.”

Finally there is the cinematic work of art that is Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods” music video. The video came out this past New Year’s Eve, and it certainly lived up to the hype surrounding its release. This beautiful and thrilling piece illustrates the story of a destructive relationship, exclusively from Taylor’s point of view. Elements of nature, such as the vines that twist around her throughout the video, represent how restricting and dangerous her relationship was. Each different environment shows a different part of her struggle, from letting go to falling back into the relationship and going through the same chaos she had before.

All throughout the video, Taylor asks the question, “Are we out of the woods yet?” It seems to get more and more frantic as the song progresses, until she finally breaks free of everything that is trapping her and makes it “out of the woods.”

MVHS junior and Taylor Swift fan Olivia Caldwell added, “I really like how at the beginning it has the ‘She lost him’ message and throughout the video she’s lost, then at the end she actually finds herself, and then the message ‘But she found herself, and that was everything’ appears.”

These small bits of text really show how Taylor has grown as a person and highlights the message of putting yourself and your own health before an abusive or manipulative relationship.

Overall, this video was stunning, empowering and captivating to watch from beginning to end.