Thursday, March 25, 2010

Teen and Pregnant- an Epidemic?

 So let's talk once again about everyone's favorite subject.....No, not Twilight....everyone's OTHER favorite subject: SEX! More specifically, what happens when birth control goes wrong?! That goes to say, birth control IS being used...right? Because if it isn't, read on! 

I've been watching MTV, in the middle of homework breaks (you know how that goes!), and have been very intrigued with the shows like "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom." These shows, if you haven't been keeping up to date with what MTV deems as "cool" to put shows on the air, follow the lives of girls who are teen moms or are about to become moms. 

The shows cover how the girls deal with the news, their personal lives, education, family, friends, and the stresses of having to deal with the consequences of their actions. 

I was thinking to myself while watching:
  • What do people think of these shows? 
  • Are they advocating safe sex? Or perhaps glamorizing young pregnancy? 
A psychologist, Dr. Drew, appears on these shows to counsel these girls and at the same time promote safe sex. 
  • Do you think the message is getting the point across by showing real life examples of the consequences of not using any form or birth control? 
  • Do you think by putting so much emphasis on the lives of these girls that it really deters people from making bad choices?  
Sarah Palin's daugher was a prime example of teen pregnancy and now she is in the media promoting abstinence. She was interviewed (Watch it Here) and spoke about how she wants other to learn from her mistakes. The article says, "Palin Promoting Abstinence in New Campaign, 'Regardless of What I Did Personally.'"

My question for all these girls sharing the stories of their lives is do you think it will be really heard? People are saying how can someone like Bristol Palin who is a teen mom really promote abstinence when she, herself, did not follow her own advice? What do you all think? 

Since she has experienced the consequences do you think it now makes her a good role model and a warning all at the same time? 

I hope either the shows, or role models will have an effect on the teen pregnancy rates because they have gone up in both of the last two years. 

I guess TV is actually reflecting real lives for once, for the worse maybe? or for a chance to learn? You decide...

Teen Link

Thursday, March 18, 2010 Cats and Dogs!

When parents and teens get into fights it is normally about things they do not see eye to eye on. Whether it is about if you can go out, wear a certain outfit, or miss school because you did not finish all of your homework, there always seems to be an argument. Think about all of the fights you have gotten in with your parents and read this survey.

Thousands of parents and teens took a survey and now it is your time to guess the right answers:

What percentage of Parents and Teens agree on these issues?

Clothing: 16%, 21%, 43%, 65%, 78%

24%, 46%, 55%, 70%, 100%

3%, 15%, 30%, 59%, 74%

10%, 33%, 55%, 66%, 74%

5%, 23%, 48%, 59%, 78%

13%, 35%, 58%, 67%, 80%

25%, 48%, 60%, 72%, 81%

24%, 46%, 59%, 68%, 83%

What do you think? 

The results may surprise you:

Clothing: 65%

Sex: 70%

Religion: 74%

Friends: 74%

  Politics: 78%       Work: 80%

  Education: 81%   Drugs: 83%

All of the results are the first or second highest percentage. Now, this does not mean your parents and you agree on all of these things, but it shows you that you and your parents may not be so different. There will always be fights and disagreements, but maybe you both agree in some way with each other. Anyways, think about this survey and share it with others. You learn something new everyday!

Some additional links with tips on how to talk to your parents:

If you begin to feel like things will never get resolved - that you and your parents just cannot work through your differences - consider mediation as an option. A neutral third party might be able to help you both to understand each other and find some middle ground. This can be an adult you both trust like a neighbor or a teacher. If you can't agree on who that person is, there are family counselors who can provide that role and in some areas, mediation programs that can provide BOTH adult AND youth mediators to create a safe and even handed approach to finding a resolution. Call Teen Link (866-833-6546) to see what can help you best in your situation


Teen Link :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Black History Month - It's all about roots

Black History Month is officially over now, but that doesn't mean the HISTORY has become any less relevant. Take the realm of music as an example - Michael Jackson, specifically. Whether you enjoyed his music or not, it's hard to not appreciate his craft, his precision, his talent. The self-named King of Pop died less than a year ago and left a tremendous legacy.

There are very few musicians these days in mainstream music who don't cite him as a major influence. Which brings me to the point of "roots". They say, you don't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been. So beginning with Michael and who he's influenced, let's take some steps backwards.

Alien Ant Farm remakes Michael's "Smooth Criminal"

And then there's a bunch of heavy hitters in pop music:
"While Michael Jackson thrilled fans with his videos, revolutionized pop dancing, and tantalized us with his darkly bizarre behaviour, his most important legacy is as the ultimate crossover artist: He married rock, pop, R & B, and dance music in order to smash radio formats and racial barriers in the media. Here are 10 of his closest acolytes, some of whom have followed his star to mass popularity, and some of whom may have flown too close to his supernova..."  Read More...

And while Michael was quite the genius, he had HIS influences too.
From Wikipedia: "Jackson's music genre takes roots in R&B, Motown, pop and soul. He had been influenced by the work of contemporary musicians such as Little Richard, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Diana Ross, David Ruffin, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Sammy Davis, Jr., The Isley Brothers, and the Bee Gees.
While Little Richard had a huge influence on Jackson, James Brown was for him, since early childhood, his greatest inspiration: "the master" or "a genius"...describing his performance as "phenomenal". He declared: "Ever since I was a small child, no more than like six years old, my mother would wake me no matter what time it was, if I was sleeping, no matter what I was doing, to watch the television to see the master at work."

James Brown, commonly referred to as the "Godfather of Soul", takes us on a little bit of a different direction, because he not only inspired Michael Jackson and thus had a large influence on pop music (ex: the drum loop from James' song "Funky Drummer" has been sampled more than 100 times by artists like Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Enigma and the Beastie Boys), James had a monumental influence on the world of hip hop.  

He is still one of the most sampled artists of all time on hip hop records. His style of call-and-response with his band as well as with the audience directly impacted the way that emcees interact with the audience members at shows. The breaks of James Brown songs are still among the most commonly used by hip-hop DJs and were especially popular in the early  formative years of hip-hop music. (The break beats that are the building block of hip-hop music - the best part of the record that the DJ isolates by alternating between the two turntables).

"Type ‘James Brown’ into a search engine or a sample-source website and you’re going to get back pages and pages of hits. So many that you’ll initially think you made a mistake. But no, it isn’t a mistake. James Brown samples are just that prevalent. 

James is listed as The-Breaks.coms number one most-sampled artist ever. And his total sample count of 903 is more than triple that of the nearest contender. It’s said that J.B. makes millions per year on sample-related royalties alone. So why? Why did James Brown’s music have such a pull on all of us? The answer is actually simple. It’s rhythm." (Read more here...)

So if James Brown had such a profound impact on music - who influenced James Brown?
According to Wikipedia, James decided to become an entertainer after seeing Louis Jordan perform. Louis Jordan was known as "The King of the Jukebox", and during his career that spanned the 1930s-1950s, he was able to cultivate popularity among both white AND black audiences.

He was named as #59 in Rolling Stone magazine's "Immortals: the Greatest Artists of All Time".
"...Jordan's sound was hard to imitate. At Atlantic Records, we used that boogie-woogie feel on some of the jump numbers we recorded with Joe Turner. But the main thing was the sound of Jordan's voice, the way he sang. It was a kind of talk-singing. He's actually talking the lyrics in "Saturday Night Fish Fry." Jordan was really a precursor to rap. Back then, they used to call it Harlem rhyming jive. Rap didn't just come out of nowhere." - By Ahmet Ertegun

Here's a taste of Louis Jordan's music:

Let's take a look at another one of these branches. 
I mentioned Little Richard as another of Michael Jackson's influences. "Little Richard" Penniman is often referred to as one of the architects of rock 'n roll music.

The Beatles' (listed as #1 in the Rolling Stone's "Immortals...") Paul McCartney often imitated Little Richard's trademark high pitched "Woooo!" (Listen to it here...) in early Beatles songs and has often said that he wanted to sing just like him.

The Beatles also were known to play covers of Little Richard's songs "Long Tall Sally" and "Lucille". His music was heavily covered by many artists including Elvis Presley.

Jimi Hendrix played in Little Richard's band and toured with him for over a year and began copying his flamboyant fashion and even wore his mustache in a similar style. James Brown called Little Richard his idol. And many, many other influential musicians have talked about him as major influences on their musical careers.

So where did Little Richard and many of the most popular artists of the 40s and 50s get their inspiration?
- Gospel music and the blues.

Where did these two musical styles originate from?

"Gospel music originated in the American South and is still primarily an American genre, although it has spread to other countries as well. Gospel music combines Christian lyrics, often taken from the Methodist hymnal, with American musical forms including jazz, blues, ragtime and bluegrass. Gospel music has its roots in the spirituals composed and sung by African slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries." (Read more...)
"The origins of blues is not unlike the origins of life. For many years it was recorded only by memory, and relayed only live, and in person. The Blues were born in the North Mississippi Delta following the Civil War. Influenced by African roots, field hollers, ballads, church music and rhythmic dance tunes called jump-ups evolved into a music for a singer who would engage in call-and-response with his guitar. He would sing a line, and the guitar would answer." (Read more...)
      These are the roots of so much of the music we listen to and love today - and if that doesn't speak to the historical relevance of Black History, try taking another listen to your favorite songs and just start following the tracks backward.