When you think of three infl  ential female artists, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna easily come to mind.

One major reason is their strong voices. Another is their skimpy attire. “I personally love Beyoncé’s music, especially from her recent album,” says Oryanna Ferguson, 18, from Dorchester, “but I don’t agree with the way her or Nicki and Rihanna dress.” Rachelle Bellanton, 18, from Another Course to College, agrees that there’s more to these singers than their pipes. “Nicki Minaj is someone that attracts and is only up there because of her appearance,” Bellanton says. “Her fake body image and her different hair styles is what separates herself from others.” Tanisha Amazon, 18, from ACC, says that the music industry can take things too far. “Women are portrayed as a sex symbol,” says Amazon, “and I don’t appreciate that at all.”
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I’ve been playing football ever since I was six. I wasn’t good at first. But after watching football on TV and throwing the ball around with friends in the neighborhood, I got better. In my sophomore year at Brighton High school, I played outside linebacker. For me, football is a way to get out my anger and frustrations. It also helps me stay  fit by working out and eating right. During football season, I have a close bond with different guys from diverse backgrounds. It is a memorable brotherhood. Some people think playing football is easy, but there’s a lot to know about the game. I pick up tips from my school’s training sessions and from studying the game on TV. It is important for me to be skilled. If I’m not, then I’ll be dealing with some major injuries. Unfortunately, I won’t be playing football during the 2014 season because I need to stay focused on my schoolwork. I will miss playing the sport: hanging out with teammates, wearing my jersey, and having a team to go into battle with.
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Cover Story
Encore Performances
Seventeen-year-old Jo-Ann Martell, from Dorchester, thinks it’s weird and distasteful that hologram technology brought a singing and dancing Michael Jackson back to the stage at the Billboard Music Awards in May – some five years after his death. “It’s creepy and wrong,” says Martell. “He’s dead. They should just let him rest in peace. They are trying to make more money by taking advantage of his death.” Yet others think  it’s special that the King of Pop and other entertainers can return for live-looking performances long after they’ve died. “It’s a good thing,” says Isabelle Joseph, 15, from Boston Latin Academy. “Michael Jackson should be honored and respected. He is a good artist. This could be good for those who didn’t know him.” Jackson’s not the first superstar who has risen from the dead – artistically speaking. In one of the most memorable musical reawakenings, crowds went crazy in April 2012 when a hologram of the late legendary rapper Tupac Shakur appeared alongside fellow hip-hop hero Snoop Dogg at the Coachella music festival and lit into the song “Hail Mary.” Before that, Alicia Keys sang a digitalized duet with Frank Sinatra at the 2008 Grammy Awards. There have been other revivals, as well, and more are being planned, including a hologram of Elvis, who already performed a duet of “If I Can Dream” with Celine Dion -- after his death -- on “American Idol” in 2007. This whole great-vs.-gruesome debate over hologramic appearances was resurrected after Jackson performed “Slave to the Rhythm” -- from a posthumously released album -- at the Billboards in May. One critic commented via the Internet: “This is so creepy. Michael Jackson is dead. He had his time and there are so many live talents out there who deserve their turn in the spotlight. We don’t need to be entertained by dead people.” After all, critics say, although Michael Jackson’s famous moonwalk movements were mimicked in May, who’s to say in the future that the hologram technicians wouldn’t add their own twists and turns to the imagery. “They are doing it based on their opinion, their personality,” says 15-year-old Dominique Singletary, from Roslindale. Yet others are not convinced that the greater good isn’t served by seeing artists sing and dance at shows long after they’ve been put to rest – like Michael Jackson.

“It’s a good idea,” says 15-year-old Taylor Davis, from Dorchester. “It’s a great way to entertain and to keep him alive, instead of him dying out.”

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When it comes to originality in music, you either have it or you don’t. Musicians can embed their personalities into their own work but they often echo pre-existing sounds and themes. When everything seems to have been done or sung about, it can be difficult to push boundaries. Modern artists put their own twists on past tracks but many don’t capture the essence that the originals possessed.

Vanessa Forbes, 15, from Boston Community Leadership Academy, believes that in music, staying true to who you are is a part of the process. “It should come from you,” said Forbes, who listens to hip-hop and R&B. Modern music can be traced back to several sources from decades ago, but the credits are not always directly stated. For example, Trey Songz’s “Na” (2014) is based on The Fugees’ “Fu-Gee-La” (1996), which contains elements of Teena Marie’s “Ooh La La La” (1988). Sonia Omwenga, 17, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, said that not citing one’s major infl ences can tarnish an artist’s reputation. “I would lose respect for them,” said Omwenga. Zannatul Zannat, 16, from Boston Latin School, said that originality means artists crafting authentic pieces about their own lives not creating work solely for popularity. “It’s not about pleasing everyone,” said Zannat.
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Comic Corner TiP Rateau, Nelson
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