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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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Nathalie Anguiano, 15, feels that many girls are wearing makeup too soon. “The age I believe they should wear makeup is age 15 and up because they are more developed,” says Anguiano, who goes to Margarita Muñiz Academy. Yet girls are applying lipstick and eyeliner much earlier. A survey of girls 8 to 18 released last year by the Renfrew Center Foundation found that 58 percent of them wore makeup and that, of those, 65 percent started between the ages of 8 and 13. “They need to stop because they’re too little and need to stop trying to look cute when they need to worry about school,” says Melvin Rivera, 15, from Muñiz Academy. In the survey, 27 percent of the girls who donned makeup said they rarely or never left home without it. “I think that it shows that they might think they aren’t pretty enough for today’s society so they put it on thinking that they live up to what our society defines as ‘pretty,’ ’’ says Arianna Lisboa, 16, from Muñiz Academy, “when there is no true definition
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For lots of teens, do-it-yourself creativity is the way to go. “I’ve done DIY very often, it’s very fun,” says Nieomi Colon, 15, from Hyde Park. “I was on YouTube and I watched this video on how to make these fashionable shirts….I also made marble nail polish.” The DIY movement seems to be ultra-modern, employed by everyone from thrifty teens to back-to-basics adults using YouTube tutorials as their guides. Yet history shows that DIY has been around for a very long time. Under the headline, “Ancient Building Comes with Assembly Instructions,” a 2012 squib on news.discovery.com noted that “Italian archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a Greek temple-like structure dating back to 6th century B.C. They also found details on how to build it. Written in detailed codes, the collection of how-to instructions was found among the remains.” Today, DIY objects can serve as presents from teens. “I make little things for my nephew, like the little plants in the pots,” says McKenzie Redmond, 17, from Dorchester. Samantha Johnson, 17, from Dorchester, says DIY is also a nice way to produce homemade feel-good items at a reasonable price. “I made bracelets, flower crowns, and shirts,” says Johnson. “I’m not going to pay retail price for something I can make at home.”
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