Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Why Christian hip-hop is important in society
Feb09

Why Christian hip-hop is important in society

No other art shifts the culture more than music, and each era has its own dominant genre. While it can be debated, the evidence shows that hip-hop is this era’s reigning genre. On Jan. 3 of this year, Billboard released an article that stated “R&B/hip-hop music was the year’s biggest genre, accounting for 24.5 percent of all music consumed.” While this was the most powerful genre of 2017, there seems to be no sign of it stopping. Within this genre, a unique transition is happening, something that could eventually steer the direction of the entire music industry. Christian hip-hop is not a sub-genre. There is no difference between it and “secular” hip-hop. The difference remains in the content – Christian rappers often choose not to swear, to profess their beliefs and to bring a more positive outlook into the music. The movement had an early birth in the 80s with early artists like MC Sweet and Stephen Wiley. However, the popularization came with DC Talk in the 90s. Artists like Gospel Gangstaz and Cross Movement were notable during this decade. In 2004, the Reach Records music label formed. It became the home of artists such as Lecrae, Andy Mineo, Trip Lee and many more, who have infiltrated hip-hop with their movement. While Christian hip-hop is still largely unnoticed, it has produced multiple albums that have topped the Billboard Top 200, the highest ranking album chart in the U.S. Lecrae has collaborated with artists such as Tori Kelly, E-40, Big K.R.I.T., Ty Dolla $ign and many more – all secular artists. Andy Mineo has also worked with Jon Bellion, whom he toured with as well. However, the most popular artist in Christian hip-hop is neither Lecrae or Andy Mineo. Nathan Feuerstein, aka, NF, 25 year-old rapper, has become one of the most unstoppable forces to emerge from the Christian hip-hop community. His album Perception, released on Oct. 6, 2017, hit the Billboard Top 200, and its single, “Let You Down,” catapulted into the Billboard Hot 100. It is currently in the top ten of most streamed songs daily on Spotify. Faith in hip-hop is no stranger to the secular scene. Chance the Rapper, Kanye West, 2Ppac and many more have exhibited their faith in God more than once. Chance the Rapper even released his own rendition of “How Great is Our God” on his mixtape titled “Coloring Book.” With hip-hop’s early-on establishment as the unrestrained genre, fit to voice the needs of the oppressed and fight social injustice, its explicit content became a signature. Before, to have “clean” hip-hop songs with no swearing would have been almost an anomaly. However,...

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Living in London- Week 1
Jan24

Living in London- Week 1

There are so many things that I never thought about in preparing to live in London for three months. Cell phone usage, power converters and which credit cards work internationally were all new thoughts to me. Here I was debating between which sweaters to take and whether to bring a swimsuit, while my financial security and ability to talk to my family were at stake. Luckily I have family members who are brighter than I am, and have prepared me more than I could on my own. For Christmas I received a converter, two guide books to London, sweaters, long johns, an identity-theft protection purse and more advice than I could ever want. In my other out-of-country experiences, I simply converted whatever money I had at the airport to the local tender or hoped that the vendors accepted american money. I learned that airports have some of the highest exchange rates (will cost more), and that local banks is the best place to withdraw money (with a better exchange rate). As far as phones go, extended international service is expensive. If I don’t want to pay a $600 roaming charge every month, a local phone or SIM card with a pay-as-you-go plan is easily the cheapest option. Most health insurance plans, including mine, are domestic plans. Meaning, they do not cover illness and injury in other countries. Luckily, London isn’t a third world country and has pharmacies for mild sicknesses and hospitals for more serious ones. At this point, I’m just hoping I don’t have to use either. Another complication involved in my specific study abroad experience is that I’m dating someone who lives in Temple. That means that we’ll be doing long distance for three months. Although he’s coming across the pond to see me in February, there will still be long stretches of time where we don’t see each other. All I can say about it is that I am grateful for modern technology, so I can still see him even from miles away. I’ve been here for five days, and still getting lost on the way to the corner store. I live in a flat in central London with 11 other Texas women, and so far, the biggest issue has been finding bathroom counter space in the mornings. I knew I wouldn’t be driving in London so I didn’t think that the opposite flow of traffic would be an issue, but I find myself looking the wrong way trying to cross the street every time I come to an intersection. The professors accompanying our group have exhausted us well. I can confidently say I’m sleeping in...

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Got Milk? The pros and cons of drinking milk
Jan24

Got Milk? The pros and cons of drinking milk

“Got Milk?” was a popular ad campaign launched in 1993 and discontinued in 2014 by the California Milk Education Processor Board. It had celebrities, professional athletes and even fictional characters sporting milk mustaches and encouraging the American public to drink more milk. But in recent years, many sources are saying that milk isn’t as healthy as everyone thought. So, are there any benefits of milking milk? Growing up, my family of five (but mostly me) would consume multiple gallons of milk a week. Milk was the only drink option during dinner. We were told to drink, so we’d have strong bones. True story: I’ve never broken a bone. I’m chalking it up to all the milk I’ve had. According to medicalnewstoday.com, one cup (244-gram) of whole milk contains 276 mg of calcium, which not only helps maintain strong bones, but also helps maintain normal blood pressure and is a key component in blood clotting and wound healing. The National Institute of Health recommends that adults get 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Milk also contains several B vitamins, such as vitamin B 12, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin (National Diary Council). Theses vitamins help break down food into fuel. One-cup of milk also provides about 16% of the Daily Intake of protein, which builds and repairs muscle tissue. In a Nov. 22, 2016 article published in the Journal of Food and Nutrition titled “Milk and Dairy Products: Good or Bad for Human Health? An Assessment of the Totality of Scientific Evidence,” Dr. Tanga Kongerslev Thorning stated that recent evidence points to milk intake reducing childhood obesity. Milk and dairy intake seems to reduce risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. While milk has several benefits, I found almost just as many articles giving reasons why we should lose the milk mustaches. According to medicalnewstoday.com, high calcium intake has been associated with ovarian cancer in women as well as prostate cancer in men. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests increased intake of milk could lead to acne flare-ups. In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in lactose intolerance, which means that our bodies can’t fully digest the lactose or sugar found in milk. After weighing the evidence, I believe that too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing. Milk has many benefits, and for those who can drink milk, I don’t think there’s anything wrong in continuing to drink milk – as long as people stay within the recommended limits. I believe that it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and decide what is best for your body. There are also many milk alternatives such as...

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Presidential criteria may be forever changed
Jan24

Presidential criteria may be forever changed

What will presidency mean in 2020? Something has shifted in the political climate, and perspectives are starting to radically alter. The 2016 presidential election produced a president, Donald Trump, with no political experience, which was perceived as one of his strong points. He was an outsider. USA Today called him an “anti-establishment outsider.” At least a large portion of Americans today do not consider political experience to be the most important factor in deciding which candidate to vote for. Recent events only confirm that. On Jan 7, Oprah Winfrey, the famous TV show host, philanthropist and entrepreneur delivered an emotionally charged and resonate speech at the Golden Globes. She had just won the Cecil B. deMille award, which is given to those who have had a major impact and influence on the entertainment world. She was the first African-American woman to ever receive this award, so her acceptance speech rang forth with “a new day is on the horizon!” This refers to a recognized, new age of equality and respect among men and women. This speech headlined everywhere overnight, with the question being asked: could Oprah Winfrey be president? The hashtag titled as “Oprah2020” skyrocketed on Twitter, with even NBC posting a tweet in favor of a potential Oprah presidential run. A multitude of various media outlets approved the idea, and even a few talk show hosts, such as Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel, did the same. This is despite Oprah Winfrey having any political experience. However, with the current president also lacking that experience, that might not be of much weight against her in a campaign. While President Trump’s current approval rating may be at 36 percent (Gallup News), his supporters feel he is functioning as a President and has been capable of the work. This is all despite a lack of experience. While Oprah has since refuted any ideas of actually running, this desire for outsiders to fill in U.S. politics is catching on. Numerous celebrities, actors and music artists have considered their own presidential campaigns for 2020, including Kanye West, Dwayne Johnson, Chris Rock and even Katy Perry. Much of this activity among the celebrity world can be attributed to the wide range of diversity that has hit U.S. politics in the past fifteen years. From Barack Obama becoming the first African-American U.S. president to Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Socialism, to Hillary Clinton being the first woman to be the democratic nominee for presidency, to President Donald Trump today. In an interview with Vanity Fair in 2016, Dwayne Johnson responded over whether he might enter the political ring, saying, “It would be a great opportunity to help...

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Anti-impeachment
Dec04

Anti-impeachment

  We are addressing the following in two opposing opinions: On Nov. 15th, members of House Democrats signed and presented five articles of impeachment against President Trump. One Congressman, Steve Cohen, who represents the 9th District of Tennessee, introduced these articles which are as follows – 1) Obstruction of justice which deals with Mr. [James] Comey’s (former FBI Director) firing. 2) Violation of the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments clause, which deals with monies he’s taken from foreign powers without the consent of Congress. 3) Violation of the Domestic Emoluments clause, which deals with monies he’s made from the United States and his personal businesses’ beyond that of his salary, which is also forbidden by our Constitution. 4) Undermining Independence of the Federal Judiciary and the Rule of Law. 5) Undermining Freedom of the Press. (CNN, Nov. 26, 2017) The House Democrats who support this measure to impeach President Trump believe that he has violated his duties as president and in turn, has disregarded the sanctity that is the constitution. I would like to go through each of these points and offer refuting statements so as to clarify and bring light to the reasons behind President Trump’s actions. First off, there is the whole debate with the firing of James Comey on May 9, 2017 and the reasoning behind it. Some say that the President fired him because he was looking into the alleged Russian interference with the election results that could have benefited President Trump. Another reason Comey is said to have been fired is because President Trump just didn’t like Comey, stating in a Lester Holt interview that he was going to fire [him] “regardless of recommendation” (NBC). However, according to the official White House statement that was released to the public on May 9, the main reason behind firing Comey was because of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Session’s recommendations to do so. Rosenstein and Session’s recommendation to fire Comey was based off of his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, giving her a “free pass” so to speak. So the decision to fire the former FBI Director was understandable – backed up with a combination of the President’s forethought and the disapproval of Comey’s decision making skills by Rosenstein and Session. Regarding the foreign and domestic emoluments clause issue, an article in Time Magazine said the reason this is a problem is because “the President has significant conflicts of interest within his real estate empire since taking office.” However, the Justice Department reports that previous presidents such as George Washington conducted business during his presidency by selling harvests to England,...

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Pro-impeachment
Dec04

Pro-impeachment

We are addressing the following in two opposing opinions: On Nov. 15th, members of House Democrats signed and presented five articles of impeachment against President Trump. One Congressman, Steve Cohen, who represents the 9th District of Tennessee, introduced these articles which are as follows – 1) Obstruction of justice which deals with Mr. [James] Comey’s (former FBI Director) firing. 2) Violation of the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments clause, which deals with monies he’s taken from foreign powers without the consent of Congress. 3) Violation of the Domestic Emoluments clause, which deals with monies he’s made from the United States and his personal businesses’ beyond that of his salary, which is also forbidden by our Constitution. 4) Undermining Independence of the Federal Judiciary and the Rule of Law. 5) Undermining Freedom of the Press. (CNN, Nov. 26, 2017) To be able to fully evaluate and form an opinion on this issue, it is important to be able to understand fully the articles being presented in order for impeachment. As so, I will be examining the articles and speaking about them in my own opinion. First, concerning the firing of the former FBI director James Comey, thereby obstructing justice. Comey was fired early into the Presidents first term, on May 9, 2017. Allegations of Comey looking into Russian interference in the presidential elections of 2016 in Trump’s favor led to his ultimate dismissal from the White House, according to an NBC interview. By firing an official for simply doing his job and looking into all possible injustices, the President leaves unanswered questions in the minds of the American people. By undermining the American people’s ability to address issues within their own government with restricted information because President Trump fired the investigator, the country was left to witness that if there were injustices occurring, they were simply supposed to accept them and move on. Even though the matter is still under investigation now with head of the Special Council on Russian interference with the 2016 elections, Robert Mueller, Comey’s firing is unfortunate and I feel it is a firm reason to incite impeachment. Though the White House’s official statement was that the firing was due to recommendation of White House leaders, the President was against Comey regardless, as found in a statement that he was going to fire [him] “regardless of recommendation” (Factcheck.org and NBC). This being the case, President Trump then appeared to be somewhat of a tyrant, firing someone based on how much he liked them, instead of how well he or she performed his or her job. Next, the issue of the President accepting money from foreign powers without approval...

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