Coffee and Knowledge

The word coffee may bring to mind images from steaming liquid to early mornings. If you are like 80% of Americans, you consume this familiar drink CoffeBeanCupeveryday [1]. Whether it is a latte, a caramel macchiato, or black, coffee is an important part of the United States and Global culture. Every Starbucks’ fan knows a Pumpkin Spice Latte delivers large doses of craved caffeine and sugar, but it may be more surprising to learn that the coffee in it also carries a long history of knowledge. So let us follow the story of knowledge behind this drink.


Origins of Coffee (Not so scholarly)coffeeTree

Coffee bushes grew in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula for centuries before people discovered the wonders of caffeine in its berries [2] . While there are many coffee legends, they mainly agree that the discovery of coffee happened near Ethiopia, around the 6th century [3]. The most famous story is of the Ethiopian goat herder, Kaldi [2]. Legend has it that Kaldi’s goats ate coffee beans and started jumping around the field, maybe from all thecoffeGoats caffeine. After seeing the strange reaction of his goats, Kaldi brought the beans to a Sufi, an Islamic scholar. The Sufi rejected the beans and threw them in the fire, thereby roasted the first coffee beans [2]. Coffee’s rejection is quite an ironic start, but it would not last. From this point on, intellectuals, muse seeking artists, and exhausted students begin embracing coffee.


A Golden Age Spreads Black Gold

The Sufis do not dismiss the drink for long but rather spread coffee to Egypt and Southeast Asia, as they used to coffee to concentrate and connect with God [3]. In the 1500s, the Islamic World was globally influential from its Gworldincoffeeolden Age of Innovation [3]. Coffee came to rest of the world from Africa and Arabia through Islamic societies trading the knowledge and technology of their Golden Age. Strong trade routes existed between the Middle East, Europe, and Africa during this time. If you enjoy algebra, printing, or navigating by a compass you can thank the Islamic Golden Age [4]. Most importantly (for our purposes) coffee came out of this age too. By the 1500s, coffee spread as far as Europe [3]. Coffee got its big global break by tagging along with knowledge. This transmission of coffee exemplifies how when knowledge and technology spread culture often follows; they are inseparable. We live in a more globally connected world than the 1500s, so we see consequences of this every day.


Coffee Creates Cheap UniversitiesCoffeePennyUniversity

In Europe, instead of spreading alongside knowledge, coffee’s influence took an active role in encouraging the great thoughts of the Age of Enlightenment [6]. Coffee arrived in England by the 1600s [6], and by the 1700s the new trend of coffee houses caught on in Europe [6]. Unlike a drive thru McCafe or the coffee houses in the earlier Islamic world, the most important purpose of these coffee houses were not to actually sell coffee[6]. European coffee houses were most importantly social centers. People came to do business, discuss new ideas, and share information [6]. They became a think tank of scholarship and innovation. This earned the houses their nickname, “Penny Universities,” so called because entry only cost a penny for unlimited time and coffee. Because of their affordability and popularity, coffee houses were lively and crowded. Men of all classes and professions came to socialize and share ideasCoffeHouse. By their nature, the houses hosted a crowd that possessed the diversity that top companies and universities strive to recruit today. Many ideas and prospective occupied these houses, allowing companies, news, and ideas to flow profusely from these “universities.”


College Coffee Culture

Almost any college studecaffinemolecuelnt will tell you that coffee is a large part of university culture. 40% of student age Americans drink coffee everyday [13]. Whether it is the caffeine or the sugar, many students need this pick up to get through longs hours of classes and studying.  Personally, I do not go to English class without my afternoon cup of joe. While students may be flooding coffee lines strictly for caffeine and sugar, coffee shops still create a large social atmosphere on campuses. True to the days of penny universities, coffee shops are popular places for students to study or discuss ideas with friends. A Frappuccino is going to cost you more than a penny, but four centuries later coffee shops are still creating a space for people to share and spread ideas.

Science or Social?

Because coffee and knowledge often intertwine, scientist have explored if coffee helps with learning and creativity. Research on this is inconclusive. SomcoffeeStudye studies suggests that the caffeine in coffee may actually help with learning and retention. A study from Nature Neuroscience finds that caffeine may help increase long-term memory [8]. Studies have also explored if coffee aids in creativity, which is needed to create great works of art and scientific theories [10]. While Benjamin Franklin, Beethoven, and Voltaire were all heavy coffee drinkers [12], there is little evidence to support that downing pots of coffee will help students invent the next light bulb or masterpieces. On the other side, some studies such as those presented in the New Yorker article “How Coffee Can Cramp Creativity” [11] suggest that coffee hinders the creative process. Overall, science has not offered any real explanation of coffee and knowledge, so we must look to other causes to explain this link.


The history of coffee displays how the social atmosphere coffee creates developed a relationship between coffee and knowledge. Coffee houses provided a space for people to meet, and gathered people create and share new ideas. Scholars have compared coffee shops, as they existed in London and in universities to small models of cities [7]. They were places of many ideas, diverse people, and daily heavy attendance. This comparison gives insight thacoffeeFriendst collaborative groups are the secret to making progress in society. Extending this conclusion predicts that collaborative social efforts will be responsible for the innovation of tomorrow. If we look to the future, people who spend a lot of time communicating with others will most likely produce the most successful new ideas. Communication and innovation have a much faster pace in our global world than the coffee shops of the 1600s. Therefore, we can expect knowledge, technology, and culture to spread at increasing rates by people talking to other people, maybe even over coffee.




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The cultural impacts of art and art-forms are well-studied and numerous.  Since music became a global format songs have offered political and social opinions that have made cultural waves, from Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s “Ohio”, Neil Young’s reaction to the Kent State shooting to Green Day’s “American Idiot”.

Literature has also often been used as a format to make a statement and has had huge cultural impacts from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an anti-slavery piece published in 1852, to The Crucible, Arthur Miller’s comparison between McCarthyism and Salem witch hunts.



One form of art that is unlikely to come to mind when thinking of political statements and cultural impacts is film.

Film touches on the most important aspects of our lives, but because of the nature of the industry(1), the films themselves tend to come out following changes instead of igniting them.  Often, movie’s appearing before their time meant bad things for their reviews and revenues, and since films cost so much to produce in the first place producers often won’t work on films they’re not sure the world is ready for.

I like to call this the Brokeback Mountain effect.  Brokeback Mountain was objectively a great film, it was moving and philosophical (and don’t even get me started on the score, that Oscar was well deserved), and it won many awards but the general public just thinks of it as ‘that gay cowboy movie’ or that it’s perverse.  Since it’s debut though, general feelings toward LGBT+ people and LGBT+ rights have changed a lot and we’re a lot more accepting.  If it had come out this year instead of 2005 I’m betting the public reception would have been very different.  

So film is not often able to make groundbreaking political statements.  This does not, however, mean that films can not have cultural impacts, films can and often do.

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey came out to mixed reviews on April, 2 1968.  The film was unlike any other ever made, it was a science fiction movie about space and aliens but arguably not about that at all, offering a philosophical look into what our future is really going to be like, the good and the bad.  2001’s score is composed of centuries old classical pieces which somehow perfectly symbolize the white noise of space. The film also had no dialogue for the first 25 minutes and had less than 40 minutes worth in it’s 180 minute total and it’s ‘star gate sequence’ is often called groundbreaking.  Many critics dub 2001 as the birth of modern science fiction

Sir Ridley Scott and George Lucas, the directors of Alien and Star Wars respectively, both cite 2001 as one of their biggest influences, both in their interest in the science fiction genre and in film in general.

Sir Ridley even once announced that he believes science fiction as a genre is dead-because nothing will be able to top Kubrick’s masterpiece saying “that 2001 was ‘the best of the best, in use of lighting, special effects and atmosphere,’ adding that every sci-fi film since had imitated or referred to it. ‘There is an over reliance on special effects as well as weak storylines,’ he said of modern sci-fi films.” (X)

Whether or not that’s true is a matter of opinion but Sir Ridley is correct that every major sci-fi (and especially space) movie borrows and takes it’s influence from 2001, this is magnified in Christopher Nolan’s recent film Interstellar, which reads like a 2001 set in a different time period-or possibly a bad fanfiction.

A little over a year after 2001’s debut we Neil Armstrong took his “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, we had reached space.  Some people even claimed Nixon had Stanley Kubrick direct the moon landing, using the same sets as seen on the moon scene in 2001, many of the conspiracy theorists behind this also involve JFK in some way-even though he had been dead for years when the moon landing actually took place (x)

2001 is still lauded as one of the best films-both within and outside of it’s genre.  It’s always ranked in the top 100 ‘films of all time’ list and has a 96% on rotten tomatoes.

“Time Out magazine asked 150 experts, including Nobel Prize winners, authors, directors, screenwriters and actors to rank their top 10 science fiction movies.  Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey has been voted the best sci-fi film of all time according to a poll of leading experts.” (x)

2001’s greatest impact, however, was not in its effect on film but its effect on our imagination.  2001 gave us an amazing look into the future of space travel (and re-watching in 2015 you’ll also notice the ipads) it allowed us to dream big and inspired an entire generation to be excited about the possibility of galaxy exploration.  While 2001 gave a confusing, possibly grim look into what our future in space might look like it also gave us an all-consuming curiosity to find out for ourselves.

(1) Producing a film is much more expensive and takes a many more people than a painting, book, or song does.  Because of this directors and production companies are less likely to funnel money into something that might be controversial or any film they think is unlikely to give them a return on their investment

The Truth is “Just Around The Riverbend”: The True Story of Pocahontas

In 1995, Disney released the animated film Pocahontas into theatres across the United States. Pocahontas quickly became a box office hit and has made an estimated $55 million overall. It is one of Disney’s most popular animated films. The movie portrays the life of Pocahontas, the daughter of the chief of the Powhatan Indian tribe in North America. What some of you might not realize is that Pocahontas is based on the life of a real person. Though she lived almost 400 year ago, there are multiple written historical retellings of her life, including one from Historic Jamestown. However, the two stories do not seem to add up to the same person. Many differences can be found between the two. But before we jump into those, what exactly happens in each version of the life of Pocahontas?

The Legend Of Pocahontas


Portrait of Pocahontas in traditional Indian garment.

According to the website for Historic Jamestown, which is part of Colonial National Historical Park, the true story of Pocahontas is about a young girl named Matoaka, who was nicknamed Pocahontas, meaning “naughty one” or “spoiled child.” She was the daughter of the chief of the Powhatan tribe. Pocahontas became a well-known figure in 1607 (when Pocahontas would have been around the age of 10 or 11), when she saved an harsh, ambitious, self-promoting British mercenary soldier named John Smith from being clubbed to death by her father. She jumped in front of him to save his life.

Some of this might sound familiar from the Disney version of the movie, but the true story tells more. In 1612, at age 17, Pocahontas was taken prisoner by the English and was held hostage for move than a year in the famous colony of Jamestown. During her time held prisoner, 28-year-old John Rolfe took a special liking to her. John Rolfe was able to influence the early release of Pocahontas and immediately after she was released they got married. This marked the end of her life as Pocahontas, for she soon changed her name to Rebecca Rolfe. Once they were married, Rebecca (Pocahontas) and John traveled to England where she was used as propaganda for support of the colonies in the New World. However, on the way back to America Pocahontas became ill and died at the age of 21.

Pocahontas the Movie: A Disney Retelling


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If you have seen the Disney version of Pocahontas you may have noticed some differences between the two stories already. The Disney version of Pocahontas begins in 1607 (when Pocahontas would have been about ten or eleven, though she might look a little older in the movie). The movie begins with the introduction of the British settlers on their journey to the New World. Among the travelers on the ship is captain John Smith, a hero who saves a young crewmate from drowning when the ship gets caught in a storm (so pretty nice guy we have here).

The movie then introduces Pocahontas, the daughter of the chief of the Powhatan tribe in the New World. She is dreading her upcoming wedding to Kocoum, a tribe warrior. Pocahontas goes into the woods to get some advice (I will spare you the details, but just know that the advice does come from a tree) were she encounters captain John Smith, who has arrived and settled into the New World with his crew. The two are both fascinated by the others different world, and they quickly develop a relationship.

However, when their relationship is revealed mayhem breaks out. The Powhatan’s capture Smith and the Chief quickly declares war on the British, beginning with the execution of Smith. Just as Chief Powhatan is about to execute John Smith, Pocahontas throws herself in front of him stopping Smith’s execution and convincing her father to end the fighting between the two groups. However, some are not happy about this truce and one British officer attempts to shoot the Chief, but John Smith dives in front of him to stop the bullet, getting shot instead. Because of his injury, John Smith is forced to return home to receive medical treatment, promising to come visit Pocahontas in the future, as she decides to remain in the New World with her tribe. (So there is not even a happy ending!)

What’s the Difference?

As I’m sure you have noticed, There are quite a few differences between these two versions of what are supposed to be the story of the same person. While the same final outcome occurs, with Pocahontas jumping in front of captured John Smith to prevent her father from executing him, many of the very important supporting details are alarmingly different.

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For starters, the entire romantic plot of the movie is inaccurate. Pocahontas does not fall in love with John Smith; at the time that she saves his life, she is only about 10 years old. In the historical version of Pocahontas, John Smith is actually a rude and ambitious man and Pocahontas marries a different British settler later in her life, John Rolfe. The only connection Pocahontas has with John Smith is when she saved his life from her father.

Along with the romantic plot being a lie, there was also an omission of a whole part of Pocahontas’s life from the Disney movie. The part of her life involving the incident with John Smith, which is only a small snippet of her influential life, was all that the movie covered. Other historical inaccuracies include:

  • John Smith being shot: there are no accounts of John Smith being shot after Pocahontas saved him. He supposedly escaped from the Powhatans unscathed
  • The inclusion of the character Kocoum: there are no accounts of Kokoum, the almost husband of Pocahontas


While Disney movies are not typically viewed for their historical accuracy, the discrepancies are quite huge between the legend of Pocahontas and the Disney version that they are hard to ignore. Many people have not yet heard the story of Pocahontas, or don’t even know that it is based on a real person, and when they watch the Disney portrayal, they are highly misinformed about her life. Many of those who view Disney movies are children, so the first things that they are learning about Pocahontas and the Native Americans are highly inaccurate. Is this what we should be letting our children watch? While there are many fun positive aspects for children in Disney movies including the songs and lovable animal sidekicks (in Pocahontas we are cherished with the raccoon Meeko and the hummingbird Flit), are the movies still positive when they flood the children with inaccurate information?


Works Cited

“Pocahontas.” Jamestown Rediscovery. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. <>.

“The Pocahontas Myth.” Powhatan. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. <>.

Prioritizing in Televising

ITV Evening News

Today, many sources are available for us to be informed of the news: newspapers, radio, the Internet, and television.

The majority of U.S. adults receive news on presidential candidates from local TV broadcasts, and television is the main source of international news for people between 18 and 29 years old. With the massive reliance on TV to obtain news, it is essential that the information presented is fair and provides good coverage of the issues facing the world. However, the content that is covered in news programs is becoming increasingly controlled by news stations’ desire for maximum profit, and less with the desire to provide the most unbiased, factual information.

From Information to Entertainment

In the 1950s, three television networks existed: NBC, CBS, and ABC. News programs were typically broadcast for only fifteen minutes each evening and were very informative. However, when all three networks broadcast the 1960 presidential debates and garnered massive audiences, television executives realized that they had the potential to make large profits. This marked the beginning of a period of expansion of news programing and competition among television networks to produce the most watched and highest rated broadcasts.

Today, the priority of news programs is entertainment rather than information. Some television programs combine news and entertainment to produce what is known as ‘infotainment.’ While the information covered in these programs is accurate, it does not always cover the most important issues. Instead, evening news broadcasts emphasize celebrities, lifestyle issues, and stories that will ultimately interest their viewers. The reduced importance on quality information is causing a reduction in the number of people who are actually interested in the news and an increase in those just looking to be entertained.

National news programming is now taking a back seat to local news programs. Local broadcasts feature stories that are very appealing to the average American: they contain crime stories that capture their audience’s attention, detailed weather reports, sports analyses, and stories concerning celebrities.

News anchors are viewed as celebrities themselves instead of mere reporters of information. Anchors are often chosen that are attractive, well groomed, and in many cases, young. The anchors also engage in light conversations with each other that keep the mood carefree. The positive portrayal of the newscasters allows viewers to relax and be entertained by the news stories, rather than being informed about global issues.

In a March 6, 2012 photo provided by Fox News, Fox News anchors Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier are seated at the anchor desk at the Fox New York Studios. Four years ago, Kelly roved the Democratic and Republican convention floors as a reporter for Fox. This week in Tampa, Fla., she's in Fox's booth as co-anchor with Bret Baier for the 2012 meetings.

Bias as a Vehicle for Viewership

With increasing polarization among Americans in terms of political views, many news networks adopt a strong political stance in order to appeal to a specific group of people, and ultimately boost their views. The emergence of news stations that have an obvious conservative or liberal tilt, such as FOX News and MSNBC, have created an unhealthy tradition of only providing one viewpoint on an issue while disregarding other viewpoints. Talk shows featuring iconic hosts and politically charged conversations have emerged to appeal even more to specific audiences.

Political campaigns offer news programs many new opportunities to engage in bias and spike their viewer counts. Media coverage of candidates focuses on unflattering pieces of background information that could potentially skew voters’ opinions, since coverage of negative characteristics attracts many more viewers than coverage of a candidate’s positive characteristics. These factors create an atmosphere of negative attention toward politics.

An overall negative and critical tone also helps news networks boost their numbers. Audiences are vastly more entertained by adversarial journalism than analytical journalism. The growth of adversarial journalism spiked after the Watergate scandal of Nixon’s presidency; coverage of the scandal and subsequent trials drew in huge numbers of viewers. Following this event, reporters began to take on a new role as critics of American cultures and practices, especially concerning the government.

While negative news interests us and may encourage more people to tune into the news, it has a number of drawbacks. There is some evidence to support that negative news may have an adverse impact on the behavior of viewers, and too much negative news may cause citizens to adopt a sense of hopelessness about the government and American society, believing them to be broken beyond repair.

A Steady Balance

While there is little doubt that the proliferation of overly entertaining, biased, and negative news is problematic, it does offer benefits. News programs before the 1970s, while very informative and relatively unbiased, were considered terribly boring and sometimes difficult to understand. Modifying the news programs to better suit the needs and wants of viewers ultimately draws more viewers in and encourages them to stay informed about local issues.

However, the focus on certain kinds of news concerning celebrities, lifestyles, crime, and politics takes attention away from issues that are more worthy of time on the television. Global issues are vastly underrepresented in the news, leaving many Americans ignorant about what is happening around the world. More importance is placed on overly dramatic events that can easily be blown out of proportion.

A healthy balance between informative news and entertaining news is essential. However, privately owned news programs have little incentive to start airing more informative news stories, as their profits are largely based on the amount of viewers they attract. The only way to encourage news stations to provide informative news stories would be widespread demand by the public. It is up to us to decide whether we are willing to cut down on stories covering our favorite celebrities in favor of becoming more informed about global events.


Losco J, Baker R. 2015. Tuning in or Tuning Out. In: Am Gov. New York: McGraw-Hill Education. p. 229–236
Hallin D. Whatever Happened to the News? Center for Media Literacy [Internet]. [Cited 2015 Nov 11]. Available from:




Overview of the DARE Program

In 1983, the nonprofit organization of Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or DARE, was developed as an effort to educate students about gangs, alcohol, and drugs. The curriculum aimed to increase awareness in public school systems about drug usage through emphasizing the negative impacts of “gateway drugs.” By preventing use of these “gateway drugs,” such as tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana, the program hoped to stop students’ progression toward harder drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and meth. Overall, the program aspired to decrease the prevalence of drug abuse, violence, and criminal activity in the upcoming generations.

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DRUG ABUSE RESISTANCE EDUCATION                                                                                            Image courtesy of content/uploads/2015/02/DARE.jpg


How Common?

Today, DARE is the primary drug prevention program in the world. Since its birth in 1983, the DARE program has been taught in 75% of U.S. school districts, all 50 U.S. states, and 48 countries across the globe. Approximately 700,000 police officers have administered the program, reaching over 200 million K-12 students worldwide [1].

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With the increasing popularity of the DARE program also came increasing criticism. The original belief was that instilling principles about drugs, alcohol, and violence at a young age would ensure that the principles remained firm throughout years of higher schooling; however, multiples studies have shown just the opposite. Critics point out that the program is crucially flawed in that there has been no significant data proving a lasting impact on graduates of the program. On the other hand, proponents argue that there is an impact, and though the impact is small, it is still relevant to maintain the program. Hence arises the controversy of the DARE program – is it of any long-term benefit to students? Or is it a waste of time and money that produces results exactly opposite of its goals?

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  • The DARE program helps prevent tobacco use in middle and high school students.
    • Those who participated in the program are five times less likely to begin smoking cigarettes than those who did not participate [2].
  • The DARE program improves decision making about drug usage.
    • The decision-making skills and drug knowledge of DARE participants was found to be 6% higher than that of students who did not participate in the program [3].
  • The DARE program improves relationships between youth and police officers.
    • Studies have shown that after the program, students have gained respect for police officers and recognize that they are not the ‘bad guys’ [4].
  • The DARE program was positively received by parents and students alike.
    • In a survey of 5,376 students and 3,095 parents, 95% of the students felt the program had a significant impact on their decision-making processes in the future, and 99% of the parents felt as though the program benefitted their children [5].



  • Instead of decreasing drug use throughout middle and high school, participants of the DARE program may actually be more likely to use drugs.
    • A six-year study of the program found that students who participated had a 3-5% high rate of drug use than those who did not participate [6]. In addition, a different study conducted in 2009 found that alcohol and cigarette usage was 3-4% higher in those who participated in the program compared to those who did not [7].
  • There is no evidence that the DARE program has any positive, lasting impact.
    • Studies have shown that students do not retain the information they learn through the DARE program for more than one or two years [8].
  • The DARE program over-states its message.
    • Students reported that the message delivered by the DARE program was drilled into their heads so often throughout their years at school that the concept virtually lost its significance. 33% of middle school students and 90% of high school students felt that DARE had little to no impact on their decision-making processes regarding drugs [9].
  • The DARE program lures parents into a false state of security.
    • Parents no longer feel a need to talk to their children about the harmful effects of drugs, alcohol, and gangs because they assume that the school system has taken over the matter entirely.
  • Execution of the DARE program is extremely expensive.
    • In 2001, it was estimated that the DARE program took $1-1.3 billion annually to carry out [10].




While it is important to provide education about drugs, alcohol, and violence in our school system, it is also important to regard whether or not this education is being executed successfully. The DARE program was clearly received positively by students and adults alike, and students acknowledged gaining important insight about the harmful effects of drug abuse and criminal activities. However, the information delivered through the program, though valuable, could be considered as ‘in one ear and out the next.’ Students who underwent the program heard and understood the information, but studies have shown that there was no significant impact on their decision-making processes about drug use in the future. There is a definite need for drug, alcohol, and violence education in public school systems for upcoming generations, but the question remains – is DARE really the best solution?

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[1] “Is the D.A.R.E. Program Good for America’s Kids (K-12)?” 2015. Web. <>.

[2] Nasar U. Ahmed, Noushin S. Ahmed, C. Ray Bennett, and Joseph E. Hinds, “Impact of a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Program in Preventing the Initiation of Cigarette Smoking in Fifth- and Sixth-Grade Students,” Journal of the National Medical Association, Apr. 2002, accessed through

[3] “Study Shows New DARE Program Helps Youths Decide against Using Drugs,” Press Release, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website, Oct. 29, 2002, accessed through

[4] Augustine Hammond, PhD, et al., “Do Adolescents Perceive Police Officers as Credible Instructors of Substance Abuse Prevention Programs?” Health Education Research, Aug. 2008, accessed through

[5] “D.A.R.E.: Drug Abuse Resistance Education: National Client Survey 2007,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Survey,, 2007, accessed through

[6] Dennis Rosenbaum, PhD, and Gordon Hanson, PhD, “Assessing the Effects of School-based Drug Education: A 6-year Multilevel Analysis of Project D.A.R.E.,” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Nov. 1998, accessed through

[7] Zili Sloboda, ScD, et al., “The Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Study: A Randomized Field Trial of a Universal Substance Abuse Prevention Program,” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Jan. 21, 2009, accessed through

[8] Dennis Rosenbaum, PhD, “Just Say No to D.A.R.E.,” Criminology & Public Policy, Nov. 29, 2007, accessed through

[9] Denise Hamilton, “The Truth about DARE: The Big-Bucks Antidrug Program for Kids Doesn’t Work,” Los Angeles New Times, Mar. 20, 1997, accessed through

Bollywood: The Gem of the Film Industry

What comes to mind when you think of film?

Flashing cameras? Gorgeous actresses and handsome actors? The red carpet? California? The towering Hollywood letters?

The film industry in the United States is huge and has a long, deep-rooted history. The film industry as a whole hit the ground running in the late 1800’s, with slow motion pictures. Hollywood experienced its Golden Age in the 1930’s with the introduction of colored pictures and sound in the films; the industry has been growing ever since and Hollywood is now known as the hub for fame, glamour, and show business.

While we all think of Hollywood as the thriving film industry of our day and age, we tend to forget one region of the world with a similar history to the film industry in the United States. In India, Mumbai is home of the red carpets, flashing cameras, and Bollywood. Bollywood has become a powerful film industry throughout the world producing thousands of movies every year. Beginning around the same time as Hollywood experienced its Golden Age, the Bollywood Film Industry began creating its own movies.


The above photograph features Priyanka Chopra, one of the most popular Bollywood actresses of today. She is now featured on the American TV Crime Series, Quantico.

Bollywood is a play on the name Hollywood; the “B” replaces the “H” because the film industry began in Bombay (which is now Mumbai). The name was created in the 1970’s but the earliest Indian films date back to 1913. The silent film Raja Harishchandra, was the first Indian feature film. Throughout the 1920’s, the films were either of the fantasy or historical genres. Come 1931, the first talking movie Alam Ara was released and set an example for the future of Indian film. After this release, the number of films produced in the country tripled, color movies saw an increase in popularity, movie theatres increased, and tickets became more affordable. Continuing into the 1940’s, the Indian Film Industry underwent significant changes in the genres and focuses of the films. The genres shifted to increased emphasis on social critiques, and the films began to cover topics such as the “dowry system, polygamy, and prostitution (2).” And then by the 1950’s and 60’s, topics such as the lower class struggles and overall sense of reality and truth were heavily emphasized in the films. These changes in the direction of the film industry are paralleled with social and political changes occurring in India during the post-Independence era.

Today, Bollywood is completely different industry than it was at its beginning. Bollywood film director, Manmohan Desai, best describes the Bollywood industry today when he discusses his goals for his films. He says, “I want people to forget their misery. I want to take them into a dream world where there is no poverty, where there are no beggars, where fate is kind and god is busy looking after his flock.” The current film industry has a wide variety of hilarious comedy, intense action, heart-breaking drama, and beautiful romance films.

There are so many unique and loveable parts of the Bollywood film industry, but the talented actors and actresses are easily at the top of that list. Since the beginning of this industry, actors and actresses have been and continue to be the driving force behind the production of these films. Here is a list of some of the most famous Bollywood actors and actresses throughout the decades.

Decades Actors Actresses
1950’s Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor Meena Kumari, Madhubala, Nargis Sinha, Mala Sinha
1960’s Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Raj Kapoor Meena Kumari, Vyjintimala, Sharmila Tagore, Madhubala, Asha Parekh, Saira Banu
1970’s Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan Hema Malini, Reena Roy, Jaya Bachchan, Jaya Prada, Zeenat Aman, Rekha
1980’s Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor Sridevi, Juhi Chawala, Meenakshi, Padmini, Poonam Dhillon
1990’s Shahrukh Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Aamir Khan, Sunny Deol Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla, Kajol, Pooja Bhatt, Divya Bharti, Rani Mukherjee, Karishma Kapoor Ashwariya Rai Bachchan
2000’s and today Salman Khan (top paid Bollywood actor – makes over $33 million a year), Shahrukh Khan, Akhshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgan, Aamir Khan Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Preity Zinta, Katrina Kaif, Vidya Balan


The above photograph features many famous modern Bollywood actors and actresses.

Practically all Bollywood films feature dancing and singing from the actors., but not enough to consider Bollywood films to be considered musicals. These pieces are more interludes in the movie in which the dancing and singing portrays the emotions felt by the characters in the film. The actors and actresses usually mouth many of the songs while dancing. It is a necessity for all Bollywood actors and actresses to be talented dancers with formal training. These pieces really dramatize the events occurring in the films, which is one of the reasons why these films are so great.

The YouTube clip below is the song “Deewangi Deewangi” in the movie Om Shanti OmThis movie features Shah Rukh Khan, who is arguably the most famous Bollywood actor of all time. The song includes a dance and includes many appearances from other famous actors and actresses.

Practically all Bollywood films feature dancing and singing from the actors., but not enough to consider Bollywood films to be considered musicals. These pieces are more interludes in the movie in which the dancing and singing portrays the emotions felt by the characters in the film. The actors and actresses usually mouth many of the songs while dancing. It is a necessity for all Bollywood actors and actresses to be talented dancers with formal training. These pieces really dramatize the events occurring in the films, which is one of the reasons why these films are so great.

The Bollywood Industry has seen significant growth over the past years. At the beginning of the industry, less than 100 movies were produced over the course of four years. Today, 1,000 feature films are produced in one year all over India in the various languages and cities. Even international audiences have taken great interests in the films and the popularity of the industry is growing every year. My personal favorite movie, Dhoom 3, collected $85 million in revenue in the United States over the course of the first two weeks it was released.

No other film industry can take an audience to a world where every thing is perfect, where the good character always wins, where love and passion are ever so strong. Watching these Bollywood films makes viewers feel and recognize the beauty of human emotions. The music and dramatic scenes strengthen these emotions. This is something you will not experience while viewing American films. If you have never scene a Bollywood film, I would highly recommend taking 3 hours out of your day (yes they are a lot longer than American films) to watch one and I guarantee you will love it.


See Also:





Southern Cooking and its Importance to Southern Communities


Classic North Carolina Barbecue courtesy of

If you have ever lived, or even been to the South, you now that its people take their cooking very seriously. They take a lot of pride in maintaining the traditions of the generations before them, and everyone believes that their way of making a dish is the best. Each region has their own style of ribs, pork, fried chicken, coleslaw, and many more.


Map of styles of barbecue sauce used in the Carolinas photo courtesy of

Over the years, Southern cooking has become a very important part of the South’s cultural identity. There are many variations of styles used all across the South, giving all of the different states and regions a sort of culinary identity. Food is some serious stuff down here. Having a plate of barbecue can tell you more about a place than a map. People take pride in their food, and many times their personalities come out of what they prepare, and how they prepare it.


Crawfish Boil, native to Louisiana photo courtesy of

Even groups like The Southern Food Alliance are trying to keep track of the different regions of the South’s specific culinary heritage. They are doing this through oral histories and records in an attempt to educate people about the power Southern cooking has on the people of the South. Specifically, their work “serve(s) as progressive and inclusive catalysts for the greater South.”[1] They create podcasts and put on events to further the public’s knowledge of southern food, as well as tell stories about its history and how it has been a unifying factor in the South. An example of their work is here:

Their work is less about promoting certain restaurants, but instead promoting Southern cooking as a whole. They are attempting to preserve the unique cultural techniques and flavors that makes Southern cooking so distinct.

While Southern the food is great, and has a lot of rich tradition behind it, Southern cooking means more to the community as a whole than anything else. Food has aided the progress Southern communities have made over the last century or so.

Cooking BBQ at a Tin Can Tourists Convention 1925

Early 1900s barbecue in the South photo courtesy of

Food brings people together.

It doesn’t matter where you are from, or what your background is, everyone enjoys a good meal. Food has the ability to break down racial barriers, as well as social classes. People will stop for a moment and forget their prejudices just to enjoy a good meal. The theory in the South is that everyone has to eat, so you might as well have a good meal.

A typical Southern meal is essentially family style. There is food laid out on the table and everyone at the table helps themselves. Classic Southern entrees and sides are usually served in mass quantities. One thing you are guaranteed when eating a Southern meal is tons of delicious food and good conversation with the people you are eating with.

Ulmer Studios-Nashville Wedding Photographers

Family style gathering photo courtesy of 

Throughout the last century, the South has been through a lot of civil unrest between African Americans and Whites. Segregation made it so African Americans couldn’t eat in a lot of the restaurants that Whites could, and if they could eat in the same restaurant, they most definitely could not eat in the same area. How are you supposed to get to know a person if you can’t sit down and eat a relaxing meal with them? Regardless of this segregation, the one thing African Americans and Whites had in common was that they both went home and cooked the same meals that had been passed down for generations.

The idea of members of the community coming together is what Southern cooking is all about. This sense of unity that occurs when a large group of people is thoroughly enjoying a meal is divine. It makes them forget their prejudices for a little while and they all essentially become one. This is why food is such an important aspect of the South’s cultural identity.

Food is so simple yet can do so much.

With the recent developments around the University of Missouri and bouts of racial inequality around the country, it almost feels that the South has started to regress. The South will always be plagued with its wrongdoings, but what’s done is done and the only thing that can heal the South is time.

While people are trying to “take sides” on the issue of inequality still existing in the South, it is only pushing members of the community further and further apart. While something absolutely needs to be changed, the ways in which they are going about it are unproductive. The only way to fix a community is to become one. We need to go back to our roots. When it comes down to it, we need to remember that we are all from the South. We are all just humans living in the same area, with similar cultural identities, and have all eaten the same food.

If the South did not have its food, who knows what its society would be like now?


[1] “About Us.” Southern Foodways Alliance N.p.n.d Web 12 Nov. 2015  


The Food of America

Photo from:

Hamburgers. Fries. Corn on the cob. These are all things that come to mind when one thinks of American food. But what would you think if foods like tacos, burritos, and sushi were on that list? Over the past twenty-five years the demographics of the United States have been shifting due to both immigration and interracial marriage, causing America’s menu to become more culturally diverse than ever before. Indeed, as the ethnic makeup of America changes, the definition of American food continues to adapt to its creators, taking the category of American cuisine into domains it has never before ventured.

The Melting Pot of America

Photo from:

Photo from:

A nation with roots in immigration, the U.S. entered an abnormal time of relatively low immigration rates in the mid 20th century. In that time, the majority of the population was either white or black, with 85% of the population being non-Hispanic white [1]. Since then, immigration into the U.S. has gradually resurged and brought America an influx of new races and cultures. While immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries were largely from Europe, the vast majority today (88%) come from continents other than Europe [1]. Forty million immigrants, about half Hispanic and 30% Asian, have arrived in the U.S. since 1965, increasing the U.S.’s diversity immensely. It is estimated that by 2050, immigrants and their children will make up 37% of America’s population [1]. Most of these immigrants come from Latin America and Asia, both of which have unique cultures that have been readily fused with preexisting American customs.

Further ethnic diversity stems from an increasing tendency towards interracial marriage in the United States. In 1970, due to cultural norms and lingering racial prejudices, interracial marriage occurred infrequently, at a rate of only 4%. Today, as more Americans progress towards racial unity, the rate of interracial marriage has increased to 15% of all marriages [1]. This has lead the population of America to become inherently intercultural, as more and more people come from mixed backgrounds. In fact, by 2055, it is projected that there will be no longer be a majority race in the United States [2]. Indeed, America has become a true melting pot of ethnic diversity.

Impact on Food

Photo from:

Due to the ever-changing population makeup of America, foods previously considered to be exclusively ethnic are becoming more mainstream than ever before. In particular, foods with Hispanic and Asian backgrounds are surging due to the corresponding influx of immigrants from these areas of the world. Items such as tacos, tortilla chips, and salsa are on the rise in a big way, and it’s beginning to show in U.S. markets. Salsa recently overtook ketchup as America’s most popular condiment [3], and tortillas are now eaten more often than burger rolls and hot dog buns [4]. These changes are brought upon by a rise in American Hispanics’ population and buying power. In fact, Hispanics in the U.S. have increased their purchasing power from $208 billion in 1990 to $542 billion in 2001, and it only continues to rise today [5].

Photo from: wikipedia/en/thumb/8/85/Panda_Express_logo.svg/ 1024px-Panda_Express_logo.svg.png

Similar to Mexican food, Asian cuisine grows more popular with each passing day. While fairly obscure just a few decades ago, Asian food now holds a prominent place in America’s food market today. The category’s fast food sales have increased by 135 percent since 1999 [6], with chains such as Panda Express becoming some of America’s most popular stops for a quick bite to eat (it brought in almost $2 billion in sales in 2014) [6]. Just as Hispanics have popularized Mexican food in the U.S., Asians have brought much of their culture to share as well.

But perhaps the most prominent aspect of climbing racial diversity in America is the impact it has had on traditional American cuisine. Though authentic ethnic foods certainly play a consequential role in U.S. dining, the fusion of American foods with various ethnic flavors is what has truly changed the landscape of eating in the United States. Tex-Mex, a category of food combining both Mexican and American components, has risen to become one of America’s most sought-after dining options. Tex-Mex burrito chains like Qdoba and Chipotle have exploded over the past 10 years, with Chipotle adding 195 new restaurants in 2014 alone and beginning to outperform traditional rival fast food chains like Wendy’s [7].

Red Robin’s Guacomole Bacon Burger Photo from:

Furthermore, foreign concepts continue to be incorporated into what many consider to be tried-and-true American foods. Burger chains like Whataburger now offer items such as chicken fajita tacos [3], and Hardee’s is now selling a Teriyaki burger [6], demonstrating influences from both Mexico and Asia. Red Robin offers a hamburger with Mexican-inspired guacamole paired with American-founded bacon [8], and even Lay’s now sells a “Chile Lemon” flavor of potato chips [9].

It is apparent that foreign cultures have been influencing American food, but to what end? Is the sanctity of American food being ruined by such changes, and is storied tradition lost with each subsequent food fusion? While some might view the transformations in this manner, perhaps the answer is that these influences are not foreign at all, but fundamentally American in nature. After all, we are a nation founded by a mix of races from all over the world, ready to adapt to fit the identity of its population. Moreover, one cannot deny that Asian and Mexican cuisine has brought American inhabitants some of the best food they have ever tasted. As America’s population continues to change, so will its food, but this shift is not one to view with contempt. The evolution of American cuisine is not only acceptable, but is as an embodiment of the country’s ideals. So next Fourth of July, pass on the barbecue, and indulge in a taco—it just might be the most American thing to do.

1. “The Next America.” Pew Research Center. N.p., 10 Apr. 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2015. 
2. Ravitz, Jessica. “Pew Study: Asian Immigrants May Overtake Hispanics” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.
3. Hirsch, J.M. “Tortillas And Salsa Are Outselling Burger Buns And Ketchup In The US.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 17 Oct. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.
4. Chumley, Cheryl K. “Hispanic Influence: Tortillas Take over Burger Buns as Fast-food Fave.” Washington Times. The Washington Times, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.
5. Denis, Nicole Potenza. “The Hispanic Influence of U.S. Food Retailing.” Specialty Food, 1 Jan. 2003. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.
6. Ferdman, Roberto A. “Asian Food: The Fastest Growing Food in the World.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 3 Feb. 2015. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.
7. Solomon, Brian. “Chipotle Continues Explosive Growth In The Burrito Bull Market.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 Oct. 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.
8. Red Robin menu
9. Laboy, Suzette, and J.M. Hirsch. “Latino, Other Ethnic Influences Changing America’s Food choices.” NBC Latino. Associated Press, 17 Oct. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

Fantasy Land- Week 10

By: Hop Mathews


Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets

This weeks Thursday night match-up pits a depleted Jets secondary against an offense hoping to regain its original form after returning to near full-strength. The Jets have given up big games to QBs over the past few weeks, but are still a formidable opponent as long they have Darrell Revis dropping back in coverage. Tyrod Taylor should be a decent play due to his upside potential, but given his struggling receiving core he maintains his middle tier status. The biggest question for the Bills comes in the backfield with an ailing LeSean McCoy returning alongside Karlos Williams. Both have shown great talent this year, but a split backfield against a stingy Jets run defense is cause for concern.

For the Jets, Chris Ivory looks to improve his performance against a poor Bills run defense with his starting center back in action. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been relatively consistent aside from his game against Oakland and should maintain a decent floor against the bills. The Wide Receivers for the Jets, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall are both very start able. Decker, in the slot, should look to take advantage of a weakness in the Bills secondary. Marshall, despite facing a tougher match-up outside, should be able to continue his success.


New Orleans Saints @ Washington Redskins

This match-up in New Orleans has the potential for another shoot-out like we saw week 8 against the Giants, though not to the same extent. Both defenses have struggled against the pass, especially the Saints who rank dead last in the leauge. This should provide a favorable match-up for Kirk Cousins, who has put up decent numbers, considering the defenses he’s faced. For the Redskins receiving core, Jordan Reed posses the highest floor, as Cousins security blanket, while it is still unknown exactly how the dynamic between Pierre Garcon and the returning DeSean Jackson will flesh out. Most likely, Jackson will return to his typical “Boom/Bust” form due to his big play potential, while Garcon becomes less valuable with the increase in receiving options.

The high-powered Saints offense headlined by Drew Brees and Mark Ingram have great potential against the Redskins. Mark Ingram should be able to bounce back after last weeks sub-par performance, as the Redskins run defense has been atrocious all year. For the Saints, receivers Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks are the only two names that really jump out. Brees likes to throw the ball, but he also tends to spread it around.


Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

With the Lions cutting their losses for this season and a solid Green Bay team that is coming off two straight losses against good teams with great defenses, this game looks to be a true coming home party for the Packers. The Lions have ranked toward the bottom against opposing QBs and should pose little threat to a top tier QB like Aaron Rodgers. James Starks hopes to earn a permanent starting role after receiving the No. 1 spot amid Eddie Lacy’s recent tribulations. Starks should see a lot of carries if the Packers find themselves ahead early.

The Lions don’t posses a great deal of fantasy potential outside of Calvin Johnson. Even Johnson, who comes in to the game 13th in the league in targets, has struggled to turn them into touchdowns , but he should have a plethora of chances if the Lions have to play from behind. The return of Eric Ebron at tight end puts a damper on Golden Tate’s potential, in an already tough match-up. Matthew Stafford has struggled this season as well as against the Packers in the past. The backfield for the Lions has been changing up all season and seems to be trending toward Theo Riddick, originally a strictly pass catching back.


Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This match-up pits two fairly even teams, who are both at the bottom of their respective divisions. The Cowboys, who had high hopes coming into the season, have been greatly hindered by injuries, especially to the likes of Dez Bryant (returned week 8) and Tony Romo (expected to return week 11). The Buccaneers have been looking to rebuild around No. 1 draft pick, Jameis Winston. In fantasy terms, the Buccaneers running back Doug Martin hopes to build on what has been an solid year against one of the league’s worst run defenses. Winston has been solid this year and hasn’t thrown a pick since week 4. However, his outlook for week 10 isn’t all that great in a game that will reliant on the ground game. Winston’s receivers have been little help this season either due to injury or simply dropped passes. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay’s top receiver, is still a viable play due to the sheer volume of targets though his ceiling remains low until his hands improve. If the other members of the Buccaneer receiving core are able to play (Vincent Jackson & Austin Seferian-Jenkins) they may prove to hamper Evans targets for Sunday, though in the long run they may help ease coverage on him.

The Cowboys have suffered six straight loses since losing their starting quarterback. With Matt Cassell still at the helm, the cowboys offense remains limited, though there have been a few bright spots. The movement from a committee backfield to a single rusher has greatly increased Darren McFadden’s value as the seasons progressed. Dez Bryant has also shown glimpses of previous greatness in his few games since returning to injury.



Caribbean Conflict and Music: A Story of Difference and Unity in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

By Lucy Thames

I first heard authentic Dominican Bachata in my sophomore year of high school, when my Spanish teacher decided that we hadn’t had enough cultural education. Throughout the year, she taught us how to dance Bachata, how to sing along to Bachata music, and how to experience Dominican culture on a personal level. Yet it wasn’t until I came to UNC that I realized I had never heard anything about the music of the Dominican Republic’s closest neighbor, Haiti. A comparison between the music of Haiti and the Dominican Republic shows just how different they are – and, as I have learned in my Latin American Studies course this fall, the relationship between these two nations is even more complicated than their varying musical styles.

Analysis of the Conflict

Island of Hispaniola

Island of Hispaniola – Haiti and the Dominican Republic Credits: Furian, Peter. Hispaniola Political Map. Digital image. Dreamstime. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2015. <>.

The conflict between Haiti and the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola has existed for centuries. By 1795, after a long period of Spanish rule, the entire island fell to the French. However, many Dominicans preferred Spanish colonization to French rule, and organized a group to drive the French out of Hispaniola and reestablish Spanish reign. The Haitians retaliated with great force, and took control of all of Hispaniola themselves – including the Dominican Republic. Instead of the Dominican Republic ruling over Haiti, as the Dominicans originally planned, they found themselves trapped under Haitian rule and could not achieve independence until 1844 (Gibson). This “failure,” as many Dominican people perceived it, insulted their national pride and embittered the two countries’ relationship as neighbors. The period of Haitian rule over the Dominican Republic, though now more than one hundred and fifty years ago, continues to cause bitterness and discrimination between these two areas today.

Analysis of the Music

 Kadans (or cadence) is one of the main types of traditional Haitian music. It emerged in Haiti in the 1960s, and spread quickly in the Caribbean through movement of Haitian immigrants. Many variations of Kadans exist, including Cadence-lypso and Cadence Rampa (also known as Kompa). Webert Sicot, one of the first Kadans artists along with his brother Raymond, produced many different songs that came to define the Kadans sound (“Kadans”).

Webert Sicot’s song, “A La Guadeloupe”, is an example of a variation of Kadans music known as Cadence Rampa.

Though Kadans did not originate very far away from the Dominican Bachata, it developed a very different sound than that of its neighbor. While Bachata traditionally places an emphasis on guitar sounds, Kadans focuses on the brassy sounds of various horns throughout its songs. Bachata songs of love and loss typically have a much slower beat than the Haitian Kadans. However, these styles of music also have many similarities. Like Bachata, the pieces of Kadans performed by Webert Sicot tend to have a shaker in the background, like maracas, that keeps a steady beat. And, though these pieces often have different subject materials, they possess similar lilting melodies sung with a full, belting vocal technique.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 10.16.59 AM

Table Summarizing Similarities and Differences between Kadans and Bachata

Analysis of the Union

With all of the differences described above, it’s tough to imagine what a union of these two kinds of music would produce. However, in the 1970s, a group known as Exile One emerged with a new kind of Caribbean music – Cadence-lypso (“Exile One”).

“Aki yaka” Performed by the Fusion Group Exile One

Exile One originated not in the Dominican Republic, not in Haiti, but in Dominica – a small island in the West Indies. Yet the founder of the group, Gordon Henderson, chose not to generate a completely new sound; instead, he created a fusion of Caribbean music that already existed (“Exile One”). If you listen to the music of Exile One, you’ll hear techniques from both traditional Haitian Kadans and Dominican Bachata. Like Kadans, their music tends to have a faster beat and brass influences. Like Bachata, their music contains spotlights which focus on guitar sounds, and strong drum influence in the background to maintain a steady beat. Unlike either style of music, the Cadence-lypso developed by Exile One has a celebratory voice that often calls out in the middle of pieces, like in “Aki yaka” above. Though this fusion combined music from two very different nations in conflict, as well as other Caribbean influences, it is not only celebrated widely in the Caribbean, but also as far as North America, Europe, and even Japan (“Exile One”).

Analysis of the Future

As the Dominican Republic tires of Haitian immigrants arriving to its country, the tensions between the two nations continue to escalate. In 2013, the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic ruled that people born in the Dominican Republic are not automatically considered citizens, and instead must prove their citizenship using documents – a ruling that will likely designate close to 200,000 Dominican people of Haitian descent as stateless. The government of the Dominican Republic is now undertaking a “cleansing” project to send all people who cannot prove their citizenship back to Haiti (Phillip).

During this deep period of animosity on both sides of the Hispaniola border, one of the most powerful ways to create any sense of unity will be through music. Music has the ability to shape peoples’ views, change peoples’ opinions, and bring people together. As new fusion groups like Exile One continue to emerge and be celebrated across the Caribbean and beyond, they will facilitate the creation of greater musical unity between these two nations. Could this musical unity transition into an improved sense of understanding and respect between the two nations? Only time will tell.

Works Cited:

“Exile One.” Project Gutenberg. World Public Library. Web. 11 Nov. 2015. <>.

Gibson, Carrie. “The Dominican Republic and Haiti: One Island Riven by an Unresolved past.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 7 Oct. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2015. <>.

“Kadans.” Project Gutenberg. World Public Library. Web. 11 Nov. 2015. <>.

Phillip, Abby. “The bloody origins of the Dominican Republic’s ethnic ‘cleansing’ of Haitians.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 17 Jun. 2015. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.