Category Archives: Commentary

Ask Naya: “carry-along” factor: dreams should include friends

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Dear Naya

There’s this dream I have been thinking about: I was going to  travel the world.

When I  told my friends, they told me that’s impossible for me to even do, that I should give up.

What should I do?

Confused

Dear Confused

I see what the problem is: your friends are only saying that to you because they will miss you if you leave.

Maybe their dreams were crushed when they were your age but age doesn’t have to do with dreams, you aspire and continue to aspire to fulfill  that dream, now there’s a lifelong dream.

Dear Naya

I have a friend who is trying to  travel to different places without me and doesn”t understand  that I want to come.

Can you try to change my friend’s mind before my friend is gone?

We’ve been friends for so long and I  don’t want to lose a best friend suddenly in the 11th grade.

Worried

Dear Worried

If you want to stay friends with her, you have to let her follow her dream and I know you will be crushed if she told you to pursuing living your own dreams. You  have a friend who obviously needs your comforting. She’s open enough to be honest. She shared her feelings because she realized that if she didn’t, it would affect your special bond.

Keep pursuing your dreams.  I  know she’s got your back no matter what  happens.

*Dreams are meant to last: without them, we wouldn’t make it in the world.

Aside

Dear, Naya My parents told me this scary story about some kids who went missing when  they were camping.  It begins with 6 kids camping in the deepest woods, called “witches’ ground.” As they come upon a house in the middle of … Continue reading

Ask Naya: time to heal those secret scars

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Dear Naya,

My friends are ignoring me. Nobody wants to  acknowledge the pain that I carry.

Will I get over this feeling of being deeply misunderstood?

Deeply Hurt

Dear Deeply Hurt

There are kids out there who need comfort and help, these kids are “the hurt ones,” the ones that you see with  their faces down  on  the  desk  or who come to  school late so  that people won’t ask “What’s wrong?”

There’s a reason  why they give no  answer, because they know we’ll forget about it since we  are all too busy paying attention to ourselves (and taking selfies).

I understand their scars: what I mean by scars are not cutting yourself, but living with hurt feelings that are never spoken or acknowledged. Most people turn away from those feelings. The “hurt ones” are invisible to the crowd, or are seen as weird or creepy.

I tell you everyone has scars, so don’t hide away from us,  get to know us. “Scars are meant to be heard, not meant to be kept”

Why “Licks” was powerful: it’s based on a true story

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by Janaya Andrews

It was no ordinary Friday afternoon at McClymonds, as 25 students and community members talked to the Berkeley director who filmed the award-winning “Licks.”  He was with two of the actors, who both grew up in the Lower Bottoms.

The event was organized by Alternatives in Action and featured a panel on “manhood.”

“The movie shifted between humor and sadness and anger,” said freshman Dazhane Labat, who attended the event. “It had moments of redemption; like when the baby is brought to a family to save him from his drug-addicted mother.”

The movie hit home. It actually shows us  teenagers how  life is  in  Oakland and how  things work out; with the realistic scenes of places you know, and dialogue that rings true, you recognize how the  hood works.

The movie follows guy named “D”, as he moves back  to his hometown Oakland where he was charged with robbing a store and wielding a gun.

The most compelling scenes centered on personal relationships. At home with his girlfriend, she told him,”Promise me you wont hit up no more places. His response: baby, look i’m with you now and  she  expresses her doubts and warns him not to bring back his stolen merchandise.”

In his oustside life, friends become more prominent, asking him, “Are  you ready to go make hit this lick.” He answers, “Yea, man let’s go to their approval, “alright that’s my boy.”

Minutes later, they drove to a meat market and went in the store with a black masks on.  Then they  told  the  store clerk to  get on  the  floor;  they held his  head down  on  the  counter making  sure he couldn’t get  a  good  look  at  their faces.

“Licks” touched us all, because of the real hard times we face and the choices we make: the film shows, with  great compassion, that thugs have problems with money and only rob because they are trying to get money for their families.

For Jonathan Singer-Vine, a 24-year-old writer and director who was born  and  raised in Berkeley, California, “Licks” is  his  first feature film. It opened in Oakland’s Parkway Theater in November and won several awards.

He said the film was aimed at 16-year-olds because they will understand how and why the movie was made and its real message.

Warriors face next big challenge: #1 seed

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After winning the OAL championship, the Warriors win two playoff games

by Anthony Beron

The Warriors (21-8 with 12 straight wins) are hoping that Danville brings them luck.

After all, that’s where they beat #4 seed San Ramon Valley 57-48 in the CIF Northern California Division 1 quarterfinals Saturday night.

Tomorrow, they play the #1 seed, Monte Vista, who beat them 65-24 in December.

Teamwork, strong defense and a slam dunk at the buzzer by OAL Player of the Year Deion Ellis sealed the deal for McClymonds. Ellis, a 6-foot-4 senior, had 18 points and Mike Walker, a 6-foot guard, had 10.

“We expect them to come out hard, but we have every piece of the puzzle this time,” said Tyrone Spivey, a senior.

“The last time we played them they beat us by 40 points, but that’s because we wouldn’t cooperate and some of our players couldn’t play,” said Spivey. “It was also the day after when our old head coach was fired.”

Ask Naya: ever thought the person you like might like you back??

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Dear Naya,

There’s this guy that I have been crushing on ever since 8th grade and now I’m in the 11th grade.

Still can’t tell if he likes me back; he is always calling me names or hitting me but only when he’s with his friends

When he’s alone,  he’s a totally different guy: I just don’t  know if he likes me or not.

The next day, I went shopping to change my style, hoping he will notice me.

I bought a tank top with some shorts and woke up the  next day and still didn’t get a “hi” — just a glance.

What should i do?

Confused

Dear Confused:

First of all, don’t change your look for a guy to like you, just be who you are and everything will play out fine, because if you do change, he may notice. But wait, NO, that is not good; it’s actually bad.

In fact, it’s awful: he will think that you’re so desperate and that you really need your crush to like you.

Then, he’ll just pull away more, because of your desperation. Crushes don’t like it when your an easy target: it takes a good act, one that triples your value.

Just be yourself and I guarantee he will be following you around like a puppy dog, not saying that guys are dogs but they are sweet, and you sometimes want to cuddle with them.

Naya

Dear Naya,

The advise you  gave me is great: I just wish I knew how to talk to the guy I have a crush on so that he can know that I have a crush on him without showing it, but how do I?

Still Extra Confused

Dear Still Extra Confused:

Well, if you want to talk to him, why not take it slow: first ask him about himself and get to know each other more before you actually decide to act on your crush.

Act calm, like you don’t care (but you care that he likes you back).

This is Crush Week, so send your QUESTIONS TO NAYA

“Crushes are meant to be kept never broken so keep this crush a secret or your crush is took’n”- by Janaya

Why I miss San Francisco

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  Even the new Bay Bridge can’t compete with views from San Francisco

opinion piece by Marlena Younger

I miss the views. Stunning vistas, dotted hills, the blueness of the Bay, Ocean Beach with its limpet shells and sand dollars.

And then there’s the mobility of living in San Francisco: the buses are cheaper and it feels safer, less violent.

On a typical morning on Potrero Hill, I could jump out of bed and race down the street to Potrero Hill Neighborhood House to take a Zumba class. It’s high energy dance with samba music, Latin jazz, Cupid shuffle. Cafés like JB’s Place open in the wee hours. People mill around Safeway on 17th and Potrero street.

My neighborhood in north Oakland (ice city: “we ain’t no squares we polar bears” Mistah Fab) is less lively and more dangerous. There’s a gang injunction that limits the freedom of lots of youths and people in their 20s in your neighborhood.

My job in San Francisco was where I danced — helping people do the homework and teaching hip hop dancing. I combined strong academics — I don’t even have Spanish this year. And although the pay is the same, my after-school job in the East Bay is in San Leandro, an hour and a half from my house.

It’s fun living in north Oakland, but I also miss all of  my friends and family, and on top I miss being in the hood. I miss going everywhere and knowing everybody.