Marlon Wayans Encourages Howard University Students to Stay Inspired

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Photo credit: Braxton Parr

Photo credit: Braxton Parr

Actor and comedian Marlon Wayans encouraged students to pursue their dreams during a forum on Friday, March 21 in the School of Social Work Auditorium.

A native of New York City, Wayans attended Howard University in 1992 for two years before pursuing his acting career. In his remarks, he said that Howard taught him how to be responsible and strengthened his network of life-long friends. With more than 20 years in the entertainment industry, he encouraged current students to master their craft.

“There is nothing more that I wish for everyone in this world than to do something that they love,” said Wayans. “But you have to learn the art, science, business and politics of whatever field you do. Then you can be successful at it.”

Also a recognized screenwriter and director, Wayans is the youngest of ten siblings, with many of them being established figures in the entertainment industry. He is known for co-writing and starring in the horror spoof Scary Movie (2000) and the comedy White Chicks (2004). Wayans’ latest project, A Haunted House 2, which he co-wrote and produced, will hit theaters on April 18.

Wayans hopes that the conversation will inspire students to follow their passion and never give up.

“You have to learn to be your own the coach,” he said. “You can do anything that you will yourself to do. You only fail when you quit trying.”

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PHOTO-A-DAY: Barcelona

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Barcelona was one of the most beautiful countries that I had the pleasure of visiting. Everything about it made my eyes tingle. Unfortunately Barcelona was my shortest trip, as I only had one full day there. We arrived in the afternoon on Sunday and I left on Tuesday afternoon. But even still I had an amazing time there. From strolling La Rumbla to sinking my toes in the sand on Barceloneta Beach, watching an authentic Flamenco show to seeing the entire city on top of Park Guell. Barcelona was a dream.

One of the highlights of my trip was learning about Barcelona’s rich history during a three hour walking tour. I learned more about the eccentric artist Dali, Franco and the Spanish Civil War, futbol (American soccer) more of a religion than a sport, Human Castle Building as a sport, and the forced Catholic conversion where the Jews and Muslims had to convert or leave. We saw Plaça Sant Felip Neri where the buildings are still damaged from the war and the very spot that Christopher Columbus brought the first Native Americans from the new world. By just walking around Barcelona, you wouldn’t understand the significance of the city and you’d overlook its true beauty.

See more at Trails of London 

PHOTO-A-DAY: Vienna

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Vienna wasn’t a country that was on my list of top places to visit but it was great to get a glimpse of other’s interest. My friends, who were all history majors, helped me appreciate things that I would typically overlook, such as the beautiful Viennese architecture. Everything from the cathedrals to museums to the random buildings where all beautifully crafted. During our time in Vienna, we visited the Imperial Treasury to see the Austrian Crown Jewels, The Museum of Natural History, the Imperial Crypt and the grave of world renowned composer Beethoven.  Even though Vienna wasn’t my favorite trip of the semester, I am glad that I went and was exposed to a different culture and the rich history of Austria.

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PHOTO-A-DAY: Morocco

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Words can’t describe the love that I have for Morocco. From drinking mint tea to exploring Jemma Square (Marrakech’s Times Square), climbing one of the tallest waterfalls in Africa to meeting the nicest people I have ever met — Morocco was a dream.

The highlight of my trip was riding a camel. My roommates have laughed at me all semester because I talked about riding a camel since the semester began and my dreams finally came true! The camel ride was pleasant although I may have creeped the tour guide out by talking to the camels (don’t judge me I was excited). Since that day, I have become obsessed with camels. As a believer in the Law of Attraction, I believe that I have attracted camels into my life since then because I see them EVERYWHERE. I even have a camel figurine collection (HEY I SAID DON’T JUDGE! 🙂 )

Going to Morocco was my favorite trip because I was fully immersed into their culture. I didn’t really feel like a tourist there even though I was only there for three days. The Moroccan people welcomed us with open arms, even yelling out Obama, Rasta (because of our braids) and beautiful Americans as we walked past. It was unreal. It amazed me that people who had so much less than Americans, could be so much happier than us, as depicted by their openness and friendliness. The people that we met had to work hard for what they had and it was obvious that they appreciated it more than most. Morocco was a humbling and eye-opening experience and while I was happy to be there for a few days, I know with all of my heart that I will be back.

See more at Trails of London 

Photo-A-Day: Amsterdam

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When I think about my trip to Amsterdam, “A Whole New World” from Aladdin plays in my head. Based on the things that I had heard about the city, I knew that it would be different but I didn’t expect it to be so …. different.

While I’m driven and ambitious, I am also very free spirited. I believe that people should be able to live as they would like to as long as they don’t hurt other people. And I learned that the business-minded Dutch have the same philosophy.

In Amsterdam prostitution is legal. While it may not be morally appealing, selling sex is a business and it is some women’s job. Visiting the Red Light District was an eye opening experience. The women, with their risqué outfits, sat in the illuminated trying to entice customers. The fact that there were so many women openly offering sexual services was completely mindboggling. But I can’t judge their lifestyle.

Being in the actual house where Anne Frank wrote her diary during the Nazi’s invasion of Amsterdam was monumental. It was unreal to think that a family could be confined in that little narrow house for over two years.

This was by far one of my favorite trips this semester. I fell in love with Mr. Amsterdam.

See more at Trails of London 

PHOTO-A-DAY: Liverpool

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I only spent about 24 hours in Liverpool but I was able to experience so much! The main thing I knew about Liverpool prior to my trip was that it was home of the Beatles. While I was visiting with my friend Cait, we stopped by the Beatles Story museum and the Cavern Club, a bar that became famous after the legendary group performed over 250 times during their rise to fame. Despite the fact that I didn’t grow up listening to the Beatles, I really enjoyed the museum. It included a replica of the Cavern Club, clips of Beatlemania, a display of Abbey Studios and timelines depicting the highlights of their fame.  I learned a lot about the Beatles and gained a newfound respect for them as a group and individuals.

Visiting the International Slavery Museum changed my outlook on the city, allowing me to see that there is so much more history and culture besides the Beatles. Liverpool was the capital of the transatlantic slave trade; millions of slaves were transported to North and South America on the very docks that I was walking on in Liverpool. It was interesting to read and see the impact that slavery had from an international spectrum, and not just the dominance that it had on America. I really appreciated that the exhibit was so thorough – it covered everything from the transatlantic slave trade to slavery in America to the Civil Rights Movement to present day (including current forms of slavery such as human trafficking and child labor)

This trip also helped me see the unique traits of staying in a hostel. People shared horror stories based on the film Hostel, so I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived. But the hostel was one of the best parts! We stayed in a room with 4 other women; all who were from different places – Australia, Brazil and Poland.  It was interesting because they were all traveling alone and were there for different reasons. It definitely changed my perspective on traveling — as long as you have somewhere to lay your head, that’s all that matters.

See more at Trails of London 

PHOTO-A-DAY: Stonehenge

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Honestly I didn’t know of the significance of visiting Stonehenge until after I went because I wasn’t familiar with the history but I am so glad that I was to visit one of the most famous sites in the world. Stonehenge is a mysterious ring of standing stones in southern England that was built more than 5,000 years ago. While there are theories of how they got there and what they are used for, no one truly knows.

While we were abroad, my friends and I had a running joke that we were the Spice Girls (we were in England after all!) So the picture above is us acting out our Spice Girl personalities.

The Spice Girls (and Phil our manager) take over Stonehenge! Ginger (Cait), Posh (me), Scary (Maia), Sporty (Rachel) and Baby (Sarah)!

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Photo-A-Day: Paris

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It felt surreal looking up at the Eiffel Tower at night as it sparkled brightly every hour for just a few precious moments. My friends and I complained that the sparkling lights didn’t last long enough and that we had to wait at the beginning of every hour to see the breathtaking sight. We were anxious to see it sparkle like a kid on Christmas Eve ready to open presents. But those five short minutes were just enough time for me to reflect on my journey and appreciate all of the blessings that I have received thus far.

As I sipped wine under the massive monument with my friends, I kept gazing at the sparkling lights in utter disbelief. It was hard to wrap my mind around the idea that I was really witnessing one of the most beloved monuments in all of the world. Traveling the globe is not a quest for some people – it is just something that they always knew they would do. Some of the students in my program never doubted that they would be in Paris someday. For others, this weekend was a returning visit.  But it’s different for me. Given my background and upbringing, I never really thought that I would be there. I saw countless pictures of the “city of love” growing up but it never dawned on me that I would be wandering right in the middle of it.

See more at Trails of London 

#FlashbackFriday

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Flashback

One year ago today I was on a boat sailing down the Thames River in London with my beautiful roommates of G-18. The boat party was one of the most anticipated events of our study abroad orientation week with the AIFS program. And it was one of the highlights of my semester abroad.

I remember stepping onto the deck  and taking a moment to reflect on where I was at. London. After months of preparation I was finally settled abroad. For some, studying abroad was something that they always knew that they would do but it was just a dream for me until my friend Kwaku, who was studying abroad in Paris, inspired me to go. He said, “You have a full scholarship Ridgeway. There is no reason for you NOT to go.” I’m so glad I took his advice.

Words can’t describe how much I miss being abroad. But when I look back at pictures like this, I relive those precious moments.

Howard University Recreates Pharrell’s “Happy” Video

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College can be stressful but a group of Howard University film students found a way to respark school spirit after a trying semester. They recently released their version of Pharrell Williams’s Oscar-nominated “Happy” video to encourage the HU community to let go of the stress and smile at the simple things in life.

“Through all of the stress, you just have to shake it off,” said Maia Miller, a senior film major at Howard and the mastermind behind #HappyProjectHU. “After watching this video, I just want people to let go of the hostility, regroup and prepare for their next journey.”

This video hits home, not only because it’s at Howard and I have a cameo (see 3:30), but because my roommate is the mastermind behind the project. After Thanksgiving break she excitedly told me about the video concept and I watched her bring her vision to life. She recruited a video team, secured #HAPPYBISON dancers and got clearance from the Office of University Communications all in a week. I am so proud of her for working so hard to promote positivity using her natural talent!

Check out the video below!