I went to CalSO less than a month after Kanye West dropped Yeezus. At one point, I found myself stuck behind a modestly sized group of tall guys who had started chatting about the album. I scurried behind them so that I could be within earshot and enthusiastically said, “Hey! Are you talking about the new Kanye album?!”
None of them heard me. I was eye-level with the backs of their shoulders and, desperate to be part of the conversation, I started jumping in hopes of reaching ear level: “Hey! Are! You! Talking! About! Yeezus?” My voice faded with every hop until I finally lost stamina, drained from trying to be heard.
Since that day, my time at UC Berkeley has taught me how to be loud and proud about the things that move me. Over the past four years, The Daily Californian has given me a place to do that. The arts and entertainment department was more than just my home — it was my domain, my platform to rant about shit that doesn’t really matter and make a point for why it does matter.
At a school known mostly for its achievements in scientific research and technological innovation, UC Berkeley’s creative community appears to go unnoticed. Sure, there are landmarks dedicated to UC Berkeley’s successful creative alumni — such as author Beverly Cleary and architect Julia Morgan — but UC Berkeley’s creative class flies under the radar until we produce work that is worthy of a Golden Bear stamp of approval.
When you look at the murals on the ground floor of the Student Union, designed by my best friend Charisse Celestial, or see a performance from the theatre, dance and performance studies department, for which my roommate Justine Law does incredible set and design work, you would never know that that was the work of student hands. Artists on campus are often strapped for resources; I constantly abused the printer at my office job, stealing staples and other supplies to make zines and do collage work. Despite all of this, our campus would be a little duller if art were not integrated into our everyday lives.
I am indebted to the long lineage of arts editors before me, but specifically to Grace Lovio, the OG Arts Mom, and Gillian Edevane, whose letter of recommendation is one of the reasons I was accepted to the University of Southern California for a master’s in specialized journalism for the arts. I am also grateful for the illustrious Meg Elison, who has taught me the importance of kicking ass since I was just a fetus at Caliber Magazine.
To my favorite creatives: Jennifer Wong, for giving me life; Krista Kurisaki, for always being willing to dye; and Charisse Celestial, for always taking the bus so that I had something to write about.
To my soft assistant, Joshua Bote: You pretended to like the band that was on the shirt I was wearing the day we met. Even though you’re fake as hell, you’ve helped me grow into my realest self.
And finally, to the arts babies: There is no PowerPoint presentation for this. You know what your job is. Keep doing it, because no one else will.
I was at a party with the arts staff on the night that Kanye West dropped The Life of Pablo. Someone screamed that they would be hosting a listening party at their co-op at 1 a.m. I decided that I could not wait that long. I left the party alone, made a batch of pizza rolls, drunkenly paid for a full month of TIDAL and listened to TLOP for the first time in my bedroom.
My attempt at isolation failed. For the next 24 hours, my phone buzzed nonstop with texts from people asking about my opinion on the album, discussing favorite tracks and even forming an emergency support group chat to comfort one another through the unorthodox album release.
I ended my term as spring 2016 arts and entertainment editor on the roof of the Metropolitan. “Famous” began blasting from the party speakers, and I found myself screaming the words at the top of my lungs with people who cared enough to listen.
Rihanna’s voice rang into the night, echoing all the emotions I was feeling then and those that I’m feeling now as I write my final words for the Daily Cal and prepare myself to leave UC Berkeley and those I’ve found here.
“I’ve loved you better than your own kin did / From the very start / I don’t blame you much for wanting to be free / I just wanted you to know.”