I’ve often said that when you start looking into the backgrounds of the mainstream Black actresses in Hollywood, you will find a set of credentials that, to me, highlight the Black Tax and how it may be uniquely applied to Black women who wish to act. Considering the percentage of the country in general who has a degree and the backgrounds of other actors, you cannot convince me it is a coincidence that this much excellence and education was required of Black women in particular, just to be given the opportunity to fight for a chance.

That being said… i’d like to celebrate these women.

left to right and top to bottom…

1) Kerry Washington (Scandal, Save The Last Dance, She Hate Me, Ray, Fantastic Four, Django Unchained, For Colored Girls, The Last King of Scotland, etc) -  graduated Phi Beta Kappa from George Washington University with a double major in Anthropology and Sociology. Received an honorary doctorate from there in 2013.

2) Taraji P. Henson (Empire, Person of Interest, Boston Legal, The Division, No Good Deed, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Hustle & Flow, Baby Boy, etc … for real the list is long as hell) - graduated with a degree in Theatre Arts from Howard University

3) Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years A Slave) - Masters of Fine Arts from Yale School of Drama,  BA in Film and Theatre Studies from Hampshire College 

4) Viola Davis (How To Get Away With Murder, Law & Order: SVU, City of Angels, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Law Abiding Citizen, Beautiful Creatures, Eat Pray Love, Antwone Fisher, etc… also several Broadway credits… she’s a baddie basically) -  Attended Julliard for 4 years,  graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in Theatre and received an honorary doctorate from there in 2002.

5) Angela Bassett (American Horror Story, ER, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Notorious, The Jacksons: An American Dream, Akeelah and the Bee, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Waiting To Exhale, Boyz In The Hood…ETC.. y'all it goes back to 1986… like… bow to a Queen when you see one) - Master of Fine Arts from Yale School of Drama, BA in African-American Studies from Yale University

6) Octavia Spencer (Red Band Society, Ugly Betty, Halfway Home, Fruitvale Station, The Help, etec.) - Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts from Auburn University

7) Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow, 42, American Violet, My Last Day Without You, A Free Man of Color [Broadway]) - Julliard for 4 years, got the Shakespeare scholarship and trained in England

8) Retta (Parks and Recreation) -  pre-med with a Sociology degree from Duke University, worked as a chemist with GlaxoSmithKline.

9) Jerrika Hinton (Grey’s Anatomy) - Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southern Methodist University

10) Regina Hall (Law & Order: Los Angeles, Ally McBeal, Think Like A Man, Think Like A Man Too, Best Man, Best Man Holiday, The Scary Movie Franchise) - Masters in Journalism from NYU


Gabrielle Union (Being Mary Jane, Flash Forward, Night Stalker, City of Angels, Top Five, Think Like A Man, Think Like A Man Too, Bring It On, Daddy’s Little Girls, Cadillac Records, Two Can Play That Game, etc) - graduated from UCLA with a degree in Sociology.

Danielle Brooks (Orange Is The New Black, first Black woman on Girls [a show that started in 2012 mind you..]) - graduated from Julliard.

Samira WIley (Orange Is The New Black) - Julliard grad.

Uzoamaka Nwaneka “Uzo” Aduba (Orange Is The New Black) - studied voice at Boston University and is a Broadway veteran.

not an actor, but still:

Shonda Rhimes - writer, show creator, producer (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Private Practice, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, Crossroads, Princess Diaries 2) - Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California, majored in English and film studies at Dartmouth College and received an honorary doctorate from there in 2014.

I’m sorry for going MIA, but I had my NYUAD candidate weekend and it was just so much more than I expected. I got to know the most incredible individuals I’ve ever met in my life and every single person was literally from opposite spectrums of the globe.

If the tour of the campus and talking to the faculty wasn’t enough to convince me, they flew in freaking GORDON BROWN to give us a speech and have dinner with us!

After a year of a lot of disappointments, I’m so happy that my interview went so well and I really really hope I get in. 

Early Decision 2 Update

Early Decision 2 results will be released on 14th February at Pre-Dawn hours (New York Time).

We are on deck to welcome the newest members of the NYU Class of 2018 this Friday, February 14.  Admission decisions will be sent via email, beginning in the pre-dawn hours (New York City time) on Friday.  We will continue to send decisions throughout the day, with all decisions released by Friday evening.

Admitted students will also be mailed a congratulatory packet of materials on Friday.  No admission decisions will be posted anywhere on our website – nor will students be able to check the status of their admission decision via their NYU Home account on our NYU Albert website. Admission decisions are only mailed via email.  If you do not receive your decision via email, you may call the Office of Undergraduate Admissions on Monday, February 17 and we will provide your admission decision over the phone.

Shawn Abbott

Dean of Admissions, New York University

Best of Luck! 

Watch on viewfromthebalcony.tumblr.com

Digital rendering of the future NYU Abu Dhabi campus

Maya Lin At the mere age of 21 and only a senior in college, Maya Lin sent in a submission to an open call for design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the age of 21 and won with her idea in 1981. After winning the contest, Maya Lin came under the disapproving eye of the public. Some veterans found her simple design offensive. Others questioned the validity of her work because of her background as an Asian American, despite Maya being an American, born and raised in Ohio.  

She talks about this in a PBS interview.

Yeah. I was in school and I was taking the subway in. And I remember these three working class guys were up on the top of the passover and they were trying to spit on me. And they were saying incredibly racist and intensely painful things.

What’s strange is you look at Black Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, Chinese Americans, and New York is such a mixture. And at times you wonder, sometimes we’re acceptable, we blend in, we’re not spat on. Do other races have a harder time? Yes, the answer is horrible at times.

And you can really relate. And you feel sometimes the funny thing about being Asian American is if you’re black American you’re American, whereas I will always inevitably get into a cab sometime and the cab driver will turn around and say, “Where are you from?” And I’ll say, “Ohio.” And they’ll say, “No, no, where are you really from?”

And there could be a white German whose English is okay. He could have just traveled here yesterday and they will assume he’s American. I was born and raised here. Looking the way I look, you will always get that question, even sometimes at polite cocktail party: Where are you from? Where are you really from? And that leaves you in a weird in- between world. Like you’re both.

But that does something to you. Like, well, are we really not allowed to be from here?

Maya Lin, a woman who barreled through all the controversy and disdain and emerged with a canon of work that defies all stereotypes and expectations against her is an inspiration for us all. It is uplifting to see someone who has survived the barbs of the world and can be an example for others, wanting to follow in her path. 

In the design world, in the art world, women are important as another set of eyes and another voice for communication. They make decisions, for example, on how women’s bodies are perceived and add a different lens on the world, that was previously singularly only male. Maya Lin has played big role in promoting minority women in the predominantly male art world. 



As you can see this program has been a bit of motherfloating annoyance. It’s been a lot of fun working on it but I have reached the end of my wits with this minim bullsyntax. Why can’t I find a reasonable sound library for processing. Images and sounds–they go together–why isn’t the audio potential of processing as great as visual processing. MOTHERFLOATING INTEGER STRINGS!!! It’s been so aggravating. I’ve heard good things about Sonia as a library but there’s so much other goddamrecurring stuff you have to install. WHY IS MINIM!?! Are you telling me I have to call rewind() when i want to play something again? Are you trying to beat the living while loop out of me? This is not 1995–we made things digital so that we don’t have rewind.
Okay, done with the generally ignorant rant.
Basically, what I have here is two classes. One which creates a button that turns a different color when you press it and then logs that change. Then I have this class called counter which makes a kind of moving bit which helps trigger the sounds. Basically, in draw(), you have an array creating a large grid of these buttons and then as the timer moves through, the buttons are checked to see if they are on. If they are on then the sound that is designated that button plays from a separately created piece of for looping crap from minim. The main issue I have is trying to make sure that the sound only plays once everytime the timer moves, not every time draw() loops through. I have no floating idea how this rewind() crap is supposed to work so that’s where I’m stuck. Obviously, I’m only putting the code as Tumblr wouldn’t be able to bring the minim elements, so thank me for sparing you pain sorry about that.

import ddf.minim.spi.*;
import ddf.minim.signals.*;
import ddf.minim.*;
import ddf.minim.analysis.*;
import ddf.minim.ugens.*;
import ddf.minim.effects.*;

color red = color(255, 0, 0);
color white = color(255, 255, 255);
color green = color(0, 255, 0);

Minim minim;
AudioPlayer kickPlayer;
AudioPlayer snarePlayer;
AudioPlayer hatPlayer;

//consider doing this with an array list
button[][] grid = new button[3][8];

counter timer;

int count, start;

void setup()
  size(1000, 600);  
    for (int j = 0; j < 3; j++) {
    for (int k = 0; k < 8; k++) {
      grid[j][k] = new button(10 + 110 * k, 10 + 110 * j);

  //use this to control speed
  start = 15;
  count = start;

  timer = new counter(10, 340);

  minim = new Minim(this);
  kickPlayer = minim.loadFile("kick.wav"); 
  snarePlayer = minim.loadFile("snare.wav"); 
  hatPlayer = minim.loadFile("hat.wav");

void draw() {

  for (int j = 0; j < 3; j++) {
    for (int k = 0; k < 8; k++) {
  for(int i = 0; i < 3; i++) {
    if(!grid[i][timer.getPos()].getStatus()) {      
      if(i == 0) {
      } else if(i == 1) {
      } else if(i == 2) {
  if (count == 0) {
    count = start;
  } else {
  if(count == 0) {

void mouseClicked() {

  for (int j = 0; j < 3; j++) {
    for (int k = 0; k < 8; k++) {
      if (grid[j][k].contains(mouseX, mouseY) && grid[j][k].getStatus()) {
      else if (grid[j][k].contains(mouseX, mouseY) && !grid[j][k].getStatus()) {

class counter {

  int posX, posY, sizeX, sizeY, place, start; 

  counter(int x, int y) {
    posX = x;
    posY = y;
    sizeX = 100;
    sizeY = 10;
    start = 7;
    place = start;

  void updatePos() {
    if (place == 0) {
      posX = 10;
      place = start;
    else {

  void appear() {
    rect(posX, posY, sizeX, sizeY);

  int getPos() {
    return posX/110;

class button { 

  int posX, posY, sizeX, sizeY;
  boolean off;

  button(int x, int y) {
    posX = x;
    posY = y;
    sizeX = 100;
    sizeY = 100;
    off = true;

  void appear() {
    if (off) {
      rect(posX, posY, sizeX, sizeY);
    else {
      rect(posX, posY, sizeX, sizeY);

  void turnOn() {
    off = false;

  void turnOff() {
    off = true;

  boolean getStatus() {
    return off;

  boolean contains(float mx, float my) {
    if ((mx < posX + sizeX && mx > posX) &&
      (my < posY + sizeY && my > posY)) {
      return true;
    else {
      return false;

One of my favorite things about Abu Dhabi is the weather. The majority of both semesters here has been truly beautiful (save the beginning of Fall and probably the end of Spring). The beginning of this semester felt like Spring in New York–my favorite time. You know that time when you’re sitting in a classroom in Silver and you look out the windows and everyone is in the park enjoying the sun and the recently turned on fountain? That’s what Spring here thus far has been like. I’ve been able to work outside every day here and enjoy the sun–the DTC Garden is PERFECT for this! It actually gets rough around the time you have three papers due in a week and all you want to do is be outside, maybe that’s why you need the cold in New York, but for now I’m loving this seasonless place. :)

Make New Friends But Keep the Old

***This post is my weekly assignment for my study abroad course.  Our prompt this week was to discuss individuals who have made us feel safe in our location.***

I’ve written a lot about how Abu Dhabi has come to feel like home.  Throughout my few months here there have been many individuals who have made me feel welcomed and safe in this foreign place: my professors, fellow students, colleagues, strangers, etc. Two people though stand out- my friend’s mother, Sally, and my Emirati friend Hafsah.  

Sally and I have an interesting history.  We first met in 2008 in Sydney, Australia, where she is from.  Her daughter was about to start attending my boarding school, and I needed a host for a night, so I called her up!  She hadn’t even set foot at the school but was already a part of the mutual hosting process that characterizes it.  I had a wonderful day there with the family walking around the harbor bridge and the opera house, taking a ferry across to their home, and making pavlova, eating barbecue, drinking Australian beer, and watching the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.  It was such a nice visit and I was so sad to leave.  So when I came to Abu Dhabi in January and was told that because of Sally’s husband’s job they had relocated here, I was ecstatic!

I waited only a week before setting up our first lunch with Sally and a buddy of mine from boarding school who also goes to NYU-AD.  She was just as wonderful as I remembered- a great listener truly interested in what I am doing with my life, and making sure at every moment that I am happy and trying to find ways to help me.  And help she has- Sally is the one who secured my interview with the consulting firm I work here, she and another friend helped me suit shopping, she has taken me to various dinners at amazing Abu Dhabi restaurants, as well as inviting us to her parties for Easter and a social beach party.  All-in-all, Sally has helped me grow my roots in this wonderful city and exposed me to the fascinating Ex-pat community and their lifestyles.  The services at the school are great, but I know that if I ever needed anything, Sally would be the first person I call!

The second person who helps me feel grounded in Abu Dhabi is my friend Hafsah.  She is an Emirati girl who I met in New York when she was traveling there as a Sheikh Mohammed Scholar and I was asked by John Sexton to meet with them, as I was then in his Religion and Politics class.  We hit it off and have continued a bit of contact over Facebook, so when I came here I knew I had to meet up with her- especially as she could give me inside information on Emirati life. 

Unfortunately with our insanely busy schedules and different local customs, we’ve only been able to meet once, but we’ve also talked on the phone half a dozen times- and each time for an hour or more!  Our conversations basically consist of me bombarding her with questions about Emirati culture, customs, and how things work in the nation.  She is extremely intelligent and I respect her thoughts so deeply.  I’m glad I’ve been able to hear her perspective because it has added a great deal to my experience here.  I only wish we could meet up more!

Though these two wonderful ladies stand out, there have been countless people who have helped me feel happy here in Abu Dhabi.  I have learned from each and every person, place, and experience that I encounter (which is my life’s mantra) and I hope that my last month here is similarly filled with activity and joy!


Me, Sally’s husband, Rafe my UWC co-year, and Sally herself!