"Horizon," A Short Memoir

My first kiss was on the splintered benches of a treehouse. It was right after we shoved our heads into a cold, chlorinated pool. Like dipping our heads in an ice bath, we immersed ourselves in the shocking sensation. Desire against desire. Fire kissing fire, we were shivering from both our wet shirts and awkward touch. We sat on splintered benches. Cold, shivering, beautiful creatures. Our hairs stood straight on our arms, our skin dotted all over with goose bumps from the chill of the chlorinated pool. We burned each other with our touch…
The first man I ever trusted shattered that trust to fragments. I am still cutting my weak fingers trying to pick up the pieces. The first man I ever trusted was my dad. Funny and lighthearted, he was the first perfect I ever knew. I still remember 2002. I lied and told you, Dad, that my legs were broken (of course you knew my true intentions!). You smiled, picked me up on broad shoulders and we soared. My toddler hands touched heaven that day as your soul touched heaven later that year…
My dad was on a plane from Lagos to Abuja. I was told that day was sunny, but I would rather remember it as storming. I refuse to believe a kind sky savagely ripped my dad’s  shoulders from under me. The wings of the plane malfunctioned. The plane went down. They all went down. I never knew planes were strong enough to snatch souls, to snatch happiness, to snatch hope. My trust crashed and burned with his perfect body that stormy day.
The only thing they saved of him was his watch…
Did time even exist if I could not spend warm summer days flying on his perfect shoulders? Did time even matter if I could no longer live those moments, those seconds, that he and I became the sky?
Not yet.
If the divine power I grew up believing in exists, I hope God lets us sit on the shoulders of the horizon, Dad, the same one that took your life away. The same one that shattered my trust into pieces, cutting weak fingers to fit these shards back together.
Years later after flying to America, Mom had found another man. A broken shell, he filled the vast emptiness with booze. Gin sweat lips used to knock Mom and I down time and time again. I felt my trust quivering with every insult.
It wheeled into a predictable cycle.
Love notes,
Heavy drinking,
The names (Oh, God the names),
Solace seeking,
Apology notes,
Love notes… (this time with flowers!)
I never thought I would be called a “goddamn nigger” by a man my mom loved. The first man she loved and married was quick to forgive, sweetly tucked me in, drank the joy of laughter instead of whiskey, I guess I am still drinking from sorrow’s endless bucket. I guess I am still cutting weak fingers over the pieces…
I can’t believe this! My petite, strong, beautiful mother once told me, “Jola, we come from royalty.” So why did she let this drunkard treat her like anything less? Why did she seek the love of a man filled to the brim with emptiness?
The very last time mom rejected him, I thought I would have to sing lullabies to both my parents’ spirits. I'm saying he could have killed us! It takes a dedicated hand to drive it through a wall. It takes a heavy fist, weighed down by intoxication. It takes a man half a minute to threaten lives, to strike fear, to break trusts.
It was ten o’clock that night. I was listening to Mother Mother and doing algebra. I heard heavy steps below my room. And I knew…
A few minutes later I heard loud cursing and drunken fists attempt to tear down the walls. I heard fists that threatened the entire structure of our home… I knew.
I ran as fast as I could to the phone. How could I defeat a beast singlehandedly? I remember crying hysterically. Mom’s voice broke to pieces. She was trying to stay calm but I could hear the struggle climbing from her throat.
“Jola! Call the police!” she screamed. She was a frightened animal, trapped into a corner. She knew she could not have both love and safety at the same time anymore, so she chose neither. My fingers had never flown so quick as the time I called 911 on a man my mom loved. The cold voice that came on the other end shocked me. It angered me, tormented me, did everything but keep me calm. The entire house burned with chaos, my mind drowned in chaos, the person on the other side of the phone responded monotoned. I felt like we were speaking different languages when she robotically asked, “Hello, 911, what’s your emergency?” as if my life was not slipping from beneath my feet at this moment. As if my mom and I couldn’t die at any swing of a fist. I hid under a table as I spoke to the alien on the end of my receiver. Like the drunken animal growling at my mom at that moment, I felt I couldn’t reach the person on the other end of the phone.
I choked out my situation and address to the robot, acid tears burning the skin on my face. When would this end? More loud and drunken steps and growls, more of the world sitting doing nothing, more of the world chipping away at my trust bit by bit by bit.
Mom’s boyfriend got arrested down the road for drunk driving. We were OK, physically. These are some of the memories I tuck away in a safe vault in the back of my brain. I thought I would never try to open it up. Like Pandora’s Box, now that I have opened it, there is no going back.
My first kiss was on the splinted benches of a treehouse.  I did not think twice about immersing myself in a strange sensation. The men in my life have shattered my trust into unrecognizable fragments, but I trusted that embrace. The strongest thing I have ever done is kissed someone. I feel my weak hands healing by leaving the pieces behind. I learned on a splinted bench, drenched in sanitized and filthy water, that trust is replaceable.
text: jola laguda
visual: jackie andrews

Boston Teens on Style

I interviewed eight Boston teens about their personal style and fashion today. Here's what they said.

Name: Dave Clardy
Age: 19
What inspires you?
I guess just, like, seeing everyone being creative inspires me to make stuff for myself – that’s with music and art and everything. I think fashion is my lane for that, but general creativity is what makes me also create.
Who's your favorite artist and/or designer and why?
Probably Rick Owens takes the cake for favorite designer and brand, just because for the last two decades he’s been consistently innovating, working on creating this whole lane of avant-garde fashion and really changing the way that a lot of people see clothing. It’s not just about conventional silhouettes; you can really change the game wearing really outlandish things. I also think that Errolson Hugh, who’s the lead director of Acronym, is doing crazy things in the techwear world and really deserves all the praise he’s been getting because he’s been doing really new and interesting things.
How would you describe your style? What inspires your style?
I would say that my style is mainly focused on clothing that also has a certain level of technical edge to it, [and] is able to function in both a city setting and also in harsher weather conditions. I like mixing that with the more avant-garde, drapey, Rick Owens sort of look. Maybe a little bit of cyberpunk type vibe there. I’m trying to focus a lot on making my style not be stagnant, because I want to keep changing it up and innovating the look I already have.
How would you describe fashion today?
Expansive. It’s a pretty open definition, because you look at everything from runway shows to streetwear – it’s all fashion. You can sort of be doing anything and say that it’s fashion. Everything has its place and its purpose, but for real, if you’re wearing clothes, then that’s fashion.
How has social media impacted fashionable style today?
It’s made it a lot more accessible. Now you go on the Instagram discover page and  no matter what, you’re going to have outfits in there and people showing off whatever, like, Gucci watch they just got. It’s a mixture of people using that to innovate and also show off to get clout. I think it’s done a lot of good, because I don’t think I’d be as into fashion as I am without the ease of social media, but also if everyone thinks they’re an innovator, then no one actually is one.


Name: Elijah
Age: 16
What inspires you?
The Neolithic Period, Mr. Rogers, Kanye West, obviously, Ric Flair, Miles Davis, Madonna, and Papa Roach.
Who's your favorite artist and/or designer and why?
This changes every month, but currently Kanye West. He kinda changed the whole landscape. He went from everyone hating his shit to everyone almost ripping it off. Basquiat did something for a designer... I like Chanel pre-Karl Lagerfeld. Like, it’s pretty cool, but it was more dope before him.
How would you describe your style? What inspires your style?
Since I was a kid, my mom just influenced me to do whatever I wanted. I just wear what I think looks cool. No one really inspired me, no one person. Every now and then I do take inspiration from artists, rappers, and singers, but it’s just my style. I kinda liked some wrestling stuff as a kid, I liked watching skaters– never actually doing it, I hated that. I like PBS. PBS Kids gave inspo on everything. My vibe is more, like, everything. You got the cowboy look, the future look, the art hoe, you got everything.
How would you describe fashion today?
We’re living in this almost Renaissance period. Everyone is just doing everything and we just don’t give a fuck. Dudes can come out here wearing bras and it’s gonna be fresh as fuck. I would rep that immediately. We’re living in such a great period for fashion and I’m so grateful for that.
How has social media impacted fashionable style today?
Both for better and for worse. It helps us see more vibes, we can understand things faster, we can get more inspiration easily. Everything’s all there. It’s all concentrated and you can find things that you never even thought could work and then work off of that. At the same time, though, it also makes every trend last, like, 5 day before it’s boring. It’s just hard.


Name: Tatiana White
Age: 16
What inspires you?
Just when I see people looking good, if they’re confident, that just makes me happy.
Who's your favorite artist and/or designer and why?
One of the really, like, expensive brands that I like is Louis Vuitton. It’s just classy and put together and looks really good with everything.
How would you describe your style? What inspires your style?
My style is just whatever I feel like wearing. Sometimes it’s street style, sometimes it’s classy. I’m inspired by models on Instagram and runway photos, it gives me ideas of what to wear.
How would you describe fashion today?
Fashion today is really, like, out there. Really bold. Everyone has their own style. I really like high fashion, it’s just so out there.
How has social media impacted fashionable style today?
It definitely influences people on what to wear and trends and stuff like that. It gives me ideas of what to wear.


Name: Rahul Manwani
Age: 16
What inspires you?
My personal main mediums of art are film, fashion, and photography, but I really feel like I can draw from anything. Books, movies, music, people’s outfits, even interviews. I just pay attention to the emotions that are evoked from me when I see these things, and if they match up to a certain visual aesthetic that I enjoy, I feel like that’s where I strike the balance of where to create my art.
Who's your favorite artist and/or designer and why?
My favorite artist would have to be Frank Ocean. I feel that he’s taken the most risks. While it may not seem that radical, taking time for yourself as an over-sensationalized black, bisexual man in 2017 is actually a really big deal. He takes his breaks, he takes his time with his art, and he really perfects it. The end product is some of the best music I’ve ever heard and evoked some of the best emotions that I’ve ever had. When I listen to his music, I imagine the best films that I could make, which is what I really like. My favorite designer…I have to go with Raf Simons. While there are so many issues with cultural mixing and cultural appropriation in 2017, I feel like he has almost perfected the art of blending things together and hybrids of things I would never think of. He makes it look so good, and the influence he’s had on the culture is obvious. You see that every time after a drop, there’s, like, five other drops trying to follow the trend.
How would you describe your style? What inspires your style?
I would say my style is for a large part biased on what I see on social media: it’s this narrow sense of streetwear. I’m trying to make it my own – it’s kind of hard. What I want my style to be is, like, overly long, draped pieces, wide shirts, industrial mixed with streetwear. I’m a really big fan of rebranding things, so maybe, like, suit pants with a Stussy shirt. I don’t know, I like to mix a lot of things.
How would you describe fashion today?
Well, fashion’s kind of polarized to begin with, unfortunately, into women’s and men’s fashion. Men’s fashion is in kind of a rut: it’s kind of stuck. The same brands keep getting repeated: Stussy, Supreme, Adidas, Fila, Asics, Palace, you name it. They keep getting recycled. I’d really like someone to shake up the game by maybe finding a retailer to encompass them all, or maybe mimic what they’re doing? I think social media’s helping it out but also destroying it a little bit by making it more widespread. What’s really good about fashion in 2017 is that it’s become cool. Before, in the 2000s and rap music and athletes, you’d see sneaker collabs. But now you see collections: Rihanna has a collection, A$AP Rocky has a collection, even athletes have collections. Fashion’s becoming cool, which is something I really like to see because it was once ridiculed.
How has social media impacted fashionable style today?
I think it’s allowed us to see each other’s outfits a lot more and created a little internet community. Fashion is such a visual thing, and with photography and Instagram and everything that’s happening right now, it’s very easy to visually convey yourself. I think it’s a little emotionally defeating because a “real photographer” and anyone can take a photo, and you can’t tell the intentions or emotions behind a screen. I think it’s helping a lot in making it widespread, making it cooler, getting the trends out, and keeping people updated on drops.


Name: Alice Sheehan
Age: 16
What inspires you?
Boston inspires me. Even though it’s a smaller city, each borough has its own feel and I love that. A lot of the confidence I have comes from being a kid growing up in Boston. My family has instilled a pride for where I come from in me that has taught me to unapologetically be myself. Even though I may outgrow Boston someday, my love for this scrappy but strong city will never recede.
Who's your favorite artist and/or designer and why?
Richard Sandler is one of my favorite artists because of his ability to rawly document the real lives of urban people in his book, The Eyes of the City. He stitches together series of black and white photos taken in Boston and NYC from the 70’s to 2001. I am drawn to his work because I feel he authentically shows the ethereal and putrid aspects that exist in one city.
How would you describe your style? What inspires your style?
My style changes depending on my mood. Sometimes I wear really oversized streetwear pieces with a pair of Nikes or Comme des Garcons high tops, some sort of sneaker, with perfectly blow dried hair and glowy makeup. I love contrast. Other times I will go for a super feminine look: a loafer or more dainty sneaker with a wrap dress or a set of some sort. I also love to experiment with textures, so when I go for this look I often choose silky piece. When I am working or at school, I usually settle for a more chill look: a clean face, a low bun with some loose hair, some kind of vintage denim with a henley or well-fitting shirt and some flats.
How would you describe fashion today?
I feel that the skinny jean, like a lot of things, is getting less stylish. They are still trendy, but I feel vintage styles of denim are coming back. Lately I’ve been seeing (and loving) a shabby-chic look. It consists of some contrast, like some mid-rise baggy jeans with a cropped t-shirt or soft tank top. Fashion today really inspires creativity. I see people thrifting a lot more and making their own pieces, especially in skate culture. I’ve seen girls doing a skater look, which welcomes something androgynous. All in all I feel that gender roles are being tested. Women are defining their femininity in new ways – I think it’s amazing.
How has social media impacted fashionable style today?
I feel that trends move faster because of things like Instagram. There are feeds that consist of rows upon rows of gorgeous outfits that I definitely pull inspiration from. Kids my age can also post things they’ve created, get recognition, and then a new trend is eventually started. Not only is there a lot of creativity, but the teenagers are doing it, and that’s great.


Name: Tyler Herson
Age: 16
What inspires you?
I’d say all the music that I listen to and a lot of things that I see on social media.
Who's your favorite artist and/or designer and why?
Tyler the Creator. I know it’s a little cliche, but everything he does is really well thought out: his clothes, his music, everything. He puts a lot of time and effort into it.
How would you describe your style? What inspires your style?
A little bit of streetwear mixed with vintage, 90’s, pop punk.
How would you describe fashion today?
Fashion in 2017 is really influenced by social media. It’s super diverse– there are so many different things that people are wearing nowadays. It’s also really competitive: people are always seeing who can get what from what drops, things like that. It can be a little crazy and over the top sometimes.
How has social media impacted fashionable style today?
It’s definitely made trends go by a lot faster. It’s sensationalized a lot of trends – made things big that might not have blown up without social media. It just makes things go by really fast.

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Name: Amaya Sangurima-Jimenez
Age: 16
What inspires you?
Bright colors and girls who are unapologetically themselves.
Who's your favorite artist and/or designer and why?
My favorite artist would either be Frida Kahlo or Kehinde Wiley for his beautiful portraits of people of color portrayed in the style of European royals; I find it very subversive.
How would you describe your style? What inspires your style?
A mix between an old French woman and a character from the cartoon show Arthur.
How would you describe fashion today?
I would describe fashion today to be a re-emergence of old styles to make them new and an emphasis on personal style. Very unique and thrifty. Also been seeing a problematic amount of cultural appropriation on runways too… yikes.
How has social media impacted fashionable style today?
With social media, lots of people in the fashion world who previously may have not have been visible (like plus size models, models of color, etc.) have huge support and followings. Social media arguably inherently demonstrates the need for representation, like if a plus size model has lots of followers who are excited to see someone who looks like them in ads. The fashion industry should be paying attention.


Name: Lytton Chea
Age: 17
What inspires you?
Well, I was always the type who dressed really bummy and stuff, but then I started watching YouTube videos and seeing everyone else looking really good. I was like, “Oh, this is cool!” I went and started buying clothes and ever since then I’ve been obsessed with clothes.
Who's your favorite artist and/or designer and why?
I don’t have a favorite designer, but I would say my favorite artist is probably Bryant Giles.
How would you describe your style? What inspires your style?
I would say it’s really unique and fun. I love wearing different colors. I get a ton of inspiration from Instagram, and when I’m in a store and see two different colors next to each other and think, “These would look really cool together.”
How would you describe fashion today?
Fashion today is really cool. There are a lot of different kinds of stylists who are very diverse and I think it’s growing rapidly and going at a really good pace.
How has social media impacted fashionable style today?

Social media inspires a lot of people. You see people doing things different ways, and you get to bring out what you like and what other people like through fashion.

interviews and visuals by meera singh

Boston Calling in Review

Since May of 2013, the multi-stage music festival known as Boston Calling has graced City Hall Plaza’s brick and cement-lined grounds. This year, the event curated by The National’s Aaron Dessner made its way down Storrow Drive and found a new home at Harvard’s Athletic Complex. Despite a handful of Allston-Brighton residents voicing concern over the sound pollution, Boston Calling was made a success with the help of native Boston bands, Grammy award winners, and talent across the board.

Day 1

The self described “Sludgy Jangly Pop” band were the first to take the stage Friday afternoon with a set that signaled a perfect start to the weekend. Although the Boston-based group are accustomed to playing much smaller and more intimate venues, Vundabar’s stage presence translated impeccably onto Boston Calling’s Xfinity stage.

Lucy Dacus
Although Lucy Dacus’ name sat far down the Boston Calling lineup, her future is as bright as any. The Virginia indie-rocker entered onto the festival stage armed with her powerful voice and witty lyrics, eventually winning over her audience and distracting them from the sprinkling of New England rain.

Francis and the Lights
You may not know Francis Farewell Starlite by name, but chances are you’ve heard his work. Through his collaborations with fellow Boston Calling artists Chance the Rapper and Bon Iver, he has amassed quite a discography. Friday afternoon he treated audience members to his quintessential dance moves, and was later joined onstage by Chance the Rapper as the two performed their newest song, “May I Have This Dance.”

Sylvan Esso
When Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn first ventured into Sylvan Esso, they treated it as a side project. Years later and touring on their newly released record What Now, the duo brought their quirky alternative tunes to life at Boston Calling.

Bon Iver
Bon Iver’s set was one of the most anticipated of the weekend, as it was Justin Vernon’s first performance in Boston since the release of his newest album, 22, A Million. When the initial guitar strums of “Skinny Love” began to ring through the festival, the sky erupted into a downpour. Instead of ruining the atmosphere, the rain forced the crowd to forget their inhibitions, leading to arguably the most climactic moment of Boston Calling.

Chance the Rapper
The tempestuous weather did not dissuade fans from dancing through Chance the Rapper’s set in the mud and rain. The Grammy Award winner for Best New Artist truly lived up to his title as he effortlessly closed out night one of Boston Calling.

Day 2

Alexandra Savior
Although the headliners gracing the top of Boston Calling’s lineup are undoubtedly impressive, hidden gems were found earlier in the day. Such is the case with Alexandra Savior. The Portland-based singer took to the stage with her dreamy and atmospheric melodies before most festival attendees had even eaten lunch.

Tkay Maidza
The Australian rapper/singer may be a long way from home, but with a early afternoon slot on the Delta Blue Stage, she got Boston Calling attendees moving.

Moses Sumney
Upon entering Boston Calling’s main stage Saturday afternoon, Moses Sumney joked, “I knew I would make it to Harvard one way or another.” Indeed, the musician gave any PhD candidate a run for their money as he expertly used his voice as an instrument.

Oh Wonder
Although the grounds of Boston Calling were still covered in mud from the prior night’s rain, the sun was shining bright by the time Oh Wonder took the stage. The London-based duo, comprised of Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht, have advanced far in the short amount of time since the release of their 2015 debut album. Together they performed new and old songs, entrancing the audience with their gentle harmonies.

Majid Jordan
There’s no denying that Majid Jordan were a highlight from Boston Calling’s lineup. The Canadian duo, composed of Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman, paired soulful vocals with electrifying instrumentals, proving they’ve come along way since a feature on Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home.”

The 1975
As the sun began to set on day two of Boston Calling, a large crowd progressively formed in front of the Delta Blue Stage. Audience members, coming from as close as just around to block to all the way from Canada, eagerly awaited the arrival of the English band. When The 1975 finally took the stage, the screams only grew louder. Throughout their set, festival attendees sang along to hits like “Chocolate” and “The Sound.”

Day 3

Mondo Cozmo
Mondo Cozmo did not let anything, even a lack of sleep, stop them from giving the festival attendees an energetic and spirited set. Together with his band,  Josh Ostrander effortlessly weaved through the notable tune “Shine,” his newly released single “Automatic," and a cover of “Bitter Sweet Symphony."

Mitski Miyawaki, better known as just Mitski, gave a short but sweet performance on day three of Boston Calling. The singer-songwriter captivated the audience with her reverberating instrumentals and impassioned vocals.

Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant’s energy Sunday afternoon was paralleled only by that of their audience. One attendee even managed to jump onstage and dive over the massive barricade into the crowd, prompting a gesture of shock from frontman Matt Shultz.

It was somewhat of a homecoming for Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo when the rock band walked out onto the fields of his alma mater, Harvard. As Weezer closed out the final night at Boston Calling’s Delta Blue Stage, they cemented this year’s festivities into everyone’s memories.
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