5 Questions With Evan Sterrett

Evan SterrettIn late 2013, a friend put Evan Sterrett (COL ’15) in touch with Professor Susan Lynskey, hoping the two would pursue a possible collaboration in the near future. Lynskey was directing the play “Dear Harvey,” a tribute to Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician to hold an elected office in California. (The play opened yesterday, Feb. 1, in the Gonda Theater.) When the two met, Lynskey proposed an idea.

“[She] envisioned a video opener for the play, something to give hope in the spirit of Harvey, and something to remember those deceased LGBT youth, whom the message of hope, tragically, could not reach,” Sterrett said.

Lynskey’s vision soon became reality, as the pair created a special opening video montage for the “Dear Harvey” production, accompanied by the a cappella rendition of Billy Joel’s “Lullaby” sung by a few of the Georgetown Phantoms. The beginning half of the video was titled “It Gets Better: Georgetown Edition,” and was inspired by the It Gets Better Project, founded in 2010 by Dan Savage in an effort to inspire and combat harassment to the LGBT community.

Today, Sterrett released the powerful “It Gets Better” video to his Vimeo account, and in less than 24 hours, it has garnered nearly 1,000 views. Here it is:

To learn more about the motivational project and the LGBT community at Georgetown, we sat down with Sterrett. Here’s what he had to say:

It seems like you and Professor Lynskey really had a unique vision for “Dear Harvey” and “It Gets Better.” How did it come to life?

I was surprised that Georgetown University had not already created an It Gets Better video of its own, so I jumped at the opportunity to engage with this project. I created a Facebook event requesting interviewees, then filmed 13 volunteers in the LGBTQ Resource Center one Monday, after which I edited hours of footage into a six-and-a-half minute short. The process was inspiring, especially hearing everyone’s poignant stories. I learned a lot.

Did you submit the video to the It Gets Better Project?

Yes, I did submit the video to the It Gets Better Project and it’s currently under review!

How would you describe Georgetown’s LGBTQ community? Where does it currently stand as an institution here on the Hilltop?

I think Kyle O’Donnell (COL ’14) said it best, in his reading at the “Dear Harvey” performance, that, nowadays, we seem to have forgotten Harvey. Once a community of inclusion, acceptance and love, the LGBT community has now become one of division, labeling and exclusion. Twinks, bears, cubs, jocks, masc, femme, labels, labels, labels. We still have a lot of work to do. We must break down the divisions within our own community before we can make any broader progress.

Where do you see Georgetown’s LGBTQ community heading in the future?

While I was working at the Georgetown Office of Advancement this summer, I was sorting through alumni emails and discovered one that, ironically, was complaining about the LGBT presence at Georgetown. The sender requested to be removed from the mailing list due to the overflow of LGBT-related memos. That angered me a little, but I kept thinking about his message. On the flip-side of his complaint, how amazing is it that our Catholic institution is putting money and effort into supporting our community so publicly? I’m thankful for the progressiveness of our university. Looking to the future, I think we are in good hands.

I know the video just debuted today, but how has the response been so far?

The response has been really positive. Although, one area for improvement is the video’s lack of diverse representation, which would have helped to paint a fuller picture of the myriad of experiences of coming out and of gender identity exploration.

Through his short film and interview, Sterrett has expressed that the LGBTQ community at Georgetown still has many hurdles to overcome. Coming out – as his project clearly shows – is no easy feat, and the road to acceptance is tough. Nonetheless, students like Sterrett have shown that it really does get better. In the past years, the LGBTQ community has made progress in leaps and bounds. The Hilltop is off to a more than promising start.

Is It Worth It to Go the Distance?

When you’re about to leave for college, there are a lot of important decisions to make: what you’re going to major in, who you’re going to room with, what color sheets you want, what classes you’re going to take and, for some, if you’re going to stay with your significant other from home.

The topic of long-distance relationships is highly debated in the college community and The Guide took the time to interview some of the people who are “in it for the long haul”.

But what do other Hoyas think about “LDR”s? Take a look here at this Hoya online exclusive.

“New Slaves” and Kanye Controversy

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If there are three things that Kanye West does best, they are the following:

1. Being provocative
2. Being dramatic
3. Being unintentionally hilarious

After making the entire musically-inclined corner of the internet explode by cryptically tweeting “June 18th,” which has since become the presumed release date of his new solo album, Kanye has been playing with us like a killer whale plays with a seal. (Deputy editor’s note: If you haven’t seen a killer whale playing with a seal, please watch this video. It is very graphic and disturbing, and it is very much like this moment where Kanye is the whale and Taylor Swift is the seal. Also, speaking of killer whales and Kanye West, this just speaks for itself.)

On the 17th, Kanye tweeted that his newest single would be premiering in a unique fashion – with installation art video performances at scheduled locations across the globe.

Why he always tweets in all caps is also a mystery
Why he always tweets in all caps is also a mystery

The song that premiered on the sides of buildings all over the world is the supposed first single off the new solo album – possibly titled “Yeezus” – and is called “New Slaves.”

Kanye has never been one to shy away from controversial statements about race in America or about life in general and this new track is certainly no exception. Juxtaposing the standards of life on the streets and life among the stars, “New Slaves” certainly follows West’s knack for stirring up polemic audience responses.

“New Slaves” is less personal than some of his other tracks have been, considering the fact that all of 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (one of my favorite albums ever) is essentially a musical therapy session over the loss of his mother and the fallout over the Taylor Swift incident but Yeezy’s characteristic self-awareness is still evident. He knows that he is firmly entrenched in the upper echelon he raps about, but he still sees the effects of racism even at the top.

But it’s Kanye, so it’s bursting with attitude and loud-mouthed swagger. I’m already obsessed with it. Kanye has mastered the art of using overwhelming narcissism and materialism to cope with self-loathing and it shows on this track.

I throw these Maybach keys / I wear my heart on my sleeve
I know that we the new slaves / I see the blood on the leaves

He performed the song again this past Saturday as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live along with another new song called “Black Skin Head.” There’s clearly a heavy racial element going on with his new tracks, which may make some fans uncomfortable if the theme continues on the rest of the new album, but I doubt Kanye really cares how you feel.
 

If you’re ever feeling down, y’all should really consider trying Kanye’s coping method. It’s hard to feel bad about yourself when you walk around acting like the sun shines for no one but you. In the meantime though, keep your eyes out for the latest music and antics from the ever-controversial Kanye.

Hoyas Say Thanks on Mother’s Day

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Treat your mother like it’s Mother’s Day every day.

For this year’s Mother’s Day, The Hoya went around campus and listened to some of you give thanks to some of the greatest women around.

Make sure to tweet the video and use the hashtag, #HoyasSayThanks. You can even use it to tweet your own thank you message!

Produced by: Steven Piccione & Alexander Brown
Directed & Edited by: Steven Piccione
Filmed by: Alexander Brown
Photography by: Rebecca Goldberg
Music by: Sophonic (License Purchased)