Popular “Newscene” segment faces controversy

The latest installment of Newscene included a new segment created by senior Arianna Spruille. “Blueprint” covers issues African Americans face and their experiences with racism. 

Spruille was inspired by the “Dear OPRF” YouTube channel, created by two OPRF alumni. “I was inspired by them because I had watched them my freshman year, and I wanted to continue (what they were doing) but in my own way,” Spruille said. The YouTube channel  also informed the school about the issues facing people of color. The discussion of racism sparked by the channel inspired Spruille. The channel contains videos about the myth of reverse racism, and the use of the N-word. 

“I really like speaking on issues that are very personal to me. Especially ones that center around black women, intersectionality, and womanism,” said Spruille.

Spruille brought the idea to Newscene director John Condne. “Many people have great ideas and it never, ever happens, but with Arianna it did,” said Condne. Then Spruille moved on to creation.

Spruille is the writer, producer and videographer for “Blueprint.” Her process begins with research about the topic she will be covering. Then, she moves into script writing. “It (the script) consists of an introduction, background information, interviews and then extra information,” she said. After that, the piece is filmed and edited by Spruille. 

A recent segment regarding the oversexualization of Black women caused some controversy at the school after some teachers apparently chose not to play it. “I find it interesting that a warning was needed for my segment,” said Spruille. The video was marked as sensitive for some and a list of resources was included in the email.

 Some teachers, though, were adamant on showing the piece. “I had two students, specifically two white boys, who said they had never heard that type of language (words used to oversexualize women)  before and were able to learn something,” said history teacher Janelle Smithson. 

“Everyone in my class appreciates the sentiment. They found it to be informative and valuable,” said teacher Betina Johnson. 

 “People had no idea what this (overadultification) was and how it impacted female people of color,” said Spruille. Overadultification is when a child from a minority group is perceived as more mature and is a form of dehumanization.

Spruille said the segment was intended to be educational and was meant to voice black women’s experiences. The piece was watched and reviewed by multiple staff members before it was sent out. “We had principal Parker watch them just to have more eyes on it. Before we put anything out whether it’s that (Blueprint) or What’s on Your Brain (another Newscene segment), it’s always nice to have another set of eyes watch it,” said Condne. 

Students shared Spruille’s segment all over social media, showing their support for their peer. “People in the hall and all across social media were supportive. I didn’t necessarily get any negative feedback,” Spruille said. Junior Col Anderson said they think “Blueprint” is important because it discusses issues that African Americas face when no one else will. “I hope we are not seen as objects with no feelings and that we are seen as human and not ignored,” said Johnson. “At times in this school I have felt ignored, maybe even thrown away,” Johnson continued. 

“Blueprint” hopes to inform others and create change in the school. “There is just so much unintentional ignorance. People don’t know about these issues because they haven’t experienced them firsthand,” said Spruille.“There are so many negative stereotypes and connotations associated with black women because that is what most media portrays.”