Collection: Work



Rivers Casino Shines a New Light in Portsmouth

By: DeAndre McEwen Jr. Feb 18, 2023

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Rivers Casino has been a premier attraction for the Portsmouth area since it opened last month.  Rivers Casino made over 9 million dollars in the month of January.  

Rivers Casino's grand opening was January 23, 2023. 

The glistening lights of the giant Rivers Casino sign attract tourists in Portsmouth. Cars at the Casino continue to fill up the parking lot. 

Employees wear team shirts where the colors correlate to their team; teams move as a unit in the Casino. Teams are responsible for different sections of the facility (slots, high limits, security, & tables.)

“From an employee's standpoint, I think the Casino management is really good," said Jerry Burns, EVS worker at Rivers Casino. 

Although Rivers security staff declined to speak about the casino, Rivers Casino floor staff reassured that the casino maintains a safe and friendly environment. 

River Casino is massive, with sections of betting machines, entertainment, and dining options.

The casino has food options like Starbucks, Slice, & Milan. Also, there is a huge dining area with a large tv visible to most of the casino.

“It’s a great venue for seniors and adults, for eating and entertainment,” said Archie Claborne, a “rush club” member at the casino. 

Rush club is a membership system, where members of the casino gain special rewards over time.

“I think it's a great opportunity for infrastructure in Portsmouth, light changes, and improvements they had to make for the community,” said Sandra Graham, a “rush club” member at the casino.


Two Time Pulitzer Prize winner Erica Ayisi speaks to HBCU Journalists

By: DeAndre McEwen Jr. Feb 18, 2023

HAMPTON, Va. Two time Pulitzer Prize Winner, Erica Ayisi inspired students in Hampton University’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism & Communications Building this week.

“It is such an honor to be here as a Ghanaian American journalist,” Ayisi said. 

She was proud to be amongst a room of black journalists at a HBCU. “Black is not a monolith, we are not the same and we are everywhere,” Ayisi said.

Ayisi spoke to students on behalf of the Pulitzer Center.  This media organization has a program that allows journalists to travel for reporting and gathering research through grants.

She received two grants from the Pulitzer Center to travel to Ghana and Cambodia.

Ayisi started her journalism career in Ghana. “I’m happy I didn’t market hop starting out and went straight to Ghana,” said Ayisi.

Ayisi stressed the importance of taking risks in journalism. An example she provided was traveling to Ghana to start her career.

“Follow your gut, be flexible but follow your gut always,” Ayisi said.

She studied coastal erosion livelihood in Ghana and published ‘Swallowed by Sea’ from her findings.

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) was a way to gain connections for her.

Ayisi received two internships at the annual NABJ conference from the Pulitzer Center and the WTKR.


The Hampton University Marching Force gets Invited to Legacy Classic


By: DeAndre McEwen Jr. Feb. 1 2023

BROOKLYN, Ny. Two busses of band members pulled out from Hampton University at 3 a.m. Saturday morning, on their way to New Jersey and New York to play in two of the most anticipated basketball games of the year. 

The first was The Legacy Classic at the Prudential Center at noon, where only teams from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were invited to play in front of a primarily black audience filled with famous elite blacks from the Northeast. 

The second stop was Brooklyn for an NBA matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and the Washington Wizards. Hampton’s drumline, S.T.I.C.K.Y Situation, and dance team, Ebony Fire – considered the best performers in the country – played during halftime before a packed house at the Barclay Center. 

About 7 of the thirty drummers had grown up in Brooklyn and would be featured in a reunion with their old pre-college drumline.

As the bus pulled out, the musicians and dancers took advantage of a chance to sleep. After all, they had been practicing from midnight until the bus left. 

“We have two games back-to-back. Of course I'll be tired,” said drummer Paris Leonce.

Wearing all black windsuits, the band started to play around noon, jumping in during time-outs and other breaks in the two games of the tournament. 

The highlight of the performance was during halftime at the Legacy Classic game between Norfolk State University and Hampton. 

The Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic is a basketball tournament that was started by Actor Michael B. Jordan to promote HBCU Awareness. 

By about five, the drum line and dancers had to leave for the high-pressure performance for the NBA game. There, they wore full regalia, their blue and silver catching the spotlights. 

They were aware of how they looked and how they played as they were broadcast out to the nation on ESPN Network. 

The performance is a part of the Brooklyn Nets’ HBCU night, where they feature HBCUs. Coverage of HBCUs or national television is very uncommon and helps bring awareness to black colleges, band members said.

“I can’t wait for our collegiate drummers to meet our kids, this will be a great experience for them,” said Nets Beats Instructor, Marcus Joyner

Hampton musicians also played alongside the Brooklyn Nets Youth Drumline, a lot of players were from Brooklyn.

The Nets Beats drumline prepares young percussionists to become professionals.

Hampton’s drumline, S.T.I.C.K.Y Situation, and dance team, Ebony Fire, ran onto the court with the Brooklyn Nets youth drumline at around 7 p.m. They put together a magnificent performance in the Barclays Center.

The crowd roared for the dance team and they were invited to return for an encore performance. This time Ebony Fire returned to the court with the Brooklyn Nets dance team, the Brooklyn “Nettes.”

A highlight of the performance was when the nets youth drumline performed alongside Hamptons drumline. The talented youth drumline wowed the crowd with their enthusiasm. 

Exhausted but proud, everyone piled onto the bus and spilled out at the hotel around 9 p.m. Curfew for students started at 11pm.

“Great job this weekend people! Let’s keep up the good work and continue to throw clean beats,” said snare drum technician, Warren Mitchell in a text message to the snare drum players 

After one more day of recruiting at local high schools, it was time to head back to Hampton. 

“No practice this week. Good job this weekend,” said drumline captain Jasmine Bowens.

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