USC Artist Highlight: Jo-L

USC Artist Highlight: Jo-L

Spreading positivity through her story.

If you didn’t already know, USC has some of the most talented artists in the country studying and creating amongst each other. USC has produced artists like Banks and Louis the Child, and has many current artists that have promising futures. I wanted to start a way to get their names and music out there even more, so this is the first installment of a monthly artist highlight that will feature solely USC artists and their stories. HOPE YOU LIKE.


Alright so Jo-L, not to be confused with J-Lo, is a sophomore at USC and has quite the interesting story. Coming into USC as a pre-pharmacy student, Jo-L was on a mission to study the very thing that had caused her mother to pass the year prior, cancer.

Cancer affects so many people across the world and Jo-L felt like she had a duty to help find the cure, or at least help people heal and cope throughout the process. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry did not seem to be interested in anything other than money to Jo-L, and music began to be the obvious avenue for Jo-L to spread the message of hope that she wanted to convey.

While dealing with the anxiety from losing her mother, Jo-L had still not had the time to process the passing of her grandfather just a month before. So, Jo-L found her solace in music, preferring that expression over the suggestions for therapy and things of the like. When she told me that I thought to myself, that’s a hard thing to do.

Being in a place where you’re struggling can definitely make needing therapy or someone to talk to essential, but everyone cannot always accept that. Jo-L wasn’t necessarily against therapy, but it only felt like a “complicated addition” to her already busy schedule. With music, she could instantly write down her feelings when they happened, and didn’t have to wait for a scheduled time to process what she was going through.

With a few other songs precursing this (like “World”), this passion led to her first official project, SPIRITUAL HEALING, released on October 27, 2017. I listened, it’s really promising. As young artists, we are all growing and finding our sound. I think Jo-L has a clear vision for where she wants to go in the future, and I think her voice is really well-suited for that.

The lyricism and delivery is reminiscent of Syd (from the Internet) to me, while she highlighted greats like Amy Winehouse as her inspirations. However, she didn’t find herself specifically trying to emulate any one artist for this project. The songwriting “flows from the soul” and is casual enough to chill and vibe to while still delivering Jo-L’s message of positivity and self-love with resonance.

“My Mind” embodies her feelings from last year, and where she has now gotten herself to..It’s all about the happiness. Knowing Jo-L on a personal level, I can see her living this message through her everyday life as well and it’s a big reason why I support it so much.

You can find the r&b newcomer on SoundCloud for streaming as Jo-L and all social media, but you can also purchase it for a $5+ donation on Bandcamp. Despite her digression from the pre-pharmacy track, 25% of each purchase will be given to the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation in order for Jo-L to continue supporting the effort to find a cure. There’s actually very few campaigns working toward a cure for this specific cancer, so Jo-L’s work here is pretty special. HELP SUPPORT IT :).

If you listen, let her know what you think! Let me know too!


No worries, here are her upcoming shows:

11/17 Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs Performance

  • 5:55pm in the Student Union, Room 405

12/1/17 MacDonald Recital Hall

  • 10am - 12pm

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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'Baby, It's Cold Outside' Is NOT About Date Rape, It's A Fight Against Social Norms Of The 1940s

The popular Christmas song shouldn't be considered inappropriate.


The classic Christmas song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" has recently come under attack. There has been controversy over the song being deemed as inappropriate since it has been suggested that it promotes date rape. Others believe that the song is another common example of our culture's promotion of rape. You may be wondering, where did they get that idea from?

The controversy has led to one radio station, WDOK, taking the song off the air and banning it from their station. Some people believe that this song goes against the #MeToo movement since it promotes rape. However, people are not considering the fact that this traditional Christmas song was made in the 1940s.

People are viewing the song from a modern-day cultural perspective rather than from the perspective of the 1940s. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was written in 1944. Many people have viewed the song from the perspective of our cultural and social norms. People believe that the song promotes date rape because of lyrics that suggest that the male singing is trying to stop the female singer from leaving, and the female singer is constantly singing about trying to escape with verses like "I really can't stay" or "I've got to go home."

When you first view the song from the perspective of today's culture, you may jump to the conclusion that the song is part of the date rape culture. And it's very easy to jump to this conclusion, especially when you are viewing only one line from the song. We're used to women being given more freedom. In our society, women can have jobs, marry and be independent. However, what everyone seems to forget is that women did not always have this freedom.

In 1944, one of the social norms was that women had curfews and were not allowed to be in the same house as a man at a later time. It was considered a scandal if a single woman so much as stayed at another man's house, let alone be in the same room together. It's mind-blowing, right? You can imagine that this song was probably considered very provocative for the time period.

"Baby, It's Cold Outside" is not a song that encourages date rape, but is actually challenging the social norms of society during the time period. When you listen to the song, you notice that at one part of the song, the female states, "At least I can say that I tried," which suggests that she really doesn't want to leave. In fact, most of the song, she is going back and forth the whole time about leaving stating, "I ought to say no…well maybe just a half a drink more," and other phrases.

She doesn't want to leave but doesn't really have a choice due to fear of causing a scandal, which would have consequences with how others will treat her. It was not like today's society where nobody cares how late someone stays at another man's house. Nowadays, we could care less if we heard that our single neighbor stayed over a single man's house after 7. We especially don't try to look through our curtain to check on our neighbor. Well, maybe some of us do. But back then, people did care about where women were and what they were doing.

The female singer also says in the lyrics, "The neighbors might think," and, "There's bound to be talk tomorrow," meaning she's scared of how others might perceive her for staying with him. She even says, "My sister will be suspicious," and, "My brother will be there at the door," again stating that she's worried that her family will find out and she will face repercussions for her actions. Yes, she is a grown woman, but that doesn't mean that she won't be treated negatively by others for going against the social norms of the time period.

Then why did the male singer keep pressuring her in the song? This is again because the song is more about challenging the social norms of the time period. Both the female and male singers in the song are trying to find excuses to stay and not leave.

On top of that, when you watch the video of the scene in which the song was originally viewed, you notice that the genders suddenly switch for another two characters, and now it's a female singer singing the male singer's part and vice versa. You also notice that the whole time, both characters are attracted to one another and trying to find a way to stay over longer.

Yes, I know you're thinking it doesn't matter about the genders. But, the song is again consensual for both couples. The woman, in the beginning, wants to stay but knows what will await if she doesn't leave. The male singer meanwhile is trying to convince her to forget about the rules for the time period and break them.

In addition, the complaint regarding the lyric "What's in this drink?" is misguided. What a lot of people don't understand is that back in 1944, this was a common saying. If you look at the lyrics of the song, you notice that the woman who is singing is trying to blame the alcoholic drink for causing her to want to stay longer instead of leaving early. It has nothing to do with her supposed fear that he may have tried to give her too much to drink in order to date rape her. Rather, she is trying to find something to blame for her wanting to commit a scandal.

As you can see, when you view the song from the cultural perspective of the 1940s, you realize that the song could be said to fight against the social norms of that decade. It is a song that challenges the social constrictions against women during the time period. You could even say that it's an example of women's rights, if you wanted to really start an argument.

Yes, I will admit that there were movies and songs made back in the time period that were part of the culture of date rape. However, this song is not the case. It has a historical context that cannot be viewed from today's perspective.

The #MeToo movement is an important movement that has led to so many changes in our society today. However, this is not the right song to use as an example of the date rape culture.

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Board Games Are More Important Than You Think They Are

They've become a defining part of my family.


Remember when you were a kid and you'd have a family game night? Or your friends would come over and you'd open the game cabinet and play at least three different games together?

Maybe it's just me, but those are some of my best memories from my childhood. My family loves games, board games, and electronic games.

Of course, as I got older, gaming consoles like PlayStation and Wii became more and more popular. That meant that the game cabinet was opened less and less, collecting dust.

Thankfully, I live in New Jersey near the shore and Hurricane Sandy left my family with no power for five days. Sure, it was scary not having power and walking around my neighborhood seeing fallen trees or roof shingles, but we were inland enough to not have had any flood water damage.

No power also meant no PlayStation or Wii games. The gaming cabinet was opened again, this time with vigor. Now, four years later, and I still think about sitting in the dark with a flashlight playing Scrabble with my family.

That was also the week I learned how to play Yahtzee and dominated my dad in every game. My sister constantly was looking for someone to play her to Battleship. We exhausted Rummikub.

The game was already a family favorite, and that's including extended family. Family barbeques had been ending with late night games of Rummikub for at least a year by the time Sandy hit.

We were ready to strategize and crunch numbers, but after day three, we never wanted to a number ever again.

This semester, there's been a surge of board game love again in my family. My sister bought Jenga, which we are currently trying to exhaust ourselves with. My favorite board game also had a comeback: Life.

I loved this game so much that I had the SpongeBob version as a kid. I would play it with my best friend, just the two of us, playing game after game of Bikini Bottom themed Life. Now, I have a car full of "kids" that I've started to make pets in my head. I can handle having five pretend dogs, but not five pretend kids.

I don't know what it is about board games, but my family has always had an affinity for them. We've gone through our cycles of playing video games and card games, but we always come back to the classics. Maybe it's more a defining part of my family than I originally thought.

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