February 9, 2016

HICKMON | The Rise and Fall of Cornell Through the Lens of Slope Day

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My freshman year was so lit. Not only was Kendrick Lamar our Slope Day performer in 2013, but Nas, Jhene Aiko, Elle Varner and John Legend also graced our campus. So, you can imagine my disappointment when this year’s Slope Day artists were announced. Like seriously, who are Walk the Moon and Cash Cash? Do not get me wrong, I understand that Cornell is comprised of thousands of students with varying music tastes but these people were not even on the survey that was sent out at the beginning of this school year. I know they were not on there because I distinctly remember either typing in or selecting Fetty Wap! Come on, everyone loves Fetty.

Slope Day is usually headlined by a hip-hop artist with a pop, EDM or more rave-ish artist opening for the main act. Before I came to Cornell, Drake, Snoop Dogg and T.I. performed. Those sound like Slope Days I would have been ecstatic to attend. But no, after Kendrick there was Ludacris — which I guess was cool. I can respect the Slope Day programming committee for bringing it back to the 99s and 2000s one time for the one time. The year after Luda, there was Chance the Rapper. Now, Chance is a great artist. I love “Juice” and “Sunday Candy” is pretty much on a constant loop in my Spotify. But, Chance is not a Slope Day artist. He is way too mellow for Slope Day — way too mellow. I am positive I left the slope maybe 10 minutes into his set last year because it just was not hype enough for me.

Slope Day is a celebration! We made it through another year of the ivy-covered hell halls of Cornell University (please catch this Gilmore Girls reference, guys). And, maybe it is just me, but I just feel like the people who make decisions that affect us as students — whether it relates to health care at Gannett, the formation of new colleges or majors, concerts, etc. — are so out of touch. Don’t get me wrong, this could be due to the unique viewpoint that I’m bringing to the table due to how I identify, which for the record does not make my opinion invalid, it just qualifies it as simply that my opinion rooted in my locus of being. But, let us be real, I also know I am not the only one who reacted to Moon Walk and Cash Cash in dismay because seriously, who are they?

Why bother having me fill out a survey on who I want to see perform at Slope Day, the state of mental health in my community, my opinion on the faculty who teach me, or other university policies if my views are not going to be reflected in a real tangible way? I would rather the powers that be just do what they want instead of asking me how I feel only to ignore my answer. Either that, or truly give me the resources to bring the things I want to see to campus. Programming that reflect the interests of my various communities, speakers that get booked for Bailey Hall and not Sage Chapel so that people can actually get in to attend the talk (ie: the #BlackLivesMatter event that happened last week) and Slope Day artists that make me want to run to the front of Libe Slope and twerk on the stage.

If Slope Day artists are a reflection of the direction that Cornell is heading in, then I’m glad I’m graduating when I am. Shoutout to the class of 2016, we had the best freshman Slope Day ever.

Gabrielle Hickmon is a senior in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at [email protected]. Gabbing with Gabby appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.