The Raider Review

What It’s Like To Be Me: An Artist In A STEM World

Sabrina Moorer, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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Kendall Bryant is one of the most interesting people you will ever get the chance to meet. Even in the overcrowded halls of Eleanor Roosevelt HS, she shines; adorned with platform boots, a perfectly shaped Afro, eyeliner sharp enough to slice, complete with a warm and inviting smile for anyone she approaches. I recently had the pleasure of being able to interview Kendall, and we covered topics from artistic expression, to the pressures of the Science and Technology program, to where she buys those amazing dangle earrings.

Her friends describe her as a multitude of words; from creative and outspoken, to a considerate and “calming presence” said Joan Nyakaana-Blair. Her three brothers Ricky, Christian and Gabriel describe her has level-headed and empathetic. When asked how she would describe herself, Kendall settled on “introspective, independent and empathetic.” If I were to describe Kendall Bryant, the first word that comes to mind is diverse. From the multitude of interests, strengths, and talents, there is no other word that could encapsulate the depths of Kendall’s character.

A person’s music library can speak volumes to the type of person they are. Kendall’s music library is an accurate depiction of that statement. From jazz, to old school rap, to perfectly curated cozy playlists, Kendall’s music is just like her. Diverse.

Kendall plays a multitude of instruments, starting with the clarinet, which she has played since the fourth grade and continues to play in the school band. In 2017, she picked up the ukulele and began pairing the light chords of the stringed instrument with her soulful, smooth voice and posting song covers on her Twitter.

One video was even commented on by the original artist herself, Kail Uchis, who praised Kendall on the rendition of her song. Kendall has since picked up the guitar and performs at local art shows and Eleanor Roosevelt’s own Coffeehouses.

When asked if she considered herself an artistic person, Kendall replied quickly,

“Excuse my profanity, but hell yes. I think that artistic expression, at its root, is just a way of understanding and presenting your reality. I really wonder how the world looks and feels to other people. Do you ever? Do you ever wonder what you’d see if you were able to see through someone else’s eyes? The concept fascinates me. Everyone perceives everything differently. You see that through handwriting. We’re all shown the same alphabet and yet, everyone writes their own remix on it. We’re all exposed to the same language but we all have a different voice and a different way of expressing that language.

Artistic expression is a direct reflection of one’s reality. It’s amazing to me.”

When It comes to Kendall’s personal style, she is not afraid of taking a risk. From her intricate sword earrings, to her bright eyeliner, down to her platform shoes, she uses clothes to explore and express different styles.

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“I like bold looks. I haven’t always been bold because boldness comes with a kind of confidence I haven’t always had. From elementary to middle school, I felt inadequate in my appearance. I was too tall to be girly. I wasn’t petite enough to be girly. I struggled with self-destructive thoughts for a long time. In high school, it all changed. The confidence leaped out. I became bolder because I became more comfortable with the things I couldn’t change about myself. I’ve fallen in love with the idea of being tall. I’ve come to appreciate the masculine parts of myself as much the feminine parts. I’ve fallen in love with the notion that I don’t need to look a certain way to wear my womanhood proudly. I have fallen in love with being bold and authentically me. Wearing men’s clothes, wearing the tallest platforms I can find, and wearing my hair naturally in my fro are just a few ways that I wear my boldness. I still have a ways to go in being completely fearless in the way I present myself, though. It’s a process and it’s going to take time. One day, I won’t be so afraid.”
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Kendall is a Science and Technology student at Roosevelt, or in her words “a dying science and tech kid.” She found herself drawn to Roosevelt in part by her older brother’s stories of the great experiences he had in these walls and her dislike of her local high school: Bowie. However, unlike most students in the program who are either deeply invested in science, or solely in the program to not go to their neighborhood school, Kendall is a mixture of both.

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“I’ve always been drawn to the abstract. I’ve always been drawn to the concrete. I’m kind of in limbo at the moment, to be honest. Life is just so much cooler when you can see the chemistry in cooking and the numbers in the music. I wouldn’t say I’ve always been more passionate about the humanities than the sciences or vice versa, I’ve just always been more passionate about how they work together. I’m just now figuring out that I want to understand the integration of the humanities and the sciences on the humanities side of things.” 

Kendall understands the importance of the Science and Tech program and even looks forward to being able to use the multitude of skills she has learned researching, even if she doesn’t see herself going into a science field after high school. However, she has found it a challenge to keep up with the heavy workload of the program and still have time to explore her own artistic passions.

I asked Kendall to elaborate on her feelings from a recent statement she tweeted earlier this month that said “I wish our culture wasn’t so hellbent on making people think that the only way to be successful is to become a scientist.” Kendall responded by saying:

“Things are less overwhelming when you convince yourself that there’s only one way to get a certain result. Our culture does this all the time. “You can only be successful if you’re ___.” Fill in the blank. A lot of people put “a scientist” in that blank. STEM careers are flourishing. You can be successful in STEM, but it is not the only way to be successful and I think it’s asinine for people to insist that it is. You can be successful outside of STEM. We need leaders in all fields to make this world a better place.”

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Kendall has not made a final decision as to where she will go to college after graduating from ERHS. But as the acceptance letters roll in and her horizons widen, Kendall knows her future is bright. But no matter what university’s steps she lands on, Kendall will take her ferocious wit, musical prowess, and inviting smile along for the ride.

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“Knowledge is the closest thing we have to true freedom. Our education shouldn’t stop when we leave the windowless prison that is Roosevelt. We should be constantly seeking new understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

 

Seek knowledge so that you may think for yourself before someone else thinks for you.

 

Seek knowledge so that you may create an identity for yourself before someone else creates one for you.

 

Seek knowledge so that you, above all things, may be the leader of yourself.”

– 

About the Writer
Sabrina Moorer, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Sabrina, a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School is very excited to be the Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Raider Review.

As an Afro Latina,...

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What It’s Like To Be Me: An Artist In A STEM World