The Muslim Student Association (MSA) at Mercer University hosted an interfaith vigil March 21 to remember those who were killed in the terror attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15. “We want to remind people that the place you worship should be a place where you feel secure, whether that’s a synagogue, temple, church or mosque,” MSA member Hoor Qureshi, who organized the event, wrote on the event post. Rabbi Aaron Rubinstein and Imam Adam Fofana were among the religious leaders who attended. Mercer’s Dean of Chapel Craig McMahan, the university minister, also spoke. “I look at this group of students, faculty and staff, and I realize the power for peace that is right here among us,” McMahan said.
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The Mercer Athletics department is partnering with Lane Southern Orchards to feature the design of the Mercer Athletics logo for the shape of the orchard’s annual six-acre corn maze from Oct. 3 to Oct. 31. "We're thrilled to partner with Lane Southern Orchards and their annual corn maze this upcoming October," Daniel Tate, Mercer Associate Athletics Director, told Mercer Athletics. "The corn maze is a hit year after year and this partnership will further strengthen Mercer's ties to the Middle Georgia community as we enter the 2018-19 athletics year." In the past, the orchard has partnered with Allman Brothers Band, Otis Redding, The Children's Hospital and Middle Georgia Buddy Walk for the corn maze. Lane Southern Orchards is located five minutes west of I-75 in Fort Valley, Ga. and is home to 6,000 acres of peach orchards, pecan groves and more. Founded in 1908, Lane Southern Orchards began the corn maze event in 2008 to honor its 100th year anniversary. This year marks the maze’s 11th year. “We are honored to feature Mercer in this year's maze and to recognize the University for its many contributions to our community,” Mark Sanchez, CEO of Lane Southern Orchards, told Mercer Athletics. Corn maze admission for ages three and under is free, $10 for ages four to 12 and $14 for ages 12 and up. For ages 55 and up or active military, there is a 10 percent discount. “We always try to focus on something that is important to our community,” Wendy Barton, Lane Southern Orchard’s marketing and public relations director, said. “Mercer’s been around I think since 1833, so they've had a presence here and have had an impact on people's lives and still do today.” The corn maze will be open Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the maze will be closed to the general public and reserved for school groups. Lane Southern Orchards offers additional activities to do alongside the corn maze including hay rides, a pumpkin patch, pumpkin checkers, pumpkin tic tac toe, rubber duck races and a corn cannon. “Take a break from home or just come out and have some fun,” Barton said. The corn maze will also incorporate signs called “cornundrums” that have riddles and games maze participants can play to enter in contests to win weekly prizes. Don’t worry about getting lost in this six-acre labyrinth. Before entering the corn cutout of the Mercer Athletics logo, attendees have the option of taking a flag that they can wave if they get lost. Lane Southern Orchards employees called “corn cops” will be staggered throughout the maze looking for waving flags to find lost individuals and help them find their way out. Following suit of the past eight years, Lane Southern Orchards is donating a portion of the proceeds from the corn maze to the Children's Hospital Navicent Health.
Anisah Muhammad discovered her love for writing at a young age. When she was in middle school, she realized she was passionate about many forms of the skill, ranging from journalistic styles to fiction. “I guess it just naturally came out,” Muhammad said. The first poem Muhammad ever wrote focused on identity and self love. However, her first stab at the artform disappointed her, and she was unsatisfied with the quality of her work, she said. “The first poem that I wrote, it was trash, and I deleted it,” Muhammad said. After a long hiatus from writing poetry she decided not to give up and started refining her skills by writing inspirational poetry. “Just living life the best you can. Stuff like that,” she said. “I’m guessing that I may have wrote about it to inspire myself.” At Mercer, Muhammad is a journalism major with a minor in biology on the pre-veterinary track. To keep her passion a part of her life, she joined Mercer’s spoken word collective, Point B.L.A.N.K., where she often gets opportunities to recite her original slam poetry at open mic nights. “Poetry is just an outlet to let out your deep down thoughts, feelings,” she said. She doesn't like to limit herself to a particular type of poetry so all of her writing is freestyle. Incorporating different poetry techniques like rhyming and alliteration is typically a part of her art process, she said. “It’s never a consistent style,” Muhammad said. Currently, Muhammad is focused on performing pieces that are centered around social issues like police brutality. She has never experienced police brutality herself, but she said the thought of one of her three brothers becoming a victim of police violence inspires her to pursue writing about injustice. When her eldest brother got arrested, her first thought was that she hoped he wouldn’t be mistreated. That was the moment she said she realized she wanted to ensure others were aware through her poetry. “I love stepping into the shoes of other people and writing about them,” she said. Muhammad usually writes the majority of her poetry in her bedroom, but she said ideas come to her at any moment and any place. “I really need to start carrying pen and paper with me, so when ideas come, I can just write them down,” she said In the future, Muhammad wants to create an interactive conglomeration of all of her writings combined in a poetry book with each piece having an accompanying original illustration. As for spoken word, she said her goal is to create a CD that has several of her original spoken word works. “Spoken word can’t be read,” she said.
Once again, Netflix has brought audiences another series to keep us glued to the couch for hours on end. “The End of the F***ing World” released as one of the streaming website’s originals on Jan. 5. This dark comic series highlights the misadventures of an emerging teen psychopath, James (played by Alex Lawther), and his rebel girlfriend—or kill target—Alyssa (played by Jessica Barden). The character development in the story of this dysfunctional teenage romance is what makes the show unique. It doesn’t resort to the typical portrayal of adolescent rebellion and teen angst. Instead, “The End of the F***ing World” demonstrates the main characters’ consciousness via voice overs. Of course on screen, we also get the occasional expected corny teen clapback, but what makes this show intriguing is that these petty remarks are supported by the character's deranged dark yet relatable inner thoughts. In just eight episodes, this cruel comedy manages to evolve its characters from distant and hated by the audience to sympathetic and loved. James is the first character introduced. At the beginning of episode one, he is presented as a twisted remorseless psychotic who once put his hand into a deep fryer as a child because he “wanted to feel something” and has a craving to kill his love interest. By the end of the season, we are promised murder. We get it, but we see James in a different light. For all of the “Black Mirror” fans, it's exciting to see Lawther play James in this role after he starred in one of the most deviant and cringe-worthy episodes of the series. Alyssa is fed up with her monotonous life and neglectful parents and has a contagious bad attitude. Her foul-mouthed, disrespectful nature coupled with her desire to go off the grid is what drives the plot of the show’s disturbingly heartwarming plot. Although the alternative approach to teen rebellion and the character shift throughout “The End of the F***ing World” are elements that make this show intriguing, I was looking forward to a scene that would eventually show how far James would go to prove himself as a physcopath. For a risk of spoilers, I’ll save the details, but this is definitely the next show to put on the binge list. Just be ready to be at least a little disturbed.
Whether it be Marvel or DC, superhero movies have typically highlighted cinematic universes centered around white men fighting to protect the West — until now. Marvel’s 2018 breakout movie, “Black Panther,” released in the middle of Black History Month, is the first blockbuster film featuring an all black leading cast. “Black Panther” takes place in the fictional country of Wakanda located on the African continent. Wakanda is Africa’s best kept secret. It is the most technologically advanced country in the world and the home of Vibranium, the world’s most treasured metal. They also have a king that possesses superhuman powers. The film is visually surreal. Colorful sunsets shroud over a bountiful mountainous land that is clad with skyscrapers which act as canvases for Afrocentric art. Additionally, the costuming for Wakandan tribes are bright, intricate and alluring. The dress of each tribe incorporates stylistic elements of real cultural groups, paying homage to African culture. [related title="Related Stories" stories="23223,23357,23354" align="right" background="off" border="none" shadow="off"] The king of Wakanda is the Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, who has a duty to undo his father’s wrongs which ultimately leads to the development of his nemesis, a half-Wakandan half-American from Oakland, California named Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan. Killmonger’s compelling retaliation to his oppressive conditions during his childhood make his character sympathetic and relatable, adding another dimension to the film’s dramatic plot. Killmonger’s story also allows the “Black Panther” narrative to create a call-to-action for oppressed people worldwide to fight for equality. “Black Panther’s” portrayal of female power makes this movie even more intense and likeable. The king’s sister Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, is the country’s top tech wiz who builds the Black Panther’s fashionable, indestructible super suit and saves lives with her ability to heal using Vibranium technology. The country and the Black Panther both rely on a fierce army of female warriors that fight and kill with smooth fearlessness. Particularly, Okoye, played by Danai Gurira, literally slays people while she slays her looks. The Marvel film is still a PG-13 superhero movie that is made to appeal to 10-year-olds and 30-year-olds alike so the writing does feel like it is meant for immature audiences here and there. However, although the insertion of occasional comedic relief was a tad corny, it does not come across as tacky but surprisingly funny instead. “Black Panther” is one of those movies you must take your little brother or sister to see. It celebrates heritage and blackness in a way that has never been seen before. This film’s debut marks the first time children of color get the opportunity to see a superhero in a leading role that looks like them. I can’t wait to see the Halloween 2018 costumes that Black Panther inspires.
The new year is here, and there is no better way to reinvent yourself for 2018 than to strive to get fit and healthy. Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions do not often last. According to Statistic Brain, in Jan. 2017, only 9.2% of Americans felt they were successful in achieving their new year goals. [related title="Related Stories" stories="22521,22820,22442" align="right" background="off" border="none" shadow="off"] After the end of an exciting holiday season filled with sweets, lounging on the couch with family and days of overeating, it may seem easy to quickly purge all unhealthy habits and start hitting the gym. However, the immediate shift from a lackadaisical holiday atmosphere to a routine that requires hours on the treadmill may make you think you can’t commit to a lifestyle with an exercise regimen. Maintaining a fitness resolution is possible! All it requires is a personal goal and perseverance. Here are a few strategic tips to ensure you stick to your fitness goals for 2018. Make a practical plan If your daily routine usually includes napping for two hours and adding pieces of chicken to Ramen Noodles for dinner, it is not a great idea to jump in to working out twice a day and going vegan on Jan. 1. Start slow! Your plan should have a clear starting and ending point. Write down a year-long strategy with attainable goals and post it somewhere you can’t ignore it, like your bathroom mirror or set it as the lock screen on your phone. Set goals throughout the year If your New Year’s resolution is to go to the gym more often, begin your initiative by going to the gym once a week for the first two months of the year. Then increase the number of days you go to the gym as the months go by, eventually ensuring working out is incorporated into your daily life. If your objective is weight loss, you can strive to lose five pounds in one month. This list will provide a visual display of your efforts and give you a template of achievements. The satisfaction of checking off your accomplished goals will help motivate you to continue fulfilling your fitness resolutions! Find a way to keep yourself on track In addition to keeping a year-long plan posted somewhere obvious, assure your goals are not ignored by setting up other memos to keep you on task. Set weekly reminders or alarms on your phone labeled “Gym day!” to keep you from napping when it is time to go to the gym. Get your friends in on it! Tell your friends about your fitness resolution so they can encourage you to take a run instead of finishing that carton of ice cream in the freezer. Encourage a friend or two to be a part of your New Year workout resolution so you will always have a buddy at the gym, and you won’t be alone in your endeavors. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself Getting fit for the New Year should not make you feel discouraged or stressed out. Adding more stress to your lifestyle as a college student can be detrimental to your mental and physical health. Think of working out as a way to release built up tension. If you miss a workout day, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just remember to get back at it sooner rather than later.
Common Ground’s Rainbow Connection Committee is currently accepting applications to join their spring semester team. The committee’s goal is to allow professors and student leaders to become certified in conscious and empathetic communication with Mercer students within the LGBTQ community, according to the online application. “We want to be really inclusive of everyone's voices. As many voices as we can,” said James Stair, one of the committee’s co-chair’s. Applicants who are accepted to be a part of the committee will work alongside other students to train Mercer staff and student leaders by developing training sessions, manuals and presentations, he said. Students train professors in two sessions lasting an hour and a half each. The first part is an informative period where the committee reviews updated terminology, Stair said. In the second session, the committee introduces different scenarios to Mercer staff and student leaders to teach them how to support Mercer students that are part of the LGBTQ community. “We tried to create a very safe atmosphere so professors didn't walk in feeling like they needed to study beforehand,” Stair said. Last semester the committee successfully trained almost 40 professors after giving them only two weeks notice before the program was set to begin. “It's in way better shape now than it was in two years. It's much more sustainable,” Stair said. The training for student leaders has not started yet, but the committee has plans to produce shorter, more specific sessions for them in the near future. The committee will release application decisions by Wednesday, Jan. 31, and the first meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 5. If anyone is interested in applying to the Rainbow Connection Committee, a Google Forms application link is posted on the Common Ground Facebook page. A URL link to the application is also available at the bottom of this article. Applications are open until 11:55 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 28. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScyK8xsBmyKrOKFx0Qr_uL2NnWAuDihgHcVi4z6-tU_aVljBQ/viewform
“It was crazy when we actually won,” said Justis Ward, acoustic guitarist and lead singer of Three17. The 5-man-band took home $1,000 and the first place title of Mercer’s annual music competition on Cruz Plaza for the second time Saturday night. Three17 won the same competition in October 2016. Three17’s members include Justis Ward, his roommate Matthew Harris as pianist, Harris’ brother Mark Harris as the electric bassist and friends Quinten Oppong on the drums and Earl Bushe on the electric guitar, who was absent on Saturday. Occasionally, junior Darice Cudjoe is a vocalist for performances, including Saturday’s. The members of Three17 did not expect to win the Battle of the Bands competition for the second time. “ I was thinking like maybe second place. Possibly third,” Harris said as Ward nodded in agreement. “We weren’t students so we didn’t have the pull that we did last year and then also there were some really talented musicians there,” Harris said. [related title="Related Stories" stories="20309,21168,22872" align="right" background="off" border="all" shadow="off"] Three17 won the competition performing a worship set, contrasting the party style they decided to play for last year’s winning performance. Saturday’s winning act included three of the band’s original songs — “Prodigal Son,” “In Spite of It All” and “Give it All Away.” “Then you just have people, random strangers, that we've never met on Cruz Plaza who are applauding and potentially voting for those same songs,” Ward said. “To know that they loved our music it kind of gives us a drive to want to record all the more and put it on YouTube, put it on Spotify.” “I think (the win) had more significance than most people think,” Ward said. In fact, they did not even expect to participate this year because only one of the band’s main members, Oppong, who is a senior, is currently enrolled at the university. The majority of members are Mercer alumni. A fan discovered Three17 was still based in Macon after some of its members graduated. The student contacted them to perform at Battle of the Bands the week before the show because they heard the competition might have been lacking performers. “We didn't have the set down until the night before and even the day of we were still making changes but everything worked out well,” Ward said. Although the band had a quick turn around to work out a performance for Saturday, they didn’t have to prepare much since Three17 performs several times a month on a regular basis for worship sessions, Harris said. “A lot of the songs we kind of have down already,” Ward said. “As far as playing it, we didn't really have to practice just because we do it so much all the time where we've got those songs at the back of our hands at this point.” The band performs in the Connell Student Center for Friday night worship in conference room 2 at 8:30 p.m. up to twice a month. It usually draws in upwards of 60 people, Ward said, which he partially attributes to the band’s advertising on Instagram and the on campus performances. Additionally, every other Sunday, Three17 hosts more intimate worship sessions that are usually comprised of about 25 people at Ward and Harris’s home at 7:00 p.m. These performances are not advertised, however, everyone is welcome, Ward said. The band plans on using a significant amount of the money from their winnings to go toward recording several songs in following months in order to have a new EP out for the New Year. “I think it's going to be cool to continue to see where we go. To know that we still have support from Mercer. Be on the lookout for our music,” Ward said. Three17 has pages on on Facebook and Instagram at @Three17.band for fans who want to stay in touch with the band’s music.
“5,6,7,8 and to the left!,” said Mercer sophomore Zara Gabriel as she led her group fitness hip-hop class. When Gabriel was about 13-years-old, her mother decided to give her “the talk.” This talk wasn’t about the birds and the bees though, it was about the importance of health. Genetic hypertension runs in Gabriel’s family. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition in which the force of blood against the artery walls is too high. Overtime, if untreated, it can cause the blood to clot which can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. However, the condition can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle filled with a nutritious diet and exercise regimen. “She just wanted me to be aware of the genes that we have in our family and just be conscious,” Gabriel said. That is why fitness is important to her and her family, Gabriel said. It is also a part of the reason why she got involved with Mercer’s group fitness program. “I realized that I hate running,” Gabriel said. “Then I swam a lot and I danced a lot and I realized that those are the best forms of exercise for me.” Gabriel teaches two classes a week: a zumba class that meets at 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday and a hip-hop aerobics class that meets on 5:30 p.m. on Fridays. Although she’s not a professional dancer, Gabriel said she has always carried an appreciation for the choreography of the artform and how it promotes an active body and healthy mind. She first got involved with dance in high school when she took it as a course during her freshman and sophomore years. During that time she was an active participant in the zumba classes at her home gym in Duluth, Georgia. Then last year for her 18th birthday, she asked her parents to purchase her zumba instructors certification. With a little over $200 and after about four hours of training in zumba history and performance, Gabriel was officially an instructor. When applications to become a group fitness instructor at Mercer hit the scene, Gabriel decided put her certification to use. “I am very, very excited,” she said. “I would want people to just come out and try the group fitness program. It’s kind of an untouched gold here at Mercer that people don’t utilize as much as they should.” Her classes have been a hot topic on campus since the semester started. So far, Gabriel said she has had a decent turnout to her classes with an average of about 15 people per class. “At the end of the day, if you have a consistent 10 or 15 people who come and you know them on a more personal level and you get to dance with them and exercise with them it’s a lot better than having (a large) turnout,” she said. Gabriel said not only is she striving to keep students moving, but she also aims to expose her attendees to different cultures through her classes. “It’s a great way to teach people… a different side of the world that they might not know,” she said. Her zumba classes feature a mixture of music from a number of Latin American, Caribbean and African countries. She also pairs the music along with primarily Latin American dance moves derived from styles like salsa, bachata, cumbia, merengue and mambo. “With those classes comes the historical background of those moves and those cultures,” Gabriel said. “I always try to be like, ‘Hey! This is a Spanish artist. You guys should listen to him; he’s really cool.’ A lot of people don’t really venture out of what they usually like.” On the other hand, her hip-hop class is a lot more free style, she said. Gabriel includes a full body exercise, aerobics, into a sequence of traditional hip-hop dance steps and movements all with her own expressive twist. Attendees to her hip-hop aerobics class follow Gabriel along an unpredictable routine to a broad range of music. The class incorporates a variety of movements ranging from jumping and running to krumping, rolling and pumping. Gabriel also offers other renditions of her hip-hop aerobics class. Most recently, she adapted her regular afternoon Friday session to a heels class for women. She plans on conducting other variety classes in the future as well. “I was trying to instill self confidence in the people who came to the class. It’s a way to tap into the power the women have ,” she said. “I am very, very excited,” she said. “I would want people to just come out and try the group fitness program. It’s kind of an untouched gold here at Mercer that people don’t utilize as much as they should.” Gabriel said her classes are a judgement free zone and encourages anyone who is on the fence about attending one of her group fitness sessions to come out to one class, sit in and see if it’s something they are comfortable with and interested to get involved in. Along with being a group fitness instructor, involved with other organizations on campus and on the road to a psychology and spanish major with a Chemistry minor on the pre med track, Gabriel is a student a hefty schedule herself. Nonetheless, she finds the time to practice her love for dance while she gets her fitness on. She said as a result of hectic schedules, she understands if students cannot find the time to tap into the University Center’s fitness programs frequently, but she still stresses the importance of using the facilities there to contribute to a healthy lifestyle even if that means coming to the center minimally. “Coming and even taking one group fitness class a week, not only will it help you physically but it will also help the program and you will get to know more people and see different types of classes,” she said. Gabriel said she hopes that by dancing in front of a mirror at least once a week her classes will encourage her attendees to feel comfortable in their own skin and build the same self confidence she built from capitalizing on her passion for dance and fitness.
Issa Rae's hilariously smart comedy series, “Insecure,” just finished its second season strong with a gripping finale. HBO brought us this highly personal, relatable comedy for the first time with season one last fall. The show is developed from Rae's web series, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.” Among a popular array of new television series from Rae's peers like Donald Glover's Atlanta, Insecure is undeniably unique. It effectively portrays the realities of blackness, womanhood, relationships, friendships and young professionalism while simultaneously debunking misconceptions about South L.A. all with a comedic twist. “Insecure” features black professional 30-somethings navigating the triumphs and frustrations of romance and work life in Los Angeles. The series’ narrative is partially driven by a pair of best friends Issa, played by Rae, and Molly, played by Yvonne Orji, who both have positions in primarily white work environments—Issa at a nonprofit and Molly at a law firm. “Insecure” has a satirical take on the roadblocks Molly and Issa run into as women of color in the workforce that sets the stage for some of the painfully funny moments in the show as well as the painfully relatable ones. [related title="Related Stories" stories="20117,22236" align="right" background="off" border="none" shadow="on"][related title="Related Stories" stories="" align="right" background="off" border="none" shadow="on"] In season one, Rae perfectly captures the humor and awkwardness of being the only person of color in a white space when Issa's white coworkers ask her the meaning of "on fleek." She resists by pretending she doesn't know what they're talking about and then comically mutters under her breath "I know what that sh*t means," as she walks away. On the other hand, Rae also ensures her audiences "stay woke" when she holds nothing back unpacking social issues on the show. Most recently in season two, the HBO series confronts the issue of the racial and gender pay gap head on. Molly accidentally sneaks a peak at her white male counterpart's paycheck. To Molly's dismay and lack of surprise, she gets paid significantly less for the same work. The most revolutionary aspect about “Insecure” is that it is a show that prospers on the awkward moments of everyday life, which gives it an appeal to a wide range of viewers. The storyline of the HBO comedy series is also steered by Issa’s relationship with her once live-in, unemployed ex-boyfriend, Lawrence who is played by Jay Ellis. In one episode, Issa runs into Lawrence at Rite-Aid after hiding from him at Molly’s house for days. Caught off-guard and unaware of why Issa is upset, he raises his voice and asks Issa where she’s been. “We are not about to be the black couple fighting in Rite-Aid,” Issa snaps back. “Insecure’s” depiction of the complexities of young black love and realistic portrayal of misfortune in modern day millennial relationships adds another dynamic to the series’ brilliant combination of the distress and amusement of everyday life. Aside from the fact that “Insecure” is hysterical and groundbreaking, it is also the perfect series to start binge watching if you need something fresh or you want to celebrate some #BlackGirlMagic. Issa Rae is redefining how black women are depicted on television through “Insecure” by simply telling the tale of her regular life—before all of her newfound fame of course. The show illustrates the epitome of #BlackGirlMagic. From the strong black female camaraderie between Molly and Issa to the vulnerability viewers see in both characters personal struggles in relationships and at work, black women are represented as fierce, flawed, vibrant and beautiful instead of unshaken beings. Not to mention, Solange is the music consultant for the show and honestly, the soundtrack alone is worth the watch.
Apple’s intelligent personal assistant, Siri, lies in the pockets of millions of people all over the world. The Siri software provides weather forecasts, Google searches and restaurant tips instantly with a voice command. It may seem like holding a conversation with a cell phone. Once behind the voice on the iPhone was Susan Bennett. She currently lives in Atlanta and said that she was the first voice of the original American Siri. “I think, for me, that I had to make sort of a disconnect because it was such a unique and crazy thing,” Bennett said. In July 2005, Bennett recorded hundreds of sentences for four hours a day, five days a week in her home recording studio for a text-to-speech company called Nuance. After the recordings were finished, technicians extracted sounds and reformed them into new words and sentences. This process is called concatenation and it is used to access all of the sound combinations in a language to build phrases, like the ones Siri says on the iPhone. “I knew that it was going to be kind of a risk,” Bennett said. “But I was finally convinced by friends and family that I should do it because it was so unique.” During the concatenation process, Bennett was not aware that her voice was going to be the sound of the popular Apple program. She said she was told her voice would be used for a company phone operating system. “That’s what we thought we were recording, some sort of anonymous phone stuff,” she said. “Who knew that the phone system was going to become a persona?” It was not until a fellow voice actor recognized her on the new iPhone 4S feature the day it launched and emailed Bennett that she realized that her voice was now in the hands of millions. “And I went on the Apple site and I listened and said, ’Oh my God. Wow,’” Bennett said. When Bennett discovered she was the voice of the program, she said she knew it would impact her career. However, she feared being typecast and discriminated if voice companies knew her age. She said it took her two years to reveal herself as the original American voice. “You know, I’m not Siri. I was the original voice of Siri and I can do a lot of other things,” she said. “Like everything in life, it has its pluses and minuses.” Bennett got into voice work in the 1970s’ and has developed about 12 different voice characters that she is capable of doing on command. The characters range from sounding robotic, like Siri, to youthful, like a young girl. “I’d like to think that I have a good ear. So I think that I can probably do pretty much anything as long as I have enough time to really listen to it and practice it,” she said. Bennett is on a number of automated message systems and GPS programs. She is also the voice of Delta Airlines gates worldwide. With Apple’s more recent software updates, the Siri you hear is not Bennett’s voice. Apple’s OS7 operating system update used a number of new voices with different accents in the English language, including a new American voice. Currently, Bennett is still a working freelance voice actor. She also sings covers of soul and rock music in her spare time with her husband. “At this stage in my life . . . it allowed me to develop a whole new avenue of my career doing speaker events and telling people about the story of Siri,” Bennett said.
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2csCi3IKjkM[/embed] by Thais Ackerman