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By Emily Davis

The iconic music legend Prince was pronounced dead on Thursday April 21st at 10:07 AM. People all around the world are mourning his death but also looking for an explanation. Many things happened in the few days before Prince’s death but the cause of death is still unknown.

The last time Prince was seen alive was around 8:00 PM on Wednesday, April 20th, when he was dropped off at Paisley Park, which was his home and recording studio in Chanhassen Minnesota.

A staff member found Prince unresponsive in an elevator and called 911. Paramedics tried to revive Prince but were unable to do so.

An autopsy was preformed on the day after his death but the results are pending and not expected to be released to the public for at least a week.

A local sheriff addressed the public and stated that there were no signs of trauma on Prince’s body and no reason to suspect suicide.

Sources say that Prince had been battling the flew for about a week before his death. Two concerts in Atlanta were cancelled because of Princes illness. Prince made up those two shows in one night later that week. A plane issued an emergency landing at Quad City International Airport on April 15th so Prince could receive medical treatment.

After this, Prince returned home and held a small concert at Paisley Park. Prince was also seen out in public in Chanhassen just days before his death.

There are many conspiracies about the cause of Prince’s death. Throughout his career, Prince was known for being clean and sober. Prince was also known for being apart of the religion, Jehovah’s Witness.

Jehovah’s Witnesses often decline medical treatment or only accept very little medical treatment. Some conspires believe that Prince did not accept the medical treatment he needed which may have resulted in death.

Other conspires believe that Prince may have taken too much medication which may have also resulted in death.

Fans and loved ones of Prince await to hear the true cause of his death and remember Prince’s legacy while they wait.


Prince was a highly appreciated musician and was loved by many. The music industry will forever remember his music and everything he stood for.


By Sandra Merino

The people have spoken.

The 2016 MTV Movie Awards were hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Heart. It was the 25th anniversary of the awards, which honored actors with golden popcorn trophies. These awards were selected by the fans.

Johnson and Hart both arrived in huge trucks with loud music playing and fire coming out of  each truck’s exhaust  It was a tribute to the movie Mad Max: Fury Road. They were both very hilarious constantly poking jokes at each other.

There were many memorable moments in this award show. For example it had great performances by Arianna Grande and Halsey. Grande performed her new song “Dangerous Woman.” She wore a pink gown inspired by Marilyn Monroe and looked like old Hollywood glamour.

She belted out the song in her beautiful voice and stunned the crowd. Halsey sang her song “Castle” which is a soundtrack in the movie Snow White and the Huntsman: Winter’s War. She had snow and a castle on stage while performing her song.

Awards were given but the highest honors went to Will Smith and Melissa McCarthy. Smith was honored with the MTV Generation Award for having a successful career. McCarthy was honored with the Comedic Genius Award. She made history because she was the first woman to win in that category.

By Cameron Hertzog

On April, 6 2016, country music lost a legend,  Merle Haggard. Born in Bakersfield, California, specifically Oildale, he pioneered the Bakersfield Sound alongside fellow country music legend Buck Owen.

Merle’s parents came from Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl to look for a better life and settled in Bakersfield, California. Merle was born in a rail road car that his father had converted to a house on April 6, 1937.

Both of his parents were very musical. Merle really got into music after his father died. His brother had given him a guitar, and Haggard taught himself how to play.

His music reflected his values and his life. He earned a reputation for representing the working man. His music featured lyrics that explained and testified to the hardship of the blue collar man.

Haggard was a rebellious in his youth and was in and out of jail and juvenile hall. This got in the way of his musical career. It was not until he went to a Lefty Frizelle concert and went backstage and sung a few songs with Frizelle did he realize his true passion for music.

Haggard began playing in local Bakersfield clubs while trying to support his family working manual labor jobs. He and his family moved into the old renovated box car that he grew up in. They soon fell on hard times, however, and Haggard turned to robbery and ended up with a 15 year sentence in San Quintin.

Things didn’t go well for Haggard in jail either, his wife became pregnant by another man, and Haggard began acting out in prison. After spending some time if isolation for bad behavior, he turned some things around. He was allowed to play in the prison country band.

He was released from prison and moved back in with his wife. Due to the recent hits by Buck Owens, country music really started to take off in Bakersfield.  After that things were starting to look up.

Tracks like “I Think I Will Just Sit Here and Drink” landed Haggard number one on the charts with “Bar Room Buddies” a close second. These two tracks would be Haggard’s top hits.

By 1985 a new type of artist was taking country music by storm, a country artist that was strongly influenced by  Haggard’s sound.

In 1994 Haggard released his last relatively popular track “My Next Life.” By the 2000s, Haggards career had plateaued as a new sort of country music was on the scene.

That didn’t tarnish Haggard’s fighting spirit. He continued to release new music and play shows until late into his life. He was always sure to play a show in his hometown Bakersfield.

In 2013 he got his honorable doctorate in music awarded to him by Cal State University Bakersfield. Below is a picture of Haggard accepting the doctorate at the 2013 graduation ceremony.


Haggard moved to the Shasta area in the 1980s to his ranch in Palo Cedro where he is now laid to rest. It was a private and simple service for family and friends, a fitting funeral for just a simple working man.

But Haggard wasn’t just a simple working man. He was legend. A legend that will be missed for years to come, a legend who left a lasting legacy through his music.

“My Merle passed away this morning peacefully surrounded by his loved ones after a long hard battle with his health. Today April 6, 2016, which was his 79th birthday. He left to go to a much better place. He was the best singer, songwriter and performer I’ve ever seen.  Not only did he write the songs he sang, he was the music.” –Teresa Haggard (his wife)

By Emily Davis and Jonathan Celiz


The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra played in Taft this past Sunday, April 17th. The Bakersfield Symphony is conducted by Stilian Kirov. This show included some of the music of John Williams.

The show opened with John Williams arrangement of the National Anthem and followed up with the score from the Harry Potter film series then the Indiana Jones theme as well as the theme to Jaws and finishing off with the score to Star Wars such as the Love Theme from Empire Strikes Back and the Imperial March.

The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra did an excellent job at performing these beautiful songs. As local Taft residents, it was nice to have this form of entertainment in our town. We look forward to seeing more of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, and hopefully in Taft.





All photos courtesy MOTVD

By Veronica Renaker

“Bakersfield is my new spot.”- G-Eazy


Last night at the Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield welcomed a rising star. Gerald Earl Gillum, otherwise known as G-Eazy, a 25 year old rapper from the Bay Area, lit up the stage and woo’ed thousands of fans.

His opening acts, Nef The Pharaoh and Marty Grimes, shared the stage to open for this up-and-coming phenomenon.

G-Eazy preformed music from both of his latest albums, These Things Happen (2014) and When It’s Dark Out (2015).

These Things Happen, Gerald’s debut album, was top 3 on the Billboard 200, and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums, with his first week of sales being 47,000 copies in the United States alone. In total These Things Happen sold 250,000 albums in the US.

G-Eazy’s latest album, When It’s Dark Out topped the charts with a hit single that was the young rapper’s first single to have peaked at number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Gillum was raised by a single mother in the Bay Area after she left his father when Gerald was in the first grade. She later had relations with another woman, Mellisa Mills, which Gerald recalls being very “confusing and embarrassing” for him at the time as a young boy.

As he grew older he began to accept her and consider her a close family member. Their bond grew stronger but then Melissa fell victim to drug addiction which she used as a crutch for her manic depression.

Seventeen-year-old G-Eazy found her dead from a drug overdose. He reflects on this time during his latest hit, “Everything Will Be Okay.”

Gillum later enrolled at Loyola University New Orleans and graduated in 2011 majoring in music industry studies.

G-Eazy has been quoted talking about how things began and who his music influences were.

“When I was little, well first off, both my parents are artists, they both teach in college, they both kind of grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” he said. “They raised me on a lot of The Beatles and Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash and things of that nature.

“So when I was a little kid, that’s what was playing in the house. And in the neighborhood and at school with all my friends and stuff, hip-hop was the culture and everything that I was drawn to. So when I was 13 I started making beats and started to write songs.

“I just, I don’t known I just fell in love with it all really quickly and (that’s) what started me off on my own pursuit to make my own music. It all started with Myspace back then, because that was brand new and you could make music at home, upload it online and share it with friends. but I would also design mixtape covers and actually print up CD’s and sling it out my backpack at school.”

His first couple of jobs also allowed him to keep his mix tapes next to their tip jars so that he could gain recognition. Back then, selling 10 mix tapes would make his day. Now he has hits on the radio and is sitting next to Taylor Swift at the iHeartRadio awards.

G-Eazy had his own work ethic to thank for his burgeoning popularity. Nick Wayne, a Rabobank representative, said that he is unable to disclose the exact number of tickets sold, but “ticket sales were close to a sell-out.” Rabobank’s capacity reaches 10,400.



By Jonathan Celiz

This year has and will be a pinnacle year for superhero movies; with the upcoming release of Captain America: Civil War, Warner Bros. has been pulling all the stops to catch up to Marvel with their own plans for a massive cinematic universe starring it’s DC Comic heroes. But their biggest disadvantage is the complete lack of planning that would lead naturally to a huge crossover film comparable to The Avengers. With just one official movie in it’s canon, Man of Steel, Warner Bros. decided to put all their eggs in one basket for their next film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Directed by Zack Snyder, Henry Carvill reprises his role as Superman as his continued heroics in the world have gradually given him a deity status but not without controversy. Due to indirect effects from the previous film, Bruce Wayne (played by Ben Affleck) holds a grundge against the Man of Steel and sees him as a looming threat to humanity, and a series of events has them pitted against each other, hence the title,  all planned by Lex Luthor (played by Jesse Eisenberg) as a means to get rid of Superman.

If there’s was one thing to describe this movie it’s . . . clumsy. Despite Snyder’s distinct visual style and engaging action, he doesn’t seem to know how to tell a cohesive story or one with any sense of fun or levity. For the most part, the tone is always dire, serious, and heavy-handed with its allusions to real life disasters and Christ metaphors which at this point for Superman have become tiresome and played out, meanwhile, shoe-horning visual cues and cameos for future movies they desperately want to get off the ground. While Affleck gives a decent performance as Batman, Eisenberg’s Luthor is scene-chewing at best and cringe-worthy at worse, and you’re just left confused as to what they were trying to go for with this version of Lex Luthor. The one positive in the cast was Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman; despite her short screen time and her otherwise unnecessary inclusion, she steals the scene during the ending battle in the film and isn’t as grim and dour as the 2 male leads.

But the story itself is still a confusing mess, forcing so many characters and plot points from famous comic book stories that it doesn’t have the realistic weight, profound depth, or meaning that they clearly wanted their DC movie universe to have in order to contrast to the more fun energetic Marvel. When aiming for a more “realistic” take on beloved characters like Superman, somewhere they forgot that movies are about escapism and forcing said realism on an alien god that sometimes dresses up as an awkward glasses-wearing reporter starts to feel a bit contrived and not really in the spirit of a character that is supposed to embody hope and optimism. And also unlike Marvel, Warner Bros. does not want to take their time trying to build their universe one movie at a time and gradually build up to a big pay-off. Instead Warner Bros. plays an egregious game of catch-up.

It’s difficult to recommend this film, if you’re already sold on the style and tone of this universe, then you’ll likely enjoy it, but for others, it’s a film that clearly overstays it’s welcome with it’s own melancholy self-seriousness.

2016-04-18 182509

By Alberto Muro

Participating in the cookie sale

Participating in the cookie sale


The National Society of Leadership and Success began their Spring Fling week of activities with a cookie sale in the student quad. With a total of 200 cookies, students and staff were left with a difficult choice between chocolate chip and snicker doodle cookies.

campus police contributing to the NSLS.

campus police contributing to the NSLS.

The purpose of the cookie sale is to raise funds for the National Society of Leadership and Success. Continuing their second year as a Taft College chapter, the NSLS goal is to help students with their educational pursuit.

cookie transaction.

cookie transaction.

Every month the NSLS meet up with each other and discuss what kind of events to throw for the students. This week of Spring Fling will run from Monday to Thursday.

snicker doodle and chocolate chip cookies.

snicker doodle and chocolate chip.

The conclusion of the spring semester approaches and the NSLS are using their resources to alleviate the pressures of finals. From a cookie sale to a sack toss, the week of activities will run till Thursday with more activities to come.

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