Allow me to tell you a little about myself…
My name is Justyn Vaughn Polk, I am a 24 year old Journalism major at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. I have always been opinionated and enjoyed writing, so me pursuing a career in Journalism was inevitable. I credit my love for sports and hip-hop to love for expressing my opinions. Since childhood, my friends and I would debate sports and hip-hop forever. “Who’s better: Manning or Brady, Biggie or Pac” are just two endless discussions I have among friends on a semi-regular basis. I also credit growing up around Chicago for my journalistic aspirations because media matters more when you live near a big market, I have always been an avid listener to news and sports radio. My parents subscribe to the Sun-Times and the Tribune, I have been surrounded by influence my entire life without even realizing it.
I am a die-hard sports fan, particularly the Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, and Baltimore Ravens. Growing up in Chicago, being opinionated comes natural just from defended the Bears and Bulls. I was raised by my dad, a man who never lived outside of Chicago but was a Steelers fan. As a kid, I hated that my dad wasn’t a Bears fan so I rooted for the Ravens in spite of the Steelers. Even though I have adopted the Ravens, the Bears will always be my favorite NFL team. I was born in 1990, so my memory of the Jordan-era is very limited, I do remember watching the last 3-peat with my dad but the majority of my life the Bulls have been mediocre. Despite their poor play, I have stuck by the Bulls through it all.
I am obsessed with television and movies. Television and movies have always helped boost my imagination in ways I just don’t understand. Some of my favorite TV shows are: ‘Seinfeld’, ‘The Wire’, and ‘Chappelle’s Show’. I picked those three shows because they were so smart and innovative. ‘The Wire’ is television at it’s best, David Simon (one of my heroes, a man who went from journalist to screenwriter) touched on every aspect of corruption in a city in such detail, you cannot help but to marvel at it. I believe some of the greatest thinkers are stand-up comedians, ‘Chappelle’s Show’ and ‘Seinfeld’ are examples of that theory. I envy stand-up comedians, they give their opinions on various topics and they share their life experiences in a way that makes people laugh–no matter how dark the topic. ‘Chappelle’s Show’ often touches on the uncomfortable subject of race and Dave Chappelle helps the audience finds humor in the topic. I envy that, I can write an essay on race and be ridiculed but I am making the same points that were being made on ‘Chappelle’s Show’, I really admire that craft.
Some of my favorite movies are: ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘The Godfather’, and ‘Do The Right Thing’. ‘Pulp Fiction’ is my all-time favorite movie by my all-time favorite director. Quentin Tarantino’s mind is incredible, the writing for ‘Pulp Fiction’ is so witty with an ironic mix of humor and violence. ‘The Godfather’ is a perfect movie in my eyes, a mafia movie cannot be done any better than that. We know the mafia is all about “family” and ‘The Godfather’ depicts it in such a great way as we watch Michael transform from a soldier to a gangster out of the love for his family. Al Pacino, Marlon, Brando, James Caan, and Robert Duvall were just hitting on all cylinders in that movie. Spike Lee is another inspiration of mine, to e an self-made man in Hollywood is a tough task and although I don’t agree with everything he says or does, the man is a genius. ‘Do The Right Thing’ is an example of his genius as it depicts a scorching hot day in Brooklyn and the racism that surrounds our society. I can only describe ‘Do The Right The Thing’ as “real”, one of the most powerful films I have ever seen.
As much as I love movies, television, and sports, nothing as inspired my train of thought the way music has. Specifically hip-hop. I love music as a whole, you can find me listening to anything from Gil Scott-Heron to Prince to Radiohead to Bob Marley but more than likely you will catch me listening to Biggie, Nas, Outkast, Wu-Tang, or Kanye. There is nothing better than being able to put my headphones tuning out everything in the world except the music, it is my form of meditation.
My love of sports comes from the debates that come with it, my love for television and movies is in the storytelling, my love for music is in the lyrics and the message, I try to incorporate all that into my writing. I am aspiring to me more than a Journalist but a voice. I plan to write books, screenplays, and build a brand to showcase people of my generation who want to be heard because I don’t believe this generation is being heard, we’re just being blamed.