Academic Spotlight: Hunter Amos

Academic Spotlight: Hunter Amos

 Hunter Amos ’21 in Reserve Green.

 Elie Aoun ’21

Hunter Amos ’21 is not only one of the student body co-presidents, but also an extraordinary figure in the academic community of Western Reserve Academy. The students in Ms. Horgan’s CL United States History class last year had to choose between creating an academic paper, website or documentary to submit as their final grade and to the National History Day contest. Hunter chose to create a documentary, partly because it allowed her to express her understanding of a topic of her choice in a way more attractive than a typical essay with additional creative freedom. Hunter believes that creating a documentary felt more like a passion project than a research one.

Hunter’s project titled One Man’s Vulgarity is Another Man’s Lyric is a video documentary “discussing inflammatory rap music’s influence on free speech and obscenity in the constitution.” Hunter focused on the rap group 2 Live Crew, their court case Skyywalker Records, Inc. v. Navarro and the group’s subsequent release of their album Banned in America. Hunter argued that this court case and the precedent of the Miller Test “set a legal precedent that first amendment exceptions like obscenity tests should not apply to art — particularly rap music — effectively breaking the barrier of black rap music and the general public.” This lack of legal protection for unorthodox and explicit music shows how the First Amendment only protects all non-malicious forms of music instead of protecting all types of music, no matter how vulgar it may be.

To make her documentary stand out, Hunter spent time watching other Netflix documentaries to see what worked visually and what did not. In addition, she looked at TV shows that illustrated the controversial climate of the time she was researching and used those shows as sources. She finally reached out to many of the relevant groups and individuals of her documentary: Bruce Rogow, Atlantic Records music producers and 2 Live Crew. After a great deal of time and work researching, writing, recording and editing, Hunter was ready to compete in National History Day with her polished documentary.

Hunter placed second in the documentary division of the local National History Day competition. That stellar performance allowed her to compete at the state level where she earned an amazing first place. She finally went on to compete at the national level and finished with commendation as a semifinalist. Congratulations to Hunter Amos for her impressive and inspiring academic performance in National History Day!

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