Today, I’m going to solve a mystery of which I know it has been bugging you all for a very, very long time. When you first heard about Urban 2Day or visited the website for the first time, it probably crossed your mind (whether or not it was consciously): “Why couldn’t they just call this website ‘Urban Today’?” Maybe you had this thought out of frustration, because you were trying to find a website that does not exist, or maybe you were just wondering — like we all do sometimes — about random stuff. Well, after you read this post, you will wonder no more!
Slide along side
Strangely, the first thing that comes to my mind when trying to explain the presence of the 2 — and what was stuck in there the entire time I was writing this post– is a song. It’s a song I remember from when I was only in my first years of high school — it was a great summer hit back then. The song’s called Slide Along Side by Shifty. However, it wasn’t the song that kept repeating itself over and over in my head, but one line in particular; “…it takes two to make a thing go right, but what’s it gonna take to take to take you home tonight”. Even though it’s just a little bit out of context, Shifty was right about one thing, because in fact it does take two to make a thing go right.
Actually, it’s always been kind of a thing to me to get inspired by music, movies and TV-shows by relating the things you here and see there to real life — my life. Now that I think of it, Seven Pounds, The Pursuit of Happyness and The Soloist together might very well form one of the most important reasons why Urban 2Day exists in the first place. Movies like these can change how you think about certain things, which is what makes them great. So, if you haven’t already, go see them!
You’ve probably read about Urban 2Day’s mission statement already. Every organization or website has one, so why not us too, right? Part of the mission statement entails that Urban 2Day wants to enhance understanding and respect between different cultural groups by making particular, often underexposed aspects of urban culture more visible. Urban 2Day does not only represent what’s socially desirable, it represents everything and everyone by creating a neutral platform where everyone is heard. In order to achieve this, we need at least two groups of people; those who are willing to share their knowledge and perspectives and those who are willing to learn. When a coke addict, for example, decides to share his story with us, it might change our former opinions and prejudices about him, but, of course, it could of course also confirm them. However, at the very least, it allows us to understand the man behind the mark better IF we choose listen to his story and have an open mind beforehand. So, creating a public sphere in which everyone can take place can only be achieved with the help of at least two groups of people.
Besides the philosophical thought behind the 2 in Urban 2Day, there is also another reason why the 2 is present and that’s a simple one; it’s cool, just like Urban 2Day! Let me elaborate on that a little. Urban 2Day is a website that does something (and a little more) that is done all over the world. What I’m referring to are the street newspapers, which are mostly sold by people who are ‘from the streets’ themselves. Therefore, Urban 2Day itself sounds like it’s a newspaper. However, the 2 suggests we’re unconventional, cool and fresh. We have a distinct style; the U2D style. By going out there, as being students, and letting people share their stories — hearing the ‘unheard’ — and by adding our own experiences and opinions into the mix, we go further; further than the static, and perhaps even boring stories you have all read before.
Mystery solved! I’m very curious if you are able to recognize the aforementioned ‘U2D style’ already. Or perhaps you can help to develop it, as there is an open brainstorming session in Rotterdam next week, on the 29th of February! Starting from 18.30 hours, we will discuss the ideas regarding the future of Urban 2Day. Very exciting! If you’re interested, please feel free to join us next Wednesday. Just send us a message in which you confirm your presence and we’ll send you the further details. If you cannot make it, you could also share your ideas on the future of Urban 2Day in the comment section below. Of course, you can also share your thoughts on Shifty and the ‘it-takes-two-principle’ and U2D’s noble mission. Cheers!