Twenty members from Florida A&M’s Marching 100 graced the stage with Kanye West and Jamie Foxx at the 48th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Wednesday.
West and Foxx appeared in true marching band style, dressed as rival drum majors while the band members, with chins up and shoulders back stood eagerly behind them. The band hit the stage with an electrifying presence and decked out in red, white and gold hats fully equipped with feathered plumes, to perform two hits from West’s “Late Registration,” “Golddigger” and “Touch the Sky.”
Although High Hat, the lead choreographer for Missy Elliot, choreographed all the dancing, most of it was changed in rehearsal and West let the band decide what they wanted to do.
In a room filled to the brim with celebrities, the 100 were among the stars that night.
“I got a chance to meet Common, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, and Ciara. This experience is definitely something that I will never forget,” said Wubb Gray, a member of the eight chosen for the percussion section.
With the pressure of representing FAMU and themselves, some were riddled with anxiousness. Weldon Gray, an 18-year-old freshman, shared his experience.
“It was kind of scary seeing everyone, but once I overcame all the butterflies, the energy from the crowd and just watching the facial expressions of the audience gave me the fuel to charge our performance,” said Gray, a criminal justice student from Kennedale, Texas.
Despite some of the shows weak points, many students had positive responses to the Marching 100’s Grammy debut.
R. J. Allen, a sophomore business administration student said he enjoyed the show.
“Although Kanye West was robbed of Album of the Year, I thought they (Marching 100) were excellent as usual and I was honored- it was something that was well earned and well-deserved”, said Allen, the 19-year-old sophomore from Altamonte Springs.
Candice Montgomery, 19, freshman general19, a freshman general studies major from Fort Lauderdale was elated about the performance.
“The fact that our band was at the Grammys, shows that we’re [FAMU] on a new level as a college, as an organization, as a band and in just about everything. We’re known for our showmanship and hopefully this will make it all the more real to others,” Montgomery said.
James Scarborough, a 22-year-old senior and Atlanta native, was proud to see FAMU represented so well.
“I think that they had an outstanding performance, and it was great exhibit of a black college on a media outlet of that magnitude. They really represented our school very well – they had flavor, style, they looked good, and the crowd seemed to be more responsive to the band than to Kanye West”, said Scarborough, an English education student.
Because Kanye’s performance was so close to the end, some wondered if it was going to live up its expectations.
“I had a feeling that because they saved them for the end, that they weren’t gonna be that good, but they were awesome. I just wish they would have said it was our band up there, but as long as we know, than that’s all that matters”, Montgomery said.
At the end of the night Green Day took Record of the Year with “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” U2 received Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rock Performance by a duo or group with vocals, and Best Rock Album.
John Legend snagged Best New Artist, Best male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Album. Kelly Clarkson won Best Pop Vocal Album and beat out Mariah Carey for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance; however Carey still did quite well winning, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R & B Song and Best Contemporary R&B Album.
Stevie Wonder took Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Maroon 5 was awarded Best Pop Performance by a duo or group with vocals. Damien Marley, took Best Urban/Alternative Performance and Best Reggae Album home and Kanye West received Best Rap Solo Performance, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Album.
The show was highlighted by a grand tribute to Sly and the Family Stone as well as performances by John Legend, Paul McCartney, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige, Madonna, Jay-Z, Linkin Park, U2 and of course, the incomparable Marching 100.