A Soul Train learning experience

For 27 years,  the Soul Train Awards have been the annual highlight of African-American music and culture. The maker of Soul Train,  Don Cornelius, produced the award show. Soul Train ran from 1971 to 2006.

The 2014 Soul Train Awards, held on Nov. 7, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nev., were no different. The show was hosted by Wendy Williams and included  performances from Chris Brown, Tinashe, Jodeci, The Winans (3WB), Tamar Braxton, Ma$e, Tank and Kem, just to name a few. Wendy Williams and her huge personality had a great opening number, featured actor Boris Kodjoe.

Lorelle Oliveira, a senior public relations student from Atlanta, worked the Soul Train Awards along with three other FAMU students as a talent escort.

As a talent escort, Oliveira worked directly with artists and presenters as well as their PR and management to ensure that they have everything they need for the show and were taken to their respective places.

“I enjoyed watching the show come together. When you watch the rehearsals and then the finished product, you understand you're apart of helping the show run smoothly,” said Oliveira.

The three other students that attended the show were Beraiah Baker, senior broadcast journalism, Faith McIver, senior public relations and myself, senior information technology.

McIver was involved in the production department, having a different experience.

“I worked as a public relations assistant with BET's corporate communications division. Serving in that capacity I had the opportunity to secure last minute media placements, assist in organizing and interacting with various media outlets,” McIver said.

As a public relations minor, this experience gave me great insight into a possible PR career; it was an opportunity of a lifetime. I was the talent escort for Boris Kodjoe, the actor starring in The Real Husbands of Hollywood on BET. I learned a lot about production and what it was like to work under pressure. I witnessed a star-studded production come together flawlessly.

It was so thrilling to see some of my absolute favorite stars in the flesh and interacting with each other. Since I was at work, I had to keep my cool but on the inside I was dying of excitement! I was in the midst of so much greatness, from R&B legends, to Hip-Hop gods and even the biggest television stars. I was so grateful to have this opportunity, and the best part – I was getting paid to do it!

Lamar Edwards, a keyboardist in the band “1500 or nothing”, had this important nugget of information to share.

“Sometimes it’s not the most talented that gets the job, it’s the most prepared that gets the job.”

Edwards is no stranger to being prepared or being talented. In addition to being a keyboardist, he is heavily involved in the music industry and has been working on the Soul Train Awards for five years. He has collaborated with great artists such as T.I., Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Chris Brown, The Game and Kanye West. He has writing and producing credits on hit songs such as Chris Brown’s “Take You Down”.

If this experience didn’t teach me anything else, it taught me to always remain at the top of my game, because there is so much more room for me to grow. I’m excited for what the future may hold.

The Soul Train Awards aired on Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 8 p.m. BET and Centric.