Florida A&M University’s student government held a pep rally inside Gaither gym Thursday for what was dubbed a “North Carolina A&T x Breast Cancer Awareness” event accompanied by the hashtag, #PinkOutFAMU.
The doors opened at around 7:30 p.m. with the cheerleaders doing their usual aerobics on the padded floors to start the show. The gymnasium was dimmed severely with the only light in the coming from the section where DJ Loose Kid was playing music.
The host and hostess were live and upright; keeping the crowd moving as much as they could and with some Desi Banks references you could only help but chuckle. Michael Moore and Morgan Pinnock, respectively, led the way through the performances inciting the crowd throughout the evening.
The acts came from a variety of different groups: FAMU’s cheerleaders, the Marching 100, the Strikers, Attack Dance Crew, The Lovely Ladies of TorQue, Addiction Dance Experience, and the Venom Pom Squad, among other groups.
Team captain of the Venom Pom Squad, Mariah Shields, spoke about what stood out to her most.
“We did not encounter any difficulties during the night of the pep rally. The staff members were helpful and ensured that all of our needs were met,” said Shields, “My favorite part of the night was when the Marching 100 performed; I had the chance to showcase my school spirit along with my Venom sisters dancing by my side.”
When asked how the #PinkOut rally compared to previous pep rallies, Shields specifically mentioned the “Together We Strike” pep rally and the dance battles that took place.
“The ‘Together We Strike’ pep rally compared to the others had more of a variety of performances. I personally enjoyed the dance battle between both the Strikers and Attack Dance Crew. I think it’s important to show that even though we’re a part of different organizations, we can still come together and have a good time.”
The theme of the night was supposedly a cross between breast cancer awareness and a conference opponent that has ruled HBCU football in recent years. A win this weekend would give FAMU its sixth straight victory since the blowout in Orlando.
FAMU’s football team made an appearance when they were introduced to Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares.” While you could see the enthusiasm did not match with the team, it could be assumed that had to do with the audience as it didn’t rival past rallies.
Head coach Willie Simmons spoke on behalf of the team, imploring the student section “to be filled to its capacity” as FAMU takes on the Aggies in a game rescheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday.
The energy from the crowd was unenthusiastic and somewhat somber but had its flashes of liveliness when more of the dance troupes started preforming. However, Ava Jackson believed that the show’s lack of crowd involvement reflected poorly on this pep rally until the pace started to pick up.
“It was probably the worst,” said Jackson, a second-year pre-physical therapy student from Cincinnati by way of Orlando. “The energy was dry at first, but when it got closer to the end of the pep rally the music got better and people started to open up more.”
The event used the #PinkOutFAMU tag to try and incorporate crowd interest and the host answered questions brought to them from Twitter. People also used it to voice their opinions about the rally.
SGA’s executive branch made the rally possible; student body president Rochard Moricette and vice president Natalie Antenor tried to make the pink-out rally a success. Neither could be reached for comment on Friday.