FAMU ‘Apollo’ helps make dreams come true

For some students, FAMU’s version of “Showtime at the Apollo” was just something to do on Thursday night.

For others, it was a way to support their friends as they performed for the tough crowd.

But, for two students, this event may have been the first step to a dream come true.

Arnika Frazier, a 20-year-old junior from Jacksonville, and Adonica Nunn, a 19-year-old freshman from Atlanta, were the two winners of the first “Showtime at FAMU” competition. The event was sponsored by the FAMU Royal Court, PROACTIVE volunteer organization, the Freshman Class Cabinet and the Office of Student Activities.

At first, Frazier, who sang a rendition of Fantasia’s “I Believe,” was at a loss for words with her win.

“I never expected to win,” she said.

“And with winning, I never expected the prize to be so huge. To have the chance to be on Apollo is an once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The two winners walked away with more than just the average door prize. Their tapes will be reviewed and one winner will have the opportunity to compete on the legendary “Amateur Night at the Apollo” in Harlem.

The competition goes beyond FAMU students. It is actually a partnership with MEAC conference schools and “Showtime at the Apollo.”

Eleven MEAC schools will have separate talent competitions where three winners will be selected from each school. The schools include Bethune-Cookman College, South Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Coppin State University, University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, Howard University, Morgan State University and Delaware State University.

Out of the three winners at each individual school, one winner will be chosen by Apollo to perform in a special MEAC edition of Amateur Night in Richmond, Va.

Of the 11 winners chosen, one winner will gain the grand prizes – a spot on Amateur Night and a cash prize.

“This competition is a way for Amateur night to get involved with the HBCU’s and enhance student activity,” said Valerie Dinkins, Marketing and PR consultant of MEAC.

She also said the event gives students a chance to display their talents to the world.

“Apollo has a long history of developing stars,” Dinkins said. “Anything can come of this. You never know who is watching Amateur Night.”

The contestants’ performances at “Showtime at FAMU” ranged from John Legend’s “Ordinary People” to an original Atlanta-based rap.

Many students they enjoyed the event.

“I liked the show as a whole. It was very entertaining,” said Sherrice Bryson, a sophomore from Boston.

The organizations that hosted the event even went as far as having their rendition of “Sandman Sam.”

Event planners said next year’s show, which will have a few minor changes, is in the works.

“This year’s Apollo was such a good success that I can’t wait for next year’s,” said Mr. FAMU Ryan Morand, one of the event’s sponsors.

“One change that will be executed is less singers. We want to give other types of acts a chance to perform.”

Contact Desiree Williams at desireewilliams1@aol.com.