Grad students make music

For the first time in the University’s history, FAMU graduate students have directed, funded and produced a musical without the assistance of the FAMU Essential Theatre.

The musical, “Love Hater,” will be held March 17 in Lee Hall and is geared toward students, friends and family.

Graduate students Chris Warren, Lashawnda Batts and Ebony Yarborugh wrote the play. Warren, the executive director from St. Petersburg, was inspired by André 3000’s portion of Outkast’s 2003 “Speakerboxxx/Love Below” album. He said this album sent out messages and told a story he thought could be put into a great musical.

After writing a storyline, Warren and his crew sent out the script for approval before using the music. Although the music is based on the CD, it still has the twist and originality from the writers themselves. 

“Love Hater” is a love story about a guy who gives up on love and asks God for help. He is then sent an angel, or “Cupid,” to help him improve his love life. The story touches on issues in black relationships and attempts to give the audience a message on true love.

The musical also features band members from “Run Away Souls,” a local band, and will be featuring many students who are not a part of the Essential Theatre but have an interest in acting.

The music is expected to be lively and entertaining. In addition, the choreography done by Batts, 23, from Miami, incorporates a mixture of modern, hip hop and simple production moves to catch the audiences’ attention.

“The musical will give a person a profound insight on love,” Batts said. “The musical will explain and teach the concept of a healthy relationship.”

Kevin James, 23, a graduate student from Mt. Vernon, Ala., is excited about the diversity in the play.

“The musical is unique because it has a couple cast members who have no theater experience and that it has the capability to touch the hearts of those watching,” said James, who will play “Cupid.” “If one has never heard the music from the album “Love Below” by André 3000, it will still be entertaining and a great way to spend a Saturday night.”

Warren has high expectations for the debut of the play.

“The play is well-written, and the cast members fit almost perfectly to their characters,” Warren said.

Arsadia Walker, 20, a sophomore education student from Delray Beach, said, “I’m very excited and anxious to go see it.”

Tickets can be purchased from any cast member, at the Ujamaa store or online at