Annual showcase looks for most talented city

On Thursday, students from FAMU will fill the seats of Lee Hall auditorium to enjoy the fourth annual “Survival of the Fittest: City vs. City.”

Amir Tonsul, 21, a senior economics student from Newark, N.J., said he hopes that the event, which starts at 6:30 p.m., will give local talent an opportunity to be discovered.

“Due to the fact that Tallahassee is not the biggest market in terms of record labels wanting to come down here, we try to force them to pay attention to us,” Tonsul said. “We try our best to get (record labels) to come down here, and it’s been working out for us the past couple years.”

Jive records, J records, Def Jam records and J-Million records are expected to attend this year’s competition.

The event was created in 2004 by Jonathan Taylor, 22, a business student from Chicago, and Tonsul in 2004 to give exposure to students who take the performing arts seriously on campus.

Taylor, Tonsul and a few of their friends were hanging out one day and debating over which city had the most talent. After throwing out names like Queen Latifah who is from New York, and Whitney Houston, from New Jersey, the group of friends decided to host a contest to discover what city on FAMU’s campus had the most talent.

Tonsul went on to explain that the event was also designed to bring camaraderie among students.

Taylor never thought that the contest would become an annual event.

“Everybody loved it when it came out, and we decided to continue to have it,” Taylor said. “It feels like it’s different every year. It’s still growing and hasn’t reached the point to where it’s the same event every year.”

In past years, City vs. City has had modeling and dance troupes perform at the talent show. One Chance, of US records, the label owned by Usher Raymond, has also performed at the annual event.

This year, the Heizmen Boiz, aka 3rd FLO, will be performing.Washington D.C. has won for the past two years.

Obika Griffith, 24, an education student from D.C., member of the group “D.C. Taliband” feels confident in defending their title.

“I hope that we’re able to be judged on a fair basis due to the fact that we’ve won two years in a row,” Griffith said. “We’re going to represent D.C. in the City vs. City.”

D.C. Taliband performs Go-Go music and hopes to turn other cities and spectators on to their style of music.

Griffith went on to praise the event and said he thinks the event is “an excellent idea. God bless City vs. City.”

Taylor looks forward to hosting the event for the fourth year in a row.

“I think it’s going to be real interesting,” Taylor said. “We have a bigger venue this year. We have some pretty competitive talent to challenge D.C. Metro for the third year in a row.”