FAMU students and alumni protest homecoming concert lineup

Some Florida A&M students, faculty and alumni are protesting the the 2009 Homecoming Concert lineup.

The concerned supporters known as the FAMU’s People Coalition said the concert’s current roster is in clear violation of the university mission statement.

“These artists slated to appear are not a representation of our commitment due to their violent lyrics…,” said Terrance McNeil, a spokesperson for the coalition. “[They] speak to gun and violence, the drug use and other negative imagery, we all get that from them on a regular basis.”

FAMU’s mission statement reads: “The mission … is to provide an enlightened and enriched academic, intellectual, moral, cultural, ethical, technological and student-centered environment, conducive to the development of highly qualified individuals who are prepared and capable of serving as leaders and contributors in our ever-evolving society.”

Thursday the coalition held a meeting on campus in the new pharmacy building where students, faculty and alumni discussed their apprehension over the quality of the scheduled artists.

Denzel Stewart, a 19-year-old political science major from Fort Lauderdale, said it was unfair that the concert organizers have a slew of rappers every year. Stewart wants an alternative for the crowd that may not be as violent or derogatory.

“I’m against the rappers in the homecoming concert. I just want to see more diversity because not everybody likes rap music,” Stewart said.

“I’m an old school music lover, I like artists like Earth, Wind and Fire, Aretha Franklin or new artists like John Legend or Alicia Keys…not rap music every year.”

Others are more upset about the funds used for the concert.

“We feel it’s a violation of the mission statement,” McNeil said. “We don’t have a problem with these artists coming to Tallahassee and performing, but what we do have a problem with is the student fees and fees being used for that purpose.”

Several students said that neo-soul artists would be the perfect, less derogatory route for the concert organizers to follow.

First-year biology pre-med major Nayo Golden, 17, said she came to the meeting to promote alternative artists.

“I’m against the entire concert,” said Golden, who is from Dallas. “I’m here to listen in and see if FAMU should have derogatory artists or neo-soul artists.”

Kyla Agumagu, 20, said the people who want neo-soul and R&B are uninformed because hip-hop includes all of these elements.

“You just can’t say you want one without the other because our culture revolves around hip-hop,” said Agumagu, a third-year criminal justice studentmfrom Miami.

Some of the university’s  older students said they often feel left out every year during the homecoming concert.

“I’m old school so when you think of rap to me I’m thinking KRS-One,” said Aricka Wright, a 38-year-old physical therapy major from N.Y. “I don’t think the music is in consideration of every person. We do have a lot of different people who attend the university.”

The group has a Web site called  “A Call to Action,” at petitionfamuconcert.blogspot.com.