Rattlers, ’Noles come together

Photo submitted by Kalen L. Johnson

Gaither Gym’s bleachers were full and rocking Friday night as students from Florida A&M and Florida State unified for the annual Bridge the Gap Pep Rally. The event is hosted by FSU’s Black Student Union.

Krystine Auguste, a senior hospitality and tourism management major at FSU, said, “Overall, I think it was a great event with a lot of crowd participation. It showcased some of the organizations that both schools have to offer.”

FSU BSU pulled out all the stops, keeping the crowd entertained from start to finish. From trivia games to tug-a-war, there was never a dull moment.

Performances from Mahogany Dance Theatre, Lovely Ladies of TorQue, Boyz of Poison, Rekonstruktion Dance Troup Inc., Kings Dance Team and Strikers Dance Troupe entertained the audience with show-stopping routines.

However, the ultimate crowd control came from the DJ, Antoine Mercidieu, affectionately known as DJ TwanDaGuy. He is a recent FSU graduate and emphasized how fond of the event he is.

“To be the DJ of this event was a great opportunity from learning both cultures, being able to cater to both cultures, and creating a vibe. It was just an enjoyable event because being able to cultivate the atmosphere was just a great thing,” said Mercidieu.

The purpose of this event was to serve as a solution to the disconnect that exists between black students at FAMU and FSU. After getting rained out last year, the FSU BSU was deterred to give it another shot this year.

Tyriq Withers, event emcee and FSU student, said, “The event is very positive for the Tallahassee community because I feel like there is always tension between FAMU students and black students at FSU.”

The unsettled relationship between the two universities is no secret as the two campuses are divided by railroad tracks and have a deep-rooted history of distrust of one another.

Bridge the Gap was right on time, as the two schools were engaged in a social media turmoil on Twitter earlier this month. The ongoing HBCU versus PWI debate caused a riff between the two schools as students took to their accounts to tweet their gut-punching opinions. In the midst of the frustration, FSU BSU announced the event, encouraging students to bridge the gap instead of engaging in conflict.

Corwin Turner, FAMU student and Boyz of Poison rehearsal director, said, “This event was a great idea and good opportunity for students to branch out and meet new people.”