How SGA could fix concert concerns

Last week’s homecoming concert
Courtesy: Jalynn McDuffey

Ludacris in 2003, New Edition in 1989, Gucci Mane and Kodak Black in 2018 — FAMU has a long list of star-studded homecoming shows.

Since the history making performance by Marvin Gaye in 1972, there is tough competition for every homecoming performer who comes after, but one thing is certain: FAMU can bring out the best.

However, the homecoming concert has another more recent history: of being the biggest letdown. In recent years social media has said loud and clear that the artists selected by SGA are not up to par with what the students expect.

Since the public denial of her performance contract by rapper Latto in 2022 circulated nationally, there is growing disbelief in SGA’s abilities to produce a top of the line  concert.

With this mistrust, many avoid the concert altogether. Third-year criminal justice major Mya Carson did not even try to attend last week’s concert.

“I just hoped for somebody a little more exciting with more mainstream hits,” Carson said, “especially among the demographic for the school. I already knew I wasn’t going.”

The 2023 announcement of rappers Toosii and Nardo Wick, along with R’nB artist Mariah the Scientist and even a surprise addition from rapper Rob49, who commented on the official release post to be added onto the lineup excited many of his fans on campus. With promises of a big artist(s) many were excited and many were not.

With issues like these a solution should be proposed: let the students decide.

The decision is important, as the event brings hype and excitement for campus activities. Yukwon Toney, the 2022-2023 King of Orange and Green, believes the right concert builds up school spirit. “ I believe the homecoming concert is vital. It’s something that makes or breaks the homecoming. If you have a fire line up, more people are going to want to come to campus and see what we are about.” Toney said.

Toney’s comments ring true, as new and old students come to campus to see if FAMU’s homecoming concert is worth the hype. Freshman student Brooklyn Tindle was not a fan of the lineup, but she wanted to attend to have fun. “I just wanted to have the ‘FAMU experience.’ I don’t go out much,” she added.

Students like Tindle aren’t fans of the artist, as they have devoted smaller fan bases. This causes an issue, as those who attend are not focused on the event but sections of it, losing the spirit of unity most concerts create. With a combination of Mariah, Nardo, Rob49 and Toosii fans, the packed Lawson Center waited for the show to begin — for over three hours.

With students listening to DJ Loosekid’s mixes, they used their cellphone’s screen text and live concert tweets to express their growing impatience, and demanded their favorite artists with statements like, “Where’s Mariah?”

At 10 p.m., four hours after the doors had opened, fans rushed to the stage to take videos and pictures of the first act rapper Toosii, and as soon as he left, so did they.  Each group of fans repeated this same routine.

This is a common practice, as each attendee has a specific artist to see. Cheridan Camper, a fourth-year accounting major, was there to see Mariah the Scientist and Nardo Wick. When asked about being given a list of acts to vote from, Camper believed it was a fine idea. “I feel like there would be way higher participation,” she said.

With most artist suggestions being big stars like Drake and Beyonce, SGA’s budget is the usual answer for why this cannot happen. The next homecoming is exactly a year away, and the idea of allowing students to vote from a possible list of artists may solve SGA’s problem, while bigger issues such as the budget to hire artists can be avoided with this transparency. The ongoing mistrust of the homecoming lineup could be fixed through cooperation between  students SGA, but that is a task for next year.