Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) students filled Gaither Gymnasium Dec. 3 to witness the 2015 “Strike Out Showcase,” hosted by the FAMU Student Senate.
The annual talent showcase featured individual and group performances by student dancers, singers, and poets all inspired by the theme, “Striking Out Police Brutality.”
Victor Chrispin, student relations chairman for the Student Senate, said he was incredibly pleased with the turn out of the event and he feels the student performances truly encompassed the evening’s police brutality theme.
“I think they executed very well,” Chrispin said. “Not only did they perform very well, but they focused on really getting the message across about police brutality, which was really the best part.”
Chrispin explained that each year, the showcase focuses on raising awareness about an epidemic that affects the Black community. While the focus is typically on health issues, Chrispin said the student senators felt that police brutality was a timely topic.
“Basically everything that’s been going on in the United States involving police brutality, especially in our African-American community, made us really feel that this was something we needed to talk about,” Chrispin said.
He added, “For a while it was case after case after case in the news about African Americans being victims of police brutality. There are not only health issues that kill off our race. Police brutality is an epidemic in the African-American community.”
When choosing a guest entertainer to perform at the showcase, Chrispin said he thought R&B singer Omarion was a great choice because he is a popular artist who is also very positive and willing to highlight the subject of police brutality.
“You know, I don’t think there are too many artists who would speak out against police brutality,” Chrispin said. “When we were discussing who we wanted to perform Omarion’s name came up and he was very willing to speak out against that.”
Throughout the showcase, the R&B crooner performed many of his hit songs—old and new—including his Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA) certified gold single “Post to Be.”
In the midst of his performance, Omarion paused to encourage students to stay focused on achieving success while working towards earning their degrees.
“I didn’t go to college. I’ve been working since I was 14. I graduated high school, but I never got to experience this. So understand, I look at you guys’ lives and I’m like, ‘Wow, how would I be had I taken that opportunity?’” Omarion said to the packed crowd of students.