Entertainment | October 31st, 2023
Facing the Music: FAMU Homecoming Concert
By: Jalynn McDuffey
The 2023 Florida A&M University Homecoming concert was already a trending topic among its students. The upset over the previous year’s concert made national headlines when rapper Latto publicly denied being booked for the 2022 lineup featuring the City Girls, sending the Student Government Association and the school’s representatives into a frenzy.
But with confidence, SGA hosted an artist release party, announcing that rappers Toosii and Nardo Wick, along with RnB artist Mariah the Scientist would be performing this year – but was met with mixed opinions.
On the night of October 26, the crowd walked in, some in knee-high boots or simple slides, to the heavily guarded doors of the Al Lawson Center. Cheridan Kamper, a fourth-year accounting major attended the concert with her friend Taylor Parker, a second-year Physhcology major.
“I am here to see Mariah the Scientist”, Kamper said, though Paker was there to see Nardo Wick.
The concert doors opened at 6 p.m., the sound of DJ Lossekid’s mixes pouring out of them as students found the best seats to see their favorite acts. The show was opened by student artist Damari Massey AKA 22lit.
Former Senator for the 52nd Senate and current front office receptionist Cush Chakari believe showcasing local student artists is important to the celebration. And while the concertgoers were more anxious to see the headliners, Chakari is sure that sharing the stage allows for the smaller acts to headline their own one day.
“It’s good to see young black men trying to get their names and voices out…every big rapper had a small crowd and turned it into huge ovations,” Chakari said. “This is the spot for black showcases, for businesses, and for people to find opportunity. We need to support each other.”
Time passed, and more openers came on stage to little reaction; as the night continued, DJ Loosekids’ calls and responses began to aggravate the crowd instead of hype them. They knew he was stalling, but the artist had yet to arrive.
Going on to 9:30 p.m., after the scheduled 7 p.m. start time, students began to grow restless. The display screens live tweeting element was taken over by angry comments and reaction photos criticizing the school for the long wait. Even when the AV team attempted only to showcase live footage from the crowds, students creatively displayed black cellphone screens with statements like “Where’s Toosi?” and “Where’s Mariah?”.
Finally, at 10 p.m. the show began, as artist Toosii reached the stage. With a surprisingly interactive performance, the artist recited every word to his hits ‘Favorite Song’ and ‘Love Cycle’ as he walked into the crowd, took pictures and videos with fans, and invited some on stage.
As soon as he walked off the stage, a third of the crowd left along with him. This shows the issue with multiple headliners; many students only want to see one specific artist, therefore not creating the unity most concerts create under one sound.
Followed by Mariah the Scientist around 11 p.m., who released her newest album ‘To Be Eaten Alive” singing new tracks and a few old ones as the audience sang along. As she waved to the audience, she waved around a ‘Chazam Fan’, a popular accessory on FAMU’s campus created by 2021-2022 King of Orange and Green Chazriq “Chazam” Clarke. The former 2022-2023 King of Orange and Green Yukwon Toney recanted how Mariah’s performance made his night.
“…she put on a very personal…spectacular show, 10 10 10s across the board!” Clarke said.
As rappers Nardo Wick and Rob49 graced the stage fans screamed and shined their phone lights at the stage. After a long wait, each fan finally got to see the star of their show.
In all, the concert was more like a music festival, as patrons moved in and out depending on who they wanted to see. But in the end, the concert pleased everyone who attended.