Classy Affair ends on sour note

Lowell Nash

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Rolanda Ferdinand, junior in general business and Joni Pierre, senior in music perform with the CSO band at Classy Affair Feb. 28 in the Clark Student Center Comanche Suite. Photo by Lauren Roberts.

Rolanda Ferdinand, junior in general business and Joni Pierre, senior in music perform with the CSO band at Classy Affair Feb. 28 in the Clark Student Center Comanche Suite. Photo by Lauren Roberts.


Members of the campus NAACP and the Caribbean Student Organization hosted A Classy Affair on Feb. 28 in the Clark Student Center Comanche suite to celebrate the final day of Black History Month, but the event fizzled out due to a lack of couth. The two organizations joined forces to bring a little class to campus and provide students an alternative to clubs and house parties, replacing the booming beats of today’s hits with laid-back, soulful music and poetry. Their main objective was to celebrate African-American authors, poets and musicians.

“A Classy Affair was meant to be a celebration of black music and poetry,”  Olivia Whitley, senior in international studies and president of the NAACP, said. “Members of the NAACP had planned on doing spoken word of famous black authors from the Harlem Renaissance like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. The Caribbean Student Organization and other students were going to provide live music celebrating current and classic black musicians.”

The night started off with the Caribbean Student Organization’s live band playing reggae remixes to hit songs to a somber audience of roughly 100 students who munched on refreshments.  After the live band’s one hour set, one student performer gave renditions of rap songs he had written and the next strummed his ukulele while belting out Fountains of Wayne’s 2003 hit “Stacy’s Mom.”

“I thought it was great,” Sabrena Courtney, senior in accounting, said. “There were a variety of different genres.”

Whitley said she felt it was time to mix things up and abruptly took the microphone stating the audience seemed bored. The crowd erupted into chants in support of the performer currently on stage, but Whitley insisted that it was time for spoken word and poetry. Many students left in disbelief of what had transpired.

“The performances were good,” Cali John, graduate in health administration, said. “I didn’t like how one of the organizers just went up and stopped one of the performers during his songs. She said it was boring and we weren’t bored. There’s a right and wrong way to go about things.”

After several minutes of awkward silence and a majority of the students leaving, the Caribbean Student Organization’s live band took the stage again in hopes to lift the spirits of the remaining students.

Whitley later apologized for the mismanagement of the event.

“I am sorry for how I went about it. I was expecting tonight’s event to be a celebration of African-American achievements in poetry and music and it didn’t pan out that way. I don’t want my actions to be a bad reflection on the NAACP or Caribbean Student Organization. I also apologize to students in attendance.”

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