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February 24, 2013

African American Culture Club: Rags to Riches Showcase

by Mervelline Aflata

On Saturday February 16, 2013, the African American Culture Club hosted their annual Talent Show featuring additional acts from Central High School and Jefferson Middle School. The money raised from the show is put toward giving the club’s participating seniors  for a scholarship to put towards college.

This year, the club took a different approach on how the show should be presented to the audience. They wanted to escape the stereotypical booty popping and disrespectful music that the students are used to. Satchez Johnson of Champaign Paparazzi, also of friend of  Almeda Wright, a Centennial staff member, volunteered to spend his time with the cast & crew and produce the Rags to Riches show.

The first half of the show, Rags, included acts such as:
• Hosts: Wandjell Harvey Robinson & Aisha Wright
• Aaron Hall singing “Change Gone Come”
• Gulhnaza Khalmanbetova – Dancer
• Rags Models
• Simone Pierson – Jefferson Middle School Singer
• Aqueelah Abdullah – Poetry

During the 15 minute intermission, Central High School was able to present a snippet of what their African American Culture Club was working on. They presented a PowerPoint slide of the history of African American Sorority/Fraternity Culture, the Divine 9, to be specific. The club’s member even demonstrated a series of steps that would be performed by the Divine 9. Sharell Mason, a student at the U of I, also performed a quick step from the Sorority she’s involved in.

After the Rags and intermission wrapped up, there was a short video from the producer of the show, Satchez Johnson, thanking and recognizing all the people who helped make the show such a success.

The second half of the show, Riches, included acts such as:
• Hosts: Wayne Cooper and Aisha Wright
• Simone Pierson – Singer
• Riches Models
• Essence Chatman, Ashlee Smith, and Aaron Hall singing “Ave Maria” with Sonie Toe doing spoken word and Cassie Davis on the violin.
• K-otic dance group
• Malik Terry – Rapper
• Shaquille Holt & Dennis Wesseh – Rappers
• Legaci dance group

Besides all the fun and humor the show had to offer, Johnson made sure to take a moment to remember the evens that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. There was a lighted visual for the children and adults involved in the incident, there was also a slideshow playing with the pictures of everyone involved.

Overall, the show was great and everyone did an incredible job. The cast and crew did a great job making sure everything was in place and everyone knew what was going on. A special thanks and recognition goes out to Satchez Johnson,  Almeda Wright, Cecily Wilson, Sue Aldridge, Bruce Brown,  Greg Johnson, and everyone who put their time and effort into the show.

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