More than music, talent show helps celebrate Black History

James Tutten / Valencia Voice

The performance group “Love Klub” encouraged the audience to take the stage alongside them.

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EAST CAMPUS — The African American Cultural Society presented “Afritique” at Valencia’s East Campus on Thursday, Feb. 3; a talent show of rap, dance, comedy, and poetry for Black History Month.

Linda Ruiz won first place. She sung “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. In the middle of the song, a saxophone player came out to join her. The crowd got so excited that she got a standing ovation before the song ended.

Ruiz said that she was surprised that she won and that she has only been singing that song for less than a year.

“I want to become a music therapist and work in hospitals with people that are autistic and suffer brain injuries,” said Ruiz.

Before the performance began, Omar Santiago, Nicole Cadavid and Guillermo Reyes explained how they were there for Ruiz.

“So I brought my little music maker I got today at Mardi Gras here at East Campus, so I am going to go crazy and make a lot of noise,” said Reyes.

The show began with libations, where the audience called out historic figures of the past, and the host would then pour water on an artificial fake tree as the audience responded “ashay” or “thank you.” Then, the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was sung a cappella as the audience sang along.

Lil Shawn from Power 95.3 radio came out as a co-host. He said he attended Valencia and told the audience to “enjoy the relationships you have right now.”

The opening act was “Love Klub,” featuring five guys playing the drums and five women dancing and singing.

Mama Olabisi Olakolade explained how their dance has meaning and the movements always has something to say. It’s not just shaking the body.

“Culture to me is really important,” said Olakolade.

As they danced, the audience clapped. Then the unexpected happened, the audience was asked to go on stage and dance to the drums. Afterwards she told everyone “you don’t feel the same way after you sing and dance.”

Bubba Tahir Rbg started to rap and a lyric that stood out was there is “no such thing as a starving artist.”

Another special guest was “Rare Breed Society,” which is an entertainment company based in Orlando. The group danced, while the crowd cheered.

The second place winner of this Talent Show was Hassan Jr. He came out wearing a cap-sac on his head and capes on his feet. He sung his own song “Live For Today.”

The audience was also allowed to win prizes if they were able to answer black history questions.

The other performers of the night were “Stanley,” who did dance solo, Twanda Tye Bernard, who danced to “Do It Like A Dude,” a standup comedy routine and various other musical performances.

Student Andrew Bennett was in attendance, and appreciated the on-stage talent.

“You never know what to expect when you’re at college – who has talent – you’re so focused with classes and things like that, so it’s definitely like a breath of fresh air to see how talented your fellow classmates are.”