Students hit the stage to increase financial aid

Katrina Moses, Staff Writer

Several acts performed in Chapman Auditorium on Thursday, Jan. 22, with over 300 people in attendance.

The African-American Faculty and Staff Coalition (AAFSC) put on a talent show as a way to let the students at Francis Marion University (FMU) know that their organization exists to assist them. They aid students by providing scholarships. Beyond that, the coalition has spent the last 20 years enhancing cultural awareness among faculty, staff and students.

The talent show cost $3 to get in, and the money will be used to help give out scholarships to FMU students. Arthenius Jackson, an alumna of the university and member of AAFSC, hosted the talent show. She opened the show by singing “When You Believe”, by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.

Dr. Daphne Carter-McCants is the president of AAFSC and performed in the talent show.

“We are raising funds for the scholarships,” McCants said. “The students do not know the process we go through to make sure they have scholarships.”

McCants played a smooth R&B melody on the piano.

Another performer was Jordan Branch who is a junior mathematics major. His dancing had the students cheering him on and bobbing their heads to his “Uptown Funk” and “Bang Bang” mix.

“I prepared by listening to the music first,” Branch said. “I want to know the rhythms and lyrics before I start choreographing.”

John Pickett, a groundskeeper at FMU, used his guitar to minister to the audience about God’s love.

“This is my first time performing for the students,” Pickett said. “It is all a part of a guitar ministry. I played guitar for my church and wanted to start a ministry. The Christian message is about God’s love.”

The students came to be entertained, but they want more advertising for events like this one.

“The show was very well organized . . . [and] the lighting was good,” Braxton Monsanto, freshman biology major, said.

While Jakayla McGee, sophomore biology major, added that she believed some of the acts should have popped up across campus in advance to give a preview of what their acts would have contained.

“[They could] advertise by putting little performances across campus,” McGee said. “[Or] have the dance team give a little preview of what to expect. Maybe even from one of the people that sang, too.”

There were other acts including a young lady who sang “Weak” by SWV (Sisters with Voices), while another student, Alex Smoot, junior, accompanied her on piano. Smoot played two John Legend songs on the piano, as well.

“It is amazing how music can touch so many people’s lives,” Smoot said. “I use the piano to reach individuals and to let my music be heard.”

FMU’s dance team, Dimensions of Diversity, did the last performance. The three members, Mayi McCrea, sophomore; Brittany Greene, freshman; and Chanie Robinson-Cain, freshman, explained how the team prepares for shows through practices and what the team is all about.

“I want students to fully understand what our name means,” Cain said. “It is [called Dimensions of Diversity] because of the different styles of dance.”

The others agreed that the group focused on more one type of dance.

“It’s not all about hip-hop and twerking,” McCrea said.

The girls said they enjoyed the talent show, enjoyed being entertained and were proud of the acts for having the gull to get up on stage.

“[It] is brave to get in front of people [to perform],” McCrea said.