Does the entertainment make or break homecoming? – The Famuan

FAMU Homecoming concert headlining artists are the City Girls and Latto.
Photo courtesy: homecomingatfamu.com

When the green and orange flags line the entire campus, trailing the highest of seven
hills with the spirit of October, it must mean only one thing: Homecoming.

The anticipation of homecoming week and the festivities that it brings is like no other.
FAMU’s Student Government Association allocates a significant amount of its yearly
budget to arranging venues, booking special guests, hiring a variety of companies and
advertising this event on a multitude of platforms.

The SGA officers and committee members buckle down year after year to prepare a
homecoming just as grand as the last for all attendees, which is no easy feat. The
weight of this annual event rests on their shoulders.

The celebrity appearances during homecoming week are just as, if not more important
than the actual events. From the guest comedian(s) at the comedy show on Wednesday
night to the convocation guest speaker for Friday morning, FAMU Twitter, gossip blogs
and Rattlers near and far are eager every year for the release of the names of these
people.

The annual homecoming concert is quite the rave for students, alumni and fans of the
selected artists performing that year. For the 2022 Homecoming concert, FAMU
released the list of artists that would be performing which include The City Girls, Latto,
Seddy Hendrix and Eli Derby.

Initially, FAMU expected to present The City Girls, Latto and Lil Poppa; however, Lil
Poppa has been removed from the homecoming concert lineup for reasons
unannounced.

Kiarra Webb, a senior African American studies student from Broward County, says
she’s pleased with the homecoming concert lineup and is especially looking forward to
one artist in particular.

“I’m excited to see Seddy Hendrix. I wouldn’t say he’s a local artist, but he’s definitely
underrated. If you’re from Jacksonville you probably know who he is,” Webb said.

While some students are happy with the artists for the concert, others are less than
thrilled and have expressed their grievances via social media.
“They should have just booked all the FAMU artists,” said Twitter user @osamabingritty.

Other Rattlers lack strong feelings about the specific selection of artists but are more
interested in why a wider variety of artists are not cycled from year to year.

Senior music industry student Reggie Willis believes there are so many more options of
artists to choose from.
“As a musician, I wish they would choose a few artists that sing R&B and pop. Ari
Lennox, Jhene Aiko would be really cool. And in no way am I mad, I’m just saying,
there’s more out there; there’s more to choose from,” Willis said.

While students may vocalized their opinions about how they believe homecoming
should be planned, obstacles not seen by the public eye stand in the way of just
whipping up the most popular artists on the charts at the drop of a dime.

The SGA vice president, Makira Burns, says that she wishes more people understood
that this year’s homecoming planning committee did not have many options due to
budget cuts.

“FAMU usually spends $100,000 on the concert alone. Due to effects of the pandemic,
FAMU decreased our budget, and we were left with $100,000 for the entire
homecoming budget,” Burns said.

She said the committee was deliberating on cutting the concert out of the week’s
agenda altogether. Zachary Bell, the SGA president, said they were advocates for the
concert and did not let that happen.

Elections for SGA president and vice president don’t take place until March, which is
roughly four months before homecoming planning is underway. Many artists have their
concert schedule already solidified before election results are even announced, making
the choices for entertainment much more challenging.

“People say we never see any R&B artists, but those people be on tour by the time it’s
time to put together homecoming,” Burns said.

There are plenty of additional events and incentives created exclusively for
homecoming that set it apart from an average football weekend at FAMU. From the
Marching 100 performing for a packed Bragg Memorial Stadium to the Divine Nine
sororities and fraternities doing everything it takes for the trophy and bragging rights of
the step show victory; a successful homecoming is not solely reliant on outside
entertainers. Luckily, FAMU is an HBCU that has a football team that is the glue for the
entire week.

Universities with no football team such as Xavier University in New Orleans, have more
weighing on their homecoming concert lineup considering they do not have a football
team.

Senior mass communications student Scott Lipscomb says not having a football team
really challenges them to create a unique homecoming experience.

“We rely on the guests to get people excited for the week. Our homecoming is driven by
our concert and boat ride and tailgate. My freshman year we had Rico Nasty who, at the
time, wasn’t as big yet in the South which had mixed reviews. Last year, Flo Milli, was
more popular with the student body had better excitement for the week,” Lipscomb said.

Personal preferences and opinions from spectators are expected, however, does a
particular artist performing at a singular event make or break an entire week packed of
festivities?



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