Auditions showcase art for the sake of social justice


Lexi Scicchitano – Reporter

Auditions for The Expressions of Social Justice Talent Show put on by the Multicultural Center were last week. Taking place Nov. 7, the event used to be under a different name, said Dian Brown-Albert.

“We used to have International Talent Show, from International Talent Show, the name has changed several times,” said Brown-Albert, coordinator of multicultural affairs. “But, I know I changed it to Expressions of Social Justice Talent Show several years ago, and it was because it was around Social Justice Month.”

Monique Harriott, a senior, exercise science major, auditioned for the talent show reciting a poem she wrote herself. She said that the event is important for college campuses because it lets students’ voices be heard by other people.

“I feel that social justice, in general, is important,” said Harriott, “even though it’s really put out there in November, but at the same time on a college campus, I feel like it is very important, that one: the university actually cares and I feel that this is giving students the opportunity to share their talents, their perspectives on social justice, whether they experienced it or not.”

Brown-Albert said that they “wanted to take it to another level” for the talent show, and they want to engage the students more and have them “learn something a little deeper.”

“The difference between this talent show and the talent shows in the past is that each student that signs up and performs, they pick a social justice issue that they’re passionate about and they have one minute before they perform to talk about why this social justice issue is meaningful to them, impactful, and they also get a chance to educate the audience,” said Brown-Albert.

Having written from a young age, Harriott said she has never written about experiencing racism, she used to internalize the experience. She said she was coping with it rather than dealing with it, but now she writes about it and has started reading it out to people because it is impor- tant to share to let people know that they are not alone in these experiences.

“I think it’s important because sometimes people can – I feel like it’s a good idea to bring people together and to make them feel good,” said Curits Smola, a freshman public health major, who performed, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” by Elton John for his audition.

Brown-Albert said that the talent show lets students see different students perspectives and learn about the variety of different social justice issues.

Ninety percent of those who audition move forward, and there are two sections for people who audition. One group is for students performing as an individual, in a duo or band, and the other cate- gory is for clubs. First place winners get $300, second place gets $150 and third place gets $50 for both groups, with clubs having the option to get it in their fundraising accounts or in gift cards, said Brown-Al- bert.

“It brings people together, that’s one of the things about a talent show,” said Brown-Albert. “When you walk into the ballroom, it brings every- body together, and they’re really coming together to just appreciate and enjoy the evening, the music, the dances, the spoken word, it’s kind of magical.”

Photo Credit: Lexi Scicchitano

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