French rap at Lyman
Jacob Waring – Reporter
Canadian rapper Webster performed a set completely in French last Wednesday at the Lyman Center for the Performing Arts.
The Québéc based artist’s performance hosted by the French Club was in celebration of National French Week. Jon Shee and Sandi VanAsudal, present and vice president of the American Association of Teachers of French, said there were French classes from 35 schools in attendance. These teachers also organized the concert.
“We have a big mailing list of a huge percentage of French teachers in the state,” said Shee. “We sent it out many times to public schools, private schools and parochial schools and they all responded with interest. It was about 50 percent middle school, and 50 percent high school, and we were very pleased that there was almost 1,470 people.”
Shee said they sent their teachers three songs of Webster’s ahead of time to teach their students. They projected French lyrics of his songs during the concert for everyone to easily follow along. They both said they thought the Lyman Center was amazing and hope to do more concerts at the venue in the future.
Their goal for this and previous concerts was to advocate for the French language and show it is not relegated to one part of Europe.
“The whole idea is to advocate for French, and having students take French,” said VanAsudal. “It’s through the whole French speaking world, it’s not just France. So, we really wanted to promote that which is why Webster is from Canada.”
During the performance, Webster rapped in French but encouraged the students to put their hands up in the air and spoke about what his songs were about in between them. He also took questions from students in the audience, ranging from when he started rapping to life advice. During his hour-long performance, he would hop off stage to high five, hug, take selfies and interact with the students.
Afterwards, in his dressing room, Webster said that the crowd was phenomenal and he was happy with the students’ participation in his performance.
“It was nice, they were crazy. It gives me a lot of energy,” Webster said. “I like that, that people react well, as every entertainer [agrees] I think. I was happy that there was a big crowd. They were noisy and they participated, I’m really happy about that.”
Many of his raps were about resilience and perseverance and those themes took on a bigger meaning when performing in front of the middle and high school students he said.
“That’s the age where people ask themselves a lot of questions, and they don’t trust in themselves. They make a lot of errors,” Webster said. “You make some good and bad choices, and they need to understand that there is life after the teen years, there’s life after school too, you know. I’m trying to give them the tools that were lacking around me when I was growing up.”
Sophia Whipple, a psychology major and French minor, said that she and other members of French Club for which she is president, put up flyers and went to French classes advertising the event.
Whipple said Webster’s performance was great, and that he was the perfect person to have perform because of his life stories and positive messages he shared with students during his performance.
“He’s a great role model for these kids,” Whipple said. “He’s just so well- spoken and he has great vision, and ideas of the world. It was great that he wanted to come and share that with the students who might not have been to a concert like that before or met someone like him before.”
Photo Credit: Jacob Waring