Students rapped, stepped and delivered spoken word pieces Friday night for Culture Shock, a talent show that celebrates the black community.
Culture Shock featured acts such as a solo dance performance with a slideshow of the civil rights movement and a rap performance backed by videos of police brutality. The Campus Events + Entertainment’s African American Culture committee hosted the annual event in Hogg Memorial Auditorium.
Committee event coordinator Kuukuwa Koomson said Culture Shock is a way to showcase talent at the University while bringing together the black community at UT.
“(I) want (the audience) to be able to see their friend or someone who they don’t even know and be like, ‘Wow, this is my community. We’re doing things, we’re making moves and we’re empowering each other,’” psychology junior Koomson said. “Whatever that talent is, being able to cater it to your experience and then give it out back into your community.”
Faith Avery opened the show with a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is also known as the Black National Anthem. Avery, a communication and leadership and African and African diaspora studies sophomore, said she attended the show last year and was asked to perform this year.
“It was really something that made me feel proud to be a part of black UT, and just proud to see our student body showcase our culture in such a great way,” Avery said. “Even if I wasn’t singing, I would still come just because I love seeing the talent that black UT has.”
Committee president Brianna McBride said E+E has a budget to host performances in Hogg Memorial Auditorium, which provides students with performance opportunities they might not otherwise have.
“(The committee) really wanted to take on that responsibility of being able to do this type of showcase at this type of capacity to give people … everything they need … to put on these performances,” said McBride, a communication and leadership junior. “It’s just been a hit every year.”
One of the other acts included a ball culture performance, where participants dressed within a theme, walked and posed for a panel of judges. McBride said E+E wanted performers to go out of their comfort zones.
“Culture Shock is not necessarily … just black people doing whatever,” Koomson said. “It’s more of expressing yourself and being free to be who you are without judgment from anybody else, and just supporting your community.”