BAS gets students to show off talent

By Becky Reiser

‘ ‘ ‘ President Barack Obama might have been inaugurated Tuesday, but the Black Action Society… ‘ ‘ ‘ President Barack Obama might have been inaugurated Tuesday, but the Black Action Society continued to celebrate the historic event throughout its annual ‘Black Week.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ Last night, students filled the ballroom of the William Pitt Union to watch the annual talent show hosted by BAS. In addition to BAS members, the group also invited other student groups to showcase their talents. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘We have this [event] at least once a year for fun, to show the talent that Pitt has,’ said Cherise Ponder, BAS community outreach chair. ‘ ‘ ‘ Gary Curtis, this year’s host, was asked to emcee at the last minute but was enthusiastic throughout the performance, giving shout outs between the eight acts to fraternities, sororities and Obama, as well as the Steelers. ‘ ‘ ‘ The first group to perform was Axe Capoeira, Pitt’s Brazilian Martial Art Club. Club president Tasha Kimball said that BAS invited them. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘We like to support school events like this because it’s a good chance to teach people about Capoeira … it’s a little obscure,’ she said. ‘ ‘ ‘ Last minute entries gave the event a coffee house feel, with acoustic guitar performances by both Ethan Cohen and Adam Phillips and an improvisational performance at the end by a non-Pitt student singing Stevie Wonder’s ‘Lately.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘I heard there was an opportunity to play,’ said Cohen, who strummed an original song titled ‘Baby.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘I hadn’t played in a while and wanted to perform,’ he said. ‘ ‘ ‘ In addition to musical stylings, Jamillia Kamara performed a spoken word entitled ‘Change’ in her second BAS talent show performance. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘I wrote the piece in response to the political atmosphere … and the empowered youth,’ said Kamara. ‘ ‘ ‘ Other performances included Pitt student Ogechi Akalegbere covering both Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey, accompanied by Reggie Wilkins on piano. Later, Wilkins played a Kanye West piece on the baby grand piano next to the stage ‘mdash; completely from memory. ‘ ‘ ‘ The audience was lively and welcomed newcomers, such as Brittany Smith, who danced free style in her BAS talent show debut. ‘ ‘ ‘ According to BAS President Yemi Adewunmi, Black Week takes place every year during the week of Martin Luther King Day. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘We start with a day of service on MLK day. This year, we volunteered at the Jubilee soup kitchen and the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, where people painted bookcases for libraries and schools.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ In addition to last night’s talent show, Adewunmi also added that BAS held an inauguration watch party on Tuesday, a financial forum Wednesday, and the finale is a fashion show tonight.