By Kimberly Monroe
Grambling State University Media Bureau
Grambling State University students were treated to a private, free concert on campus last night, and the capacity crowd in the T.L. Harris Auditorium was appreciative and enthusiastic and had a good party.
The concert featured two artists, Jhene Aiko and Future.
“I loved the concert,” said senior LaQuann Wimberly of Monroe. “I loved the mellow mood and Future came on stage and killed it. It was everything I expected, and more.”
University students won the concert during a summer online and texting competition among more than 100 accredited historically black colleges and universities. The competition and the concert were the kickoff of a larger HBCU uncapped promotion by vitaminwater, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola. The top two vote getters were promised a free concert, put on by concert promoter and magazine Fader. Texas Southern University is being treated to a free concert next week.
The names of the performers were kept a secret, until the weekend when each of them started tweeting that they would be appearing on campus and inviting students to RSVP online. Students were required to provide a valid university identification card to enter.
Though the doors were scheduled to open at 8 p.m., students were in line as early as 6 p.m. Sophomore Amber Williams, a criminal justice major from Dallas, was first in line. A fan of both performers, she wanted to make sure she got a prime seat. “Jhene is a good artist but I’m a huge fan of Future,” said Williams. “I feel that our vote does make a difference, especially now since we won the competition for a free concert.”
As students entered the auditorium, each was treated with a free bottle of vitaminwater or smartwater and a copy of The Fader magazine. At one point, the line to get in was so long that it snaked all the way to one of the campus dormitories. Scores of people were left outside once campus police determined that the auditorium had reached capacity at more than 2,000.
Aiko graced the stage in a mid drift Tiger shirt to connect with the #GramFam audience of tigers. This was her first performance on an HBCU campus. At one point she sang a song she wrote as her brother was being treated for cancer. This was the first time she performed the song since she lost him, and she broke down in tears as the crowd encouraged her.
As feature performer Future hit the stage, there was hardly any room to move up front. He sang some of his more popular songs.
Frank G. Pogue, president of the university, shocked a lot of students by attending the concert with his wife, first lady Dorothy Pogue. “It means a great deal that we won,” he said in an interview. “We have to congratulate our students for competing against other HBCUs … even this summer when they were behind and they came back to win first place.”
“We encourage high academic achievement,” the president added. “We also want people to have fun while they are enhancing academics. It’s a perfect balance. So we feel good about this.”