With an energetic crowd and music to match, N.C. Central University’s B.N. Duke Auditorium was near capacity on Thursday, Feb. 21 for Showtime at the Apollo: NCCU Edition, hosted by NCCU’s Student Activities Board and Student Government Association.
The show opened with an animated performance by various male students parodying hip-hop icons including Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G., Sean “Diddy” Combs, Snoop Dogg, and their respective entourages. The audience followed the performers’ lead, dancing and singing along to the ’90s gangster rap blaring in the auditorium.
Following the energizing opening act, student body president Davanta Parker and Miss SAB Jordyn Whitaker took the stage as co-hosts to kick off the main performing line-up.
According to Whitaker, she and Parker were well-prepared to host this rendition of the once-televised classic. She added that NCCU had brought classic Apollo traditions like the tree stump and “Sandman,” to the stage of B.N. Duke.
“We studied hard and watched old episodes of how the old Apollo was ran and we tried to recreate that vibe,” Whitaker explained.
The evening’s first act was duo Mykah Hutton and Ariel Barker, singing the award-winning Fugees song “Killing Me Softly.”
Audience members were in awe of the pair. With Barker’s operatic vocal range and Hutton’s sultry tones, the two girls put their own spin on a classic that absolutely worked.
Barker, a vocal performance junior, explained that she was both “nervous and excited” to perform at NCCU’s version of the Apollo.
“We both felt very good considering we just went up there to do what we love,” Barker said after her and Hutton’s performance. “It was a great experience and I had fun doing what I am currently getting my degree for.”
12 other students followed, with mixed success on winning over their peers. The competition was primarily made up of singing acts, save for Chayil Townsend doing spoken word with Kenedi Curtis on violin. Sections of the audience either cheered in favor of a performance or, in true Apollo fashion, booed in disapproval.
At the end of the musical revue, winners were chosen by audience applause. After receiving the loudest response from the audience, Hutton and Barker were chosen as the winners.
“I was surprised because I’ve never participated in something like that and won,” Barker said after the event. “We both felt very good considering we just went up there to do what we love.”
Video by Siegee Dowah courtesy of Eagle Access.