Student Life brings hip-hop community to the stage

As the lights dimmed in the auditorium, Alfredo Remulla strode across the stage and waited for the music to cue his performance.

Usher’s “You’ll Be In My Heart” began to play throughout the venue and the audience watched as Alfredo’s frozen body started to alternate between sporadic gestures and calculated movements.

Friday, the Student Life Activities Board hosted Streets SF in Jack Adams Hall. What was billed as a hip-hop showcase turned into a cross-cultural event, featuring a variety of talent from all different genres and styles, including group and solo dances, original rap songs and a variety of acoustic performances including Sean Thompson, winner of SF State’s Got Talent.

The event is the brainchild of the SLAB Special Events Chair Tawnee Vallar who, as a dancer herself, wanted to make her first event something she was both knowledgable and passionate about.    

I thought I might as well do something that I know, and get acts by calling them and not by finding them,” said Vallar. “The DJ’s are our friends, all of my acts are friends, one of the acts is my roommate, they are all personal friends.”

One group participating in the event was SF State’s FG Roll Call, a group of students that represent the University in the Friendship Games. The annual event, held in Fullerton, Calif., calls together Filipino student organizations from California, Nevada and Arizona to compete in friendly competition.

While the Friendship Games offer a variety of competitions, the dance competition holds a certain amount of precedence over the others.

“It’s the first thing we do of the day,” said Michelle Phung, a business major at SF State and part of FG Roll Call. “It’s called Roll Call because it’s like calling off who we are. It’s everyone’s first impression of what we do.”

Friday night’s event hosted a variety of non-traditional hip-hop acts, such as Mackenzie MacFarlane and Dustin Ryan, whose soulful acoustic performances were accompanied by powerful vocals. However, perhaps none was more diverse than Sean Thompson — whose acoustic finger-style guitar was not lost amongs the crowd of hip-hop enthusiasts — but was embraced.

“I ended up finding out it was a hip-hop showcase and I was like ‘Ok well I’ll work with that,’ I’ll see how the crowd takes me,” said Thompson. “I tried to do something a little bit more audience related, participation type thing. I think the finger style acoustic is going to impress people, which is going to be better.”

The raucous crowd didn’t disappoint, howling along, quite literally on cue by Thompson’s urging, to his song “Wolves.” It was just another example of the respect and enthusiasm the crowd displayed throughout the night for the variety of talents that were showcased.

I didn’t think of it as a hip-hop showcase, even though I told people as a joke what it was,” said Thompson. “In all reality it was just a group of really good performers coming together for a good show.”

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