Showtime at Central review

Showtime at Central concludes with two winners tying for first place

Tim Mitchell, Scene Writer

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Two performers tied for the win at Showtime at Central last Saturday, Feb. 25.

20-year-old Darryl Foto captivated the audience with a spoken word, while 19-year-old Ignatius Medani ignited the crowd with a high-energy rap performance.

In his spoken word “Ask Me How to Drown,” Foto described challenges he faced in connection to his African-American identity: issues of “being profiled in a public space” and the sensation of “feeling suffocated in this dark skin.”

Members of the audience snapped their fingers and cheered in acknowledgement, shouting phrases like “yes” and “thank you.” Foto used symbolism in lines like “I’ll tell you… how we turned shackles into jewelry.”

Born in the United States, Foto spent his high school years in Cameroon, a country in West Africa. The world’s perception of Africa “is really skewed,” Foto said. “It doesn’t need as much help as the media portrays.” Foto, a junior, is studying biomedicine to become a cardiologist.

Foto performs regularly at open mics in the SURC Pit and also travels to Seattle for poetry slams. He won a poetry slam at Brooklyn’s Pizzeria in January.

“You have a voice and you need to express it,” Foto said. “If I can let someone else in the crowd understand what I’m trying to say, then I’m happy.”

Both Foto and Mendani took the stage with confidence.

Medani was the second-to-last performer of the night.

Like Foto, Mendani’s message was about confronting stereotypes.

While many rap artists have capitalized on aggressive themes and lyrical content, Mendani believes music is an opportunity to show one’s emotions.

Following Medani’s performance of “July 5th,” celebrity guest host Emmanuel Hudson returned to the stage chanting chorus lines from the song, to which the audience continued applauding.

Mendani records and performs under the moniker “Thistlewhite.” Heavily influenced by the styles of Drake and Future, he is currently writing and producing a mixtape entitled Second Quarter for a tentative release date of April 1.

Mendani, a sophomore marketing major, believes social media is the most effective way to gain exposure.

“I’m planning on pushing my name and my brand, just working on my craft,” Medani said.

The name “Thistlewhite” was recommended to Medani by a friend, inspired by the character Ignatius Thistlewhite from the 1974 animated television special “A Year Without Santa Claus.”

Competition aside, Medani cited the spoken word performances by Foto and others as being among his favorites.

“Every time [I’ve] tried to write a spoken word, it turned into a rhythmic piece,” Medani said.

From 11 acts, Foto and Medani were determined as winners by crowd response, measured in decibels, when celebrity host Emmanuel Hudson held his hand over each contestant. Foto and Medani split a $100 cash prize.

Seven of the 11 acts were applauded off stage by the audience. Two of the 11 acts were booed off stage by the audience.

Tyesha Johnson, who received audience applause for playing guitar and singing Kodaline’s “All I Want,” was unexpectedly played off stage by the house DJ and did not finish her performance.

Three other contenders for the win were Wambui (spoken word), Jasmine Washington (interpretative ballet) and Trenton (spoken word).

After the awards, performers and audience members gathered on stage to dance and take photos with Hudson. The celebration of talents continued as Showtime at Central came to a close.

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Showtime at Central review