Nathalie Moreno | Oct. 8, 2022
Microphones and speakers and drunk students, it’s that time of year again.
After the announcement of 3OH!3 and Sage the Gemini being the headlining acts this year at Southern Takeover, students everywhere were beyond hyped, and for good reason.
With the list of previous headliners consisting of artists like Plain White T’s, American Authors, and, most recently, COIN, this year’s headliners, specifically Sage the Gemini, differs in big ways. The hip hop artist is the first Black headliner and the first rapper to headline Southern Takeover.
The invitation of a rapper, let alone a Black rapper, to perform on Florida Southern grounds is a testament to just how much times have changed since the opening of the college in 1852. Florida Southern opened as a Methodist conservative private school, so one can imagine what its first thousands of students looked like.
It’s no secret that FSC is a predominantly white institution, and as all the other schools, being a PWI comes with built in discriminations and ignorance toward all students of color/non-white origin. The question is which institutions are willing to do the work it takes to fight not only against the undeniable racism embedded in education systems everywhere, but to fight for their students of color.
Florida Southern has turned a tide when it comes to their inclusivity efforts, with the establishments of cultural/ethnic/racial clubs like the Black Student Union, Multicultural Student Council, Asian/Pacific Islanders Student Association, Hispanic/Latinx Student Coalition and International Student Association.
The creation of all these clubs and even more are a testament to how the student body continues to grow and feel more comfortable using their voices on campus.
Black Student Union member Raven Harrison has waited since her freshman year to see a Black headliner at Southern Takeover, and that time is finally here.
“I think FSC has finally become more aware of how diverse the campus is,” Harrison said. “Especially with the rise of all of the new DEI organizations on campus who are advocating for more inclusivity on campus, from better freshman recruitment to the talent brought to campus, the school is definitely listening.”
Southern Takeover’s invitation to Sage the Gemini might not seem that big of a deal, but it serves as only more proof of how the student body has changed over the years.
The performers are chosen by the Association of Campus Entertainment, and this selection demonstrates that there are now more than just one or two genre loving students on FSC’s grounds, including some hip hop fans. This selection also appeals to the hundreds of students of color as well as hip hop listeners, providing that sense of relief from a long-awaited anticipation.
Junior Cassie Turczyn acts as the ACE Sound Director, the officer responsible for choosing Southern Takeover performers. After asking around and getting a lot of suggestions for 3OH!3, Turczyn knew she wanted to book them from high demand, but also book another artist of a different genre as well.
“I really wanted to do a double headliner instead of multiple openers because I thought that it would appeal to more students, ultimately increasing our attendance. So, Sage the Gemini was a great option because he’s a different genre than artists we’ve brought recently,” Turczyn said.
Turczyn made the Sage the Gemini pick because she felt his music would pair nicely with the other two artists, Emily Brimlow and 3OH!3.
“My intent was to gradually increase the level of energy from Emily to Sage to 3OH!3,” Turczyn said. “For our opener, Emily Brimlow, I looked through artists on Apple Music and used that to find a bunch of up and coming female musicians.”
With the large combination of different genres present this year, from electronic dance to hip-hop/rap to R&B and pop, there’s sure to be a serious mix of students present.
Of course, there is more to be done in the scope of inclusivity and diversity efforts; after all the work must be consistent to be effective. But giving a Black hip hop artist the main stage at a PWI for the first time in the institution’s concert history is a good place to start.
“Having Sage the Gemini perform is a stepping stone in making sure black students feel included here on campus,” Harrison concludes. “It also allows POC to be seen outside of just our DEI organizations and the Simmons Center. It helps build a more inclusive campus and lets POC students know that they [are] heard and seen when advocating to be better represented at events.”