BCC hosts fifth-annual Play the Part

Play the Part has moved venues three times to accommodate the growing number of patrons to the event.

The Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center hosted its fifth annual “Play the Part” at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Missouri Theatre as part of the center’s 2013 Black Culture Awareness Week.

The theme of this year’s event was the Grammy’s.

“What’s more regal than the Grammy’s?” show host Curtis Taylor Jr. said.

Taylor, who started working at the center in January, has been attending the event for years.

“It’s incredible to see the evolution of (the event)…I’m extremely proud,” he said.

The event was created five years ago to celebrate black people and their contributions to society. Auditions are held in September but planning begins in the spring semester of the previous year. The acts then spend two months rehearsing.

Play the Part has consistently been one of the biggest events that the center has hosted over the past five years. The turnout has gradually increased over the years, Taylor said.

“The whole process is really fun,” performer India Gibbs said. “Practice was really hard and long, but it was worth it.”

Gibb’s decided to do her first performance with her fellow members of the Fluffy GRLs, a positive body image group.

The center provides social and educational programs that represent the heritage and culture of African Americans for students and staff on MU’s campus.

“I truly believe the purpose is to re-educate everybody…by the amazing contributions that African Americans have made not only to this campus but to our society as a whole,” Jordan Williams said.

Senior Jordan Williams, the center’s social media specialist, was on Play the Part’s planning committee. He worked on the technical aspects of the show, including music, lights, and making sure the performances ran smoothly.

“This event is extremely important,” Williams said. “It really gives the opportunity to look on famous African American entertainers and try to emulate them as much as possible.”

After the last performance, the audience members were invited to vote, using their cellphones, for who they believed was the performer that stayed true to the icon they were portraying. The evening’s winners received a cash prize and a large trophy.

The event consisted of twelve acts, including tributes to Grammy award winners like Beyoncé, a Chris Brown, Whitney Houston, Nelly and Diddy and Chaka Khan.

Freshman Benjamin Alexander said he voted for the Chaka Khan tribute.

“I feel like she portrayed (Khan) the best, but all of the performances were great,” Alexander said.

The Chaka Khan group won first place, Nelly and Diddy won second and the Chris Brown Trio won third place.

“(This event) allows students who aren’t usually involved the opportunity to be highlighted,” Taylor Jr. said. “It gives people the chance to be someone they have always wanted to be. You get to get out of your skin for one night and be whoever you want to be … you are able to play the part.”

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