Black Student Union hosts Open Mic Night

Brandon Thompson performs on the piano during Open Mic Night October 25, 2019 in Glendale, Ariz. The event was hosted by the Glendale Community College chapter of Black Student Union. (The Voice/ Michael Manny)

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Glendale Community College’s chapter of Black Student Union held an open mic night in the Student Union Friday, Oct. 26.

A variety of talented performers took the stage to sing, dance and perform spoken word in front of an audience of students, faculty and the performers’ families. About 20 people were in attendance at the beginning of the event, but attendance fluctuated throughout the night.

The first half of the evening was a competition with performances judged by communications professor Tenisha Baca, creative writing director Jeff Baker and English faculty David Martinez. First, second, and third place were awarded.

The Black Student Union Step team; Calversia Hughes, Eric Wilson II, Nylaaj’a Wilks, Apollo Henclewood, Airreanna Jackson and Artie Smith, were awarded third place for their two performances.

“Stepping to me, is a powerful group. It tells people that we’re powerful, and we’re independent and we have a story. Back in the day, stepping was used for African-Americans to tell a story and for them to protest,” Henclewood said.

The step team will also be traveling to Arizona State University to watch their team in action, as well as performing at “Black First Friday” an event celebrating African-American culture, in February.

“I’m really hoping that our voice can be heard, and we can keep growing as a group,” Henclewood said.

Henclewood was also awarded first place for his solo dances.

Justin Johnson won second place for his dance performance of “Back to love” by Chris Brown. Johnson said that he has been dancing since the age of two, and learned through watching videos of artists like Michael Jackson, Usher and Chris Brown.

Some of the night’s other performances included Luis De La Rosa singing “Test Drive” by Joji. Black Student Union representative Brandon Thompson performed a medley of songs on the piano, including Tyler The Creator’s “EARFQUAKE” and “Music sounds better with you” by Stardust. Voice major Corrina Green performed “There’s a Fine, Fine Line” from the musical “Avenue Q”.

De La Rosa expressed how much performing and singing means to him.

“For me it means a lot. As a person I’m very passionate, and I have a lot of passion and fire for singing and music, like, I look at things differently for music, and I know every song has meaning,” De La Rosa said.

De La Rosa Is pursuing his musical passion and said that he wants to inspire people to follow their own dreams.

Green also discussed how much she enjoys singing.

“I love music and I love getting to share that with other people, and the biggest thing is you never know what someone is going to get out of your performing,” Green said.

Auditions for the competition were held on Oct. 9 and 11.

Once the competition portion of the night was complete, the stage was opened up for anybody in the audience to sing, dance, perform spoken-word poetry or anything else.

Adding to the performances, artist Tyja’ Beasley was also at the event to showcase her paintings and other artwork. Janelle Wood, an African-American community representative for the 2020 United States Census also spoke to educate the audience and provide information on jobs with the Arizona bureau.

Black Student Union meets every Friday from 1:00-2:30 p.m. in Business building room 201.


*Correction: The song “Music sounds better with you” was originally credited to Daft Punk in the story, but is actually by Stardust, a side project of Thomas Bangalter, one of the members of Daft Punk. It has been corrected in the story.