Written By: Connor McPherson
Shani Farrell kicked the celebration off with a reading of Maya Angelou’s famous poem “Phenomenal Woman” and she drew in the audience of over 100 students and staff right from the start. Farrell delivered the poem with her raspy voice that had a hint of sass. She was articulate and would have made Angelou proud. This poem was a perfect start to the celebration because it is all about the beauty of individuality and loving oneself.
DeMisty Bellinger-Delfeld who is a published poet and a professor continued the festivities with the reading of three of her original poems. The first two poems that she read are part of a collection of poems titled “Nasty Women” which are inspired by President Trump’s atrocities toward women. These poems are filled with real and raw language and definitely had an impact on the audience. Her last poem was part of a series of poems that she created which involve her talking to or taking on the personas of famous people. From this series she read her poem “Conversations with Whitney over Cola.” This poem was filled with metaphors about the death of Whitney Huston and was delivered eloquently. Bellinger-Delfeld showed that Houston had a place deep in her heart after stating, “I still blame Bobby Brown for Whitney’s death.”
The show took a musical turn with the amazing piano playing of Professor Jane Fiske who played “Des Abends (In the Evening)” and “Aufschwung (Soaring)” by Robert Schumann. “Des Abends” was hypnotic and felt like a wonderful dream. It was reminiscent of the sounds of the Yule Ball. “Aufschwang” was much more intense and had a balance of deep dark low notes mixed with quick high notes, similar to a falcon soaring through the dark skies of winter. Fiske had incredible talent which was showcased as her fingers danced across the white and black porcelain.
Next up was a short film titled “Fortune Teller Delivery” that was produced and written/directed by FSU students Erica Spector and April Tout. The film was funny and well-acted with a female in the lead role. It was about a college student who seems to eat Korean takeout every night of the week and gets inspired one day by the wise fortune in her fortune cookie. One line in the film that stood out and would make the writer and director Wes Anderson proud was, “I can’t fucking write but I can deliver Korean food.”
To finish off the already wonderful celebration FSU’s acapella group Harmonic Velocity performed “Halo” by Beyoncé and “Imagine” by John Lennon. The 22 students first performed “Halo” and it knocked the audience’s socks off. All of the students were harmonized perfectly together in a beautiful and haunting blend which created a fantastic backdrop for the lead singer who sang as beautifully as the Queen B herself. Performing a Beyoncé song was a great fit for the celebration because she has been empowering women and young girls all over the world since her days with Destiny’s Child. After a huge round of applause, the group followed up “Halo” with “Imagine” which was arranged by the incredibly talented student Sofia Battle. This was just as good as “Halo” and showcased Battle’s talents which were quite impressive. Harmonic Velocity sounded like a professional acapella group with their beautiful interpretations of the two songs.
There were so many wonderful acts that had the crowd in a burst of applause by the end. Bellinger-Delfeld ended the show by stating she “hopes to make this celebration a tradition for years to come” so be on the lookout for next year’s show and help this wonderful celebration grow.