The Bayou Classic Battle of the Bands and Greek show began with Southern and Grambling receiving sizable checks from State Farm. As if university donations weren’t reason enough for an already amped audience to celebrate, both bands delivered memorable performances.If the Greek show was an appetizer, musical combat was the entertainment entrée of choice.
Grambling State University took the floor to the infamous GSU chant. Children and the elderly barely winced when the last word echoed with a level of passion that would make Rick James do a little dance in his grave. Afterward Southern University began their performance in the midst of Southernite chants.
With fans representing both sides of the university spectrum and presumably every area in between, the unofficial audience crunk-off was completed by waved arms, gyrations and swung hair.
As instrumentalists tried to upstage each other, dancers shimmied and provided onlookers with a scene evocative of Spike Lee’s School Daze. Grambling’s Orchesis dancers were beautifully cocoa colored, while Southern’s Dancing Dolls were also beautiful, but of a tawny skinned variety with a notably chocolate Sista positioned in the front.
The Orchesis dancers dazzled in red figure hugging numbers. The Dancing Dolls rocked flesh colored ensembles with blue embellishments some believed to resemble tails.
Musically, Jazmine Sullivan received more than her due. Though Grambling played “Bust Your Windows” first and showcased an accompanying skit, some onlookers said that Southern’s rendition, though repeated, resonated louder throughout the Superdome.
With a line up of recognizable sounds, the show seemed like a collegiate Beyonce and Jazmine mash up. The audience vibed to “If I Were a Boy” and “Put a Ring On It” with enthusiasm similar to the fervently played window bashing track.
Southern’s show was more of a variety performance. It was completed with cymbal sections showing out, and an R&B crooner who wooed a Dancing Doll.
Grambling took it back and played everything from John Legend’s “Green Light” to “Wade in the Water.”
While many dispute the rightful winner of the show, everyone should keep student safety first. Citizens should note violent allegations regarding Southern’s band. The most notable instance of instrumentalist terror came from a student who was struck fifty times before he halted the “ritualistic act”, noted by the KSLA News Web site amongst others.
Southern University released this statement regarding the incidents: “We have received information that two members of the Southern University Marching Band were injured in an off-campus incident that is under investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with these families and for the speedy recovery of our students.”
Classic performances or not, it is music, people. Life and subsequent safety should trump campus (or sectional) status.