The GW chapter of the NAACP transported its audience back to the 1980s by showcasing black artists of the decade with lip-sync and dance performances at the second-annual Soul Revue Friday night.
The Revue transformed J Street into cabaret-style setting, as audience members sat around tables watching student performers and dined at intermission.
The evening opened with an a cappella performance of James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song known as the “black national anthem.” Soul Revue then jumped into a fast-paced program with an upbeat performance from a Janet Jackson lookalike, followed by other numbers such as “Kiss” by Prince and a big-haired Whitney Houston.
The audience interacted with the show, as performers moved from the stage into the crowd. For almost every performance, someone was pulled into the spotlight to dance for a few moments.
Soul Revue consisted of two hour-long acts with one intermission, and a finale.
Nicholas Wiggins, president of the chapter and executive director of the Revue, said he was very pleased with the performance and turnout for the event, which filled J Street’s Columbian Square.
“Last year we only had 100 to 150 people,” he said. “This our only major fundraiser.”
Members of Zeta Phi Beta and Alpha Kappa Alpha sororities and the Black Peoples’ Union also sponsored the event.
Later, Wiggins took to the stage himself, performing a suave number by Luther Vandross.
“I am impressed with the amount of people and the diversity,” sophomore Leah Brndjar said.
Junior Dionne Hardin, who attended the event held in the Marvin Center Ballroom last year with a 1960s theme, said the event was definitely “more diverse this year.” Brndjar and Hardin later sang for their supper, serenading the crowd with the first verse of Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” to win the first slot in line for the buffet.
Students and administrators said they attended to support friends and the NAACP.
“(We are here) in support of Black History Month,” said Sandy Blanton, assistant director of financial aid, who also said it was the first time she had attended the Revue.
The NAACP also honored main-stage artists such as Madonna, played by Karen Malovrh, the executive producer of the show, while students from Latinos for Progress performed Gloria Estefan’s “Conga.”