Standing room only at Columbia’s Got Talent


Kelly Wenzel

Shantel Cribbs and Jina Katura of ConSoul perform to a full audience during Columbia’s Got Talent on April 22 at Stage Two in the 618 S. Michigan Ave. Building.

By Campus Reporter

Stage Two, in the 618 S. Michigan Ave. Building, reached capacity on April 22 as performers took to the spotlight for Columbia’s Got Talent, an annual talent competition hosted by the Columbia Urban Music Association. 

This year marked the first time the event has followed an award show format, said Greg Owens,  a senior business & entrepreneurship student, vice president of CUMA and winner of CGT’s Best Original Song award. The event served as a fundraiser for the Kamoinge-Ferman Scholarship, which was established by the Humanities, History & Social Sciences Department to help finance international travel associated with African or African-American Studies research projects, he said.

CGT is an opportunity for artists from all majors and disciplines to showcase their work, Owens said, adding that CGT gives students who otherwise might go unnoticed the opportunity to be acknowledged for their contributions to Columbia’s artistic community.

“You also get to see students who other people may not have heard of yet,” Owens said. “If that student wins an award, they may be able to network with other people, both from Columbia and outside of Columbia.”

The show honored nominees and winners in 11 categories, including Best Live Performer, Best Original Song and Best Actor or Actress. Owens said friends and family nominated students for the awards. People were then voted for the winners before the show via online survey in the weeks leading up to the show. 

“I didn’t know anybody had nominated me, so that’s really when it hit me,” said Shenise Brown, a junior interdisciplinary arts major who won the award for Best Actor or Actress. “I’m just so humbled and thankful. It means that I’ve been chosen to entertain and people are recognizing that. It feels great.”

Along with the award, winners in each category received prizes geared toward helping them advance their career in their chosen industry. Various sponsors, including Classick Studios, Level-Up! Magazine, Sunrai Consulting Group and Party Gone Wild, provided prizes such as free studio time and brand consulting.

Hosted by Vicki Street, a senior journalism major who also received the Best Host award for her work on “The Vicki Street Show”—a talk show on Columbia’s Frequency TV station-—CGT featured a variety of acts, including vocalist Jet, a sophomore cinema art + science major who won the Audience Favorite award.

“[Students] need to keep pushing and make the best experience that we can at Columbia and be thankful for everything that we’re doing right now,” said Jameel Bridgewater, a senior business & entrepreneurship major who won the award for Best Visual Designer. “It means a lot, and when we graduate, we won’t have it.”

Other winners included China Orr, a freshman dance major, for Best Newcomer; Dedrick Gray, a senior marketing major, for Best Choreographer or Dancer; Amanda Charles, a junior creative writing major, for Photographer of the Year; OBY, a JazzHop band, for Best Live Performer; “Angry Black Woman” by performance group WordPlay for Best Video; and Kyle Shawn, a junior journalism major, for Music Artist of the Year.

“It’s important to recognize not just those who do things constantly, but to give an opportunity to those who are not able to be recognized or know how to be recognized,” Brown said. “There are some people who are just quiet storms, who walk around campus and we don’t even know the talent that’s built inside of them. The fact that we’re able to showcase them, I think it’s a beautiful thing.”