Southern Miss students showcase talents

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As part of the 2018 Southern Miss Homecoming Week festivities, Southern Miss Activities Council hosted the annual USM Has Talent talent show in Bennett Auditorium on Oct. 17.

Students came to the talent show for a variety of reasons, from supporting local talent to participating in homecoming activities.

“I came tonight because I wanted to see the talent and see what they had to show and give,” senior psychology major KaDarrius Holmes said. “I always love to see this type of good energy. It’s a lot of fun.”

Others wanted to show school spirit and attend events for the first time.

“I love homecoming week, and I’ve never been able to make it to the SMAC talent show, so I wanted to see all the talents that Southern Miss has to offer,” Hannah Scott, senior political science major, said.

“I had a lot of fun. I loved seeing Quan’s skit. I was cracking up. I really enjoyed the poetry by Taraja Gibbs about gun violence. I thought that was powerful,” Scott said.

Taraja Gibbs, junior elementary education major, performed in the talent show and said she performs to inspire others and make them feel raw emotion.

“Performing felt great,” Gibbs said. “I felt like the stage presence and energy was there. I also felt like people got my message. I always say that if I didn’t make someone feel something, I didn’t do my job, and I feel like I’ve done my job.”

Contestant Marquan Lewis, sophomore communications major, performed for the second year in a row. Lewis said he decided to participate in the event again because he “wanted to continue to support the people and make them laugh and have fun at college.”

Lewis performed a comedy bit about the Fresh Food Company. His act included a rendition of T-Pain’s “I’m in Love with a Stripper” that he titled, “I’m in Love with the Chicken.” His song was about The Fresh’s fried chicken, and he received a lot of laughs.

“My favorite part about performing is to get up there, do my thing and make sure people feel loved,” Lewis said. “I just love USM, and I’m in it for the win.”

Some contestants participated as a way to get their foot through the door in the creative industry.

“It’s good to get recognition. I’m trying to get out there, and talent shows are the best way to do it,” Joshua Johnson, junior music education major, said.

Johnson said that he felt his performance could have gone better, but he views this as an opportunity to grow.  

“Everything is just a learning experience. You learn every type you perform,” Johnson said. 

Jai’kyra Owens was the overall winner, while Christian Stanback won People’s Choice.