By Sanya-Kay Johnson on Jun 12, 2011
A sublime affair to raise funds for HIV/AIDS research? Or an affair in need of more development?
The Blue Carpet Affair, a fashion and talent show, an annual event hosted by the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS, in the past was held in either the third-floor student cafeteria or the Assembly Hall in the first floor of Hunter North around World Aids Day.
This year, however, it was held February 19 in the Assembly Hall of Hunter’s Brookdale Campus in lower Manhattan on the East Side. “There were changes because we wanted to save money so that there would be more money to give away,” said frat member Syaisha Hewitt, 19.
“The date changed because the beginning of the school year was hectic,” said Hewitt, a Brownsville resident, who was clad in brown pants, a plaid jacket, and tan polo boots at the time of the interview.
The changes, according to frat member Shantel Corley, 20, made the show more successful than it had been the previous year. “In the frat’s eyes it was a better success than last year,” said Corley, a South Bronx resident, who was clad in a black jacket, jeans and boots at the time of the interview outside the frat room located on the third floor of Thomas Hunter Hall.
“Last year wasn’t that good because it was in the assembly hall of the main campus, a big space and the audience was small,” said Corley, a psychology major. “Compared to this year in which it was held in the assembly hall of the Brookdale campus, which was a better size, and there were more people.”
Kendra Pamphille who attended the show disagreed. “I thought I was paying for an exciting, thrilling evening with a lot of fashion and designers,” said Pamphille, 20, a chemistry major who lives in Canarsie, Brooklyn. “Instead there were less than a handful of designers but enough terrible talent to last an entire night.”
This was her first Hunter event. Pamphille was disappointed, describing the show as “lackluster, a snooze fest” that was not worth her money. “It seemed like a quick rushed production that wasn’t well thought out,” said Pamphille, who was dressed in a blue corset top, frilly skirt and knee-high boots when interviewed the night of the event.
Sharing similar sentiments were fellow attendees Christal James and Kadeen Jones. “I was hoping to see real fashion from the minds like me, a college student that is, but I did not see what I expected to see,” said James, a 19-year-old East New York resident. “It just seemed really boring and had extra added talents for no reason.”
“There were way too many performances and not enough modeling,”said 20-year-old Jones, a Canarsie resident. “Most performances were drawn out and I found a couple offensive, with obscene language I feel wasn’t necessary.”
Like Pamphille, Jones said she did not get her money’s worth. “I needed to see more designers with more unique clothing,” said Jones, a media studies major who was interviewed the night of the show. “Fewer performances and more modeling would have absolutely made the show better, or if there are so many performances, they may need to be properly screened because they did not appear ready,” said Jones, dressed in a purple baby doll blouse, fitted jeans and knee-high boots.
The show was not without its highlights, however. “I think the show was a success,” said 20-year-old Brooklyn resident Kaleigh Zschuschner, “the crowd gave great feedback. My favorite moments were hearing my name called out and knowing I was doing well.” Zschuschner, a performing arts major, was a model and member of the Precision Dance Team, a team of high-energy female dancers with a budding reputation because of their increasing number of eatured performances in a variety of CUNY events. They were one of the few acts that brought down the house towards the end of the show.
“The dance performances from the dance squad and the fraternity were the highlights of the night because they were the most entertaining, exciting parts of the event,” said Pamphille. “They must have saved the best for last because most of my favorite moments happened then.”
“Although it was somewhat tedious overall, the DJ did his thing and helped out a lot and I loved the dances, spoken word and the last lingerie section that came towards the end,” said James, an accounting major clad in a gray belted sweater dress, leggings and boots.
With the show ending on a high note, frat members Hewitt and Corley rejoiced. “The flow of the show seemed better than it was the previous year so that was good,” said Corley. Said Hewitt, a double major in psychology and sociology: “I enjoyed the event. It was successful and ran smoothly for the most part, and there was a good turnout from the audience.”
What about future turnouts? Pamphille expressed doubts about supporting the event another year. “If I have to pay, I doubt I’ll go another time,” said Pamphille. “I’d rather that money go to my school transportation or other useful things. It’s hard times.”
On the other hand, Jones and James said that they would go to a future show. “I would go again just to see if there were any improvements,” said Jones. “I had heard from a friend that it would most likely be amazing, as it was the year she had gone, which is why I went this time.”
“I would go back next year because it is for a great cause and it is bringing awareness about HIV/AIDS to the community,” said James, who was more focused on the good that he experienced from the show, which was helping the fraternity raise what it said was over a thousand dollars for HIV/AIDS.
Sanya-Kay Johnson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org