Black Heritage Month’s Soul Revue Samples Popular Culture

GW students spoof TV shows, celebrity rappers in the name of coming together as a community.

February 22, 2024

Soul Revue 2024

GW students used performance skits to spoof pop culture at the 2024 Soul Revue. (Photos: Lily Speredelozzi)

A diaspora of Black American, African and Caribbean students filled every corner and space in the George Washington University Student Center Continental Ballroom Tuesday evening, including the steps at the entrance. It was a standing room only crowd and those seated didn’t stay in their seats long once the program got underway.

“Deep,” said Alexis Bello, a sophomore, experiencing his first Soul Revue, an annual tradition that has become part of GW Black Heritage Month.

Faculty and staff were also present, including Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement Caroline LaGuerre-Brown and Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Colette Coleman who noted that it “is important for our students to celebrate their culture and their history in a way that they see fit, not always in the ways we’ve assigned.”

Black Heritage Month co-chairs Milynda Stewart and Molayo Ifebajo opened the evening with a call to the assembled “to get hyped.” And so the crowd was for the rest of the evening.

Junior Mayah Bourne and senior Madeleine Brown set up the skits and performances as a girl’s night in, watching television shows.

There was an over-the-top version of Lip Sync, pitting Pit Bull against Young M.A. and Waka Flocka against Lil’ Baby to a raucous audience, on their feet, not only lip syncing but singing along; an extravaganza of fashion as The Next Top Model with high stepping, sashaying models in a bit of sheer, a lot of short skirts, some long luxurious silks, and highly stylized deconstructed black suit-dresses.

Xola, a dance troupe formed several years ago to showcase African and Caribbean culture, featured 11 first-year women pumping it up to big noise on and off the stage.

This was followed by a survey of campus trends via a spoof of the television game show “Family Feud,” teaming mock entertainment families of Wayans against Braxtons who ventured that the GW back-to-school hair look this year was not a weave, while silk presses and boho knots were, and, to the audibly shocked folks in the ballroom, jollof rice, fried chicken and sweet potato pie would not be welcome at the Black GW bar-b-que, all getting buzzed.

“Often times we feel Black Heritage Month has to be very serious to reflect on the past and things that have happened to Black people,” said GW Black Student Union President Bailey Moore. “But it is also important to embrace the present especially on a predominantly white campus. It’s important to have that kind of community with everyone. Soul Revue allows people to meet new people and to see the creativity of people on this campus.”