Igwebuike’s Love Jones celebrates student talent in its 15th year on campus
The Santa Clara
October 26, 2017
For Leanna Brown, this quarter’s Love Jones wasn’t just another opportunity to show off her vocals. It was also an opportunity for redemption.
Leanna began singing as a child in her school choir and has carried her passion for music with her through college. She first performed in Love Jones Café (an earlier, smallerscale version of the event we know today) during her first year at Santa Clara. Since then, she has participated in Love Jones every year.
This particular performance carried a high level of personal significance for Leanna, as she took a second chance with a song she had previously struggled with. In her freshman year of high school, she was asked to sing “Back to Black” at a graduation party for a friend of hers. Upon reaching the stage, Leanna recalls that she “immediately forgot all the lyrics.” For Leanna, this Love Jones was more than just another performance—it was her chance to do what she couldn’t so many years ago.
Love Jones is a stunning showcase of student talent at Santa Clara, interspersed with some truly moving performances. This event is hosted each quarter by Santa Clara’s own Igwebuike, a multicultural club at Santa Clara whose mission is, according to their Facebook page, “to celebrate and empower black students through educational, social and cultural programming.”
The talent show is open to all students at Santa Clara, providing a space where students can exhibit any and all talents to their peers without fear of judgement. Love Jones began 15 years ago as a poetry-based show in the basement of Benson. Since then, it has blossomed to become an all-inclusive illustration of the variety of talents found at Santa Clara.
When Oct. 19 rolled around, I made my way over to Locatelli with a few friends. When we arrived, the room was dark and filling with the chatter of expectant students. We walked in behind the oversized fur coats of the event hosts, Ibhade Ologbosele and Alonzo Billips (taking up the roles of musicians Cardi B and Offset, respectively).
While my group made our way to stand in the back of the crowded room, the hosts swaggered up to the stage, moving to the beat of a pulsing 808 and energizing the room. After a brief introduction and a short dance to “Bad and Boujee,” the show began.
The night started off with a performance by Carmel Paradise. She performed an original piece called “Battleground.” The song was moving, energetic and deeply emotional.
Her warm, heartfelt voice gave everyone in the room pause as the show began, setting a tone for the following acts.
Later, the Santa Clara Gospel Choir took the stage. Without amplification, they sang a rendition of the Catholic hymn “Gather Your People.” From the back, the audience visibly bobbed and responded to each note.
One of the most impressive acts of the night was the dance put on by “Seen Yo Staff.” In perfect synchrony, this group of senior staff members cavorted for the audience for a lively couple of minutes. They danced along to a medley of songs including Sean Paul’s “Temperature,” The Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House” and Sean Kingston’s “Fire Burning.”
I was fortunate enough to sit down with both Ibhade Ologbosele and Alonzo Billips, who hosted the evening. Both have been members of Igwebuike since their first year at Santa Clara, but this was their first time hosting Love Jones.
“Love Jones is something necessary which brings us together as a school community and gets Igwe[buike] out there,” Ologbosele said.
Alonzo had a similar sentiment to share about the community aspect of the event.
“I want to make [Love Jones] as fun for the audience members to make them receptive to all the acts,” he said.
After their hosting odyssey, both commented how much more respect they have for performers.
“Without performers, we wouldn’t have the show,” Ologbosele said.
In February, Igwebuike will be hosting another Love Jones in the spirit of Valentine’s Day.
Contact Noah Sonnenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.