Enough hip-hop at homecoming

Illustration by Kyle Saxton.

Noura Bayoumi
Guest Columnist 

It’s about that time of year again to start thinking about VCU’s homecoming, a week filled with exciting events and activities involving students and even alumni. It’s a great time to celebrate the overwhelming spirit here at VCU. One of the most anticipated events is the annual homecoming concert.

Once the poll for the nominees of the homecoming concert were posted, I rushed to log into myVCU to see who the nominees were, hoping not to be disappointed.

As I browsed through the nominees, I noticed something that they all had in common: Every nominee was associated with the hip-hop genre, with the exception of one or two falling under the R&B and soul category.

The student body gets the opportunity to choose from 10 different artists and the one with the most popular vote gets to perform for VCU students and the general body. This year’s homecoming nominee performances were, unfortunately, completely biased to hip-hop.

Knowing that VCU has such a wide variety of students with many different tastes and preferences, I expected to see nominees who are associated with genres other than just hip-hop and R&B. With more than 30,000 students at VCU, there’s no doubt that many others feel the same disappointment when presented with the choices.

A$AP Rocky was the headliner last year; in 2012, Kendrick Lamar and Outasight were the opening performers for rapper Big Sean. In 2011, Wale and J. Cole were the lead performers in the concert and rapper Drake visited VCU in 2010 for homecoming.

Notice a trend?

The past four homecoming concerts all featured a hip-hop artist, and this upcoming homecoming concert will as well. Not everyone is a fan of hip-hop music. Personally, I don’t mind listening to it, but it’s not fair to students who don’t prefer hip-hop to not even have the option of voting for an artist from their favorite genre.

Students should be able to vote for someone they like listening to, even if there’s no chance for that artist to get the popular vote. It’s the satisfaction of knowing that their tastes in music are being catered to just like the rest of the student body.

I realize that hip-hop is the go-to genre when thinking of great entertainment performances, but that doesn’t mean indie, folk, rock, country and bluegrass artists can’t deliver just as much entertainment.

It may be that attendance at the homecoming concert could decrease when shying away from hip-hop music just because many VCU students prefer this genre; however, adding in different artists could be a way for VCU students to explore new music. So how does this problem get fixed? How can the homecoming nominees satisfy all of VCU students in the fairest way possible?

The VCU Homecoming Committee should seek to find a diverse group of artists ranging from every genre, from country to indie to hip-hop, and then allow students to vote from those options. This way, everyone gets to have a say in the performances, whether they listen to Mumford & Sons or 2 Chainz. VCU is a diverse institution, and our prospective homecoming artists should reflect that.


  1. Nothing creates excitement like Rock Music! (To me, of course) It is strange how hip-hop has taken over as this 'go-to' music genre, though it is popular, it doesn't have a lot to say about many people's lives who cannot connect with it. I feel it would be nice to do what you say, having a diversity of musical genres akin to a miniature music festival! I went to JMU last year, and we had an event called Madipalooza which featured a hip-hop artist, a couple rock bands, a traditional folk band, and several singer-songwriter types. This was JMU, which, uncontroversially, is much less diverse than VCU, both ethnically and culturally, and had less subculture as well. It is a shame that we cannot represent that diversity through an event like a Homecoming Concert where it could be celebrated symbolically through a variety of musical genres. Perhaps it's not a realistic goal, but what's the harm in trying?

  2. The best way to enact change is to create it. Join the Homecoming committee if you don't agree with the way it is ran or what artists they choose so that you can ensure the music selection is more diverse. I don't disagree at all with the fact the music selection should be more diverse. Every year I have put down a rock band as a nomination but it never makes the list. However, I don't complain to much because I am not meeting with the homecoming committee or its advisor in order to get answers. If you want to see more diversity talk to the advisor and the committee or better yet join the committee. It would be interesting to see the commonwealth times take a poll on homecoming artist to see if the results are different. Possibly the people that are nominating artists through the homecoming committee are hip hop fans. This means there needs to be a better way of collecting a more representative opinion.

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