Two of the artists that made this summer so celebrated with acclaimed albums will be headlining this year’s homecoming concert: J. Cole and Wale. Their performances during the week of homecoming will be accompanied by a comedy show from big-time comedy star Aziz Ansari.
While Cole and Wale have been big-time names in hip-hop for some time, both have gained recent fame after releasing albums this summer — just in time for their arrival to Burruss Hall.
“We knew J. Cole and Wale were both dropping albums over the summer, so it was perfect,” said Bria Fletcher, biological sciences major and president of the Black Students Alliance — the student organization that's organizing this year’s performance.
For the Laugh Riot show, VTU has taken it upon them to keep the act to high standards. Asiz Ansari, widely known for his role on “Parks and Recreation,” was just recently confirmed as this year’s comedy show. Michaela Mcnamara, the VTU member in charge of organizing the show, has worked all summer long to bring Aziz to Blacksburg.
“Every year BSA and VTU switch off planning either the Homecoming concert or Laugh Riot. Knowing BSA had such a huge success with Kevin Hart last year we knew we had to do something big to follow up.”
After last year’s Homecoming concert featuring Kendrick Lamar, just weeks prior to the release of his critically-acclaimed debut, and Hoodie Allen, both courtesy of VTU, the concert planning organization and BSA have been working to appeal to the Hokie’s musical tastes.
“We looked at who was popular in music at the time, and last year we had some input from students about who they wanted to see — J. Cole was one of them,” Fletcher said.
But recent changes in the BSA’s inner workings may also account for the booking success. Just this year, the organization left the department of Multicultural Programs and Services to join VTU in the Division of Student Affairs. Along with the department change came, the acquisition of Laura Bedenbaugh as the BSA advisor.
As advisor to both organizations, Bedenbaugh described the interactions between the two as significantly easier.
“For example, when we were told that Tuesday the first was the only date J. Cole could book for that week, we knew it wouldn’t interfere with the booked time for the Laugh Riot show, whereas that used to be an important conversation.”
Since the Wednesday announcement, Virginia Tech has displayed a resounding sense of approval.
“(We) have had nothing but positive feedback. Students seem to be genuinely excited about this, and that's exactly what we hope for when planning programs like these,” Mcnamara said.
However, Fletcher expressed some concern about the sudden change of procedure J. Cole brought.
“We usually keep the homecoming performance a secret, but J.Cole released his tour dates online and created a massive buzz on Twitter," Fletcher said.
Remaining positive, Fletcher saw an opportunity to act as the top branch of the grapevine. “It was awesome for BSA, everyone was asking ‘is it true, is it true,’ and we were able to say ‘yes, I know what you’ve heard, and yes it’s true, yes it’s real," Fletcher said.
Tickets for the October 1 Homecoming concert go on sale Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. at Squires Student Center. They cost $30 for students with valid school I.D., and $40 for general admission.
Tickets go on sale online the same day at 2:00 p.m.
“I don’t think they’ll last until 2:00,” Fletcher said.
Tickets for the Laugh Riot show go on sale September 20th and cost $25 for Tech Students with valid schol I.D and 45$ for general admission.