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Commentary: Behind the Scenes at BSU Homecoming Concert


By Taylor Barfield

As an aspiring media professional, I was surprised by the way media professionals were treated during Bowie State University’s 2014 Homecoming Concert.

The treatment of the Department of Communication’s media leg was deplorable.

The Department of Communications is typically given many media passes to cover homecoming events, but this was not the case this year. The department was only given five passes, rather than the six that were requested.

The Department needed six badges to cover two courses, Introduction to Broadcast News and Metro Lab News that would air on BSU-TV, and for a written story for The Spectrum.

Two communications professors attempted to work out the error by talking to the Student Government Association President Milan Mobley.

Mobley explained that she would try to help and needed to discuss the decision to allow another media pass with the SGA executive board.

Before the concert, Milan contacted me and said that she could not do anything to provide the additional media pass. I thanked her for attempting to rectify the situation and said that the Department of Communications would work it out on our end.

Professor Haynes and Dr. Thomas paid for a ticket so that I could enter the event to get the story without having to enter the backstage area and talk to the artists.

  As I was getting ready for the concert, Professor Haynes contacted me and said that Dr. Thomas had spoken with someone from the Student Government and that I would be fine to enter the backstage area to speak with the artists.

  As I arrived to the event, I entered the doorway and waited to speak to Milan about the situation. Before getting a word out, I was told to “GET OUT!”

  I replied, “Why?”

  Mobley said, “You do not have a pass, so you have to get out.”

  I, then, turned around and exited the A.C. Jordan Arena.

  Corey Ellis II, Videographer for the Department of Communications, found me in line and gave me his pass after setting up the cameras to capture the event.

  We were met with scrutiny once again, and Dynesha Lyles, Vice President of the Student Government Association, told Ellis to gather the media unit “line-up right here,” next to her chair.

  Ellis did not return quickly, so Mobley and myself went to the unit, where Mobley said one of the members of the unit would have to give up a badge and use the ticket provided by the Department of Communications to re-enter.

  Mobley explained, “The promoter only agreed to five people. We signed a contract.”

  Adhering to the rules, Carissa Smith volunteered to exit the venue, but returned after explaining to the Student Government Association that we would not all remain backstage when the event started.

  As the event started, a Student Government Association volunteer told us that we would not be able to cross this line, drawing the line with her finger.

  We would not be able to pass the security detail, or enter the green room to conduct interviews with the artists.

 We were forced to chase the artists down and attempt to grasp their attention as they were leaving the building.

 As the concert went on, I became a one-man-band. I was holding the camera, tripod, and microphone trying to get an interview or a shout-out to Bowie State from the remaining artists, Lil’ Boosie or Yo Gotti.

 All volunteers from the Student Government had left their posts and went on to enjoy the concert, which left me an opportunity to get my story.

 I spoke to Lil’ Boosie’s security detail before his last song and he said that it would be fine to conduct an interview, but as Boosie joined Yo Gotti on the stage for the song, I lost him.

 One of the campus police officers noticed that I had been working hard to grab the attention of the artists and their entourages to no avail and allowed me to set up the equipment outside of the gym to catch the artists as they were leaving.

 Bowie State communications student, Denise Osei came across the barricade and offered to help me with the camera and we were able to get great shout-outs from Yo Gotti, Snootie Wild, DJ Jeff2Funny, and more.

 I was only there to cover a print article for The Spectrum and ended up being the driving force behind the story collection.

 If you are faced with any adversity, remember that it’s your world.