Excelano Project and The Inspiration talk love
The spoken-word and R&B groups performed their annual Valentine Day's show
February 11, 2013, 1:27 am·
Last Saturday night, students swarmed the Rotunda in their jackets and scarves, but soon felt the need to shed their layers as things got steamy.
The R&B-inspired a cappella group, The Inspiration, collaborated with the Excelano Project — Penn’s award-winning spoken word group — for the fifth year in their annual Valentine’s Day show, “Love Talk and Slow Jams.”
At the Rotunda, the mood was set with dim lights and low music playing in the background. President of The Inspiration and College junior Nina Blalock took the stage with College senior Simone Stolzoff, president of Excelano, to prepare the audience for a night of sensual poetry and love songs.
The show began with an open-mic invitation that allowed some students to display their talent and personal expressions of love. The open-mic then easily segued into the opening act of the night, a poem by Simone — also known by his stage name, “Judeo-Thug.”
In words both heartfelt and amusing, Simone spoke about the kind of love he wanted, characterizing it as “someone I admire, but don’t yet know.” The crowd snapped and cheered in agreement.
Next came the The Inspiration’s first set, which performed a myriad of songs from artist Miguel’s new album, including the hits “Quickie” and “Adorn.”
Wharton sophomore Taylor McLendon, or “Ivy Sole,” spoke in a soft, low tone as College senior Marcel Salas led “Getting Late” by Floetry. Despite the sensuous atmosphere, there were some quirky performances from students such as College junior Hannah Van Sciver, who recited a poem describing love as “the dirtiest four letter word I know.”
After this reading, The Inspiration turned the heat back up as College senior Nnesochi Ajukwu led a captivating performance of “Brown Skin” by India.Arie. After a steamy rendition of Beyonce’s “Naughty Girl” led by Nursing senior Samantha Anderson, Simone and College freshman Sam Prieto closed the show with a comedic piece called “Boyfriend Material.”
The crowded Rotunda was abuzz with snaps, cheers and sounds of approval over the night’s performances. Proud alumni of both groups had also come out to show their support.
And as students left, free condoms were handed out for those who might have been put in the mood by all the love talk and slow jams they had just heard.