Are student opinions really heard at the Convo?

By Chris Krapek

A few weeks ago, it was looking pretty grim.

The line-up for the spring semester at the Convocation Center was filled with shows that weren’t directly aimed at college students. So far, there’s been a Christian music concert, well-respected gospel singer Fred Hammond, Lipizzaner Stallions and later this week, Barney the purple dinosaur.

This diverse group of shows, while catering to different audiences, is nowhere near the amount of entertainment provided for students by the Convo in recent years. Such past spring rosters have included Drake, T.I., Ludacris and Jason Mraz in 2009 and Carrie Underwood, Jimmy Eat World, Paramore, Cheap Trick, Joan Jett and Soulja Boy Tell’em in 2008.

Obviously, things have changed. Last spring we had Ben Harper, The Used, Martina McBride and Trace Adkins — all acts whose best years are behind them.

So, do the recent announcements of Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean both performing at the Convo this semester redeem its recent run of mediocrity?

Yes and no.

For the first time in a long time, DeKalb will be living in the zeitgeist. Thanks to the massive success of his anthem “Black and Yellow,” Khalifa has gone from the relatively unknown mixtape scene to having the number one single in the country. His song has seen mainstream notoriety with everyone from Tom Hank’s son to Lil Wayne offering their own take on it.

The Convo deserves accolades for going out and booking literally one of the hottest entities in music right now. Although his name-recognition isn’t as big as some of his peers, Khalifa has a loyal fan base and after being on Top 40 radio has a whole new one. Really, who has never heard that hook?

But then there’s Big Sean.

The first question you may ask is, “Who is Big Sean?” Okay, so he saw some success with “Bull——‘” and “Supa Dupa Lemonade,” but that’s it. Although he’s big in the hip-hop community online, is a protégé of Kanye West and drops mixtapes like Khalifa, he hasn’t seen that crossover to mainstream success. Unless you’re in the know, you probably have no idea who he is.

The second question you may ask is, “Big Sean is performing at NIU?” The show, put on by the Campus Activities Board, the Residence Hall Association and Phi Rho Eta Fraternity Inc. promises to be the “biggest Convo party ever,” yet it seems the campus really doesn’t know about it. The promotion for this show has been lacking, aside from some fliers posted on campus and a Facebook page. A page on the Convo website didn’t even go up until last week.

The show starts at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night. Okay, this is probably the time when most people are just getting into their night, but Big Sean doesn’t take the stage until 1:30 a.m.

Isn’t that ostracizing an entire part of the student population?

Juelez Satana and Pleasure P — arguably two bigger names than Big Sean — had their show canceled last year at the Convo due to lack of ticket sales. How is Big Sean supposed to be lucrative? I don’t know, I could be wrong. There are almost 700 people confirmed to attend the show on Facebook. Yet, with NIU students seemingly the only ones allowed to purchase tickets with a two guest limit, something doesn’t add up.

If you don’t like Khalifa or Big Sean or rap music at all, then make your voice heard. Call CAB and the Convo, and tell them who’d you like to see. If the campus stays apathetic, then we’re forced to have other people make the decisions for us.

You know, Ja Rule came here in 2003. I wonder what he’s doing now?