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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

AfterDark Captivates Students With A Mixture Of Music And Message

Matthew Woo, Sarah Dhanaphatana |
November 13, 2014 | 1:24 a.m. PST

Staff Reporters

(Matthew Woo/Neon Tommy)
(Matthew Woo/Neon Tommy)
For weeks, USC has been buzzing with talk of the free event and concert called AfterDark.

Many students attracted to the idea of a free event with special musical performances by Tedashii and Jon McLaughlin could hardly await for November 12. Other students, curious about the “religious” aspect of the event, wondered whether or not they should attend.

What sparked such curiosity? Well to start, the event itself presented a radical change to a conventional college event. Since the distribution of flyers began, their was a shift in discourse among students. Many sought to answer the question that was listed on the flyers, “Is Jesus relevant today?”

With yesterday’s turnout, it was apparent that many wanted to see all the hype for themselves. Expect the unexpected. It’s just around 8:20 p.m. on Nov. 12 in Bovard Auditorium and AfterDark is in full swing with its first musical performance by acclaimed Christian Hip-Hop artist, Tedashii Anderson.

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Anderson, a member of former hip-hop group, 116 Clique, began his set with a mix of songs from his most recent album, titled, “Below Paradise” and a few songs from his 2009 album, “Identity Crisis.” His work includes recent collaborations with famous Hip-Hop artist, Lecrae and Trip Lee.

Swagger and all, Tedashii brought a unique stage presence. His frequent interaction with the crowd between songs allowed for a throw-it-back kind of vibe, letting students relax, chill and more importantly, listen to the meaning behind his lyrics. Students, seemingly, shocked to begin the night with his hip-hop performance, were taken aback when Tedashii passionately described his life-changing revelation when he found Christ. His music represents his everyday walk with God, as he frequently depicts personal reflections upon his journey and discovery of peace through Jesus Christ. A few examples include, his songs entitled, “Nothing I Can’t Do,” and “He Lives.”

After Tedashii kicked off the event, USC volleyball player, Micah Christenson took the stage to answer a few questions about his career and his decision to finish his senior year at USC. Christenson, a native to Hawaii, was born and raised in a Christian family. He spoke about his journey of faith throughout his athletic and academic career and how it has shaped his lifestyle choices. Christensen discussed how the distance from his family, ultimately, gave him the power to make a decision to lead a life of faith through Christ. Furthermore, Christenson reflected on how his choice to maintain his relationship with Jesus and to find his value through Christ gives him ultimate peace.

Christenson left the stage with a firm message of conviction and later, Joe White came to share a message with the students. Walking on stage with long wooden logs, Pastor Joe White nailed together a cross to depict a narrative of a Roman wood cutter, who questioned the existence of Jesus Christ. He followed up by playing scenes from “Passion of the Christ,” and discussing his personal revelations with Christ. White explained how the love of Jesus Christ and his suffering on the cross, ultimately, offers all sinners a source of redemption and love. Christ’s love, as seen on the cross, according to White, is the ultimate source of atonement, where every sinner can find peace with the knowledge of Christ’s mercy.

Students, teary-eyed from the message, were captivated by White’s sermon. Later, students were encouraged to write on a white piece of paper, to give their burdens to Jesus. USC athletes from the football and volleyball team held up the large wooden cross on stage and nailed each white paper to the cross to symbolize a new-found freedom in Christ. Proceeding the message and cross activity, was a final performance by artist, Jon McLaughlin who provided an amazing performance. McLaughlin, popularly noted for his songs in movies such as “Enchanted,” wooed the ladies in the crowd with his stellar vocals and pianist technique. It’s no question that AfterDark was a complete success. If you missed out, check out this set of photos from the event last night.

Reach Staff Reporters Matthew Woo here and Sarah Dhanaphatana here



 

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