The Star Strutters' First Performance Sparks the Controversial PWI vs. HBCU Debate
In a story on Feb. 22 about the UMD Star Strutters, the Black Explosion misquoted Erhunmwunse stating that a former Golden Delight came to visit and teach a few stands. She did not come to teach the Star Strutters, instead, the member of the Golden Delights taught her high school dance team.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Every dance team looks forward to their very first performance, and the UMD Star Strutters were no different. After months of practices and technique classes, they would finally take the stage as UMD’s very first band dance team, at the February 16th Date Auction sponsored by UMD NPHC, Black Student Union and The Lunch Table.
While UMD already has a cheerleading squad, Guard and Dance Team, the form of band dance that Shanell Erhunmwunse, freshman letters and sciences major and captain of Star Strutters, introduced to UMD was something traditionally seen at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
It included dancing in the stands at sports games to a live marching band commonly playing hip hop or R&B music.
Erhunmwunse has classical, ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop and musical theater dance training. She was introduced to band dance in high school and through this she was able to find her confidence.
“There’s girls, specifically black girls who go to a PWI who want to do band dance but can’t do it because they’d rather go to certain schools, but the dance style isn’t offered at PWIs for the most part, unless there is someone like me who decides to start something that most people wouldn’t expect to see at a PWI,” said Erhunmwunse.
“I wanted to show people that you don’t have to be at a Historically Black college or University to spread culture, spread diversity,” Erhunmwunse said.
Erhunmwunse’s co- coach's sister, who at the time was a member of the Golden Delights of North Carolina A&T came to her high school to teach a few stands during a practice.
“I was not trying to come to a PWI in an intent to copy the style… I’m trying to create my own signature to band dance and I hope that it’s accepted,” Erhunmwunse said.
Saturday, The Lunch Table posted a video of the performance on their twitter and not all feedback was positive.
There were several tweets criticizing the dancers and comparing them to other band dance teams that The Lunch Table retweeted.
The video has since been taken down from twitter and all quoted tweets have no longer been retweeted by @TLTBlogShow. @DavyJtheVirgo, founder and CEO of The Lunch Table has issued an apology via twitter stating the following:
Sunday afternoon, the Star Strutters UMD released a statement on their twitter page “My goal is to spread diversity on our campus, and prove that there is no boundary for the appreciation of black culture.”
The Star Strutters are looking forward to future performances including halftime performances
“I hope that they teach everyone that band dance does not just belong to HBCUs and that’s where it should be, it’s a style of dance, it could be anywhere and that this PWI, these girls, more girls after myself and them can do it here as well,” LaDeja Robinson, senior bioengineering major, said prior to the performance.