by Andrew Crisp
Mixing spoken word, music, dance and comedy performances, the Shades of Black touring show returned to Boise State May 5, turning the Simplot ballroom into a crosscultural investigation into identity and drawing a crowd that almost filled the 600-seat room. Comedian Alvin Williams, the host of the program, said the show's celebration of black culture fit right in to Cinco de Mayo.
"This will be the best ever black show on Cinco de Mayo," said Williams. "This was my plan, this is something that needs to be addressed. Black people and Mexicans have been attached at the hip for decades. Those Taco Bell KFCs are not an accident."
Many laughed at Williams' portrayals of racial stereotypes, something he stated was necessary to better address the issues of people of color in America. He introduced acts like The CoaliSon dance group, Boise poet Elizabeth McCarthy, who performed at 2011's Shades of Black show, and soulful Boise singer Victoria Lunde, who showed off her Mariah Carey-like pipes.
"Different races of different people belong together," Williams said. "Jaeger and Red Bull do not belong together. Red Bull gives you wings: How long would it take Boise Police to shoot down a flying black man? ... We are all one race in here tonight."