Allison Milton/The AS Review

“Express Yourself” is the theme of this year’s ESC Expressions Talent Show, and that is exactly what the AS Black Student Union (BSU), who is hosting the event, hopes participants will do.

The talent show will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 27 in the Old Main Theater. For $2 or two canned food items, which BSU will donate to the local food bank, students and community members can watch Western students share their talents or even get in on the action themselves. While there is a sign-up sheet in the Ethnic Student Center (ESC), those who wish to share their talents are not obligated to sign up ahead of time and can participate in the open mic event.

Nina Uka, BSU member and ESC program support assistant coordinator, said the event is an open stage for anyone who wishes to share their story, whether it is through song, dance, spoken word or another form of expression.

“It is an opportunity for students to share their talents in different ways,” she said. “It is important because it is one of the few events that is open to everyone. [It is] informal, but still allows people to get their message across.”

Many students choose to represent their heritage and culture through song and dance, while some students choose to tell personal stories.

For BSU Public Relations Support Staff Kendra Smith, her talent for last year’s show included a dramatic reading of a children’s book. This year, Smith hopes to make a repeat performance, maybe with a different book.  For Uka, her talent is performing in what she likes to call the “baddest throwback hip-hop team on campus”: Boomkat.

“I am excited for this event because I know some people who will be performing for the first time,” she said. “These people are usually shy, but they felt like this was a place where they could open up.”

The open-mic, open-stage philosophy reinforces the idea that any audience member can grab the microphone and perform. To sign up in advance, got to the Ethnic Student Center, located in VU 420.