UM-Flint’s Fifth Annual Fire Pit Brings the Heat

Bella Biafore, Writer

The University of Michigan-Flint’s fifth annual Fire Pit Talent Show put on by Student Government, was filled with hoots and hollers as students displayed their talents from dancing and singing to spoken word poetry and hula hooping.

While the show was off to a rough start, beginning almost an hour late due to complications behind the scenes, regardless of the tardiness, audience members stuck around and the performers had some extra time to shake off their nerves.

Cherish Dean was first up for the evening, performing an original spoken word poem titled ‘Ambiguity’ that she wrote after being inspired by a session at UM-Flint’s Colorful Conversation event series.

“I’ve written stuff before but I had never performed it–especially in front of that many people,” said Dean. “I had practiced it so much throughout the day and I had people that were here to support me so it felt pretty good when I finally did it.”

Besides Dean, there were 10 more acts during the course of the night, including Marcus Williams who performed a series of African dances.

“I love performing in front of an audience. I wanted to show something that was more open to cultures and showcase that to the campus community,” said Williams. “I felt great. The support of the campus is strong and it really overwhelms you emotionally.”

Between contestants, nothing was competitive. It wasn’t just about winning or displaying talents–most participants were doing it for the experience and to have fun.

Melanie Jones, with the help of her daughter and her daughter’s friend as dancers, sang Beyonce’s “If I were a Boy” followed by a choreographed dance number. For Jones, this was a great bonding experience between her and her daughter.

“My daughter dances with me often and she’s in color guard so she does a lot of dancing,” said Jones. “It’s always a bonding experience, she’s my little sidekick. I said ‘let’s have fun’ and that’s what we did.”

While the performers were showing off their talents, the crowd was sure to let their shouts be heard and their claps were booming throughout the KIVA.

And after all acts of the night finished, it was time for the judges, made up of staff members, to reveal the winners. Third place was given to Melanie Jones, second place to Ahana Vinayak for her Indian dance and first place went to Brendan Stevens, who sang a cover of Billie Eilish’s ‘Ocean Eyes’ while playing the piano.

As for the student’s choice vote, it was a tough call between hula hooper Jamie Patten and Marcus Williams. After asking the crowd to cheer for the contestant they preferred, the one with the loudest screams winning, it was ultimately chosen that Williams take home the prize.  

The event felt like one big gathering of friends coming together to be proud of their fellow Wolverines while being able to sit back and enjoy some entertainment. It was an evening filled with high energy, immense support for all participants and above all pride for the UM-Flint community.