Bass thumping, original emceeing, fresh sneakers and flamboyant fashions all could be found recently inside Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building at MTSU as the Urban Entertainment Society student group hosted an event to not only showcase hip-hop culture but to also help a worth cause.
The “Kicks on Campus” tour is the brainchild of MTSU alumnus Ivan Andrews, a fall 2016 music business graduate who wanted to bring his alma mater a version of his annual “Speakers and Sneakers” music festival in his native Nashville.
“Being a student here, I always felt it could be more that students could do here on campus,” Andrews said. “I’m very huge into sneakers and music and I know a lot of other students are as well.”
But he wanted the event to also “give back,” so he partnered with Nashville-based Soles4Souls, which distributes donated shoes and clothing in a mission to combat poverty. Collection boxes inside Cantrell Hall were brimming with donated shoes of all styles dropped off by event attendees.
The event allowed area emcees — student and nonstudent — to spit their latest rhymes, while upstart urban apparel entrepreneurs set up booths to display their goods and get feedback from browsing students. In one corner of the hall, a video game contest also drew plenty of competitors.
MTSU senior Mason Allen, president of Urban Entertainment Society and an audio production major in the Department of Recording Industry, said the organization’s goal is to help members develop their craft and “move to the next level.”
“We live off what we call the four C’s: to connect, collaborate, create and critique,” said the Louisville, Kentucky, native. “We invite anybody who has a passion for any aspect of the urban entertainment industry — artist, producer, engineer, photographer — just anything that has to do with the entertainment industry.”
Andrews said this is the second year of the Kicks on Campus tour, which expanded this year to include last year’s inaugural stops of MTSU, Belmont and Austin Peay plus additional stops at Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and UT-Knoxville.